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
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.