Fort Adams, Alaska, May 1, 1894.
Vol. 1, No. 2.
FIRST DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN THE YUKON VALLEY.
In the spring of '83, four miners, namely Chas. McConky, Dick Poplin, Geo. Marx
and Ben. Beach, outfitted in Juneau to prospect the interior. Crossing the
divide in the early spring, they reached the lakes which constitute the head
waters of the Yukon River, while they were yet frozen, and remained thee
building their boats preparatory to going down the river as soon as the
opportunity availed. The boats built and the ice having disappeared, they
continued their journey on the unknown waters of the Yukon; having crossed the
long chain of lakes but one without adventure, their increasing tranquility was
suddenly destroyed by a sharp turn in the river revealing to them the rushing
waters of the Canyon,, and a few miles farther the famous White Horse Rapids met
their view, where more than one miner has since lost his life in the attempt to
run them. After making a portage at these places they continued cautiously down
the river momentarily expecting to meet with some danger.
Upon arriving at the mouth of Stuart River and being favorably impressed that
their fortunes lay in that direction, they proceeded to stem this stream in the
hopes of finding things more favorable, as they had seen nothing that they had
considered diggings up to that time. They had traveled about four miles up this
river when they came to a bar that carried gold of a fine order, and then
continued up the river, finding many bars which afterwards worked to the
satisfaction of the owners. B.
Miller Creek, a branch of Sixty Mile, is today the main-stay of the country. It
was in the spring of 1892, that Miller first prospected and worked on the
stream. Last season the creek was fairly opened and proved to be the richest
thing yet struck in the valley. No less than fourteen men took out from one
thousand to twelve thousand dollars a piece. Trombley, King & Co., or the four
French boys, as they are better known, took out thirty thousand dollars,
clearing for each man about five thousand dollars; but the richest thing struck
was twelve thousand dollars, by Louis Lavoy, out of which he cleared eight
thousand five hundred, as reported. This is the largest stake ever taken out by
any man in the country. X.
FORTY MILE CREEK.
A SHORT SKETCH BY AN OLD PIONEER.
In 1885, Forty Mile Creek was known only to the Indians, who gave it thee name
of hittondeg (The Creek of Leaves). No one who has not seen the creek can form
any conception of the beauty of the wild scenery of this mountain stream -- the
rocky cliffs, the precipitous heights, the landslides, snow-capped peaks, all
tend to excit the poetic imagination. In 1886, this sleeping beauty was roused
to activity by the discovery of gold. The Caucasian in his untiring search for
gold heeded not the quiet beauty of this stream, but hewed her timber for house,
fuel and gold mining purposes. The outside world must admire the recklessness of
these men who first penetrated the frozen north and proved to civilization that
even in the arctic region of the United States Territory gold lay dormant for
centuries and even epochs.
A short sketch of the bars, gulches and branches, beginning from its mouth may
be of interest.
The first place of importance is Sour Dough Island and vicinity, so named from
the fact tht the first man seen working there, was found in the act of making
sour dough, to be used in lieu of baking powder. For several seasons the
vicinity was worked with considerable profit, while a mile below Pete LeDuke
constructed a water wheel in 1887, for sluicing; a miles above this there were
some small diggings.
About two miles about Four Dough Island is the Canyon which is of considerable
importance, owing to the fact that several men have lost their lives in
attempting to run it; in one season no less than three lives were lost, and
several boats were swamped, thereby causing a loss of their contents;
experience, however, has taught the miners that by making a short portage, in
going up, all danger can be averted; while in coming down, the more cautious
will drop their boats by means of a long line.
The bar above the Canyon is O'Hara Bar, a mile below Sam Patch's; considerable
work was done here and a good deal of money taken out.
Boundary Bar has richly remunerated those who have worked it, and it is now
under operation by Sam Patch, who has built a reservoir here to bring water on
his high-bar diggings. The old man has considerable faith in his ground and
maintains that he has a rich thing of it for years to come; the clime appears to
agree with him and it seems as if he will be spared many seasons to guard Uncle
Sam's border on the creek.
Two miles above Boundary Bar is Harlie Gravelle's Bar, which has proved rich
diggings, although now worked out.
Small diggings were found about a mile and a half above, called Moose Creek
There was mining on an extensive scale about half a mile above Moose Creek
Riffle Bar, where a wheel and large flume were in operation.
