Return to Home 
Research Center Directory 




Fort Adams, Alaska, May 1, 1894.
Vol. 1, No. 2.

Page 1.


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.




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


Page 2.

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 Riffle Bar.

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 diggings.

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 pay.

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 by rockers.

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.


Page 3.


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 favorite food.

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, 1892.

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.,

Tanana Station.



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




Terms Strictly Cash.


Page 4.



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 here.

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 River.


[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 ]


Page 6.



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, Manager.


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.





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.


Page 7.



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 paper.

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 of Alaska.

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 next line]

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.




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



Page 8.


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.


N.B. The Company's Steamers will continue to carry passengers and freight to all points on the Yukon River at reasonable terms.




Forty mile Creek.

(Dealers in)


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.






ęCopyright 2015 Alaska Trails to the Past All Rights Reserved
For more information contact the Webmistress