Joe Boyle Collection

  • About Joe Boyle
  • Joe Boyle Timeline
  • Joe Boyle Collection
 Oval, black and white image of Joe Boyle.Joseph Whiteside Boyle's career is a remarkable one. The Boyle family moved from Toronto, where Joe was born in 1867, to Woodstock in 1871 and in the 1890s acquired a 50-acre estate on the eastern outskirts of the town.

On graduating from Woodstock College, Joe traveled to and from New York with his father, Charles Boyle, a prominent horse trainer. Seeking adventure, he went off to sea for three years. On his return, he settled temporarily in New York; but, on his marriage's subsequent break-up, he brought his young son, Joe Jr., and daughter, Flora, back to Woodstock. Two younger daughters, Charlotte (later an Olympic swimming medalist) and Susan, remained with their mother.

In 1897, in company with heavyweight boxing contender Frank Slavin, he journeyed to Dawson City before the bulk of the gold rush and quickly became one of the most famous entrepreneurs developing the gold fields. His Klondike Valley concession spanned 45 square miles; his simultaneous business ventures into utilities and supplies made him a leading figure in the Yukon. He was deeply involved in all aspects of Dawson's community life; in 1905, he equipped and brought the Dawson City hockey team to Ottawa to compete in the Stanley Cup final.

His international associations included Herbert Hoover, Lord Beaverbrook and Clifford Sifton. At the outbreak of World War I, at the age of 47, he outfitted and presented to the Canadian Army the 50-man Yukon Machine Gun Company. Named an Honorary Lt. Colonel of the Canadian Militia, he was adjudged too old to command it in the field.

In June of 1917, after agitating in London through his business and government connections for a active post, he was appointed to conduct a private mission to Russia's provisional Kerensky government. There he assumed command of the transportation system on the southwestern front, boldly taking control of troops in a desperate situation at Tarnapol after the Brusilov offensive, an action for which he was decorated in the field by the Russian Commander-in-Chief.


He then worked on communications for the Bolsheviks, but, soon disenchanted with their motives, joined the Roumanians at their request, aiding them against both the Bolsheviks and the German Central Powers. He maintained a wide-ranging network of 450 agents for British intelligence in Southern Russia. At great personal risk, he saved the lives of 50 Roumanian aristocrats and government officials, held hostage by the Bolsheviks at Odessa.

In another daring episode, he rescued the Roumanian treasury, archives and crown jewels from Moscow and returned them to Bucharest, where he was hailed as a national hero and awarded their three highest decorations. He became a confidant of Queen Marie of Roumania, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, who personally nursed him back to health when he suffered a stroke in 1919.

After negotiating the first treaty of the war, between Russia and Roumania, he distributed $25 million in aid from Canada which he had persuaded Robert Borden to provide. He was successful in bargaining with the Roumanians for oil for Britain.

In 1922, on behalf of Royal Dutch Shell, he attempted to secure the return of Britain's Caucasus oil holdings from the Bolsheviks, for which he was awarded the D.S.O and French Croix de Guerre. Under these stresses, Boyle suffered a second stroke and died in 1923 at the home of a Klondike friend in England.

Queen Marie installed an ancient Roumanian stone cross on his grave, as well as a ledger stone on which was engraved 'man with the heart of a Viking and the simple faith of a child', from the Robert Service poems he had read to the queen and her family. Only 56, he had packed several lifetimes of adventure into those few decades, an extraordinary man of extraordinary times.

