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The golden North; a vast country of inexhaustible gold fields, and a land of illimitable cereal and stock… Tuttle, Charles R. (Charles Richard), 1848- 1897

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A Vast Country of Inexhaustible Gold
Fields, and a Land of Illimitable
Cereal and Stock Raising
Author "Canadian North Land," Meteorological Observer of
Canadian Government Expeditions to Hudson's Bay
and Strait, and the Far Northwest.
Rand, McNally & Co., Publishers,
The f ush after the rich deposits of virgin gold in the
far northwest will be doubly rewarded. Those who go
in seach of the precious metal, with proper equipment,
will not return empty handed. Experiments already
made warrant the statement that gold may be found
there in great abundance, and that it may be separated
from the baser material with which it is associated, at
slight cost, although of course, only be enduring the
hardships incident to a miner's life in a frozen country.
To those willing, and physically able to make the
necessary sacrifices, the Golden North offers a Golden
But it offers more than this. Hard by the vast auriferous slopes which hang down from the summit of the
watershed that divides the two great river systems of
the north, are vast alluvial plains stretching up to the
65th parallel, where stock raising, dairying and the
cultivation of cereals may be carried on without limit
and with great profit.
When the northwest routes to the gold fields have
been opened for travel as they will be in a short time,
returning gold hunters will not only exhibit the fortunes taken from the banks of creek and gulch of the
higher elevations, but they will tell of the mighty valleys and prairies of the basins of the Peace, Athabasca
and Mackenzie rivers; and, their telling will result in
the colonization and development of the greatest ag- ii PREFACE.
ricultural and stock raising El Dorado on the face of
the earth.
The north is a country of gold. It will become a land
of golden harvests. For centuries Nature has been
pushing back the cold, farther and farther towards the
pole, and been preparing a new land for the overcrowded populations of these lower latitudes. The
Klondike bells are now ringing out the glory of that
land. The march of the weary, the disappointed,; and
the oppressed is to be into higher latitudes, where the
bounties of Providence have been spread with a lavish
Chicago, Sept. 15, 1897. CONTENTS.
Northwesterly trend of progress—Gradual advance of soil,
forests, cereals, population, commerce and civilization
towards the Arctic—Extent of the gold-bearing districts
of the great North—History repeating itself—Prospects
of the Golden North.
Its mighty river systems and basins—Basin of the Yukon
—The wonderful Peace River country—Fertile plains
and prairies extending up to the 64th parellel—The
great plains of the Sasl^atchewan basin—The Churchill
country and the basins of James' and Ungava Bay.
Trails across the continent in the sub-Arctic belt—Many
that have been traveled for two centuries—Short cut to
the gold fields of the Klondike from Edmonton via Lake
Athabaska and the Upper Mackenzie—The quicker and
cheaper route—List of North Land trading stations—
Hints on map study. ^0
From Bering Sea to the junction of the Pelly and Lewis
rivers—Cereal, vegetable and stock capabilities—The
forests and climate—Value of the white spruce.
(iii) IV
Auriferous areas lying west of the Mackenzie watershed-
Territory is duplicated in extent and gold bearing
riches on the slopes east of the summit—Three great
routes to the Klondike—Reasons why the all-overland
route will become most favored.
Illllll (Continued.)
Pioneers of the Klondike country—Administration of mining laws, tariff regulations and homestead entry rules
extended to the district by the Canadian government-
Explorations of Dr. Dawson and Surveyor Ogilvie—Increase of mining camps.
A mountainous and volcanic country—Broad meadows and
sloping hillsides—Stock raising and cereal capabilities—
Altitude limit of vegetation.
Channels, natural canals, rivers and lakes—The water highways of the country—Great timber resources of Southern
Alaska—Wild berries abundant—Pest of mosquitoes and
flies—Stock and agriculture.
From Lake Bennett to the head of the Lewis—Down the
Lewis to the Yukon—A country of lakes and rivers—
The Klondike region proper—Its extent—Rich gold discoveries eastward from the Klondike—Dr. Dawson's
opinion of the Klondike—Surveyor Ogilvie's explorations. CONTENTS. V
The North Country from the International boundary to the
junction of the Lewis and Pelly—The Stewart River-
Other streams—Sixty Mile River—The Klondike River
and tributary creeks—Forty Mile River.
Only a small proportion of the region available for cereal
and vegetable crops—Considerable areas of timber suitable for manufacturing purposes—An abundance of trees
for firewood and for all mining necessities.
Inexhaustible, deposits of placer and quartz gold—The silver-bearing rock—Vast coal fields—Reports of government officials that read like tales of the Arabian Nights
—Sensational reports of Surveyor Ogilvie.
Methods of the prospector—Use of the pan, the rocker and
the sluice—Mining in the far north—Continuous daylight in summer and almost perpetual darkness in winter—Filling the hours of summer with hard work—
"Burning" in winter—Vast Peace River gold discoveries.
The silver gray, black and red fox—Abundance of game—
The Caribou, moose and the grizzly, brown, black and
silver-tip bears—Salmon and other fish.
iaiisi CONTENTS.
Verified reports of rich gold discoveries and the arrival of
the precious metal in this country likely *o send a vast
population from the United States to the Klondike
regions—Might possibly lead to a war between England^
and this country—The feeling in London—Chicago and
London competitors—Routes for railroad communication—Settlement of the boundary question.
A boundless territory of inexhaustible bread, meat and
dairy capabilities—Coal and other resources—How the
lower levels are sheltered from storms and cold.
Districts of Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Atha-
baska—The vast fertile plains to the north of these—
Greatest agricultural and stock raising region on earth.
Excellent climate—Abundance of coal—Gold in inexhaust-
ible quantities—Iron, copper, galena, mercury, platinum, plumbago, mica, salt and many other valuable
deposits—Progress of the mines.
Trip from Port Simpson on the Pacific to the summit of
Pine River Pass—Wonderfiri mountain- and valley scenery—Resources of the mighty valleys. CONTENTS. Vll
A transcontinental route from Atlantic'to Pacific through
Hudson's Bay and Strait—Across the rich, fertile prairies, through the Pine River Pass—Vast areas of rich
Description of the immediate Klondike country—Life at
Dawson City—Boom in real estate—Trading and the
high price of supplies—Saloons and gambling—The
future of Dawson City.
Description of trail by the Lewis and Peace rivers—Short
and cheap cut to the Klondike—Route by the Pelly and
Liard rivers.
Description of St. Michaels—Temperature and ice—Season
of navigation on the Yukon—"Fort Get There"—The
Dyea and Skaguay passes.
Alaskan boundary controversy and correspondence between the United States and Dominion 6f Canada-
Population of Alaska—Increase owing to gold discoveries.
Sitka and Juneau—St. Michaels and the trading posts of the
Aleutian Islands—Douglas City and the great Treadwell
gold mine—Trade and traffic. CHAPTER   XXVI.
Account of the fur sealing grounds and their great value—
The annual catch—Pelagic sealing—History of the
great controversy—Solution of all difficulties practically accomplished.
Extent of the Alaskan fisheries—Statistics of the salmon
catch—Product of oil, bone and ivory—Cod and herring
Transportation facilities—Exports and imports—Territorial
government—The civil list of Alaska.
Mountains of pure mica—The salmon fisheries of Ungava—
The Eskimos and their language—Extracts from prayer
and hymn books—On to Churchill.
Its length, width and islands—Height of its tides, and velocity of its tidal currents—Talks with Eskimos.
Scenes and impressions of Marble Island—Visit to the Rose
Welcome—The "crow's nest" and Lookout-man—Harpooning a whale—An exciting contest—A "flurry." CONTENTS. IX
Rev. Mr. Lofthouse—A curious courtship by photograph and
letter—An intended bride starts from the old country
for Hudson's Bay to become the wife of a missionary—
The porpoise fishery.
Buildings at the trading post—The Churchill and the school
—An interesting murder trial.
Character and value of these animals—The porpoise fisheries—The Walrus hunt—Peculiarities of Narwhal—
Probabilities of a seal breeding ground in Hudson's
Straits-Great possibilities of the oil industry.
The silver, blue, gray, red and white foxes—The ermine—
The marten—The otter—The varying hare*—The lynx
—The wolf—The sable, musk ox, etc.—The fur trade.
Romance of the marriage of an Eskimo Princess—Habits of
life—The Kayak.
Wonders of the new north—Product of natural laws for the
last one thousand years—Specific work of glaziers—New
areas for many millions—Probable gold and other
products—Hard times to disappear as dew before an
advancing sun. X CONTENTS.
Interesting article by Director Preston of the United States
Minister of the Interior of the Canadian Government—Head
Official in charge of the New El Dorado.
Detailed description of the Northwest Route, via the Peace,
Liard and Pelly rivers from Edmonton to the Yukon.
I.—Routes and distances.
II.—Facts about gold.
III.—Canadian and Alaskan mining laws and regulations.
IV.—Canadian land regulations.
V.—Cost'of supplies and outfits. THE GOLDEN NORTH.
Northwesterly trend of progress—Gradual advance of soil,
forests, cereals, population, commerce and civilization
towards the Arctic—Extent of the gold-bearing districts
of the great North—History repeating itself—Prospects
of the Golden North.
The gold deposits of tlje Klondike are probably unequalled in any part of the world either as to their
extent or the significance of their discovery. It is evident to those acquainted with the character and geological formation" of that region, including the whole
country traversed by the gulches and creeks flowing
into the upper waters of the Yifkon and the Mackenzie,
that still richer strikes will be made in the near future,
and that the gold fever of 1897 will be eclipsed by that
of 1898.
Beyond doubt the efforts of the prospector will be
richly rewarded in both placer and quartz diggings
throughout nearly the whole country between the 55th
and 65th parallels and the 125th and 145th degrees, an
auriferous area of nearly 600,000 square miles, and
sufficient to profitably engage 250,000 miners. This
does not include the gold fields of southern Alaska,
nor the extensive yellow metal deposits in the greater
part of British Columbia, but it does cover the Kootenai discoveries.
This vast gold bearing tract consists of the watershed or great summit-divide between the main upper
tributaries of the Yukon and the Mackenzie rivers, the
ssss ^^^^^^^^^§1
lower depressions of which are from 1,500 to 3,000 feet
above sea level. It is well timbered and is subject to a
snow fall of from two to five feet according to altitude,
the higher elevations receiving the heaviest snow, mantle during the winter season, which extends from the
middle of September or first of October to the latter
part of April, or between seven and eight months,
leaving but a little more than four months of summer
and autumn. There is no spring season^ properly
speaking, in that country. These four months, however, contain in the aggregate, as many hours of sunshine as six summer months in the latitude of Chicago- '■      • 1 mm
The country is rugged, traversed everywhere by
deep gulches and mountain streams, the formations
almost invariably indicating the presence of gold deposits in both gravel and quartz. Those best acquainted with thg region expect that far richer strikes
will be made considerably east of the Klondike and
on both sides of the summit dividing the two great
river systems.
These gold discoveries which are now engrossing
the attention of the people everywhere are significant.
They will undoubtedly mark a new epoch in the progress and development of this continent. Thousands
upon thousands will push northward after gold. Transportation facilities will have to be provided so that supplies will be cheaper and more abundant, and the cost,
in time and money, of reaching the country be greatly
reduced. In this way the vast extent and wonderful
resources of the whole north country will become generally known, and hundreds of thousands will rush
into it, not only to dig gold, but to produce bread
and meat from the broad fertile plains, valleys and
prairies, to exchange for it.
It is difficult for one who has traveled extensively in
this great golden north land to write in what those ignorant of its character will concede to be conservative
terms.   The natural history surveyors of the United GOLD AND COLONIZATION. 7
States and Canada, who are best acquainted with the
capabilities of the north, persist in making their reports in what those who have never visited the3 country
characterize as extravagant terms. BpSli
It is left for the Hudson's Bay Company's trading
post officials to speak disparagingly of the land. They
have practiced in that line of policy for more than three
generations, under instructions from London, in order
that the company might be left to enjoy a monopoly
of the fur trade. But all others who have seen the wonderful north, talk of its resources in words of irrepressible enthusiasm. It is impossible for them to do
Gold discoveries have led to the settlement and development of many countries. The great cereal and
fruit resources of California would probably have remained unknown for one or two generations longer
than they did, had it not beefi that the discovery of rich
deposits of the yellow metal attracted an army of prospectors thither in 1849.
In the Golden North the early history of California
is repeating itself on more than one line. Thousands
will become wealthy in the diggings of the Klondike
and the creek and gulch regions of the upper Yukon
and the Mackenzie, but many hundreds of thousands
will find happy homes of peace and plenty in the vast
agricultural and stock raising valleys, and on the fertile plains and prairies of the wonderful north land, as
a result of information concerning the resources of that
country which the gold hunters are sure to disseminate.
Without this agency the resources of the north would
probably remain a sealed book for an indefinite period.
Indeed the thoughtful reader will ask, what means
this wild clanging of the Klondike bells? Is it the yellow dust that is being washed from bars and banks of
river and gulch?
Yes, that and more.
It is the voice of the mighty north calling to the
over-crowded and depressed centers of population in <^&&&
the United States to march into higher latitudes and
there to take possession of boundless riches.
May it not be the ringing up the dawn of an area of
prosperity that shall banish economic heresies in this |
country, and ultimately change the political map of a
The voice of the Klondike may be regarded as the
class bell of the World's University calling the people to the study of a new problem and of a new country. The nation's" schoolmaster has opened the textbook of the north, and the struggling, discontented
masses are to lay aside their threadbare delusions of
silver restoration, the social democracy, and the cooperative commonwealth. They are now to repudiate
false teachers, turn their backs upon false gods, and
realize the saving truth that the earth possesses
"enough  for  each,  enough  for all,  enough forever
more*" ®jl
People will come to their right senses. They will
cease to contend for the bone that has already been
gnawed bare, and will flock into new pastures, rich not
only in precious metals, but in illimitable possibilities
of bread and meat.
