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Eugene Sayre Topping

Male 1844 - 1917  (72 years)


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  • Name Eugene Sayre Topping  [1, 2
    Born 15 May 1844  Moriches, Suffolk Co., LI, NY Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Gender Male 
    Died 17 Jan 1917  Vitoria, Vancover Island, British Columbia, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Ross Bay Cemetery, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • A great deal of this research was done by Carolee Diamnd sixof@erols.com She did most of the research while working on a book about him with an author from Wyoming. The book was published in 2008 "From Sail to Trail"Chronicling Yellowstone's E. S. Topping by Robert V. Goss.

      Yellowstone's Pioneers - Brief Biographies Topping, Eugene S. E.S. Topping He was born in Long Island May 15, 1844, went to sea at age 12 in the ocean merchant service. and headed west in 1868 working as prospector, miner, and stock trader. By 1871 he was working the Clark Fork mines and the following year guided Mr. & Mrs. H.H. Stone through the park. Mrs. Stone was reported to be the 1st known woman to visit the geyser basins. Topping and Dwight Woodruff spotted steam from the top of Bunsen Peak in 1872, and upon investigating its source, discovered the Norris Geyser Basin, and in the process, a shorter route to the Lower Geyser Basin. 1873 found him with Nelson Yarnell prospecting on the Stinking Water River. Topping and Frank Williams were permitted to operate boats on Yellowstone Lake in 1874. They built a small boat and named it the ?Sallie?, after the 1st two female passengers they carried on the Lake ? Sarah Tracy and Sarah Graham. A Bozeman newspaper of Aug. 7, 1874 noted that Topping ". . . has his little craft successfully launched upon the Yellowstone Lake, and intends to accord the privilege of naming it to the first lady passenger." In 1875 Topping built a cabin and boat dock at Topping Point, west of the Lake Outlet and built a boat called the ?Topping?. He operated on the lake for about two years. He spent much of his time between 1876 and 1880 in the Black Hills mining and sheep trading. He moved to Mandan and for 2 years had a wood contract with the Northern Pacific Railroad. Back in Yellowstone in 1882, Eugene Topping was in charge of a road crew that was charged by Supt. Conger with building a new road from McCartney's Hotel to Swan Lake Flats. They continued work on to Firehole and built a bridge over the Gardiner River enroute. Later on he wrote a very interesting book entitled ?The Chronicles of the Yellowstone ? An Accurate, Comprehensive History.? The book contains a lot of early park history, along with information about mining and Indian conflicts in the greater Yellowstone region during the late 1800?s. See also my Boat History page. [97p] [113] [1882 Supt's Report, p4-5] [Bozeman Avant-Courier, 8/7/1874] [56m;1171]
      Source: http://www.geocities.com/geysrbob/Biography-T.html
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      Eugene worked for the UPRR in the 1860s and prospected in various locations in Wyoming. He spent about two summers sailing on Yellowstone lake in 1874-75, trapped, hunted and 'wolfed' during the winters, etc. He was in several Indian battles, including one under the command of Gen. Crook, apparently as a volunteer or scout; and one near a trading fort on the Yellowstone River in 1875. He prospected in the Black Hills and northern Idaho before going to southern BC to try his luck around 1889. He acquired a share in a gold prospect that ended up making him a lot of money. He was founder the town of Trail, BC with friend Frank Hanna. They split up their business relations and friendship in 1896 (Frank split up with his wife also, possibly because of Toppping), and 10 years later Topping married Frank's ex-wife Mary Jane (Palmer) Hanna in 1906. As far as I know, it was his only marriage. He was on the move most of his life. After they married, they moved to Victoria, BC, where Topping died in January of 1917. His wife had six daughters and one son by Frank. Topping had no children of his own that I am aware of. One of the daughters married Jim Worth, son of James and Lydia, but he died around 1901 due to a mine accident. His son, Eugene Frank Worth moved to Seattle to live and work. All of the family eventually moved back to the United States, except for one daughter.
      Source: Email from Bob Goss (Geyser Bob) http://geocities.com/geysrbob
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      Eugene S. Topping, The Chronicles of the Yellowstone; An Accurate and Comprehensive History (St . Paul, Minn.: Pioneer Press, 1883). Reprint 1968 - The chronicles of the Yellowstone; an accurate, comprehensive history of the country drained by the Yellowstone River ... With new introd., notes & bibliography by Robert A. Murray (Minneapolis:MN, Ross & Haines, 1968)

