Forty Mile: Mary McLeod
R-L: Chief Isaac, his wife Eliza, Mary McLeod, Simon McLeod, Old Jonas’ wife and child, Old Jonas and Mrs. Jonathan Wood (Ellen).
Dawson City Museum, #1990-77-3.
Mary McLeod (c.1893 – 1987)
Mary McLeod, a Hän speaker who grew up in Eagle, is remembered as a hard worker, a woman skilled in living on the land, a teacher of traditional ways and a gifted storyteller. At age 18, she married Simon McLeod, a Hän man from Moosehide. Their first home together was near Forty Mile. During their years at Forty Mile, the McLeods made much of their living from fishing. Mrs. McLeod told of how her husband spent $200 to buy a fish wheel from “Old Man Fox” in Dawson City. They also netted salmon, using nets that Mrs. McLeod made herself, and sold most of their catch in Eagle, Alaska. The McLeods raised four children and one adopted child.
Mary McLeod was an independent and self-sufficient woman. She loved to hunt and trap, and even enjoyed chopping firewood. When she travelled in the bush, she took only a rifle and light camping gear, expecting to forage for her own meals. After the McLeods moved to Moosehide, Gramma McLeod taught many children through her stories and by sharing practical skills of how to live on the land. Mary McLeod Road, which goes up the Dawson Dome, was named after this respected elder in the late 1990s.
To learn more, see the story Mary McLeod (PDF) from the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Interpretive Manual.