And what a text-book!
From its pages pupils of an older growth than those
who fill our school houses will learn how nature is
gradually extending her mantle of soil and vegetation
over the rocks of the north* towards the shores of the
Arctic Sea. They will read and dream of a receding
pole and a slow but portentous revolution of the earth
from north to south, placing the northern habitable
boundary of the continent about one hundred miles
nearer the axis with each century. Nor are they to be
left to theory as to these phenomena. Hudson's Bay
trading posts from ioo to 200 years standing, stretching from the rugged upper Labrador to Bering Sea, are
to give testimony and to declare that in the brief period
.of their existence, soil and vegetation and forests and GOLD AND COLONIZATION. 9
cereal growth have come to them from the south and
have grown up around them on the once barren rocks.
From that wonderful text-book of the north, they
are to realize that altitude far more than latitude governs thermal conditions of the Arctic zone, and that
while the rocks, mountains, hills, and gulches abound
in practically inexhaustible deposits of gold and other
mineral treasures, the valleys and plains and broad
prairies of the region await the directing touch of man
to yield cereals and cattle sufficient to glut all the bread
and meat markets of earth. From the pages of that
book they are to be told of the innumerable herds of
sea-faring mammals, including oil and fur-bearing
seals, walruses, porpoises and whales, from the products of which two hemispheres may; be abundantly
supplied with oil, hides, bone and ivory; and they will
hear of the millions of tons of the best salmon caught in
any waters, and of all the many other resources of the
rugged land so well calculated to yield brain and muscle and wealth to all who will go up to inhabit its
mighty basins and treasure-bearing summits.
Before a dozen pages of that wonderful text-book
of the north are gone over and understood, thousands
and hundreds of thousands will"flock to that land
"flowing with milk and honey," hitherto hidden from
immigration and yet hard by our doors. Gold is there
in abundance, but resources of even greater intrinsic
value are there, and these will eventually outweigh the
importance of the gold.
And all this is but another stride in the northwestward progress of man.
The world's march of commerce, and science and skill
In errands of blessing its work to fulfill
Moves in the same course,—northwesterly still.
The directive magnetic force that controls the needle
is not a more attractive problem than is the unerring
northwesterly trend of human progress. Westward
and northward have been the marching orders until
^ ■   l«fc IO
the people of the present generation must look southward and eastward for the homes of their ancestors.
The greatest deeds have always been performed in
high latitude, because the highest habitable latitudes
produce the greatest men. And yet, strange as it may
appear, the north is always underrated.
Go to the Eastern hemisphere for examples of this.
Half a century before Christ, Caesar concluded a series
of great victories in the northwest, by subjugating the
hardy inhabitants of Britain; but this was regarded
by the Romans as placing the Imperial standard on
the utmost confines of the north rather than as a conquest of valuable territory. A few centuries and the
island camping-ground of the Roman Conqueror became mistress of the world. Upon those northern
shores a mighty commerce began to develop, and vast
industrial enterprises grew up, until, in every part of
the earth, England was hailed as the greatest nation
under the sun. But there was no prophet to foretell
England's greatness, nor was there anything in the
general appearance of the country to attract attention.
Its high latitude is one of the secrets of Britain's importance.
History is ever repeating itself, and the political
transformations of the old world may yet, to a great
extent, be re-enacted in the new. Here on this continent the trend of all material progress is northwesterly. The flow of immigration is northwesterly, and
the Creator, as if to make way for its latest advance,
has pushed back, as it were, the cold of the sub-arctic
regions nearer to the pole, and extended the vast fertile belt of the northern temperate zone from the.great
lakes to the head waters of the Mackenzie and the
Its mighty river systems and basins—Basin of the Yukon
—The wonderful Peace River country—Fertile plains
and prairies extending up to the 64th parallel—The
great plains of the Saskatchewan basin—The Churchill
country and the basins of James' and Ungava Bay.
In order to form a correct idea of the extent of the
north country, it will be advisable to briefly glance at
the whole continental plain which stretches north and
south between the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic
Ocean. This plain is bounded on the west by the
Rocky Mountains throughout its whole extent, and
on the east side by a less elevated plateau known as
the Appalachian Range. This great plain occupies
the whole of the continent between the western and
eastern mountain ranges, and in the far north it broadens, stretching from the western shores of Hudson's
Bay and James* Bay to the head waters of the Mackenzie and the Yukon, where the mountain passes do not
reach an elevation of more than from 1,000 to 2,500
feet. This vast plain is divided by its river system into
three perfectly distinct drainage basins. One drains to
the south into the Gulf of Mexico; another into the Atlantic by the channel of the great river St. Lawrence;
and the third, north into the arctic and sub-arctic
Of these three great basins that of the St. Lawrence
is decidedly the smallest, while the northern is larger
than the other two together. The St. Lawrence basin,
divided by the boundary between the United States
and Canada, occupies part of both countries. The
southern basin is wholly in the United States, while a f
greater portion of the northern basin is in British
Canadian territory.
The north and south basins are separated by the
49th parallel of latitude, which in addition to marking
the international boundary line between central Canada and the United States, runs along very close to what
is known as the watershed. It will thus be seen that
the great continental plain of North America is divided
naturally as well as politically near its center.
Our attention must be confined to the northern
basin, or basins, for the region is physically subdivided by several extensive river systems. Beginning
at the western coast of Alaska, we have first the Yukon
basin, which is over 2,000 miles long, extending up
into the Canadian northwest from the 141st degree
to considerably beyond the 130th, until its upper
waters interlock with those of the upper Mackenzie:
River, on the summit of the northern Rockies. This
vast area of the Yukon, consisting of about 400,000
square' miles, or nearly the whole of Alaska, is a rugged, mountainous, snowbound country, which will be
more fully described later on.
Crossing the mountains through any of the passes
between the 55th and 65th parallels, we come to perhaps the largest and most fertile subdivision of the
great northern basin, known as the Peace River country. This vast area is drained by the Peace and Athabasca rivers and their numerous tributaries, flowing
into Lake Athabasca, which is only 400 feet above the
level of the sea; and by the Peace River and its numerous tributaries stretching far up into the mountains, flowing also into Lake Athabasca; by the Great
Slave River, flowing from Lake Athabasca into Great
Slave Lake at Fort Resolution; and by the Mackenzie
River, the Mountain River and the many branches
which flow into it. This mighty valley, comprising
the largest area of cereal and stock-producing lands in
one body to be found anywhere in the world, has an
elevation above sea level from 400 to 1,500 feet, and
■ '■""■wrwaii rNniYin fcagffggM VASTNESS OF THE NORTH LAND. 13
enjoys a climate equal in all respects to that of Maryland, although of course its winters are longer, and its
summers are shorter as to number of days, but not as
to aggregate number of hours of sunshine.' This almost illimitable territory, rich beyond description in
agricultural, fruij, and meat-producing resources, lies
between the 55th and 64th parallels of latitude and the
105th and 120th degrees of longitude, and comprises
nearly 500,000 square miles. This great plain, prairie,
or park country, is but slightly timbered, although
there are forests of considerable growth all along the
foot-hills of the Rocky Mountains which are everywhere penetrated by the creeks and tributary streams
of the upper Mackenzie, the Peace and the Athabasca
rivers. According to the reports of the natural history surveys of the Canadian Dominion, there are as
rich gold deposits on the eastern slopes of the Rockies
in the quartz formation and river banks and bars of
the upper western branches of the Mackenzie as on the
western slope in the Klondike region.
Passing from the Peace River country southeastward, we come to the higher plain, almost as extensive,
of the north and south branches of the Saskatchewan
and the Battle and Deer rivers, which are located between them, and the Saskatchewan itself, frohi the confluence of the two principal branches to Lake Winnipeg. The Saskatchewan system of rivers, which drain
the basin between Lake Winnipeg and the Rocky
Mountains, aggregate an almost incredible length.
The country has an elevation above sea level of from
900 to 4,000 feetand is quite heavily timbered not only
in the neighborhood of Lake Winnipeg but along the
foot-hills of the Rockies and on the borders of most
of the streams, especially in the more northerly and
westernly districts. This area of cereal and stock-sustaining country lies between the 49th and 55th parallels of latitude and between the 90th and 115th, and
farther to the north, 120th degrees of longitude, and
comprises about 500,000 square miles.    This region is ^jsyTTii ■■in'ft^i^AwiwaPiiiiwf	
already quite well known and is being rapidly settled^
and developed both as to its agricultural and stock-
raising capabilities. It includes the province of Manitoba and the territories of Kewatin, Saskatchewan, As-
siniboia, and Alberta. The territory of Athabasca lies
to the north of Alberta at the threshold of the great
Peace River country, which is yet unsettled, and of
course undeveloped in any way. Our knowledge of
that extensive territory is derived from traveling
through it, and from reports and meteorological data
gathered and given out by Hudson's Bay trading-post
There is a smaller basin, practically within and between the two great districts mentioned, lying to the
north of the latter and to the west of the former. This
is the basin of the Churchill, flowing from Reindeer
Lake to Hudson's Bay. There are a large number of
Hudson's Bay trading posts in this territory, and from
the reports of those in charge of them, we learn that
while a century ago there were no forests bordering
any of the lakes and rivers thereabouts, there is now
well developed tamarac ranging from five to fifteen
inches in diameter extending almost down to Fort
Churchill on the western shores of Hudson's Bay.
The outlet for the drainage of the great Saskatchewan country from Lake Winnipeg to Hudson's Bay is
by way of the Nelson, the Hayes, and the Severn rivers, the first and the last being about 550 miles in
length and the second finding its way into the northern
waters of Lake Winnipeg at Norway House through
a series of smaller lakes to the northwest. This country between Lake Winnipeg and the Hudson's Bay is
all pretty heavily timbered, both the soil and the forests having been largely developed within the last
There is another basin in the north drained by the
rivers flowing into James' Bay, the Albany, the Moose
and the Abittibi being the principal streams, some of
them reaching nearly as far south as Lake Superior.
This section is heavily timbered.
Eastward from the east-main coast of Hudson's Bay
and extending half way across the great peninsula between that inland sea and the Labrador coast is another
vast basin drained by the Whale, Big and East Main
rivers. This basin is all heavily timbered with tama-
rac as far north as the 53d parallel of north latitude,
and is said to contain rich mineral deposits consisting
of gold and copper. There is still another basin farther to the eastward, drained by the Ungava and
Whale rivers, which flow into Ungava Bay at Fort
Chimo. Near the mouth of the Ungava River, in the
Laurentian formation, there are mountains of pure
mica, sufficiently extensive, perhaps, to supply the
whole world with that commodity. The streams flowing into Ungava Bay are filled witlj salmon of the very
finest quality, and for several years back two refrigerator steamers have been plying between these waters
and the English metropolis in the salmon trade. It is
a remarkable fact that with the traps used to catch
these valuable fish, a moderate sized steamship can be
loaded in a single tide. This basin is also heavily timbered. The upper portion of it has been so for many
years back; and the lower portion, extending down to
Fort Chimo, has begun to produce timber within the
last three-quarters of a century.
In addition to the extensive areas mentioned, there
are Southern Alaska and British Columbia. Both possess vast resources in gold, coal, and on agricultural
From these observations the reader must have acquired a pretty good idea of the vast extent of the
north country. We have already given the boundaries
of an area nearly as l#rge as the whole of the United
States, and contained within it are 1,250,000 square
miles of the most fertile and productive park prairie
and plain region to be found anywhere on the face of
the earth.   The elevations of this rich plain range from l6 THE GOLDEN NORTH.
400 to 4,000 feet above sea level, the lowest winter
temperatures prevailing on the highest latitudes, and
the highest temperature readings during the same season are, of course, found in the greatest depressions.
Most of this vast territory is favorably affected by the
Chinook winds which find their way through all the
passes of the Rockies north of the 53d parallel, and
especially into the Peace River country, greatly improving the winter climate. The cold is very great in
the southwestern portions of this plain where the
elevations are from 2,500 to 4,000 feet, and the cattle
on the ranches in that neighborhood have to be well
sheltered during most of the winter. But in the far
north, in the neighborhood of Lake Athabasca, and
still farther north to Fort Simpson on the Mackenzie
River, which is only 750 feet above the level of the sea,
sunshine snow-storms are common and the snow melts
almost as fast as it falls. In this region cattle may
roam at large, winter and summer, without shelter of
any kind. The hay cures on the stem and the pasturage is better in December, January and February than
during, any other months of the year. But of the climate and resources of this vast north country, we
shall speak more in detail hereafter. TRADING POSTS OF THE NORTH.
Trails across the continent in the sub-Arctic belt—Many
that have been traveled for a hundred and fifty years—
Short cut to the gold fields of the Klondike from Edmonton via Lake Athabaska and the Upper Mackenzie—
The quicker and cheaper route—Lis of Northern trading stations—Hints on map study.
It is already well understood by the reader that the
object of this volume is to provide an accurate account
of the vast extent of territory and rich resources of the
Golden North. The foregoing chapters shed some
light upon the vast area and physical features of the
country. It may now be observed that there is an important sense in which this whole North Land has
been settled, though not to any extent developed, during a peridd reaching back to the middle, and beyond
it, of the eighteenth century. There is a chain of trading posts belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company
extending from the Atlantic to the eastern borders of
Alaska, and covering the whole belt of territory lying
between the 55th parallel and the Arctic Circle; and
in Alaska, covering the whole of that territory, there
are similar trading posts under the control of American companies.
