The Roderick House, 329 Taylor Street, Seattle

House 1937

The Faux-Victorian house was built in King County, Seattle in 1892. Matt and Mary probably bought the home that same year due to rapid growth in the city’s population. The photo, taken by the city for tax purposes, is from 1937 and shows the house still retaining all the decor meant to mimic the Victorian style. A later photo from 1956 shows all those decorative pieces removed, the ravages of the winter rains had taken a toll. At some point, a large addition was made, doubling the home’s interior floor space. Though very unrecognizable today, the home still stands. The address changed soon after the build to 427 – 25th Avenue South.

After a decade in the Dakota Territories, the house must’ve felt like heaven with fireplaces on both floors and an indoor privy. But tragedy followed the couple. Floyd Mathew Roderick was born in early January of ’96 but died from infant cholera on August 7th that year. Mary wrote a letter to Matt at the camp telling him of their loss. I have little doubt the news urged Matt to pull off the robbery he had spoken of for months. Less than ninety days after Floyd’s passing, Matt was killed near Camp McKinney, BC in a botched attempt to follow him and recover the stolen gold hidden in the forest. Mary suffered a breakdown and for several years, the children were cared for by others. Raymond died of diptheria before he was a teenager. Only Trophy Leona survived to a senior age and cared for her mother, never marrying. They shared the same apartment roughly two miles north of the house, as listed in a Federal census.

Trophy Leona Roderick did not go to the Klondike as some suspect. Newspaper accounts of a Trophy Roderick can be found in period newspapers but she had a differnt middle name. To further confuse research, she attended school in Washington State and can be found in news items relating to her good school marks. Our Mary and Trophy Leona Roderick never left King County, Seattle. Mary recovered and went on to become the first female federal court bailiff, court room number eight. She often worked near Judge Brady W Gay, the one-time lawyer who guided Mary through the months following Matt’s death. The legal team urged the BC government to conduct a full and proper inquiry into the shooting death which was done. The BC Provincial Police also had suspicions about Joseph P Keane and wanted to thoroughly investigate all that happened. The inquest details have been a great revelation of facts concerning the movements of the key players in 1896. Trophy Leona became a stenographer and operated a very complex adding machine, the comptometer, that looks like an old adding machine on steroids.

Photo courtesy of Puget Sound Archives, Seattle

About James

As a semi-retired senior, I researched the story of the lost gold bars of Camp McKinney. My years in agriculture allowed me to comfortably search the rugged BC forest uncovering valuable clues over the years. Although I have paid a high cost for my unwavering search, I have once again seen the magick and power in nature.
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