In 1983, at the request of his daughter, Flora, a committee of Woodstock citizens arranged for the repatriation of Col. Boyle's English grave to Woodstock. The Department of National Defense flew his body home for a full military funeral. Among the official guests on Joe Boyle Day, June 29th, 1983, were Lt. Governor John Black Aird, Ontario Heritage Board Chair John White, Col. T.F.G.Lawson of the Royal Canadian Regiment, and Whitehorse Mayor Florence Whyard.
DateEvent Description
1867 On November 6th, 1867 in Toronto, Joseph Whiteside Boyle was born, the second youngest of Charles and Martha Boyle's four children.
1872 The Boyle family moved from Toronto to Woodstock, Ontario when Joe was just 4 1/2 years old.
1882 After attending Woodstock's public schools, Joe enrolled in Woodstock College from which he graduated in June, 1884.
1884 Joe left Woodstock to join his two brothers, David and Charles, in New York. Joe wanted to join his father in horse racing, but Charles Sr. was adamant about not letting his younger son to become involved in the business. In the fall, David and Charles found a note in their New York home from Joe, telling them not to worry and that he had gone to sea.
1887 Joe returned to New York after being at sea for 2 1/2 years where most of his time was spent idle at ports in the far east and Africa.
At a party held in Joe's honour, his brother Dave introduced him to Mildred Raynor, an attractive divorcee. Joe and Millie hit it off at once and three days later she became the first Mrs. Joseph Whiteside Boyle.
1890 Joe's first child, Joseph Whiteside Boyle Junior, was born.
1894 Flora Alexander Boyle was born.
Dave Boyle had prepared a three-year-old colt named Destruction to race. When the right race came along, he mortgaged everything to come up with $5000. The other Boyles added $2000. Destruction won against 8 to 1 odds and the Boyles came out ahead $56,000. With the money, their mother, Martha, became the owner of a house she had always admired in Woodstock, which she would christen "The Firs".
1896 Joe and Millie divorced. Splitting up their 3 children, Joe, Flora and Susan, was a problem until Millie annouced that she was pregnant again. Joe took custody of Joe Jr. and Flora, while Millie kept Susan and the unborn Charlotte.
1897 Joe Boyle, along with Frank Slavin ('The Sydney Slasher') set up fights in San Fransico. After Slavin lost an unexpected match which left the two with little money, Boyle decided to head for the Yukon.
While partners with 'Swiftwater' Bill Gates, Boyle made his first million.
1899 Shortly after Boyle's gold concession was approved, Joe claimed timber rights as well. These were Joe's alone, as he had bought out Slavin with cash and transfer leases.
1905 Boyle needed to put machinery on his concession within just three years, which would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Boyle turned to the Detroit-Yukon Company, led by Sigmund Rothschild and made a deal to sell his concession for $750,000. Boyle was also under pressure from Arthur Christian Newton Treadgold, who had been seeking a large concession. Joe left the Klondike to go back to The Firs.
1907 Joe Boyle realized that Rothschild's company was covering the $500,000. it owed him by selling old, broken equipment to his company at that price. In court, it was quickly decided by the judge that the deal was a fraudulent conspiracy. Boyle was awarded $500,000., although the case would drag on for two more years.
1909 Joe Boyle married again, this time to Elma Lousie Humphries, whom he had met while in Detroit on business.
Boyle headed back to the Yukon with Elma. The Boyle's Bear Creek establishment was growing. Charlie, too, was back with a new bride, a widow with a small son in tow.
1913 After a production boost from the 'Canadian', Boyle's frist dredge, he made plans to build two more superdredges. The first appeared on Bear Creek in 1913.
1914 One year later, the second dredge was completed. In total, Boyle's machines could mine more gravel then eight of Guggenheim's. Late in the year, the 'Canadian' mysteriously sank. Boyle's powerplant and laundromat were damaged by fire as well. War was declared. Boyle, eager to be involved with the Canadian war effort, was too prominent to be a private and not a likely candidate for officer because of his age. Much to his dissapointment, his son, Joe Jr., was determined to remain a civilian. The elder Boyle recruited and offered a 50-man machine gun detachment to the Canadian government. On September 4th, Sam Hughes, the militia minister, accepted the offer.
1916 Boyle visited his detachment in England during the winter of 1915-16 after it had been placed in holding units. In the summer of 1916, Boyle left Dawson, unknowingly for the last time, bound for the British capital. During his stay iin London, he finally became an Honourary Colonel in the Canadian Militia, the title that had been promised to him in September of 1914.
1917 When the United States became involved in the war, the American Committee of Engineers was founded with Boyle's help. Another prominent member was Herbert Hoover, the future President. The ACE was split into a number of sub-committees, with Joe Boyle assigned to the position of chair of the sub-committee responsible for addressing transportation problems in Russia. After solving a number of serious railroad problems in Russia, Boyle was caught in action while surveying. With no officers on site, the situation was chaotic until Boyle took control. His actions allowed the town to be held for five more days while a front was built up behind it. Boyle and his secretary Kennaly were decorated in the field by a Russian Commander-in-Chief. Boyle repatriated the Romanian Crown Jewels, national Archives and millions in paper money back to Romania from Russia on Christmas Day, and was decorated for his actions by King Ferdinand and Queen Marie, his British-born consort.
1918 Boyle saved 72 Rumainian hostages, most members of the aristocracy, from certain death at the hands of the Bolsheviks and became a national hero in Romania. He was hailed "The Saviour of Romania" in the Romanian press. Boyle, who had been working feverishly for the past year and a half, suffered a stroke. For two weeks, it was unknown whether he would survive. He was paralyzed on one side. He was slowly moved to a royal summer palace in the Romanian countryside, where Queen Marie herself nursed Boyle back to health.
1918 In the late fall Joe Boyle was given the Romanian title of Duke of Jassy.
1919 Boyle participated in the peace conference at Versailles. Boyle returned to Romania as head of a small Canadian mission to supervise the distribution of $25 million in aid which he had obtained for Romania from Canada. He represented the International Red Cross, was Canadian trade commissioner and was still operating his intelligence network.
1923 Joe Boyle, weak and exhausted after a high-pressure trip to the Caucasus to protect British oil interests, passed away at the home of Teddy Brendenberg, a friend from his Yukon days, in Hampton Hill, just outside of London, England.
1983 Boyle's body was reinterred in a special monument near the family plot in the Presbyterian Cemetery in Woodstock, Ontario at the request of his daughter, Flora, in a moving ceremony complete with the full military honours that were denied him by his country during his lifetime.
1.[Queen Marie, Joe Boyle and Princess Ileana at Bicaz]