For more than one hundred and fifty years these
trading stations have been supplied from three points,
namely: Fort Garry, near the mouth of the Red River,
York Factory, and Fort Churchill on the western
shores of Hudson's Bay. Supplies for the trading
posts in Alaska have for many years been distributed
from St. Michaels by way of the Yukon and from Sitka
for those in the Southern Alaskan district. From the
points named the products of the northern region have
2 i8
been shipped to foreign markets. These products
formerly consisted of valuable furs, reindeer tongues,
oil from the marine mammals, ivory from the walrus,
fish, and other commodities. At one time this trade
was carried on very extensively, but of late years it
has dwindled away, in some portions of the north, to
almost nothing. A little over thirty years ago the
Hudson's Bay Company sold its interests in the North
country to the Canadian Government, reserving certain portions of the lands, and it has since that time become quite as much interested in the colonization and
development of the country—in order to realize from
its landed interests—as it is in the fur trade.
The Hudson's Bay Company still maintains about
one hundred and seventy-five trading posts in the belt
mentioned, and it is interesting to note that there are
trails, well known to Indian and Esquimo runners,
and hunters, and to the Hudson's Bay trading post
officials, leading from one to another of these little
marts of trade, throughout the entire region. For instance: One may leave Fort Churchill on the western
shore of Hudson's Bay and travel by way of Reindeer
Lake up the Churchill, across to Lake Athabasca,
thence to Great Slave Lake, down the Mackenzie
River to Fort Simpson, across the country through
one of the passes of the Rockies to the head waters of
the Yukon, and down that river to St. Michaels, over
a route which has been known and traveled more than
a century and a half. Again, one may leave Edmonton, on the north branch of the Saskatchewan River,
at the most northern extension of the Canadian Pacific
Railway, and follow a well known trail across the
height of land, thence to Athabasca River, and across
it to the south shores of Little Slave Lake, thence
northwestward to Landing at the confluence of the
Smoky and Peace rivers, thence by way of the Peace
River, the Pine River pass, and down the Skeena to
Port Simpson on the Pacific coast; or, from the confluence of the Peace and Smoky rivers, northwest- Tfc
ward to the upper Mackenzie and across it through
any of the convenient passes of the lower Rocky Mountain ranges of the far north to the Klondike country,
and in all of these journeys he will follow trails which
have been well known and constantly traveled for more
than a century.
By the way, it is the belief of many who have traveled extensively in the far northwest country, that the
better and less expensive way of reaching the gold
'fields of the upper Yukon and Mackenzie rivers is to
go by rail to Edmonton, and thence along one of the
trails leading overland to any of the mountain passes
which extend across the plateau from the southwest
branches of the Mackenzie to the southeast tributaries of the Yukon, of which the Klondike is one. Certainly this route can be covered in as short a time as
either that by Juneau or the Yukon, while on the other
hand, the expense of transporting supplfes will not be
nearly as great as by any of the Pacific routes.
The Hudson's Bay trading posts of the whole North
country, including the trading stations of Alaska, constitute an important feature of that region. The traveler in any of the overland routes always journeys from
one trading post to another and follows a well defined
trail. He may not always be able to purchase supplies at these statipns in large quantities, but the posts
are generally pretty well stocked, and those in charge
of them are noted for liberality in extending relief and
shelter and assistance to persons going through the
country. Our knowledge of the North is largely due
to the existence of these trading stations, and to the
information carried to them by Indian and Esquimo
hunters and traders.
It will be an interesting and instructive exercise for
the reader to lay before him a reliable map of the North
country and to locate thereon the following list of
Hudson's Bay trading posts, which comprise all, except temporary winter stations, from the Atlantic to
Rampart House, located just above the Arctic circle
near the international boundary line between the Canadian northwest and Alaska:
Fort Chippewayan.
Fort McMurray.
Fond du Lac.
Red River.
Fort Vermillion.
Fort Smith.
Fort Resolution.
Fort Dunvegan.
Fort St: John's.
Hudson's Hope.
Battle River.
Lesser Slave Lake.
Whitefish Lake.
Grand Prairie.
Fort Simpson.
Rampart House.
Lapierre's House.
Whitefish Bay.
White Dog (Lake Winnipeg).
Trout Lake.
Seine River.
North-West Angle.
Norway House.
Nelson River.
Behrens River.
Grand Rapid.
Poplar River.
Oxford House.
Island Lake.
York Factory.
Trout Lake (Keewatin).
Lower Fort Garry.
Fort Alexander.
Indian Settlement.
Portage la Prairie.
Isle a la Crosse.
Portage la Loche.
Green Lake(English River).
Souris River.
Cumberland House.
Moose Lake.
Pelican Narrows.
Lac du Brochets.
Rapid River.
Grand Rapids.
Lac la Biche.
{asper House,
^ac Ste. Anne's.
Battle River.
Peel's River.
Fort Good Hope.
Fort Liard.
Fort Nelson.
Fort Providence.
Fort Rae.
Fort Norman.
Nut Lake.
Manitoba House.
WTaterhen River.
Shoal River.
Duck Bay. ijt
POSTS OF THE NORTH.                21
Rat Portage.
Pine Portage.
Fort Frances.
La Cloche.
Lac Seul.
Whitefish Lake (Huron).
Eagle Lake.
Prince Albert.
Green Lake (Huron).
Carleton House.
South Branch.
Fort Pitt.
Turtle Lake.
Hunter's Lodge.
Fort a la Corne.
Grand Lake.
Frog Lake.
Fort Qu'Appelle.
Trout Lake.
Fort Ellice.
Riding Mountain.
Fort Pelly.
Oak Point.
Moose Factory.
Touchwood Hills.
Egg Lake.
English River.
Marten's Falls.
New Caledonia.
Rupert's House.
Stuart's Lake.
Fraser's Lake.
. Mustassing.
Conolly's Lake.
Fort George.
Fort George.
McLeod's Lake.
Great Whale River.,
Little Whale River.
Fort Trial.
Aquawah River.
Long Portage.
Nepigon House.
Long Lake.
Red Rock.
New Brunswick.
Lake Missanabie.
Sand Lake.
_ I?gtreffg?j£5*ggagfe^
Fort Langley.
Fort Hope.
Fort Yale.
Thompson's River.
Pointe Blin.
Bersamis.   .
Seven Islands.
North-West River.
Davis Inlet.
Fort Chimo.
George's River.
One may obtain a vast deal of information as to the
character and extent of the country from a carefully
prepared map, but in the matter of distances there are
some lessons in mathematical geography with which
the reader should be familiar before beginning his map
.studies. One is always inclined to measure distances
upon a spherical map by the degrees of latitude and
longitude marked thereon. This, however, will prove
a very misleading procedure unless the map student
is sufficiently acquainted with the decrease in the
length of the degrees of longitude on different parallels of latitude. For instance: the length of a degree
of longitude on the equator is 69.16 statute miles,
whereas, a degree of longitude in latitude 42 is 51.47
statute miles. Again, a degree of longitude on the
60th parallel is but 34.67 statute miles, and a degree of
longitude on the 82nd parallel of latitude is but 9.66
statute miles. ' t?t§t
The question of distances is deeply involved in a
study of the great North, and for the benefit of the
reader and student of this volume the following table
of lengths, in common land or statute miles of 5,280
feet each, of ta degree of longitude in the different latitudes north of the equator is here presented:
Deg. of Lat.
Stat. Miles.
 57-35 '
Deg. of Lat.
44. •	
Stat. Miles
50 44-54
52 42.67
54 40.74
56 38.76
58... 36.74
60 34.67
62 32.55
64 ..3040
. 16.78
. 14.42
. 12.05
. 9.66
The above table will be useful to those who attempt
to determine east and west distances on a map from
the meridian lines of longitude. Of course the degrees of latitude are always of the same length no matter on what part of the earth's surface the parallels are
tmmm 24
From Bering Sea to the junction of the Pelly and Lewis
rivers—Cereal, vegetable and stock capabilities—The
forests and climate—Value of the white spruce.
From the foregoing general observations on the
North country, the reader is now prepared to take up
the several physical divisions mentioned and to study
them more carefully as to character, climate, elevations and resources.
First, as to Alaska and that portion of the Canadian
Northwest north of the 6oth parallel and east of the
great watershed dividing the Yukon and Mackenzie
River systems. This interesting stretch of country
comprises about 1,500,000 square miles and is physically divided into three principal districts. These may
be called the Yukon territory, the Aleutian district and
the Sitkan district. The first, which is the more northern territory, is bounded on the south by the Alaskan
Mountains, on the east by the Rocky Mountains and
by the 60th parallel, which is the northern boundary.
of British Columbia; on the north by the Arctic Ocean
and on the west by Bering Sea and Strait.
The Yukon River proper extends through this territory from Bering Sea to the confluence of the Pelly
and Lewis rivers, which is about one hundred and
fifty miles east of the international boundary line, and
about 1,750 miles from its mouth. The Pelly and
Lewis rivers, their many tributaries, and the hundreds
of creeks and gulches which drain the mountain region into these tributary streams, throughout this immense gold-bearing territory, reach out over 500 miles
further to the east from their junction, and cover over
400 miles of territory north and south.
The character of the country of the Yukon district
proper varies from low, rolling and somewhat rocky
hills, usually quite easy of ascent, to broad and sometimes marshy plains, extending for many miles on
either side of the river, especially for about 100 or 200
miles from the coast. There are no roads leading
from the mountains and uplands down to this great
river, and but few well defined trails. In fact, the
river itself and its tributary streams constitute the
highways of the country.
The rocks along the Yukon River and in the whole
Yukon district below the junction of the Pelly and
Lewis rivers, consist for the most part of conglomerate, sienite, quartzite and sandstone. From the confluence of the two last named rivers to the Rockies,
quartzite prevails. This formation and the sands,
gravel and dirt overlaying it, are generally more or
less auriferous, or gold-bearing.
Over a very large extent of this country, except
upon the summits of the higher elevations, the soil is a
rich alluvial, composed of very fine sand, mud and
vegetable matter, brought down by the'river and forming deposits of a considerable depth.
During the winter seasons frost penetrates the soil
to the depth of from two to six feet, and in the majority of situations it does not more than half thaw
out during the summer months. This, however, is due
to the want of sufficient drainage, combined with the
non-conductive covering of moss which prevents the
hot sun of midsummer from warming the surface to
any considerable depth. In locations where the soil
is not covered With this moss, and where the drainage
is good, as in the extensive areas near the mouth of
the river, frost is generally thawed out of the ground
completely during the warm season.
It must not be supposed, however, that a layer of
frozen ground below the surface, say two or three feet
thick, is destructive to cereal or vegetable growth. As
a matter of experience in Manitoba and the Canadian
m *£*
Northwest, east of the Rockies, such has been found
to facilitate the growth and ripening development of
There are along the banks of the Yukon, in the
neighborhood of Escholtz Bay, bluffs or banks of apparently solid ice fronting the water. These continuous banks of ice, strange to say, are covered with a
heavy layer of soil and vegetable matter, where herbs
and shrubs flourish with a luxuriance only equalled in
latitudes more than two thousand miles to the southeast.
The lesson to be learned from these facts is that
heavy and luxuriant vegetation may exist, develop
and ripen above a layer of frozen ground and in the
immediate vicinity of permanent ice. Hence it is
proper to conclude that a large extent of territory in
Alaska, even in this Yukon district, long considered
valueless, will yet furnish not only to the trader and
fisherman, but also to the farmer, an abundant harvest.
The climate of the interior of the Yukon district differs from that of the sea coast, where the temperature
is greatly improved by the vast body of water contained in Bering Sea, and by the many currents from
the south bringing warm water from the Pacific, making the winter climate of an extensive region of the
coast much milder than that of the interior. The summers, however, owing to the quantity of rain and prevailing cloudy weather of the coast, are cooler and less
inviting than those of the interior. Near the coast, the
months of May and June are delightful, being sunny,
warm and clear. As soon as the snow disappears, and
even before it is gone from the summits of the foothills, an immense growth of herbage springs up very
rapidly, and large areas, which a few days before presented nothing but a white sheet of snow, are teeming
with a rapidly developing vegetation, producing
leaves, flowers and fruits in rapid succession.
At St. Michaels, on the coast of Norton Sound, in
latitude 63.28; at the Mission, on the Yukon River,
150 miles from its mouth, in latitude 61.47; at Nulato,
450 miles further up the river, in latitude 64.40; and
at Fort Yukon, 1,200 miles from the mouth of the
river and in latitude 66.34, the mean temperatures for
the four seasons of the year are as follows:
Means for     St.Michaels. Mission. Nulato.Ft.Yukon
Spring 29.3       19.62       29.3        14.22
Summer  53.0       59.32       60.0       59.67
Autumn 26.3       36.05       36.0       17.37
Winter   8.6 0.95   —14.0   —23.80
Year  *... 29.3       26.48       27.8       16.92
It must not be supposed, however, that the agricultural capabilities of Alaska are to be measured by
mean temperatures alone. Much depends upon the
heat of the summer months, the duration of that season and the length of the days of sunshine. At Fort
Yukon the thermometer often rises, at noon, not in
the direct rays of the sun, to 112 degrees above zero,
and in some instances the mercury has beeri known to
rise to 120. It is almost impossible to calculate the
rapid growth of vegetation under these conditions.
