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Clyde L. Morris

CLYDE L. MORRIS is the leading ditch contractor of Seward Peninsula. He came to Nome in the spring of 1900, and engaged in mining on the beach. He subsequently conducted mining operations on Osborne and Center Creeks, but failing to find a rich pay-streak he quit mining to engage in the transfer and freight business in Nome. From a modest beginning with two horses and a wagon, he has, by pluck, perseverance and persistence, attained to the position of one of the largest contractors in Northwestern Alaska. This season, 1905 he has a contract for the construction of near 100 miles of ditches. to accomplish this great volume of work he will take to Nome on the first fleet of the Nome steamers 108 head of horses and will employ this season not less than 500 men.

Since the beginning of ditch work in Seward Peninsula he has been prominently identified with that country as a contractor. He constructed the Hot Air Mining Company's ditch, a ditch for the Wild Goose Mining Company from Center Creek to the' pumping plant, the Northland Mining Company's ditch from Balto Creek to Berg Creek on Snake River, a five-mile section of Flambeau-Hastings' Ditch, seven mild, of ditch for the Midnight Sun Ditch Company in the Solomon region, and eight mile of ditch for the Solomon River Hydraulic Mining Co. The equipment necessary for him to do all this work made him the owner of many teams and much apparatus for ditch building. But the contracts he has assumed this year have compelled him to increase this equipment so that he is now in a position to undertake any kind of work in the line of ditch building. He has now the largest equipment for ditch building in Northwestern Alaska, and will be the largest employer of men in the Nome country in 1905. His contracts for ditch construction this year amount to $300,000, and include contracts for the Seward Ditch and Cedric Ditch.

In the past he has been no less prominently identified with the freight and transfer business of Northwestern Alaska. In 1901, on May 24, when the steamer Jeanie arrived at Nome and dropped her anchor at the edge of the ice two miles from the town, the transfer men of Nome were asked to take the contract of hauling the freight with teams over the ice from the vessel to Nome. At this time the ice was not regarded as entirely safe, but Mr. Morris being satisfied of his ability to successfully accomplish the task without accident, agreed to deliver the steamer Jeanie's 1 ,000 tons of freight to the consignees in Nome at the price of lighterage, which was five dollars the ton. He accomplished this undertaking without a mishap, although it was necessary to bridge several cracks in the ice with timbers, and when the ice parted from the shore a few days later the first fissure was at a place where he had made a bridge.

The wonderful development of his business and the success he has attained at Nome have been due to the fact that he is an industrious man and the possessor of excellent business qualities. With calm and unerring judgment he has been able to take advantage of every point that has come his way, and the success he has achieved is illustrative of what may be accomplished by men who apply themselves to work with a singleness of purpose.

Mr. Morris is a native of Pomeroy, Washington. He was born September 2, 1876. When he was a small boy the family moved to Oregon and subsequently went to California. His early education was obtained in the public schools of San Francisco. In 1889 his family moved to Port Townsend, Washington, where his mother still resides. Mr. Morris attended the Port Townsend schools, worked a year at the printers' trade, was engaged in the dairy business and took a commercial course in the Acme Business College. These briefly told events cover a period of nine years of his life. In 1898 he went to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and was employed as accountant by the Mount Sicker and British Columbia Development Company. Later he became local manager of the Lenora Quartz Mine, one of the company's properties, and held this position until the spring of 1900.

Mr. Morris is a young man, and what he has accomplished has been the result of his single-handed and unaided endeavors. He is wide-awake, progressive, industrious, reliable and honorable. His work has contributed in no small degree to the development of the mineral resources of Seward Peninsula.  

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




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