Chief Executive Officer and Commissioner 1897-1898

With news of gold in the Klondike, the population of Dawson exploded. The position of Chief Executive Officer and Commissioner of Yukon was created to bring order and prepare Yukon for its separation from the Northwest Territories.



James Morrow Walsh

Term of Office: August 17, 1897, to July 4, 1898

Born: May 20, 1840, Prescott, Ontario
Died: July 25, 1905, Brockville, Ontario

  • Considered by some to be the first Commissioner of Yukon. However, since Yukon did not separate from the Northwest Territories until the following year, that title is more accurately reserved for the next Commissioner: William Ogilvie.
  • Superintendent of the North-West Mounted Police assigned to Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan before becoming Commissioner.
  • Before joining the North-West Mounted Police, worked a variety of jobs from a machinist to a hotel manager.
  • Appointed Commissioner to bring law and order to the region as thousands of people began arriving during the gold rush.
  • Given title of Commissioner because the title Lieutenant Governor was already taken in the Northwest Territories (which Yukon was then a district of).
  • After being appointed Commissioner he departed Ottawa on September 23 1897 but did not arrive in Dawson until May 21, 1898.
  • By the time he arrived in Dawson he had already decided to resign and left shortly after.
  • Mount Walsh in the Saint Elias Mountains, Yukon is named after him.

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