In mid-summer. on the upper Yukon, the only relief
from the intense heat, under which the vegetation attains an almost tropical luxuriance, is the brief space
during which the sun hovers just under the northern
The annual rainfall of this district is quite large, but
not excessive, while the snowfall for November to the
end of April will average from three to six feet and
sometimes eight feet, although in the district of the
upper Yukon, or territory drained by the Pelly and
Lewis rivers and their tributaries, the snowfall ranges
from two to three and a half feet. There is very little
snow near the coast, but in this region high winds prevail, while in the interior there is less wind. The
whole country except in the lower valleys is well tim- 28
bered, and towards spring the gullies and brush-wood
are well filled or covered up with snow, and transportation with dogs and sleds is easy and pleasant. The
warm sun at noon melts the surface of the snow, which
freezes at night and forms a hard crust, rendering
snowshoes almost unnecessary. The rainfall is much
greater near the coast than it is in the interior. In the
months of May, June and part of July, it is bright delightful weather at St. Michaels, and all along the
coast, but the remainder of the season, or for four days
in the week, at least, it is rainy, until October, when
the north winds set in, bringing fine weather. The
valley of the lower Yukon is often foggy in the latter
part of the summer, but as one ascends the river the
climate improves, and the short summer at Fort Yukon is always dry, hot, but pleasant withal, being
varied by occasional showers.
The largest and most valuable tree found in the dis-^
trict is the white spruce, which abounds over the whole
country,, but is always largest in the vicinity of running
streams. This tree attains a height of from fifty to one
hundred feet, with a diameter at the butt of from three
to four feet. The most common size, however, is
thirty or forty feet high, with fourteen or eighteen
inches at the butt. This wood is white, clear, close
and straight-grained, easily worked, light and yet very
tough. It is to be greatly preferred over the Oregon
pine. For spars it has no superior. It is very durable and many houses twenty years old, built of this
timber, still contain a majority of sound logs. These
trees decrease in size and grow more sparsely as one
approaches Fort Yukon, but they are still large enough
for many purposes. The northern limit of this tree is
about 66.44 north latitude, and it occupies the same
place in the physical development of the country in
Alaska as does the tamarac on the southern and western basins of Hudson's and James' bays. In the interior of Alaska the white spruce is found often above
the 70th parallel, and as in the north country to the
east of the Rocky Mountains, the forests in the Yukon
district are steadily pushing their advance towards the
shores of the Arctic Ocean. Forests consisting mostly of the spruce are abundant at Fort Yukon in latitude 66.34, and the waters of the Tananah River bring
down the largest logs of this tree in the spring freshets.
The number of these logs annually floated down the
northern Alaskan rivers is almost beyond calculation.
Freshets prevail in the rivers for about three weeks,
and although the period of their duration is short, sufficient is brought down to supply the demand of the
Arctic coast and Bering Sea, as well as the numerous
The tree of next importance in the forests of northern Alaska is the birch, which, however, rarely grows
over eighteen inches in diameter and forty feet in
height. The wood of this tree is hard and tough.
The treeless coasts of the territory, as well as the lowlands of the Yukon, are covered in spring with a most
luxuriant growth of grass and flowers, including the
well known Kentucky bluegrass, which grows luxuriantly as far north as Kotzebue Sound, and, £0 some
extent, at Port Barrow. The wild meadow grass is
also abundant and furnishes good, fattening pasturage
for cattle. The blue-joint grass also abounds, and
sometimes grows four or five feet in height. Its average is three feet.
Grain has never been sown to any extent in the
Yukon territory until within the last few years, in
which tests have been successfully made in barley and
other cereals. Turnips and radishes flourish, and cattle thrive, but require shelter during the long winter
The agricultural capabilities of the Yukon territory,
though not great, are gradually enlarging and improving, and will be utilized to the great advantage of the
inhabitants in the near future.
* Capt. W. H. Doll.
The points and posts of interest on the Yukon from
St. Michaels to Fort Selkirk, at the junction of the
Pelly and Lewis rivers, are: Andreafski, Cogmute,
Koserefski, Hamilton's Lodge, Nulato> Weare, Fort
Auriferous districts lying west of the Mackenzie—Territory is duplicated in extent and gold bearing riches on
the slopes east of the summit—Three great routes to the
Klondike—Reasons why the all-overland route will become most favored.
We now come to consider the most interesting subdivision of the whole north region, the upper Yukon
country-—the El Dorado of our hopes—that vast extent of country stretching away from the confluence
of the Lewis and Pelly rivers to the summit Gf the
watershed of the Mackenzie'River, and west of it to
Circle City.
This is the Klondike.
This is the auriferous land where gold lies hidden in
sand, dirt, gravel and quartz,' in quantities sufficiently
great to enrich half the people of this nation.
It is a vast country too, all more or less gold-bearing, containing at least 240,000 square miles, and yellow metal probably to the extent of billions of dollars
in value.
And let it be stated here and now that this wonderful region to the west of the watershed of the Mackenzie is beyond all question duplicated, both in extent
and gold-bearing value, on the eastern slQpes of the
same watershed in the country of the southwestern
tributaries, creeks and gulches of the upper Mackenzie River. Only a small corner of the Klondike
country has yet been explored. There are hundreds
of river branches, creeks and gulches, in that section
yet without a name, and unknown to the hardy miner-
pioneer. It will no doubt consume the whole of 1898
to complete anything like a perfect exploration of this
territory; and during the coming eighteen months the ssam
reader may be prepared to hear of more wonderful discoveries of gold, in both placer and quartz mines, in j
this region, than have yet been reported. Not only
so, but the mining prospector and the gold hunter will
either cross the watershed of the Mackenzie, and develop the rich gold fields of the more eastern district,
or enter it overland by way of the northwest trails
from Edmonton. The data at hand, including the
writer's own observations in that country, fully justify
the statement that there is just as much gold east of the
watershed as there is west of it. This applies not only
to the far north, but to the more southerly areas in
northern British Columbia south of the 60th parallel.
This statement is supported by the natural history survey reports of the Canadian Government as well as
the information gained by explorers and surveyors
sent out from time to time under the auspices of the
Department of the Interior of the Dominion Government.
The gold-bearing district on the eastern slopes of the
Mackenzie and Yukon watershed contains an area of
250,000 square miles, and like its neighboring district
on the slopes west of the summit, it is not only richly
gold-bearing, but contains inexhaustible deposits of
silver and coal.
It is probably idle at this time to attempt to forecast
the future of this wonderful region, but it may be said
that the paying gold discoveries which have already
been made cannot possibly yield up all their treasure
in a few months and be forgotten, nor give way to
something more interesting in any near future. On
the contrary, one is warranted in the belief that the five
or ten thousand gold hunters now in that territory will
be increased to fifty or one hundred thousand in 1898,
and possibly to two hundred thousand before the close
of the present century.
The vast cereal, vegetable, stock-raising and dairy
possibilties of the alluvial plains which lie on the one
hand in the mighty valleys eastward of the auriferous ;
**s& 34
slopes on this side the great watershed, and on the
Alaskan lowlands to the west, will in a short time be
sufficiently developed to abundantly supply all the gold,
silver and coal diggers that may go into the mining
districts. Hence it will not always be necessary to
transport supplies, at the cost of two or three times
their value, from southeastern markets, to support the
treasure hunters of the north. The time is not far distant when the adjacent fertile plains will produce all
that will be necessary, and the miner will be required
to transport from eastern markets only tools and implements necessary for the proper development of the
The upper Yukon, of which we are speaking, lies
wholly within British territory. In fact it may be divided, for convenience, from the district of the Yukon
proper by the international boundary line, which in
this region lies along the 141st degree of longitude,
from the Arctic Ocean to the northern base of Mt. St.
Between this international boundary line which
crosses the Yukon where Seventy Mile Creek enters
that stream, and at the junction of the Pelly and Lewis
rivers, there are, in this order, from the northwest,
Fort Cudahy, Forty Mile Post, Old Fort Reliance,
Dawson City, and most of the mining camps now in
active operation, including those on the Klondike and
the creeks flowing into it. Fort Selkirk is located at
the junction of the rivers last named, and there the
Yukon ceases as such. This is in longitude 137.30
west in the British Northwest territory. The Pelly
River, starting from this point, reaches far to the westward, taking its rise in the almost innumerable creeks
and gulches in the Rocky Mountains. The Lewis I
River reaches far away to the southeast, taking its rise
northeast of Chilcat Pass,.in a large numoer of long
narrow lakes imbedded in that mountainous region.
The head waters of both of these rivers comprise an
undefinable and only very partially explored region
of creeks and brooks. Hundreds of these are yet without names, having never been visited by, white men,
but that which is known of the district in a general
way, as to its auriferous formation, fully justifies the
statement, on a geological basis, that the whole country thereabouts is about equal, one section with the
other, as to its gold-bearing resources. Dr. Dawson,
chief of the Natural History and Geological Survey of
Canada; William Ogilvie, of the Geographical Survey
of the same country, and many others have made official reports which justify this general statement as to
the resources of the whole region. Dr. Dawson verified the discoveries of coal and silver in that neighborhood, and also far to the south of it.
Both the Pelly and Lewis are large rivers. The latter is the best known, having been used for the past
six years as the highway from Southern Alaska to the
gold diggings of the Yukon in the neighborhood of
the boundary line. Its length from Lake Lindeman,
one of its chief sources, to its junction with the Pelly,
is about 375 miles. As already stated, the river lies
wholly in British territory. This applies to the greater portion of the lakes whkh constitute its source.
Some of these lakes, however,' extend into Southern
Alaska, to a point not far north of Dyea.
The Pelly River takes its rise in and about Dease
Lake, near the head waters of the Stikine River. It
has a length of fully 500 miles before uniting with the
Lewis to form the Yukon. The latter river at the
junction, and for miles below, varies from three-quarters of a mile to a mile in width. For many miles
along the northern bank there is a solid wall of lava.
For convenience we may refer to the whole gold-bearing region west of the Rocky Mountains and down the
Yukon to the international boundary line, and even
beyond it, as the Klondike country.
There are three general routes by which this new El
Dorado may be reached. One is a all-water route by
way of St. Michaels and along the great Yukon River,
ssai 36
the longest and, at present, probably the most expensive journey. This may be called the summer
route, for the river is not navigable during the winter
season. The second route, and that which is now
being most generally traveled, is by Juneau and Dyea,
through the several passes to the Lewis River beyond
the mountains, the principal of these being the Chilcat
and Chilkoot passes. These passes are being rapidly
improved, so that it is possible to make the journey,
though with considerable hardship, during the winter
season. The third route has not yet been traveled to
any extent by gold hunters, but it is predicted that it
will, in a short time, become the most favored highway
by which the gold-bearing regions of the great North
will be reached. It is from Edmonton, in the Canadian Northwest, by way of the Athabasca, Great Slave
Lake and the upper Mackenzie and across the watershed to the head waters of the Pelly or the McMillan,
the latter being a northeasterly branch of the Pelly.
One reason, and an important one, why this is likely
to become a favored route is because of the well-
grounded belief that gold exists in quantities equally
as great east of the watershed, on the upper creeks and
tributaries of the Mackenzie, as on the western slopes,
or in the Klondike region.
Of course the trip is one of difficulties, taxing the
endurance and nerve of the traveler, no matter which
route is taken. Only persons can expect to make the
journey successfully who can endure the work of packing supplies over the precipitous and somewhat pathless mountains, towing boats against strong currents,
and sleeping anywhere night overtakes them, and in
the summer season, fighting the veritable pestilence
of gnats and mosquitoes. However, the climate is
unequaled for health in both summer and winter, provided one enjoys anything like reasonable supplies of
the necessaries of life in that region.
But as to transportation facilities, there will no
doubt be great improvements within the next few
- '
months. Wagon-roads and trails will be constructed
through the coast range mountains. More commodious steamers will be placed on lakes and rivers, passable roads will be constructed over the northwest
route, and the whole vast upper country on both sides
of the Rockies will be made reasonably accessible to
all who desire to enter it. Then thousands will flock
there. The writer of this book, who has traveled extensively over the region and acquired a .considerable
knowledge of its wonderful resources, predicts that in
ten years there will be a population of over 250,000 in
these territories.
—■**— 38
Pioneers of the Klondike country—Administration of mining laws, tariff regulations and homestead entry rules
extended to the district by the Canadian Government—
Explorations of Dr. Dawson and Surveyor Ogilvie—Increase of mining camps.
Continuing our account of the upper Yukon or
Klondike country, the work becomes partly historical
and partly descriptive. We find that the first representatives of civilization to enter the region were the
traders of the Hudson's Bay Company. In the year
1840 a Mr. Campbell was sent out by Sir George Simpson to explore the upper Liard, one of the branches of
the Mackenzie River, and to cross the watershed in
search of any rivers flowing to the westward. After
ascending the river to its head waters, he had no difficulty in crossing one of the many convenient passes of
the Rocky Mountain range to the head waters of the
Pelly River. Thence he descended the Pelly to the
-confluence of the Lewis. From this point he returned,
his men having become discouraged by reports of the
hostile character of the Wood Indians encamped near
there. From these reports he represented that the
lower portion of the river was inhabited by a large
tribe of cannibals. In 1847 Fort Yukon was established at the mouth of the Porcupine River on the
northern banks of the Yukon by A. H. Murray, another
representative of the Hudson's Bay Company. It was
in 1848 that Campbell established Fort Selkirk at the
junction of the Pelly and Lewis rivers. This fort was
plundered and destroyed four years later by the coast
Indians.   At present only its ruins remain.    It was at UPPER YUKON OR KLONDIKE REGION.
one time one of the most important trading posts of
the Hudson's Bay Company west of the Rocky Mountains.
Coming down to more recent dates, it will be remembered that in 1869, two years after Alaska was
acquired by the United States Government, the Hudson's Bay Company's officers and traders were expelled from Fort Yukon by our Government, it having
been determined by astronomical observations that
the post was located within United States territory.
