The Force in the North


Tagish post was established by Inspector Strickland in September 1897. The establishment of the custom house there led the Americans to think the territory between Tagish and the sea belonged to them. However, in February, the establishment of the police post on each summit and the customs houses there showed them where the national boundary lay. (Report of the North-West Mounted Police, 1898. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer. 1899:35.)

In the summer of 1898, Superintendent Wood started to build some permanent shelters at Tagish Post. Assistant Surgeon Fraser, who was a Justice of the Peace, was left in charge at the Dalton Post with eight men and Inspector Jarvis and the remaining men came to Tagish to help build.  Fraser's senior non-commissioned officer was Sergeant Major Barker. In February 1899, Barker and Staff Sergeant Lasswitz were placed under arrest by Fraser on a charge of insubordination and inciting the men to mutiny. The men complained that in Dec. 1898 and January 1899, Barker and Lasswitz had made insulting and derogatory remarks about Fraser. Superintendent Wood sent Superintendent Primrose, who was planning on traveling through, to sort things out. Primrose tried the accused and Barker and Lasswitz were fined, demoted and lost seniority. Jarvis had previously commended Barker as giving him great assistance. He also said that Lasswitz did the work of three people during the busy season. (Jim Wallace, Forty Mile to Bonanza: The North West Mounted Police in the Klondike Gold Rush. Calgary: Bunker to Bunker Publishing. 2000:98-100, 112, 152.)

The detachments at Tagish and McClintock were withdrawn in 1901 and the Miles Canyon detachment increased as the liquor smuggling could be better controlled there. The buildings at Tagish and McClintock were left in case there were needed again. (Report of the North-West Mounted Police, 1901. Sessional Papers, Volume 11. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer. 1902:9.)

The attached videos with retired RCMP member Helmer Hermansen show the current state of the Tagish Post site as he explains some of its important history.