A mile farther up is Cleghorn Riffle Bar, where there were small diggings.
Discovery Bar comes next; here the first gold on the creek was found in 18886.
In 1887 a good deal of work was done on the bar, a wheel was constructed, also a
long flume carrying water from a neighboring gulch; much dust was taken out. The
place seems to have a desolate appearance at present.
The Little Green Isle, the home of an Irishman, is considered rich, but as there
are no means of bringing water on to it, it remains merely good rocker diggings.
Opposite Canyon Creek is French Joe's Bar. Howard Hamilton, by means of a wheel,
took out considerable money in '88. Since, French Joe has brought water to bear
on the bar by means of a flume, and worked it out.
Preparations are being made to work Canyon Creek on a large scale. Recently a
large tunnel was completed which cuts off a bend in the creek, through which the
stream will be turned.
McCullough Bar, above Canyon Creek has had much work expended with but little
profit; a large flume and ditch two miles long, carrying water from Canyon
Creek, was constructed , but a couple of land slides destroyed it in 1889, and
since has been abandoned. Owing to the amount of stripping it will hardly pay
with the roccker.
The next is Duff Bar which has been considered good rocker diggings.
Three miles above Canyon Creek is the famous Bonanza Bar, which has been the
richest bar on the creek. A large wing dam was constructed here which gave an
opportunity of working the bed of the creek with great profit; the bar is still
being worked and winter diggings here prove profitable.
Opposite is Nugget Gulch which is still under operation.
Above is the Old Frenchman's Bar which is principally winter diggings.
The next bar is that of Hayes and Woods. It has been worked by means of a water
wheel, a ditch and flume, carrying water from Steele Creek. There has been much
money taken out, but it is now deserted.
Five miles above Bonanza Bar is Maiden's Bar which has been good rocker
Montana Bar proved rich, but was worked out in one season.
Ranch Bar comes next; there was water brought to bear on it, but it failed to
Boss's Bar never amounted to much, although much labor was expended on it.
Harry Carter's Bar comes next. Harry worked two summers bringing water on it and
finally abandoned it.
Long Bar is merely grub-stake diggings.
From South Fork to Troublesome Point there are a few small bars now being worked
Troublesome Point, one of the best bars in the region, is still being worked
with considerable profit to the owners who have a flume three-quarters of a mile
long, bringing water to bear on their field of labor.
Franklin Gulch was the main-stay of the creek for several seasons, and is now,
although not so extensively, still worked to advantage. The largest season's
profit was four thousand dollars, and the largest nugget found in the country
was discovered here by F. Lawson, in July, 1891; the nugget was valued at two
hundred and fourteen dollars.
Davis Creek, on Walker's Fork at one time, produced great excitement, claims
selling as high as six thousand dollars; but it never proved to be much, and at
present a grub-stake is about as much as a man can expect.
These few sketches will give some idea of what one may expect to find in this
region of the Yukon. Miners and prospectors desiring to enter the country should
come to battle with many hardships. It is a hard country to get through and any
may coming here to prospect must be one who is able to stand hard knocks. It is
unlike other countries, where a man can put his grub, blankets and tools on the
back of a mule and be away on a prospecting trip five or six months, here he has
to put the above named articles on his own back and travel over the mountain to
do his prospecting.
Alaska is a vast territory, and unlike most of all other gold countries where
rich gulches have been discovered, with no other sign of gold near them, here it
is different; go on any gulch, creek, or river, and where-ever you find a gravel
wash, a pan of dirt will show more or less colors.
It is the opinion of old miners that Alaska in the near future will be one of
the richest mining countries that was ever known. Let us hope that their
prediction will be realized. -- Al. Mayo.
Two Indians from Rampart hose, who visited us on the fifteenth day of March,
reported the death of several Indians as well as the peculiar death of a miner,
on the river above Fort Yukon, the news having reached them by way of the Fort
Yukon Indians. They gave it that the man approaching a hole in the ice, a large
serpent took hold of him and drew him under the water, after which he failed to
reappear. If we deduct the imaginary appendix to the report, we are led to
believe that a miner in the neighborhood of Birch Creek camp, lost his life by
venturing on weak ice, in the early part of the past winter.