At this time the Hudson's Bay Company's representatives left Fort Yukon, ascended the Porcupine River
to a point which they believed to be within British
jurisdiction, where they established Rampart House;
but as ill-luck would have it, the international boundary line was further determined in 1890, and the new
trading station was found to be twenty miles within
Uncle Sam's domain. Therefore, in 1891, the post
was moved twenty miles farther up the river, where it
was located on British territory.
According to the best information at hand, the next
people to enter the Klondike country were Harper and
McQuestion. They established several trading posts,
most of which they afterwards abandoned; later Mr.
Harper located as a trader at Fort Selkirk, and Mr.
McQuestion entered the employ of the Alaska Commercial Company at Circle City, which is a distributing point for a vast region of territory.
In 1882 quite a number of miners entered the Yukon country by the Taiya Pass, which was then the
best and most traveled route. It is still largely used,
and is said to be shorter than any of the other passes,
though it is by no means the lowest. It will be remembered that in 1883 Lieut. Schwatka went into the
Yukon country through this pass, and descended the
Lewis and Yukon rivers to Bering Sea. In 1887 the
Canadian Government fitted out an expedition, having for its object the exploration of the far northwest
territory of Canada, which is drained by the Pelly and 4Q
Lewis rivers. This expedition was entrusted to Dr.
George M. Dawson, then, as now, the chief director
of the Geological and Natural History Survey of the
Canadian Dominion. His chief assistant in the work
was Dominion Land Surveyor William Ogilvie, from
whose pen the people of this country have had the
most recent official information regarding the gold
fields of the Klondike country. Mr. Ogilvie, who has
long been known in Canada as a Dominion Land Surveyor, now ranks equal with Dr. Dawson himself as an
explorer of the far north country, especially of that
portion of it along the northern Rocky Mountain summit and the slopes on either side of it. Dr. Dawson
devoted the whole of that season to exploring, locating
and defining the lakes and rivers of the upper Yukon
region, and Mr. Ogilvie remained in the country for
two years gathering geological and topographical information concerning the country lying adjacent to
the 141st degree of longitude, which is the international boundary line, and the country east of it.
This expedition found that the whole country as far
as they traveled over it contained valuable gold mines,
and they were surprised at meeting at least 300 miners who were at work digging and washing out the
gold. Mr. Ogilvie, by a series of observations, determined the point at which the Yukon River is crossed
by the international boundary line, and also that at
which Forty Mile Creek is crossed by the same; and
this survey proved that the place which had then been
selected as a convenient point for the distribution of
supplies for the various mining camps, namely, Fort
Cudahy, which is situated where Forty Mile Creek
enters the Yukon, was in British Canadian territory.
Even at that date it was discovered that the greater
proportion of the mines being worked was on the
British side. Since that date the best paying mines
have been discovered still further to the east, and it is
evident, from the official and other reports at hand,
that the further east the prospecting is conducted the
greater the rewards to those engaged in that work. As
before intimated, the reports of Dr. Dawson which
cover a period of more than twenty years, support the
belief that the most productive gold deposits will yet
be found considerably to the east of the Klondike, and
even beyond the summit of the mountains, on the eastern slopes.
The number of persons who had entered the Klondike country to engage in mining had reached over
1,000 up to the year 1895, an^ tne additions to that
number between 1895 and 1896 were considerable.
During the present year there has, of course, been a
very large increase to the mining population.
We learn from Canadian official reports that for
many years subsequent to the retirement of the Hudson's Bay Company from Alaska, the Alaska Commercial Company enjoyed a monopoly of the trade of the
Yukon, carrying into the country and delivering at
various points along the river, without regard to the
international boundary line or to customs laws, such
commodities and supplies as were required for the
prosecution of the fur trade, and later on, of placer
mining. Of course these were the only two industries
known to the country.
It may be noted here that with the discovery of gold
in larger quantities, there followed the organization of
a company to compete with the Alaska Commercial
Company, known as the North American Transportation and Trading Company,, having its headquarters in
Chicago, and its chief trading center at Fort Cudahy,
on the Yukon. This company has now been engaged
in this trade for about five years, and owns and operates lines of steamers plying between Pacific ports and
St Michaels at the mouth of the Yukon, and trading
to Juneau and Dyea in southeastern Alaska. By
means of these steamers the Company transports merchandise to the first mentioned point, trans-shipping it
into river steamers at the mouth of the Yukon to points
inland, notably to Fort Cudahy at the western borders 42
of the Klondike country. This route has been the
principal highway of the carrying trade of the upper
Yukon, but more recently importations of some value
consisting of miners' supplies and their tools have
reached the Klondike district from Juneau by way of
Dyea and the mountain passes to the chain of waterways leading therefrom to the Lewis River, thence to
Cudahy on the Yukon.
Up to within a year past, although civil government
had been fully established by the United States in all
parts of Alaska, no governmental authority of any
kind had been set up in any portion of the Canadian
Northwest between the international boundary line
and the Rocky Mountains north of the 6oth parallel.
As a result importations of considerable value were
taken into the country without the payment of duty,
except that, in 1894, the North American Transportation and Trading Company paid customs charges on
the merchandise which it carried into the country, to
the amount of $3,240. Recently, however, the Canadian Government has extended its administration,
both as to the collecting of customs and the enforcing
of mining regulations and homestead laws in that territory. The officials sent out there to administer these
branches of the Canadian Government are now backed
up by a considerable force of the Canadian Northwest
mounted police. As a result, customs duties are being
collected on. merchandise taken across the international
boundary line, the Canadian mining laws are being enforced, and the door has been opened for the settlement of Canadian lands under the free entry system,
as fast as they can be surveyed into townships and
sections for that purpose. The miners have made
some complaints as to the alleged excessive customs
charges by the Canadian officials, but in the main,
those who have gone into the country, and those contemplating going, will appreciate the value of the fact
that the Canadian Government has taken ample steps
for the enforcement of law, maintenance of order and UPPER YUKON OR KLONDIKE REGION.
the administration of justice in the upper Yukon territory. Without this step the placer mining of gold,
which is now being carried forward on an extensive
scale east of the international boundary, would be attended with great danger and much insecurity. It was
clearly in the interests of humanity, and absolutely
necessary for the security and safety of the lives and
property of the citizens of the United States as well as
of Canadian subjects.
The exploration and surveys made by Dr. Dawson
and Mr. Ogilvie in the upper Yukon region in 1887
and the years immediately following are among the
most important official documents describing the
topography and resources of that country, and form
the basis of nearly everything that has been printed
concerning it since. Mr. Ogilvie returned to the northwest and continued his explorations and surveys, of
which we have printed accounts as late as the latter
part of January of the present year. Some of his letters to the Canadian Minister of the Interior, dated in
the latter part of 1896 and the early portion of the
present year, give almost sensational accounts of gold
discoveries in the Klondike. This fully substantiates
the unofficial reports which have come from the miners
themselves by way of letters to friends in different parts
of this country. ate
A mountainous and volcanic country—Broad meadows and
sloping hillsides capable of cereal and stock-raising
development—A mountainous country—Altitude limit
of vegetation.
Before proceeding to further details concerning the
gold regions of the great north country, let us turn
aside to glance at the interesting features of the other
physical divisions of Alaska. This step leads us to the
Aleutian district, which comprises the Aleutian Islands
and part of the Peninsula of Alaska. Owing to the
presence of trees, the Island of Kadiak and those adjacent belong rather to the Sitkan division.
These islands contain many high mountains, some
of them volcanic, a few still showing activity by emitting smoke and steam. Between them and the sea are
extensive rolling hills and meadows. Much of the soil
is rich, consisting of vegetable mold and dark-colored
clays, with here and there light loam formed of decomposed rocks and rich in tertiary fossils. In many
parts of these meadows the drainage is insufficient, but
may be improved at little cost. In some places the
soil is composed of decayed volcanic products, but
much of this is rich and productive.
From the evidence at hand one is warranted in the
statement that vast areas of this soil will produce
cereals and vegetables. The mercury ranges from zero
to 75 above. The following statistics will show the
range of the thermometer, by means, for four years
within the last decade, although there are readings at,
hand extending as far back as 1830: THE ALEUTIAN DISTRICT—ALASKA.
7 A.M.
1 P.M.
9 P.M.
Ex. Heat.
Ex. Cold.
34 '
The average for the four years is 37 above at 7 A. M.;
40.5 above at 1 P. M.; 36 above at 9 P. M. The average extreme heat for the four years is 77 above, and
the extreme cold for the same period is zero.
The average weather statistics for seven years out of
the last ten is as follows: January, 11 all-clear days;
in half-clear days; 95 all-cloudy days; February, 9 all-
clear days, 86 half-clear days, and 103 all-cloudy days;
March, 3 all-clear days, 112 half-clear days, 102 all-
cloudy days; April, 4 all-clear days, 104 half-clear days,
102 all-cloudy days; May, 2 all-clear days, 105 half-
clear days, and 104 all-cloudy days; June, 6 all-clear
days, 118 half-clear days, 99 all-cloudy days; July, no
all-clear days, 118 half-clear days, and 99 all-cloudy
days; August, 5 all-clear days, 106 half-clear days, 106
all-cloudy days; September, 2 all-clear days, 107 half-
clear days, 100 all-cloudy days; October, 2 all-clear
days, 115 half-clear days, 100 all-cloudy days; November, 3 all-clear days, 88 half-clear days, 119 all-cloudy
days; December, 6 all-clear days, 116 half-clear days,
95 all-cloudy days. The total for the seven years
records 53 all-clear days, 1,263 half-clear days, and
1,235 all-cloudy days.
It will be seen that there is a great proportion of
cloudy and half-cloudy weather in this district. The
average number of rainy days for seven years in this
district is 1.50, but it will be seen that the precipitation
is light, as during that whole period the rainfall measured but 45 inches. This is about the average for the
whole district in question.
There is no timber of any kind on the islands except
shrub, but the grasses in this climate—which is warmer
than that of the Yukon district, and drier than that of 46 THE GOLDEN NORTH.
the Sitkan—attain almost an incredible luxuriance.
For example, Unalaska, in the vicinity of Captain's
Harbor, abounds in fertile meadows, with a climate
better adapted for haying than many districts 2,000
miles southeast of it. Here and in this vicinity cattle
may be raised by the hundreds of thousands, without
trouble or any considerable expense. They become
remarkably fat, and the beef is tender and delicate,
rarely surpassed by any stock-fed beef. The milk is
of excellent quality and dairy products may be easily
made profitable in this quarter.
It may be noted that the best and most available
arable lands lie near the coast, formed by the debris
of the mountains and valleys mingling with the sea
sands, which together form a remarkably rich soil,
excellently adapted for cereal and vegetable culture.
These things, considered together with the extraordinarily favorable climate, warrant the statement
that these broad meadows and sloping, sunny hillsides, will produce good crops under the thrifty hand
of enterprise, while on the rolling meadows stock raising and dairying may be carried on with great profit.
The broad areas are all cleared for the plow, and
cultivation may proceed as on the prairies of any of
the northwestern states. Many of the grasses found on
these meadows are cereal-like, and their nature leads
one to infer that oats and barley will thrive and ripen
in this quarter excellently. The great length of the
days and the many hours of sunshine during the
summer months, as compared with the districts thousands of miles to the southeast, go very far to warrant
the belief that the climate is capable of producing almost all kinds of cereals, though the early heavy frosts
may somewhat interfere with ripening wheat harvests.
From the best information obtainable from Russian
traders, and others, it may be said that potatoes may
be cultivated on almost all the Aleutian Islands," and
upon the rolling meadows and sloping hillsides of the
mainland. At False Pass, or Isanotski Strait, potatoes THE ALEUTIAN DISTRICT—ALASKA.
have been raised and the seed preserved for planting
from year to year. The products of the islands to the
westward of this district are about the same as those of
Unalaska. Turnips grow very large in size, and are
excellent in quality. In this district vegetation ceases
about 2,000 feet above the level of the sea. It is impossible, from the data at hand, to estimate the extent
of the productive areas of the Aleutian territory, but
they are sufficiently great to support a considerable
rtti -, 48
Channels, natural canals, rivers and lakes—The water highways of the country—Great timber resources of Southern Alaska—Wild berries abundant—Pest of mosquitoes and flies—Stock and agriculture.
As we have defined it, from physical features, the
Sitkan district of Alaska includes the mainland and
the islands from the southern boundary of the peninsula, and also Kadiak and the adjacent islands. The
surface of this part of the country is rugged and
mountainous in the extreme. It is only in the northern
portion that one meets with arable lands that are level
and adapted to cultivation. Small patches are found
in the southern portion, here and there, but not extensive enough for any but very small farms. As a
rule the mountains descend precipitously into the sea,
with th^ir steep sides covered with dense and almost
impenetrable forests, and their summits, in many cases,
crowned with eternal snow and ice.
Channels and natural canals constitute the highways of the country, and these are so numerous and
intricate, and penetrate the region so completely, that
they afford means of communication with all sections.
The elevations average about 1,500 feet above these
channels. Here and there a wide, glittering, mammoth
glacier stands out picturesquely in some ravine, contrasting strangely with the dense foliage on either side
of it.
The soil is principally alluvial, with substrata of
gravel and clay. That of Cook's Inlet and Kadiak is
of the same character, but from a mixture of volcanic
sand, and an underlying of limestone stratum, it is
lighter and drier and better adapted for cultivation.
In the southern part of this district there is little
beside timber, from an agricultural point of view. At
Sitka a considerable variety of vegetables do fairly well.