      NEW YORK TIMES, March 17, 1900, Page 7 - A brother reunited to two sisters after an absence of thirty-three years was one of the incidents of Brooklyn life yesterday. The man is Col. E.S. Topping of Spokane, Washington; his sisters are Mrs. Agnes Stites and Mrs. Lydia Worth, the latter a widow, who live together on Hanson Place.
      REUNITED AFTER MANY YEARS. Col. Topping of Spokane Meets His Sisters in Brooklyn -- Tells of Gold Boom in Oregon. A brother reunited to two sisters after an absence of thirty-three years was one of the incidents of Brooklyn life yesterday. The man is Col. E.S. Topping of Spokane, Washington; his sisters are Mrs. Agnes Stites and Mrs. Lydia Worth, the latter a widow, who live together on Hanson Place. Col. Topping was comparatively poor when he left New York for the Far West In 1866. For some years he was a scout with Gen. Custer and Gen. Crook, and passed through many a hard Indian campaign. Then he went prospecting, and today is one of the rich men of the State of "Washington. He is temporarily stopping at the Murray Hill Hotel. " I don't feel much like talking," he said, last evening, " for my sisters have about hugged the life out of me. They did not expect me, and the meeting has made me a very happy man. I am glad to be in New York again, but how the place has changed! Why. I could not get my bearings in Wall Street this morning until I saw the familiar spire of old Trinity Church."
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      Article from L.A. Times June 27, 1897 HOW UNCOUNTED MILLIONS OF GOLD WERE MISSED
      Born in Suffolk County, New York state, E.S. Topping was by turns sailor, miner, hunter, prospector, Indian fighter and scout. Topping saw western life in all its aspects, until finally he drifted to west Kootenay. Soon although alien, he found himself Recorder and Constable- in fact ?the government? of that lonely region. Prospectors were then beginning to stray into southern British Columbia from Idaho and Montana, and such human driftwood formed the bulk of Topping?s subjects. They were a little rough, of course, but ?bad men? were scarce, and the few that did wander into west Kootenay invariably showed the most profound respect for the old Indian fighter, and took the first opportunity to remove themselves from his jurisdiction. It is a leaven of just such men as he that made life possible in the mining regions of the west; without them rapine and murder would have stalked unchecked from the Missouri to the coast.
      Topping had now found a quiet anchorage after hi adventurous youth, and seemed likely to pass his later days as many another mountain man has done, in an uneventful though not by any means monotonous fashion. When a man is fond of the wilderness and finds himself beside waters teeming with fish, and prairies alive with fowl, and where venison may always be had for the pressing of a trigger, he is likely to be too contented to make any very strenuous efforts to change his lot.
      But that was six years ago. Read, and let me tell you how Topping fares today.
      One evening in the fall of 1890 he was startled by a violent rapping on the split cedar door of his cabin. He lifted the latch, and Joe Bourgois and his ?Pard? Morris stumbled into the little shanty, and dumped the bags of ore samples they had been laden with on the rough floor. Deadbeat and half frozen, they were yet full of enthusiasm over a wonderful body of sulphide ore, which their trail shots had disclosed in the bottom of an old trail shaft high on the flanks of Red Mountain. They had staked out five claims, they said, and would give one to Topping if he would pay the recorders fees on the lot. This, he agreed to do, and in due course became the owner of what seemed the poorest prospect. It is now the famous Le Rol mine. One of the locations is the War Eagle, and another the Center Star, Each a valuable property, but inferior to the Le Rol. From that day Trail Creek, Topping?s abode, began to be famous.
      Events move fast in the West, Topping was almost alone at Trail in 1890; today there are hotels, stores, a smelter, a railroad station, and steamboat wharfs, while perched on the shoulder of the mountain near the Le Rol has sprung up the bustling town of Rossland, numbering already 10,000 inhabitants and increasing in population at the rate of 5,000 a year.
      Topping of course sold out long ago. He need worry himself no more about ways and means, but can buy all Winchesters, boats and pack animals he may desire, and still have an ample income left- and what more can a frontiersman and old Indian fighter ask? The veteran is a great favorite with his fellow citizens.
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      In 1872, E.S. Topping and Dwight Woodruff climbed to the top of Bunsen Peak. Looking south they spotted ?an immense column of steam arising.? They made their way to it and discovered Norris Geyser Basin.
      Source:http://www.yellowstonepark.com/MoreToKnow/ShowNewsDetails.aspx?newsid=2
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      A Brief History of Boating on Yellowstone Lake
      1874 is the next year in which a boat appears on the waters. E.S. Topping, in his 1883 history Chronicles of the Yellowstone, describes the event: "In June of this year [1874] Frank Williams and E.S. Toppping, furnished with a whipsaw, canvas, and rigging, went up the Yellowstone to its lake. There they sawed out lumber to build a row boat, and a yacht, which they rigged in sloop form. They launched the latter on the twentieth of July . . . They advertised that the first lady to come up should have the privilege of naming the yacht. Two parties from Bozeman, each having a lady, came in at nearly the same time. These ladies, Mrs. W.H. Tracy and Mrs. Arch Graham, were each named Sarah, and they compromised by naming the yacht Sallie, and took a cruise in commemoration of the event." Topping and Williams were issued a permit to operate boats on the lake that year. In 1875 Topping constructed a cabin and boat dock at Topping Point, west of the Lake Outlet and built a boat called the Topping. He operated on the lake for about two years. The boat was reportedly dismantled and abandoned after the 1876 season.
      Source: http://www.geocities.com/geysrbob/Boats.html
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      New York Times GRABBING A GREAT PARK; FACTS ABOUT THE YELLOWSTONE LEASES. REMARKABLE METHODS OF DOING BUSINESS IN THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT--A POINTED LETTER FROM GEN. BRISBIN, January 20, 1883, Page 1, WASHINGTON, Jan 19.--A very interesting chapter in the history of the Yellowstone Park was brought to the surface to-day in the Senate. A few days ago Mr. Vest offered a resolution, which was adopted, calling upon the Secretary of the Interior to send to the Sonato all correspondence and papers in that department relating to the proposed lease of the par);. The letters were dumped into the Senate in aui a a bundle, but a bundle that was interesting enough to be worth some inspection. Taken together with some papers reported a few weeks ago from the same department, they map, and probably will, eive eras to criticism of certain public officers, and cannot but wonder or suspicion as to the methods of conducting business in the Interior Department. Reduced to a running story and ' only the parts which conjecture must be left to fill in the absence of detailed information, the correspondence the following record: Secretary Teller, on April 3, wrote to P. H. Conger, Government Superintendent of the 5'c Park, to him an application by Russell, E. S. Topping, S. J. Hoyt, E. D. Parker, James Gourlap, R. H. Rowtand, R. R. Odell for a lease of part of the Yellowstone Park, with rights for the erection of hotels, the construction of roads, and use of boats on the lake.
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      Topping's Trail, Elsie G. Turnbull, (Vancouver, Canada: Mitchell Press, 1964) Book about Eugene Sayre Topping