We learn with pleasure that Peter McDonald has succeeded in bringing into the
country, by way of Chilcoot Pass, a team of horses. Considering the many
obstacles, he certainly showed a remarkable degree of enterprise. The next time
Mr. McDonald goes out, e suggest he bring in a couple of Jerseys and a bull, as
we are sure that they will thrive in the salubrious climate of the upper Yukon.
A year ago last summer, Mr. Cornell arrived in the country on the new steamer,
Portus B. Weare. Mr. Cornell, we learn, has come with a complete assay outfit,
with a view of quartz prospecting. He has had considerable experience in mining
and is determined to find out the source of the gold that has enriched so many
bars in this section.
G. C. Bettles and wife visited Fort Adams last December. Having been one of the
Chicago's former typos, Mr. Bettles rendered us valuable service in getting out
our first issue of the Yukon Press; after which he returned to his quarters on
the Keokuk. We were pleased to receive word that both he and his wife arrived
safe at their destination.
The large herd of Siberian reindeer placed at Port Clarence, preparatory to is
distribution in the interior of Alaska, passed a reasonable fair winter at the
above named station, but a few of them dying -- and they from injuries received
by the shipment.
The deer seems to thrive on most anything, though white moss seems to be their
A native youth, Moses Coofoi, from Fort Adams, is passing his second winter at
Port Clarence with a view of being trained in the herding of deer. Through a
letter received from Supt. Bruce, we expected to see a small herd of deer with
our young herder appear in this region sometime in the winter months, but
through some misfortune our hopes have not been realized.
Mr. McQuesten raised a good crop of potatoes, excellent in size and quality. He
has been experimenting for three years with some success previously, but last
year the success was complete. The first crop was inferior in quality, the
second better, and the third all that could be wished. -- Governor's Report,
The following vegetables and cereals are reported to have succeeded very well at
the mission on Pelly River:
Turnips, potatoes, radishes, peas, lettuce, beets, wheat, oats and barley.
Carrots and onions were also raised, but not with as much success.
It hardly pays to plant potatoes before the river breaks. We would suggest from
experience that the best time to plant is as soon as the river is clear of ice.
If the seed has been permitted to sprout a little in the cellar, so much the
better. Have the ground turned over in the fall, and spaded and raked over early
in the spring when ready to plant, place the seed on the surface three feet
apart, then imbed the seed sufficiently to allow an inch of dirt to cover it; as
the sprouts appear begin to cover over so as to form hills, and keep the place
well weeded. If the above directions are closely followed on a good piece of
ground, the result will be as fine a crop of potatoes as can be raised anywhere.
We would like to hear of some experiments in cereals. For this we would suggest
a rich, well drained soil. A hillside protected from the north-east wind and the
sunrise, will probably best answer for experimenting.
The N. A.T. & T. Co.'s steamer Portus B. Weare, wintered on Pelly River, where,
we learn, Manager Healy proposes to start a post. With Mr. Healy's business
tact, combined with hi long experience in trading among the Indians, we have no
doubt of the success of the new company.
We have heard several complains from people coming down the river that they have
been unable to locate Fort Yukon. Last fall no less than three parties came down
that intended stopping there for provisions. The fact that one of the
individuals was anxious to settle a bill ought to be sufficient inducement for
Mr. Beaumont to erect a large guide-post at the point of the island, in order to
avoid a repetition of the same nature.
A. MAYO & CO.,
DEALERS IN FURS
OF ALL KINDS.
Mr. Mayo is now located at Tanana Station, where he would be pleased to see his
old friends. Owing to an experience of twenty years in the handling of Furs, we
are prepared to pay the
We carry a large stock of
DRY GOODS AND CLOTHING,
BOOTS and SHOES, HATS, CAPS, etc.
Terms Strictly Cash.
WEATHER REPORT AAT FORT ADAMS.
Oct. 32.1 inches
Nov. 6.2 inches
Dec. 12.4 inches
Jan. 1.5 inches
Feb. 4.9 inches
March 7.5 inches
Oct., high 38; low -17; mean 22.
Nov., high 20; low -38; mean -6.
Dec., high 14; low -61; mean -27.
Jan., high 31; low -70; mean -27.1.
Feb., high 24; low -72; mean -20.9.
Mch., high 40; low -57; mean -6.5.
Agricultural experiment stations ought to be established at several points in
the territory. -- Governor's Report, 1892.