Turnips, beans, peas, carrots, beets, lettuce and radishes flourish. Potatoes are small and do not reach a
healthy maturity. This is owing to the excessive
moisture. Cabbages grow luxuriantly, but do not head
properly. Cereals are not successful to any extent in
this locality. Cattle, however, may be successfully
kept, and the dairy product is excellent. Kadiak and
Cook's Inlet, northeast of Fort Alexander, have, comparatively, colder winters and drier and warmer summers than the islands and coasts to the south. Here
haying can be successfully carried on. The native
grasses are good for fodder, whether cut and cured, or
on the stem. Barley and oats have been successfully
raised in this neighborhood, and the evidence we have
indicates that cereals may be raised with considerable
There is an abundance of wood in this neighborhood, but it is not to be found on the lowlands, which
for the greater part are bare of both brush and trees.
The summer climate in the neighborhood of Cook's
Inlet and Kadiak, unlike that of Sitka, furnishes an
excellent haying season. There are broad valleys from
which an extensive supply of hay, consisting of native
grasses, can be annually secured, and this industry
may be developed to almost any extent. The cattle
existing here are fat and healthy, and the milk is
abundant. The butter is yellow and remarkably rich.
Potatoes do well in this neighborhood—much better
than at Sitka, but do not grow very large. Cattle were
first brought to this district by the Russian-American
Company, and have been maintained there ever since
in a thriving condition. It may be said, therefore, that
the stock-raising capabilities, and the possibilities of
dairy products in Alaska are more than sufficient for
the needs of any population that is likely ever to inhabit the country.    At present,  however, the  great 50
agricultural staple of the southern Sitkan district is
timber. Yellow cedar is the finest tree of these forests,
and the most profitable wood of the Pacific coast. The
next in order is the Sitka spruce, or white pine, which
is well known in the lumber trade of the coast. Like
the yellow cedar, it attains a large size, and is remarkable for its stKaight and beautifully tapering trunk*
This wood is not as durable as yellow cedar, but is
valuable for many purposes. Hemlock also abounds
in many sections. So does the balsam fir, and a considerable variety of less noteworthy trees. In Kadiak
the growth of timber is confined to the eastern valleys
and slopes of the islands, but it is gradually extending
all over its surface, except upon the highest summits.
The largest sized trees seen there are three feet in
diameter and 90 to 100 feet in height. The wooded
districts comprise the whole of the Alexandrian Archipelago, and the mainland of the North Lituya Bay.
From this point to Prince William's Sound the country is fairly well timbered.
And now, speaking of the physical features of
Alaska, as a whole, it is not so large a country in area
as some suppose. It contains, in the aggregate, a little
less than 600,000 square miles, and is pre-eminently a
land of mountains, streams, and lakes. It may be said
that, while the Yukon territory does not present extended agricultural resources, its stock-raising capabilities, provided cattle have good winter shelter, are considerable. Nevertheless the future settlers of that vast
country may have an abundance of milk, butter, fresh
beef and fresh vegetables, if they use the skill and do
the work necessary to produce them. During the sun>
mer months cattle may roam and fatten on the meadows and slopes and hillsides, and ample fodder, consisting of the perennial grasses, may be gathered for
their winter supplies.
In the Aleutian district, of course, the greatest extent of arable land is found. In the northern part of
the Sitkan territory the climate is most favorable for
agriculture and stock-raising. Indeed, the capabilities
of this district and the islands mentioned are much
better than have heretofore been reported. Oats and
barley, wheat and rye, and a very wide range of vegetables will succeed well on these islands. There is
now no doubt of the great stock-raising capabilities of
this section of the country. Sheep, goats and swine
may do well, but of this experiments have not yet furnished us any reliable information.
A great variety of berries abound in unlimited quantities, both in the Yukon and Aleutian territories, and
in the northern Sitkan district. It is believed that fruit
trees may be successfully cultivated in the drier sections of the territory mentioned.
The soil product of the southern Sitkan district consists entirely in timber. No better lumber district can
well be imagined, and it is interlaced everywhere with
means of water transportation. The mountain sides
are so steep that slides for delivering the timber to the
watercourses can easily be made. Once afloat, it is
readily formed into rafts and towed to mill or market,
as may be desired.
One of the most remarkable characteristics of Alaska
is the network of rivers and lakes and channels that
intersect its surface, and that offers a most available
means of transportation. In fact, land travel is almost
impossible in many parts of the territory. Only the
savages travel by land. The whites go by water almost
exclusively, except where they are forced to use convenient passes and portages in making the distances
between the rivers and lakes. In the more northern
regions—between the mountain ranges—are vast areas
of meadows, sloping uplands and bogs, and these are
dotted with thousands of lakes, large and small,
and threaded in all directions by innumerable rivers
and channels.
Beginning at the south the Sitkine is the first stream
of large size. This river has become well known on
account of the gold diggings on its banks, all of which,
«=^ 52
however, are in British territory. It is over 250 miles
in length and is navigable only by small boats, except
during the spring freshets. The north fork, about 40
miles long, rises' on the east of Bald ■ Mountain, near
the headwaters of the Yukon. A small stream called
the Taku flows into a glacier arm of St. Stephen's
Strait. Chilkoot, a much larger river, enters the .northern extremity of Lynn channel, its general direction
being from the north. From its upper waters one
passes through the Chilkoot Pass, and by means of
lakes and rivers and portages, reaches Lewis River,
one of the great tributaries of the Yukon.
The Yukon can be reached from Norton sound by
way of Unalakeik and Antrokakat rivers, or by way
of the Kaltag. The latter is the usual route from St.
Michaels. The Yukon River also connects by way of
the Koynkuk with Kotzebue Sound; and it is now
well known that there are routes of travel between the
north tributaries of the Yukon or the Noatak, and
many of the rivers that empty into the Arctic Ocean.
The Yukon is a mighty river, larger than the Mississippi, and empties about one-third more water into
Bering Sea every hour than does the Father of
Waters into the Gulf of Mexico. The sea is very shallow at the mouth of this river, varying in depth from
two to three fathoms for 50 miles out. It is a mournful, desolate country to the traveler, and as he ascends
the mighty stream there are vast areas on either side
of low, boggy country, covered everywhere with a
mountainous cloak of willows and rank grasses.
Wherever the banks raise to any considerable height
they are being constantly undermined and washed
away by the floods. So precipitate are the landslides
caused in this way, that at times travelers are fortunate
to escape with their lives. This is the general character of the country until Kusilvak is reached, and until
the bluffs at Andriewsky and Chatinakh give evidence
that all the land of Alaska is not under water.
The Yukon impresses one as a vast inland sea with
expansive, water-charged, boggy areas on either side
as far up as 700 or 800 miles above its mouth. There
are many points at which this river extends to a
breadth of 20 miles from shore to shore, even as high
up as 800 miles above St. Michaels. For over 2,000
miles, or up to a considerable distance above the
junction of the Lewis.and the Pelly, the river is navigable for flat-bottomed steamers, of say 500 tons each.
White River, a portion of whose waters flow through
Alaskan territory, empties into the Yukon on the
British side. Forty Mile Creek, and Birch and Beaver
creeks join the river between Fort Yukon and Dawson City. During the summer months the whole population, native and civilized, excepting, of course, the
miners, flock to the many rivers and lakes, attracted
by the myriads of salmon, which they catch, dry and
cure for the winter's stock of food. During this season
the banks of the river are lined with the camps of the
fishermen, who project their basket traps far out into
the eddies of the streams.
One of the natural features of Alaska amounts to a
veritable pestilence. This consists of the clouds of
bloodthirsty mosquitoes, and poisonous black flies.
Swarms of these pests fairly darken the sky, and often
render life miserable to the traveler, who is obliged to
cover his face even in the hottest weather in order to
shield himself from his tormentors. They infest the
country from May to September. They breed in the
vast network of slough and swamp. Perhaps the most
discouraging feature of the whole country is presented
in a truthful report of this almost intolerable infliction.
The way they swarm in rear and front, and on every
side, and the torture they inflict on the explorers, is
beyond all adequate description. The traveler who exposes his face will very soon lose his natural appearance. From their stings and bites the eyelids swell up
and close, and the face becomes one mass of lumps
and fiery pimples.
The glaciers, and other ice phenomena of Alaska, 54
will be considered in connection with the entire glacier
regions of the great north country, and, with these exceptions, we shall now bid adieu to Alaska so far as
its physical features and agricultural and stock-raising
capabilities are concerned, and turn our attention once
more to the Golden North, lying east of the international boundary line. We shall return to Alaska later,
however, to study its seal and other fisheries, its furs
and its gold fields, and to speak of its educational
growth, government, and general industries.
From Lake Bennett to the head of the Lewis—Down the
Lewis to the Yukon—A country of lakes and rivers—
The Klondike region proper—Its extent—Rich gold discoveries eastward from the Klondike—Dr. Dawson's
opinion of the Klondike—Surveyor Oglivie's explorations.
The reader is now invited to leave Alaska behind for
the present, and all together, so far as its physical
features and natural resources are concerned, and to
accompany the writer into that golden northland lying
between the international boundary line and the
sources of the Mackenzie. We have already seen much
of this country, but must now study it at greater length,
not only from the standpoint of its natural features,
but also with a view to the development of its gold and
other mineral resources.
It has already been intimated in this volume that
the gold discoveries of the Klondike are likely to be
eclipsed or many times duplicated by equal or richer
strikes in the vast country to the east of that immediate district, and even beyond the watershed, among
the many creeks and river-branches on the eastern
slopes of the Rockies, and throughout the foothills at
their base. This statement has been several times repeated for the purpose of impressing the reader with
its importance. It has gone out from some quarters
that all the paying sections or claims of the Klondike,
have already been taken up or staked out, and that
there are more miners in the country than there are
paying gold claims to be worked. This is sheer nonsense.
Dr. G. M. Dawson, president of the Geological sec-
2Hhflg£ ssasci
tion of the British Association for the Advancement of
Science, and chief director of the natural history and
geological survey of the Dominion of Canada, who
has traveled more extensively throughout the upper
Yukon and the upper Mackenzie regions than any
other explorer, with the possible exception of William
Ogilvie, gave his opinion of the extent of the gold, and
mineral deposits generally, of the far northwest, a few
days ago at Toronto, Ontario.
Dr. Dawson, although a man of conservative views
on almost all subjects, has become an enthusiast on
the question of the resources of the Golden North.
Speaking of the Klondike country, he said:
"The Klondike has a glorious future, a period to
grow bright with the luster of unlimited gold, white
with the sheen of enormous quantities of silver and
glittering with the brilliancy of hundreds of valuable
mineral deposits."
This is the opinion of an expert; but of course it is
the language of an enthusiast. It is seldom that one
j hears such extravagant words from the tongue of a
geologist of such eminence as Dr. Dawson, but it is
impossible for one who is able to read lessons in natural history from the rocks and the borders of rivers
and lakes, to travel through the north land, comprehending its wonderful resources as he must, without
becoming enthusiastic, and writing and talking in extravagant terms. Here he beholds a country greater
in its capabilities of sustaining a population in high
latitudes than any other, in any part of the earth. And
in addition to this, he is inspired by the presence of
vast deposits of precious metals, and by the existence
of inexhaustible coal areas.
On the occasion referred to Dr. Dawson made the
following interesting and instructive statement:
"Ten years ago I was in the Klondike region as the
head of the Royal Survey of the Dominion. At that
time the gold-producing qualities of the locality were
but little known, and we did not pay especial attention UPPER YUKON—LEWIS RIVER.
to the locality now known as the Klondike. Our survey included the country drained by the Upper Yukon
River, however. We spent one complete summer
there. There was a little bar-mining in the rivers, but
no great strikes had been made, although just after
we left the richness of Forty Mile Creek was found out.
"Speaking on the general characteristics of the
region, I should not hesitate to say it is extremely rich
in gold. It is like other great mining districts in that
the alluvial metal washed down by the streams has
been first discovered and collected. But the mountains
from which these streams rise must also be rich in gold.
There, some day, the great lodes and veins of auriferous quartz will be found and worked, while stamp mills
and plants of machinery will be scattered thickly about
the mountains. But this quartz must yet be discovered.
"The western part of British Columbia in the neighborhood of Alaska is a region of extraordinarily complex and varied geological conditions. Our survey, of
course, merely noted the general features in evidence
there. It would take years of labor to complete the
task down to the details. But all kinds of minerals,
judging from what we saw, are certain to be discovered
there, and, while I am unwilling to predict special
finds of any one metal, I have no doubt but that all the
more common ones will be found in abundance. Already, silver bearing lead ores have been found, and
others are certain to follow. I have no doubt but that
some day the Klondike will be a great silver-mining
"As for the story published in the newspapers of the
discovery of a great petroleum lake surrounded by
hills of coal, it is a joke to a scientific man. I not only
do not think there is any such, but think none will ever
be found. But coal does exist in the Klondike region. I
found it there myself.
"The Yukon is not such a bad country as is imagined
by a great many people, except in winter. The sum-
SSg£ 58
mer climate is good, though it does not last very
The country is pretty and green, and pleasant to work
in. But the winters are long and extremely cold. Altogether, the weather conditions are likely to prove
far from being rigorous enough to prevent the mineral
development of the region.
"The task is a tremendous one. With the extremely
large area to be covered and tfie difficulties in the
way of locomotion and transpprtation, it is going to
require considerable time and great labor to thoroughly develop the region. .But such great finds of
auriferous gold as those recently made, give rise to
the belief that the coming work of development will
be extraordinarily profitable."
In further proof of the rich gold deposits eastward
from the Klondike, and in support of the contention
that the farther the prospector penetrates the foothills
of the western, and even the eastern slopes of the Mackenzie watershed, the richer gold strikes he will meet
with, the following information is submitted, gleaned
from a letter sent out by one of the miners from Dawson City, under date of June 22, 1897.