Marie, Queen of Rumania (left), Joe Boyle (centre) and Ileana, Princess of Rumania (right), summer 1918, Bicaz, Rumania, while Boyle was recovering from his first stroke.

  2.[Joe Boyle in Constantinople]

Joe Boyle and his nurse Dorothy Wilkie, in Constantinople, autumn 1922.

     
3.[Joe Boyle]

Photograph of Joe Boyle, circa 1906-1910 that hung in Charlottle Boyle Clune's den, Rochester, New York. Setting of photo and photographer unknown. Copy of photo given to Ed Bennet, by Charlotte Boyle Clune c. 1990

  4.[Joe Boyle's Dawson Children's Picnic]

Joe Boyle at a Children's Picnic at Dawson

     
5.Joe Boyle, 1918

Colonel Joe Boyle inspecting the palace after Czar Nicholas had been murdured. 1918 (51 years old)

  6.Boyle's Yukon Hockey Team, probably taken Jan. 12,1905

Boyle's Yukon Hockey Team. Boyle (seated centre front) Probably taken on Thursday, Jan. 12, 1905

     
7.Boyle recovering from heart attack in Kishinev, Besserabia, 1918

A hero near death. Boyle slowly recovering from his heart attack in Kishinev, Besserabia, 1918.

  8.Joe Boyle and Flora, circa 1900

Joe Boyle and Flora , circa 1900. His nugget stick pin is the first he mined in the Klondike in 1897.

     
9.Boyle party of 1898, who trekked out of the Yukon

Ready to go 'Outside'. This is the Boyle party of 1898 who trekked out of the Yukon. Standing, in front (left), is Indian Charlie, also known as Chilcoot Charlie and Siwash Charlie;, an unidentified man, a miner named Nelson, another unidentified man, Swiftwater Bill Gates, Joe Boyle. Nelson holds (left) Mutchonga and Craw. The dog near Swiftwater is Koolikee. Passage of time has removed the lead dog, now a black blob in front of Boyle.

  10.Joe Boyle and lifelong friend, Teddy Bredenberg

Joe Boyle (left) and his lifelong friend Teddy Bredenberg talk things over at Boyle's Bear Creek property.

 
11.Boyle's last adventure, Oct.-Nov. 1922

Boyle's last adventure, Oct.-Nov. 1922. On board the U.S. destroyer Simpson with four officers are (left to right) D.D. Tzegintzov, Boye's Russian aide; Claude A. Solly, Boyle's Nurse, Dorothy Wilkie; and the ailing Boyle, who had only five months to live.

  12.The Firs, Dave Boyle, Martha Laperriere, Flora and Joe

At The Firs - Dave Boyle (left), Martha Laperriere, Flora and Joe Boyle.