What agricultural possibilities the Yukon possesses is not yet known nor will be
for many years to come, unless the United States Government will take the matter
in hand. Notwithstanding the great success of beets, turnips, radishes, lettuce
and peas, not one vegetable in the dry region of the Yukon has had a fair trial
of experiment. Cabbage did so well at Forty Mile and Fort Addams without proper
attention that we can assume that vegetable a success. Carrots, onions, and many
other roots have been tried with uncertain success. When we say tried, we mean
the seed was sown in spaded ground in the spring and left to fight for existence
amid weeds until the early fall, at which time, when the season nears the frost,
a little attention would be given it. Under these conditions to assume that
these roots are failures is, to say the least, ridiculous. Cold beds have been
used by a few, but such a thing as a hot-bed has never been tried, possibly from
confounding the former with the latter. With the exception of the blackberry,
all the cultivated berries of the Eastern garden will be found growing wild
That the ground is frozen is no argument that the country may not have an
agricultural future before it. Let us take a section of flat frozen land with
drainage, and observe the various steps through which nature has adapted it. At
first we see a forest of spruce, the ground of which is covered with moss. Cut
or burn the trees down and immediately willows, raspberry, gooseberry,
blueberry, red and black currant, and other, unknown, berry shrubs will spring
up struggling with each other for existence. Clear the ground of these and what
is the result? - the most beautiful field of lofty red top and timothy; and
this, we think partially answers the question as to whether barley, rye and
wheat will thrive. What has already been witnessed in the valley is more than
sufficient encouragement to open an agriculture experiment station on the Yukon
[Two religious articles published in the paper, are not printed here as there
are no names except for the author's names. They are:
Rest in God by J. N. Grou
The Incarnation by Rev. R. S. Barrett ]
A LIST OF MISSIONARIES AND TRADERS ON THE RIVER.
Pelly River, R. T. H. and Mrs. Canham.
Forty Mile, Rt. Rev. Bishop and Mrs. Bompas, and lady teacher.
Porcupine River, Rev. Mr. Totty.
Fort Adams, Rev. J. L. Prevost.
Nulato, Rev. F. Judge, one priest and one brother.
Anvik, Rev. J. W. Chapman.
Kosoreffsky, Rev. F. Tosi, five priests, four brothers and eleven sisters.
Ikogmut, Rev. Z. Belkoff and two teachers.
St. Michaels, Rev. F. Orloff.
Unalaklik, Rev. A. E. Karlson, one lady assistant and one brother.
Golovin Bay, Mr. Johnson, one lady assistant and one brother.
Yukon Delta, two priests and two brothers.
Salmon River, George Carmack.
Pelly River, A. Harper.
Sixty Mile, J. Ladue.
Forty Mile, L. N. McQuesten & Co., N.A.T. & T. Co.
Porcupine River, T. H. Beaumont.
Fort Yukon, T. H. Beaumont.
Tanana Station, Al. Mayo & Co.
Arctic City, Keokuk, G. C. Bettles & Co.
Nowikakat, H. Kokerine.
Nulatto, G. C. Bettles & Co.
Anvik, D. Belkoff.
Andreieffski [sic], A. C. Co.
Kotolik, A. Komkoff.
St. Michaels, A. C. Co., H. Neuman, Agent. N. A.T. & T. Co., Capt. Healy,
Steamboats on the River.
Portus B. Weare, N. A. T. & T. Co.
Arctic, A. C. Co.
Yukon, A. C. Co.
Cora, G. C. Bettles
New Racket, A. Harper
St. Michael, Roman Catholic Mission
Explorer, Russian Mission
TRADER and dealer in furs.
It will be greatly to the advantage of those having furs to submit them to our
inspection before disposing of them elsewhere. I carry a large stock of TRADING
GOODS, that for variety and quality cannot be excelled.
T. H. BEAUMONT,
On account of my rapidly increasing business, I have recently erected a large
and commodious building, which I have stocked with TRADING GOODS OF MY OWN
SELECTION. Highest prices paid for furs.
THE YUKON INDIANS.
AN INTERESTING ARTICLE BY AN EARLY SETTLER.
Tanana Station, March 12, 1894.