A summary of this letter is to the effect that "A strike
that is credited with showing fabulously rich dirt has
been made on an unnamed creek 60 miles above Klondike. Forty-seven pounds of gold were taken from the
hole, and there has been a rush of the luckless ones
from Klondike to the new diggings. News of the discovery reached Juneau on August 7 in a letter written
by James O'Brien to W. H. Hindle. O'Brien, in his
brief letter, declares that six of the streams tributary to
the Klondike have proved richer than the most sanguine had predicted, and that the output in the new
field more than redeemed the golden promise of the
Klondike. O'Brien says that the news of the find
above Klondike had only reached Dawson City, but
that he saw one steamer pull out for the new diggings
with 170 men on board."
And so it will be.   Still richer gold fields will be met
with as the mining progresses eastward, until placer
and quartz will be profitably carried on everywhere, on
both sides of the Rockies in that golden northland.
An account of the expedition to the far northwest
in 1887 and the years following, headed by Dr. Dawson and Mr. Ogilvie, has already been given. However, Mr. Ogilvie returned to the country in 1890 and
is still there, continuing his valuable work of survey
and exploration. A description of the region, gleaned
from his reports, will prove of considerable value. Our
attention is first directed to the Lewis River, its affluent streams and the resources of the adjacent country. Starting at the head of Lake Bennett, one may
traverse the whole Lewis River Basin. Above that
point and between it and Lake Lindeman, there is only
about three-quarters of a mile of river which is not
more than fifty or sixty yards wide and two or three
feet deep, and is so swift and rough that navigation is
rendered very difficult and almost impossible. Lake
Lindeman is about five miles long, and a half mile
wide, and is deep enough for all the demands of navigation in that country. Lake Bennett, at the head of
which a saw-mill has been established, and where lumber for boat building is now being sold at $100 per
thousand feet, is over fwenty-six miles long, the upper
portion being very narrow—not more than a half mile
wide. Near the center a vast arm comes in from the
west. This Schwatka mistook for a river and named
it Wheaton River. This arm has its source or head in
a glacier, which lies in the pass at the head of Chilkoot
Inlet. It is surrounded by high mountains. A deep,
wide valley extends northwards from the north end of
Lake Bennett, extending to the canyon a short distance
above it. The waters of the lake empty at the extreme
northeast angle through a channel not more than one
hundred yards wide, and later it expands into what
Schwatka called Lake Nares. This channel has a swift
current and is about seven feet deep. The ice breaks
up in Lake Bennett early in June, frequently by the
j 6o
first of the month. The connecting waters between
Lake Bennett and Tagish Lake constitute what is now
called Cariboo Crossing.
Lake Nares is only two and one-half miles long and
its greatest width is only a mile. It is not deep, but
is navigable for boats drawing a little oyer
five feet of water. It is separated from Lake
Bennett by a shallow sand-point of not more
than 200 yards in length. Strange to say, no streams
of any consequence flow into either of these lakes.
Lake Nares flows through a narrow, curved channel
into Bove Lake, a channel not more than 600 or 700
yards long, but the water in it is sufficiently deep for
boats that can navigate either of the lakes. This Bove
Lake is the Tagish Lake of Dr. Dawson. It is about
a mile wide for the first two miles of its length, where
it is joined by what the miners have properly called
the Windy Arm. Here the lake expands to a width of
about two miles for a distance of some three miles,
when it suddenly narrows to about a half a mile, for a
distance of a little over a mile, after which it widens
again. Ten miles from the head of the lake it is joined
by the Taku Arm from the south, which is of considerable length. Dr. Dawson included Bove Lake and
both of these arms under the name of Tagish Lake.
From the junction with the Taku Arm to the north
end of the lake, the distance is about six miles, the
greater part being over two miles wide. Where the
river leaves the lake it is about 150 yards wide and for
a short distance not more than five or six feet deep.
It soon increases to ten feet or more, and so continues
down to Mud Lake.
Marsh Lake, the next in order, is about nineteen
miles long and two miles wide. The piece of river
connecting Mud Lake with Marsh Lake is about five
miles long and nearly 200 yards wide. Along its banks
are situated a considerable number of Indian houses
showing some pretension and skill in construction.
They are now in ruins. UPPER YUKON—LEWIS RIVER.
The Lewis River, where it leaves Marsh Lake, is
about 200 yards wide, and averages this width as far
as the canyon. It is very deep. From the head of Lake
Bennett to the canyon, the distance is ninety-five miles,
all of which is navigable for boats drawing five feet of
water. Below the canyon proper there is a stretch of
rapids about a mile in length, then about a ,half mile of
smooth water. Following these are the White Horse
Rapids, which are nearly half a mile long and unsafe
for boats. The total fall in the canyon and succeeding
rapids is thirty-two feet. For some distance below the
White Horse Rapids the current is swift and the river
wide, with many gravel bars. But little prospecting
has yet been done on these bars, but they undoubtedly
contain valuable gold deposits.
The reach between these rapids and Lake Labarge,
a distance of some twenty-seven miles, is smooth water
but with a strong current. The average width throughout this distance is about 150 yards. About midway in
this stretch the Tahkeena River joins the Lewis. It
is about half the size of the latter. It runs through a
clayey district. It has its source in a lake of considerable size, and may be navigated up to that point. Lake
Labarge is thirty-one 1 miles long and is of various
widths—from four miles to one. The width of the
Lewis River where it leaves this lake is about the
same as its entrance, namely, 200 yards. After leaving
Lake Labarge, the river for a distance of about five
miles preserves a uniform width and an easy current
of about four miles an hour. It then turns around a
low gravel point and flows in exactly the opposite to
.Its general course, for a mile, when it again resumes
its general direction. The current around this bend is
very swift, reaching several miles an hour. Not far below, the Teslintoo enters the Lewis. This is a very
large stream, wider, though not deeper, than the Lewis
above the junction. There are a considerable number
of Indians located at this junction. The Teslintoo is
about 175 miles long, taking its rise in a lake which 62
has not yet been explored, but which is said to be fully
150 miles long.
Between the Teslintoo and the Big Salmon the distance is thirty-three miles, throughout which the Lewis
preserves a uniform width and current. The Big Salmon is about a hundred yards wide at its mouth, and
about five feet deep. Its valley is wide and affords
some magnificent scenery. The mountains on either
side tower very high and are covered with perpetual
snow. Some of them are 5,000 feet above the valley.
The river is about 190 miles long to its lake sources.
The course of the Lewis River from the Tahkeena to
the Big Salmon is a little east of north. At the
latter point it turns to nearly west, and so continues
for some distance, when its course to the confluence
with the Pelly becomes northeast. Thirty-six miles
below, the Big Salmon, the Little Salmon River enters
the-Lewis. It is about sixty yards wide at its mouth,
but not more than two or three feet deep. Eight miles
below Little *Salmon River a large rock, called the
Eagle's Nest, rises from a gravel slope on the eastward
bank of the river to a height of about 500 feet. Thirty-
two miles below Eagle's Nest rock, Nordenskiold
River enters from the west. It is an unimportant river.
A curious feature of the Lewis River, some distance
below the mouth of the last stream- named, is the Five
Finger Rapids, so called from the fact that five large
masses of rock stand in mid-channel. About two miles
below these rapids the Tatshum River enters from the
east. It is an unimportant stream. The Indians are
generally engaged hereabouts, during the season, in
the salmon catch.' It is 58 miles from the Five Finger
Rapids to the mouth of the Pelly River. In all this
distance no streams of importance enter the Lewis. At
the junction with the Pelly, the Lewis is about half a
mile wide. At this point there are many islands. A
mile below the junction of the Pelly and Lewis, at the
ruins of Fort Selkirk, the Yukon is 565 yards wide.
About two thirds of this width is over ten feet deep, UPPER YUKON—LEWIS RIVER.
with a current of nearly five miles an hour. Pelly River
at its mouth is about 200 yards wide. A complete description of the Pelly River basin is given by Dr.
Dawson in his report entitled "Yukon District and
Northern British Columbia."
The character of the country along the Yukon River,
from the junction of the Lewis and Pelly to the international boundary line at Seventy Mile Creek, has already been partially described. For this distance the
river flows in a generally northwesterly direction. On
the southwest side, in part, but principally on the
northeast side, is the Klondike country proper. The
chief settlements on the river, proceeding from the
boundary, are Fort Cudahy, Forty Mile Post, Dawson
City, near the junction of the Klondike River with the
Yukon, and Sixty Mile Post, at the junction of Sixty
Mile Creek with the river. There are a vast number
of creeks flowing into the Klondike, all of them gold-
bearing. These rivers and creeks, including the Stewart Rivera the Indian River, the Klondike and its
branches, find their sources in the foothills of the
Rocky Mountains north of the Pelly and McMillan
rivers. This stretch of gold-bearing country lies between the 136th and 140th degrees of longitude, and between the parallels of 63.30 and 65 north latitude. In
these latitudes the length of the degrees of longitude
is about thirty-two miles, thus making the Klondike
country proper about 130 miles from east to west, by
a little over a hundred miles from north to south. Only
a very small portion of this territory has yet been
searched by the prospectors; and, of course, the vast
gold-bearing regions, both north and south and principally to the east of this section, have, as yet, been but
partially explored by surveyors.
i 64
The North Country from the International Boundary to the
junction of the Lewis and Pelly—The Stewart River—
Other streams—Sixty Mile River—The Klondike River
and tributary creeks—Forty Mile River.
It will prove useful to one studying the physical
features of the auriferous areas of the Klondike region
to make some further observations on the country
lying between the international boundary line and the
junction of the Lewis and Pelly rivers, before ascending the basin of the latter stream.
It is ninety-six miles from Selkirk to White River.
On this stretch islands are numerous. Some of them
are of considerable size, and the greater part are well
timbered. Bars are numerous, nearly all being composed of gravel. White River enters the main stream
from the west. At its mouth it is about 200 yards wide.
A great portion of it here, however, is filled with constantly shifting sand-bars, the main current being confined to a channel not more than 100 yards in width.
The current is very strong. The valley of this river
runs due west for over eight miles; thence it bears to
the southwest. It is about two miles wide and holds
that width for most of its length.
There is much clay soil along the White River
banks. The stream takes its rise further up than the
source of Forty Mile River, but near the same valley,
and probably in the Mentasia Pass, between which
and the head waters of the Tanana River there are
mountain ranges. The length of this stream is not
yet fully determined.
Between White and Stewart rivers, a distance of ten
miles, the Yukon is a mile wide and is a maze of islands UPPER YUKON AND TRIBUTARIES..
and bars. The main channel is along the westerly
shore. Stewart River enters from the east, from the
center of a wide valley with low hills on both sides
rising in steps or terraces. The river, a little distance
above its mouth, is two hundred yards wide. The current is not- strong. A miner named Alexander McDonald, of New Brunswick, spent a whole summer on
this river and its vicinity, prospecting with good results. He states that about seventy miles up the Stewart a large creek enters from the south, to which he
gave the name of Rose Bud River, and that about forty
miles further up a large stream flows from the northeast. This is no doubt Beaver River. From the head
of this stream one may float down to the mouth, in a
canoe or on a raft, in five days, which indicates that the
stream is over 200 miles in length. It is from sixty to
seventy yards wide and is about four or five feet deep.
The current is not strong. Above this stream the Stewart is considerably over one hundred yards wide, with
an even current, and clear water. Sixty or seventy
miles above the branch mentioned a large river joins
it, though Mr. Ogilvie thinks this may be the main
stream. At the head of it is a lake thirty miles long
and about a mile and a half in width, which has been
called Mayhew Lake. Thirty miles on the other
branch there are falls estimated to be two hundred
feet in height. Overcoming these falls by a portage,
one may proceed to the head of this stream where are
terraced gravel hills which are filled with virgin gold
in paying quantities. Crossing these, the traveler will
find a river flowing to the north. On this, he may embark and float down to some point, no» one yet knows
where, as the stream has not been explored.
Returning to the head waters of the stream in the
gold bearing hills just mentioned, the prospector may
travel westward over a high range of mountains, composed of shales with many thin seams of gold bearing
quartz. On the west side of this range there is a river
flowing out of a large lake.   Crossing this to the head 66
of Beaver River, one may descend to the main stream,
and to the Yukon. It is supposed that the river flowing to the north over the gold hills mentioned, is one
of the branches of the Peel River. It is evident that
light draught steamers can navigate the whole of Stew*-
art River and its principal tributaries.
From Stewart River to the site of Fort Reliance, on
the Yukon, a little over seventy-three miles, the great
river is broad and full of islands. Its average width is
half a mile, but there are many expansions where it is
over a mile in breadth.
. There ar nany islands in these wide stretches of
the Yukon. About twenty miles below the Stewart,
Sixty Mile Creek enters. The banks of this stream
are well stocked with virgin gold, and from the gravel
much of the treasure has already been taken by miners. Sixty Mile Creek is a hundred miles in length,
very crooked, and has a swift current. Miller, Glacier,
Gold, Little Gold, and Bed Rock creeks are all tributaries of Sixty Mile. Very rich discoveries of gold
have been n^ade on these streams, but much of it has
already been mined. There is a claim on Miller Creek,
from which over $100,000 worth of gold has been
taken. Freight for this mining district is taken up
Forty Mile Creek in summer, for a distance of over
thirty miles, and is then portaged across to the head
of Miller and Glacier creeks. In winter it is hauled
in by dogs. The trip from Cudahy to the Post at the
mouth of Sixty Mile River, is made by ascending Forty
Mile Creek a little distance, making a short portage
to Sixty Mile River, and running down with its swift
current. Coming back on the Yukon, nearly the whole
round trip is made down stream.
