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Charles Darwin Haskins

C. D. HASKINS says that microbes of the gold mining fever got into his system twenty years ago, but a routine of work requiring eternal vigilance and application prevented any virulent manifestations of the disease until 1902, when he found an opportunity to visit Nome. In Seattle he bought an interest in a mining claim on Gold Run, and during the season of 1902 he worked faithfully on No. 1 Gold Run, and cleaned up the munificent sum of $32.40. But this did not check the development of the gold fever. His experience and observation told him there was gold in this region; the question to solve was the method of extracting it. He came to Nome again in the summer of 1903, and his experience this season convinced him conclusively that water was the great desideratum.

When he returned to the states this year it was with a firm determination to come back to Nome in 1904 prepared to construct a ditch that would supply water to all the mineral ground of this region. He accordingly organized the Haskins Ditch and Mining Co. (Ltd.), with a capital of $2,000,000, and raised the money necessary to build a ditch eight miles long from Canyon Creek to Gold Run. This ditch will have a water supply of several thousand miners inches, and will cover an area of 1 0,000 acres of mineral ground.

Mr. Haskins is a native of New Hampshire, but spent his boyhood days in Vermont. He was born October 9, 1853. At the age of thirteen he was a telegraph operator in a country office of Vermont, and a year later filled a position in the telegraph office of the city of Bangor. Concluding that he wanted to be a sailor he shipped before the mast and sailed in a number of vessels engaged in the coast trade. Tiring of a sailor's life he started to learn the watch making trade, but he never forgot his first love.

As a small boy at school he excelled in physics, and possessing an ingenious mind it was natural for him to drift back to the vocation that he began to learn when eleven years old. Before he was twenty he was foreman of the Western Union Telegraph factory in New York, and in his twenty-second year he was superintendent of the factory which employed 180 men. He remained with this company until they were succeeded by the Western Electric Company, April. 1879. This company was succeeded by the Bell Telephone Company, and Mr. Haskins was associated with the mechanical and manufacturing department of this company until 1889, when he was taken into the law department of their company as chief expert. During his long service with these companies he made eleven trips to Europe to establish electrical factories at St. Petersburg, Berlin, Paris, Antwerp and London. During his association with electrical companies, comprising the greater-part of his life, hundreds of electrical inventions have been submitted to him, and there is probably no man in the United States who has a wider knowledge of electrical apparatus in practical use.

At the age of seventeen, while working in the factory of Chas. Williams, Jr., in Boston, he was assigned to the work of assisting George B. Stevens to develop the duplex system, and while foreman of the Western Union factory in New York he assisted in the working tests of the quaruplex, or the Edison & Prescott duplex. So it will be seen that he grew up with the business of electrical engineering and invention. He has for a long time desired to engage in the business of gold mining, and notwithstanding a long and successful career as telegraph operator, manufacturer of electrical apparatus, electrical engineer and electrical expert, he left the well-trodden path when opportunity came to blaze a new trail in the northern gold fields.  

Source: Nome and Seward Peninsula by R. S. Harrison. Seattle: The Metropolitan Press, 1905.




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