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G. W. Price

G. W. PRICE is one of the pioneers of the Nome country and one of the organizers -- of the Nome Mining District. In 1898 he was a member of the C. D. Lane expedition to the Kotzebue Sound country. When this expedition disembarked on the shores of Kotzebue Sound, Mr. Price ascended the Kobuk River and spent the summer in prospecting, but failed to find anything that was encouraging. Late in the season after the members of his party had gone into winter quarters, he boarded a small schooner for St. Michael. He had been told by Missionary Brevig that gold had been found on Ophir Creek in the Golovin Bay country and he intended to get in this region and if possible do some prospecting. Mr. Lane had returned to the states and Mr. Price in going to the other part of Alaska acted upon his own judgment, being prompted by the story told him by the missionary.

When he arrived at St. Michael he met P. H. Anderson who had recently come into the country to take charge of the Swedish Mission on Golovin Bay. Anderson and others told him of the gold discovery on Fish River and he at once made arrangements with Mr. Anderson for passage on a schooner from St. Michael to Golovin Bay. During this trip Mr. Anderson told him of Lindeberg, Lindblom and Brynteson's prospecting trip to Anvil Creek, and said that these prospectors were not miners and in case they found anything he would like to have Mr. Price return with them. Three days after his arrival at Golovin Bay the prospectors returned and reported the strike that they had made. They had about $35 in gold dust as evidence of the genuineness of their discovery. A return trip was immediately arranged and with Dr. Kittilsen, John Tornensis and the three discoverers of the Anvil Creek diggings, Mr. Price started in a small schooner for the new Eldorado. October 12 was the date they left Golovin Bay, and they arrived at the mouth of Snake River October 15.

After organizing the district and locating claims they devoted a few days to rocking on Anvil Creek and Snow Gulch and succeeded in taking out of the ground about $ 1 ,800 in gold dust. By November 3 the weather became so cold that they could not do any more mining. The party concluded to return to Golovin Bay and let the people know what had been accomplished. The news traveled like wild fire, and all through the winter stampeders with dog teams made their way to Nome. About January 12, 1899, it became necessary, on account of the number of prospectors at Nome and the locations that had been made, to keep the records at that place and Dr. Kittilsen, who had been selected as recorder of the district, appointed Mr. Price deputy recorder. Mr. Price thereupon returned to Nome and built the first cabin in the town. This log cabin is shown in the engraving in this volume made from the first photograph of Nome. He acted as deputy recorder until March, 1899, when he returned to Golovin Bay for the purpose of getting his supplies to Nome for the opening of his claim in the spring.

After the discovery Mr. Price wrote a letter to C. D. Lane telling him of the strike. Mr. Price says that it was one of the greatest pleasures of his life to be able to write this letter and a letter which conveyed the glad tidings to his wife. He wrote Mr. Lane that one claim that he had staked, No. 8 above, on Anvil Creek, would produce $100,000 the next season, and he underestimated the output. It was this letter that impelled Mr. Lane to organize the Wild Goose Mining and Trading Company, which is now the biggest mining corporation in Northwestern Alaska.

Mr. Price was born in Sonora, California, August 24, 1 869. He is a son of a miner, prospector and pioneer of that state, and acquired a knowledge of mining by inheritance, as well as by experience beginning in his boyhood days. He was educated in the public schools of California. When eighteen years old he began work in the famous Utica Mine at Angels, Cal., and continued in the employment of the company owning this property until he started for Alaska as heretofore related. Mr. C. D. Lane is one of the owners of the Utica Mine. This property has produced more than $17,000,000, and Mr. Price has been connected with its development and exploitation in nearly every capacity from miner to foreman and manager.

Mr. Price mined some of the most valuable property in the Nome country during the season of 1899 and 1900. He was working No. 8 Anvil Creek the summer of 1900, when Receiver McKenzie woke him up at midnight to inform him that by an order of the court, he, McKenzie, has been placed in possession of the property. The following season he disposed of his interest to the Wild Goose Mining and Trading Company and returned to his native state, investing in a stock ranch property in the county where he was born. Mr. Price is a type of the West. He is a good natured but an aggressive man, liberal in his judgment of human motive, generous and public spirited. By privations, hardships and faithful work in the Northland he has honestly and fully earned all the good fortune that has come to him.

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




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