 
13.Joe Boyle (at wheel) and Brother Charles

Joe Boyle (at the wheel) and brother Charles try out their new car.

  14.Joe Boyle Jr. and Flora, 1902

Joe Boyle Jr. and Flora, just before leaving for England with their father in 1902.

 
15.Joe Boyle (tall man), Bill Gates (short man, whiskers)

Tall man Colonel Joe boyle, short man with whiskers - swiftwater Bill Gates taken on way to Dawson City.

  16.Joe Boyle in London (mounted on horse)

Joe Boyle in London, ready for a morning ride on Rotten Row.

 
17.1954, Boyle grave

The Boyle grave when it was visited and cleaned by Len Taylor in 1954.

  18.The Boyle ladies go for a drive at Bear Creek, circa 1911, Joe at the wheel

The Boyle ladies go for a drive at Bear Creek, circa 1911, Joe at the wheel with Elma beside him. Mrs. Charles Boyle (right) at the back.

 
19.Joe Boyle at bat in the 1904 - 1909 years of hibernation in the East

Joe Boyle at bat in the 1904-09 years of hibernation in the East. The young catcher is a boy named Pascoe, son of the Boyle family butcher.

  20.The Boyle Christmas Eve party, 1913, in the Yukon

Christmas in the Yukon. The Boyle Christmas Eve party, 1913. Front row (left) Elma Boyle; 4th from the right Ed Lally, brother of Mrs. Charles Boyle, front far right, Mrs. Dick Lanning. Second row - A man named Coates, Joe Boyle, Ralph Morgan, (son of Mrs. Charles Boyle); Mr. and Mrs. Benney Gladwin, manager of the Boyle gold room; unknown; Frank Nazalea; Arthur Goldrick of the office staff, extreme right, Dick Lanning. Back row Joe Boyle Jr.; unknown; Ralph (Pinky) Pullen; John Kennalley, Boyles secretary.

 
21.Joe Boyle and a Dawson picknicker

Joe Boyle doffs his boots and stockings to carry a young Dawson picknicker around at a summer holiday foray to the river.

  22.Bear Creek office, Boyle, centre right

The Bear Creek office. Boyle,(centre right). English Joe Boyle behind Charles Boyle, centre seated, with Ralph Morgan (left) his stepson. Ladies are visiting Dawson school teachers.

 
23.The top half of Boyle's gravestone after it had been uncovered by Len Taylor in 1945

The top half of Boyle's gravestone after it had been uncovered by Len Taylor in 1945.

  24.The bottom half of Boyle's gravestone after being swept in 1945

The Len Taylor Collection; 4.5.22. 1 Photograph. The bottom half of Boyles gravestone after being swept in 1945.

 
25.Remarkable picture made at Theodosia where Boyle, (centre, full regimental dress), was held prisoner with Rumanian hostages by the Bolsheviks

This remarkable picture, made at Theodosia where Boyle (centre in full regimentals) was held prisoner with the Rumanian hostages by the Bolsheviks. Armed guards are at the ready but want to be in the picture. Curious inhabitants look on as the prisoners pose.

  26.Joe Boyle in Canadian uniform

Joe Boyle in Canadian Army uniform wearing: The Order of Regina Maria (around his neck) and The Star of Roumania (over his left breast). Wearing ribbons (above his left breast pocket) for: The Distingushed Service Order, Croix de Guerre, Star of Roumania, The Crown of Roumania, The Order of Regina Maria, The Order of St. Vladimir, The Order of St. Anne and The Order of St. Stanislas.

 
27.[Letter] 1923 May 23, [To] Col. Zvegintzov

12 leaves. Letter from Marie, Queen of Rumania, to Colonel Zvegintzov, secretary of Joe Boyle, on the occasion of Boyle's death. leaves 1-2 of 12.

  28.[Letter] 1923 May 23, [To] Col. Zvegintzov

12 leaves. Letter from Marie, Queen of Rumania, to Colonel Zvegintzov, secretary of Joe Boyle, on the occasion of Boyle's death. leaves 3-4 of 12.

 
29.[Letter] 1923 May 23, [To] Col. Zvegintzov

12 leaves. Letter from Marie, Queen of Rumania, to Colonel Zvegintzov, secretary of Joe Boyle, on the occasion of Boyle's death. leaves 5-6 of 12.