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      One of Crissman's more interesting views was an image showing the sailboat constructed on the shores of Yellowstone Lake by Captain E. S. Topping to provide transportation and tours of the lake.
      Source: Joshua Crissman: Yellowstone's forgotten photographer
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      THE CITY OF TRAIL
      The City was founded in the 1890s as the supply point to the mines operating in the mountains around the City of Rossland, 10 kilometres (6 miles) to the West. The settlement was founded by Eugene S. Topping and Frank Hanna, both Americans who were at the time living in Nelson. Both hoped that their investment in the Trail townsite would prosper as the Rossland Mines moved into full production.
      In 1896, a small smelter was built on a bench above the Topping/Hanna townsite to process the ores from the Rossland Mines. In 1906, this smelter, a number of the Rossland Mines, and the Rossland Power Company, were amalgamated to form the Consolidated Mining & Smelting Company of Canada Ltd. From this small beginning, the CM&S has grown to become a world-wide mining company, now called Cominco Ltd., and one of the key players in international mining circles.
      Source: The History of Trail City, British Columbia Canada
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      THE DEWDNEY TRAIL
      A man of many adventures, Colonel Eugene S. Topping is known today as the father of Trail. The deputy mining recorder in Nelson, Topping took the chance on $12.50 paying the registration fee for the four claims held by Moris and Bourgeois and in return he received the claim for the LeRoi mine, the gold mine of all gold mines. This combined with the 343 acres bought by Topping and Hanna at the base of Trail creek provided him with riches beyond his expectations. In 1901, the incorporation of the City of Trail saw Topping named as the mayor, a position suited in theory but not in action. He resigned after his first term.
      Source: http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/~dewdney/english/map/trail/stories.php
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      Trail A Smelter City
      Read about the history of Trial and Eugene Sayre Topping, the man who was the dominant figure in making it a famous smelter city. Others are recognized as the developers of this industry, but Topping, has been given the title, ?Father of Trail.? In 1890, he and his partner Frank Hanna pre-empted more than 300 acres of land at the mouth of Trail Creek and by 1895 the settlement had grown to include a smelter. On June 14th, 1901, Trail was declared a city and Topping was unanimously chosen as Mayor. He died in 1917, but left behind a legacy
    Person ID I2615  Topping
    Last Modified 16 Mar 2017 

    Father Edward Doane Topping,   b. 20 Nov 1799, Bridgehampton, Suffolk Co., LI, NY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Nov 1873, Moriches, Suffolk Co., LI, NY Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 74 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Lydia Glasier,   b. 11 May 1803, Suffolk Co., LI, NY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Jan 1876, Moriches, Suffolk Co., LI, NY Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 72 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Married 8 Jun 1823  Brookhaven, NY Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F0354  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Mary Jane Palmer,   b. Abt 1856,   d. 12 Dec 1930, California Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 74 years) 
    Married 21 Sep 1906  St. George's Church, Rossland, British Columbia, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Last Modified 16 Mar 2017 
    Family ID F1265  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S003810] The Refugees of 1776 from Long Island to Connecticut, Mathers, Fredric Gregory, (Albany NY J.B. Lyon Co. 1913).
      p.602

    2. [S003844] U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865 .
      Name: Eugene S. Topping
      Side: Union
      Regiment State/Origin: New York
      Regiment Name: 15 N.Y. National Guard (30 Days, 1864)
      Regiment Name Expanded: 15th Regiment, New York Infantry National Guard (30 days, 1864)
      Company: H
      Rank In: Private

    3. [S003523] Age Based or Confirmed by 1850 Federal Census.
      Brookhaven, Suffolk, NY; Roll:M432_601; Pg:191. 1860 Brookhaven, Suffolk, New York; Roll: M653_865; Page:240


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