Dear sir. -- Being in full sympathy with you and your undertaking, and knowing
the difficulties under which you are laboring, and feeling a desire to help you
if possible, I have ventured to write a little article and offer it for your
Remembering Maurice Johnson's saying, "Paint and putty hide a multitude of
sins," I thought you might counter-hew and pass your jointer over it and make it
presentable to the public. If that cannot be done, you have your waste basket
handy, which is a receptacle, I am told by your printer's devil, for all such
trash emanating from men who aspire to fame by writing.
Sincerely yours, A. M.
Very little was known of the aborigines of the Yukon Valley before the purchase
The Russian fur company had two trading stations in the country, one at St.
Michaels, and the other about six hundred miles up the Yukon River, at a place
called by the Indians Nulatto, (place of dog salmon,) from which point they made
annual trips as far up as the mouth of the Tanana River, for the purpose of
trading with the natives of that region. It was wholly to the advantage of the
company to let as little as possible be known of the interior, as by so doing
they were not so likely to have other people coming into Alaska, seeking their
fortune in furs, which would take away some of the large profits which they
gained in the vast fur trade which they had at tht time.
The Indians at the time of the purchase of Alaska were a wild lot of savages,
who had not the remotest idea of Christianity, and were guided wholly by the
"shaman," or medicine man, whose word was law, and whatever he said or did was
taken as a fact by them and not to be disputed.
From the delta of the Yukon to the Tanana, the customs of the Indians were the
same, and one description will suffice for the different tribes living in the
above named portion of the valley.
From the middle of June to the middle of August, they were engaged in catching
and drying salmon and other fish for their .... [article cut off; continues on
After their fishing and fall hunting seasons were over, and the long cold winter
came on, they went into their "barabaras," or underground houses, where they
remained during the coldest part of the winter, visiting, feasting and dancing.
About the first of February, their provisions having given out, they went to the
mountains in search of game for food, and from that time on, while the trapping
season lasted, they made their largest catch of furs. From the Tanana, up the
Yukon, the Indians lived a little different, though their pursuits were about
the same; they lived altogether in deer skin lodges in the winter, the
underground houses not being used by them at all. At that time a tent, pants,
shirt, hat or any civilized clothing was a rare thing among them.
Since the Alaska Commercial Company established trading stations along the
river, there is a vast change noticed among the natives; now, in the summer
time, they live in good drill tents, and since the missions have been
established they have given up their underground houses, and have built good
comfortable cabins that have stoves, and dress better, and are cleaner and far
healthier than formerly.
Much praise is due the Rev. Mr. Chapman for what he has accomplished in his
missionary labors at Anvik.
St. James' Mission is prospering and doing good work among the natives. The
missionaries are progressing slowly, owing to the many difficulties which they
meet and have to overcome, the greatest of which is the miserable "shaman;" but,
under the influence and teaching of the missionary, that evil will probably, in
the course of a few years, have entirely disappeared.
G. C. BETTLES & CO.,
Arctic City, Alaska.
Begs leave to inform the miners on the Keokuk, that he carries a well-assorted
and carefully selected stock of MINERS' GOODS,
"From a Pickaxe to a Candle."
All Goods, Groceries, and Provisions Warranted
STRICTLY FIRST CLASS.
THE ALASKA COMMERCIAL CO.,
St. Michaels, Alaska.
Beg leave to inform the traders and miners, that they will continue to supply
them with a well assorted stock of
The past reputation of the Company is sufficient evidence of their ability to
continue to supply their patrons on the Yukon with the best the market affords.
THE HIGHEST PRICES PAID FOR FURS AND GOLD DUST.
N.B. The Company's Steamers will continue to carry passengers and freight to all
points on the Yukon River at reasonable terms.
HENRY NEUMANN, Agt.
L. N. McQUESTEN & CO.,
Forty mile Creek.
MINER'S SUPPLIES, and TRADING GOODS.
We have established a reputation among the Miners for fair dealing which we are
bound to sustain. We are thoroughly conversant with the wants of the Miners
owing to our long business experience among them.
A large and well-assorted stock of CLOTHING, HATS, BOOTS, SHOES, ETC.,
constantly on hand.
Highest prices paid for furs and gold dust.
Miners operating on the Lewis or Hootalinka rivers, will find it to their
advantage to obtain their outfits at this establishment. We carry a large stock
of GROCERIES AND PROVISIONS, CLOTHING, BOOTS, SHOES, ETC. ETC.
All our goods are of First-class quality, carefully selected, which we will sell
or trade on reasonable termss.
Highest prices paid for furs.