  30.[Letter] 1923 May 23, [To] Col. Zvegintzov

12 leaves. Letter from Marie, Queen of Rumania, to Colonel Zvegintzov, secretary of Joe Boyle, on the occasion of Boyle's death. leaves 7-8 of 12.

 
31.[Letter] 1923 May 23, [To] Col. Zvegintzov

12 leaves. Letter from Marie, Queen of Rumania, to Colonel Zvegintzov, secretary of Joe Boyle, on the occasion of Boyle's death. leaves 9-10 of 12.

  32.[Letter] 1923 May 23, [To] Col. Zvegintzov

12 leaves. Letter from Marie, Queen of Rumania, to Colonel Zvegintzov, secretary of Joe Boyle, on the occasion of Boyle's death. leaves 11-12 of 12.

 
33.Wayside   34.Joe Boyle Reburial Ceremony, 1983
 
35.Dignitaries at the Joe Boyle Reburial Ceremony, 1983   36.Mildred Raynor, became the first Mrs. J. Boyle in 1887

Mildred Raynor, the pretty divorcee who became the first Mrs. Joseph Whiteside Boyle in 1887

 
37.Boyle Picnic

High summer and a Boyle picnic with the passengers ashore from the SS Pilot. Centre foreground with large white hat, Mrs. Martha Black; far left, Mrs. Elma Boyle; man standing with child, Joe Boyle; on his immediate left, Mrs. Nan Boyle; second on his left with cap, is George Black.

  38.Boyle takes his own gold to the royal mint
 
39.At North Forks Camp, Nan and Elma Boyle and Elsie Lanning   40.The Firs, Susan (Boyle) Laperriere, left and Flora Boyle
 
41.Elma and Joe Boyle at Bear Creek, 1909   42.Flora Boyle and companion, Ida May Burkholder at the bottom of ship's ladder (S.S. Derflinger)
 
43.Joe Boyle's home (Bear Creek)   44.The Boyle No.3 dredge, near the Ogilvie Bridge
 
45.The No.1 dredge under construction, 1905   46.Elma beside Boyle's new car, circa 1912
 
47.Millie, Boyle's first wife   48.A picnic in Grosse Point, Detroit. L. to R. Effie Martin, Mrs. Busser and Elma Boyle
     
49.Nan Boyle outside the twin homes at Bear Creek   50.Boyle with two white aberdeen terriers, gift of Herbert Hoover circa 1908-1909
     
51.Boyle with two white aberdeen terriers, gift of Herbert Hoover circa 1908-1909   52.Chas. Boyle Sr. and granddaughter Susan at the Firs
 
53.Joe Boyle Jr. circa 1898-99   54.Flora Boyle, Ida May Burkholder at Raffles Hotel Garden, Singapore, early in 1914
 
55.The 1916 sinking of a Boyle dredge   56.Chas. Boyle Sr., son Dave and Joe Boyle Jr., circa 1900 at the Firs
 
57.'Klondye Joe' Boyle   58.Charles Boyle Sr.
 
59.Minutes of 8th Meeting, 1917, June, 13th, American Committee of Engineers in London   60.Minutes of 8th Meeting, 1917, June, 13th, American Committee of Engineers in London
 
61.Minutes of Tenth Meting, 1917, June, 27th, American Committee of Engineers in London   62.Minutes of Tenth Meting, 1917, June, 27th, American Committee of Engineers in London
 
63.Minutes of Tenth Meeting, 1917, June, 27th, American Committee of Engineers in London   64.Minutes of 11th Meeting, 1917, July, 5th, American Committee of Engineers in London
     
65.Minutes of 11th Meeting, 1917, July, 5th, American Committee of Engineers in London   joe-boyle66.Minutes of 11th Meeting, 1917, July, 5th, American Committee of Engineers in London
 
67.Minutes of 12th Meeting, 1917, July, 12th, American Committee of Engineers in London   68.Minutes of 12th Meeting, 1917, July, 12th, American Committee of Engineers in London
 
69.Minutes of 12th Meeting, 1917, July, 12th, American Committee of Engineers in London   70.Minutes of 8th Meeting, 1917, June, 13th, American Committee of Engineers in London
 

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