Indian Creek enters the Yukon from the east about
thirty miles below Sixty Mile River. It is rich in gold
and has already been extensively mined. It was
neglected for some time, owing to the difficulty of getting supplies to the mining camps. At the mouth of
Sixty Mile River a town site has been laid out, called
 ^SBS HH 68
Sixty Mile. It has been the headquarters of many
miners, most of whom, however, have recently moved
further to the east. There is a saw mill and trading
post at the mouth of the river.
Six and a half miles above Fort Reliance, the Klondike River enters the Yukon. It is a small stream—
about forty yards wide at its mouth, and quite shallow. The water, however, is clear and transparent,
and of a beautiful blue color. The stream is filled with
salmon, and from it the Indians reap a rich harvest
of the king of fish every season. This river and its
creek tributaries have been fully explored by prospectors, and upon their banks and bottoms some of
the richest gold claims ever located have been developed. It is all placer mining here. Many fortunes
have been made in the Klondike within the past year,
and as these lines are penned (August, 1897) gold is
being taken from the gravel and dirt of the region,
probably at the rate of $100,000 a day, or more.
Twelve and a half miles below Fort Reliance the
Chandindu River, as it was named by Schwatka, enters from the east. It is thirty to forty yards wide at
the mouth, very shallow, and for half a mile up is one
continuous rapid. Its valley is wide and can be seen
for a long distance looking north-eastward from the
Between Fort Reliance and Forty Mile River the
Yukon assumes its normal appearance, having fewer
islands and being narrower, averaging four to six
hundred yards wide, and the current being more regular.- This stretch is forty-six miles long, but was estimated by the traders at forty, from which the Forty
Mile River took its name.
Forty Mile River joins the Yukon from the west.
Forty Mile townsite is located at its mouth. The
Alaska Commercial Company has a station here. There
are also several blacksmith shops, restaurants, billiard
halls, bakeries, an opera house and so on. Rather
more than half a mile below Forty Mile townsite, the
mi 1 -in iiinti rJUJP   " '^*f UPPER YUKON AND TRIBUTARIES.
town of Cudahy was founded on the north side of
Forty Mile River, in the summer of 1892. It is named
after a well known member of the North American
Transportation and Trading Company. In population
and extent of business the town bears comparison
with its neighbor across the river. The opposition in
trade has been the means of very materially reducing
the cost of supplies and living. The North American
Transportation and Trading Company has erected a
saw-mill and some extensive warehouses. Fort Constantine was established here immediately upon the
arrival of the Mounted Police detachment in the latter
part of July, 1895. tfijjg
Forty Mile River has a general southwest course,
as far up as the international boundary line, a distance
of twenty-three miles. From this point it runs more
from the south. The stream has been ascended for
more than one hundred miles. It is only a short distance from the head of this river across to the Tahana,
a large tributary of the Yukon. Only twenty-three
miles of Forty Mile River are in Canada. The greater
part of in Alaska. It is nearly a hundred and
fifty yards wide at its mouth, and the current is generally strong, with many small rapids. There is a
canyon about eight miles up this stream. At the lower
end of it is a swift current in which are some rocks
that cannot be seen by the descending voyager, owing
to a sudden bend in the river. Several miners have
been drowned in this rapid by their canoes or boats
being dashed to pieces on the rocks. Between Forty
Mile River and the boundary line, no streams of any
size join the Yukon. 70
Only a small proportion of the region available for cereal
and vegetable crops—Considerable areas of timber suitable for manufacturing purposes—An abundance of trees
for firewood and for all mining necessities.
The agricultural capabilities of the upper Yukon
basin are not great. Hence the miners in that region
will be compelled to draw most of their supplies of
bread and meat, vegetables and dairy products from
markets far to the south, until the fertile valleys to
east and west have been cultivated and developed. The
land is not of a very good quality hereabouts, and
the climate is not favorable to the growth of cereals or
The temperature records show an average of 8 degrees of frost for August. The meteorological record for September places the mercury considerably
below freezing point. Along the east side of Lake
Bennett, opposite the Chilkoot, there are quite extensive flats of dry, gravelly soil, where farming can be
carried on to a limited extent. On the west side,
around the mouth of Wheaton River, there is a very
extensive flat of sand and gravel, covered with pine
and spruce of a small growth. The vegetation is poor
and sparse. At the lower end of the lake there is ari-
other extensive flat of sandy soil, thinly covered with
small poplars and pines.
There are great tracts of low, marshy land on the
westerly shore of Tagish Lake, which will, no doubt,
prove very productive. The same may be said of the
western borders of Marsh Lake, which district is pretty
well covered with native grasses.   Along the head of
the river below Marsh Lake, there are extensive flats
on both sides. There the soil is good, and the growth
of forest trees and under brush is healthy and well developed.   In that region agriculture will thrive.
As we approach the canyon the banks become higher,
and the bottom lands less extensive. Here the soil is
light and sandy on both sides. Between the canyon
and Lake Labarge there is not much land of value.
At the head of the lake there is an extensive flat, pretty
well covered with timber that is much larger and better than any met with above this point. Poplars eight
and ten inches thick, are common, and there is a considerable quantity of spruce from fifteen to sixteen
inches in diameter. The soil, however, is not very
good, and vegetation is sparse. Some distance down
the lake the soil and vegetation show great improvement. On the lower end of the lake there is a large
plain well suited to agricultural pursuits. Northward
from the end of the lake, Ogilvie Valley stretches out
to a vast extent. Here the soil is good and the timber
of large size. About forty miles above the mouth of
the Pelly there are extensive flats on both sides of
the Lewis River. The soil is poor and sandy, with
small open timber consisting of spruce and popular.
For many miles up the Pelly and down the Yukon,
from the junction, there is an extensive plateau, two
or three hundred feet above the river. On this, the soil
is good for pasturage only.   It is very lightly timbered.
Between Pelly and White rivers, there is an extensive flat of many thousand acres. It is quite heavily
timbered, and as the surface is covered with a heavy
layer of moss, the frost never leaves the ground. At
Stewart River there is another large flat to which the
same remarks will apply. Thence to Fort Reliance
there are no flats of any size. Above the river, in most
of this region, there are extensive wooded slopes,
which, when cleared, will no doubt be quite well
adapted to cereal and vegetable productions.
At Fort Reliance there is a flat of about 2,000 acres, THE GOLDEN NORTH.
and at the mouth of Forty Mile River there is another,
but not as large. All the rivers of this part of the
country are cleared of ice from the 25th of May to
the 1st of June. The extent of tillable lands in the
upper Yukon region bears a very small proportion to
the areas which are practically worthless for agricultural purposes, but the timber is sufficient in quantity
and quality for the necessities of a mining country.
Probably not more than 250,000 acres or 1,000 farms
of workable lands could be located in that part of the
country. This is exclusive of the available lands at the
junction of the Pelly and Lewis rivers, where the tract
is sufficiently large to lay out about 2,000 farms.
The amount of timber in the district suitable for
building and manufacturing is considerable; for fire
wood, and use in the mines, there is an abundance.
There is a great deal of excellent timber on the islands
in the Yukon. On these the soil is warmer and richer,
the sun's rays striking the surface for a much longer
time, and more directly, than on the banks.
At the confluence with the Pelly, on the east side of
the river,"there is a grove of spruce from which some
very nice lumber could be made, and on the islands
below this point, much of the same class of timber
exists. Near White and Stewart rivers there is a good
deal of nice clean timber, but it is small. There is
more good timber on Stewart River, in proportion to
the ground wooded, than on the main river. Between
Stewart River and the boundary there is not so much
surface covered with large trees as on many of the
flats above it, the valley being generally narrower,
and the sides steeper, than higher up the river. This,
of course, precludes the growth of timber.
The whole country stretching from the international
boundary line to the summit of the Rockies, including the basins of the upper Yukon, the Pelly and Lewis
rivers, and the regions between them and to the north
of the Pelly, is timbered in about the same manner.
In some localities the trees are workable for building m
purposes; but the greater part of the forests is available only for fire wood, mining purposes, log houses,
and the like. However, there is an abundance of it
for these requirements.
•ffcggj 74
Inexhaustible deposits of placer and quartz gold—The silver-bearing rock—Vast coal fields—Reports of government officials that read like tales of the Arabian Nights
—Sensational reports of Explorer Ogilvie.
Probably no stretch of country of equal area on the
earth is so rich in the precious metals, and minerals
generally, including coal, as that of the upper Yukon
and the basins of the Pelly and Lewis rivers. Only a
small part of this vast region has yet been explored,
but it has been sufficiently gone over by natural history and mining experts to demonstrate that the whole
district is of the same auriferous and mineral bearing
character. While some river-beds and banks are richer
than otherf, there is scarcely a square mile of this great
territory that cannot be profitably worked for some
precious metal or other valuable mineral deposit.
Most of the region is rich in virgin gold. Silver
predominates in some of the districts, and there is an
abundance of good coal. Silver frequently abounds in
the immediate neighborhood of rich placer-gold deposits. This is true of Forty Mile River. About two
miles from its mouth, where there are extensive exposures of white and gray limestone, many seams and
pockets of galena have been discovered. One of these
seams has been traced and found to be of vast extent.
Specimens assayed show nearly forty ounces of silver
to the ton. The silver mines here, as elsewhere in
that country, are known to be very rich. Specimens
recently assayed show as high as two hundred ounces
to the ton. All of these specimens were found by accident. A closer examination of the silver deposits
will, no doubt, reveal more valuable seams.   Dr. Daw- WEALTH OF THE KLONDIKE. 75
son declares* that almost fabulous silver deposits exist
in that country.
Aside from the rich placer-gold deposits, which have
yielded sd much Wealth during the past year, equally
rich quartz gold strikes have been made; but as the
region is still inaccessible for quartz mining machin*
ery no development has yet been made on this line.
Both gold and silver-bearing quartz has been discovered neat Sixty Mile River. A specimen Of gold-bearing quartz, found near White River* assayed the
enormous value of $20,000 to the torn This specimen
was taken from a seam nearly 2,000 feet above the
Yukon water-level. There is also an extensive ledge
of gold-bearing quartz on the west side of the Yukon,
not far above Stewart River. There is also an extensive
exposure of gold-bearing rock not far from Lake Ben*
nett. Specimens of this have assayed $9.00 ©I gold and
$1.00 of silver to the ton. Mr. Ogilvie says,-however,
that this rOck=area is near Lake Tagish.
So faf as explofations have been made upon which
a reasonable estimate can be based, there are 4>o°0
miles of stream in the upper Yukon district upon
which placer-gold can be profitably worked. The unexplored regions will probably add 5,000 miles to this
river and creek extent. Mr. Ogilvie, writing of his
explorations in 1887, says:
"About eighteen miles below the TeslintoOj I saw
the first place that had been worked for gold. Here a
hut had been erected, and there were indications that
a party had wintered there. Between it and Big Salmon River six other locations were met with. One
of them named Cassiar Bar, was worked in the season
Of 1886, by a party Of fOUr, who took out $6,000 in
thirty days. Tney were working there when I passed
in 1887, but stated that all they could get that season
was about $10 per day.
"Two of this party subsequently went down to Forty
Mile River, where I met one of them. Me was a
Swede, and had been gold-mining for upwards of gpgggfr
twenty-five years in California and British Columbia.
He gave me his opinion on the district in these words:
T never saw a country where there was so much gold,
and so evenly distributed; no place is very rich, but no
place is very poor; every man can make a "grub stake"
(that is enough to feed and clothe him for a year),
which is more than I can say of the other places I have
been in.'
"In conversation with Mr. Boswell, who, as already
stated, has prospected the Teslintoo, or Newberry
River, in the summer of 1887, I learned that the whole
length of that river yielded fine gold, generally at the
rate of $8 to $10 per day; but as the miners' great
desideratum is coarse gold, they do not remain long
in a country in which only the fine gold is found—
generally no longer than is necessary to make a 'grub
stake,' unless gold is in unusually large quantities.
Mr. Boswell therefore went to the lower part of the
river, having heard the reports of rich finds. Stewart
River was the first in the district on which mining to
any extent^vas done. In 1886 there were quite a number of miners on it engaged in washing gold, and they
all appear to have done fairly well.
"I have heard the amount of gold taken from Stewart River in 1885 and 1886 estimated at various
amounts. One estimate was $300,000. The highest
amount I heard as representing one man's earnings
was about $6,000. This may be true, as many agree
that $30 per day, per man, was common on many of
the bars of the river, and instances of as high as $100
per day having been earned, were spoken of. The only
mining done on Stewart River was on the bars in the
river; the bench and bank bars were all timbered and
frozen, so that to work them would entail a resort to
hydraulic mining, for which there was no machinery
in the country.
j "During the fall of 1886, three or four miners combined and got the owners of the 'New Racket' steamboat to allow the use of her engines to work pumps WEALTH OF THE KLONDIKE. 77
for sluicing with. The boat was hauled up on a bar,
her engines detached from the wheels, and made to
drive a set of pumps manufactured on the ground,
which supplied water for a set of sluicing boxes. With
this crude machinery, in less than a month, the miners
cleared $1,000 each and paid an equal amount to the
owners of the boat as their share.
"Many of the miners who had spent 1886 on Stewart River, and 1887 on Forty Mile River, seemed to
think the former the better all-round mining field, as
there were no such failures there as on Forty Mile,
and they declared their intention to make their way
to the Stewart, for the season of 1888. Forty Mile
River is the only river in the district on which, up to
the fall of 1888, coarse gold had been found, and it
may be said that much of it can hardly claim that distinctive title. The largest nugget found was worth
about $39. It was lost on the body of a miner who
was drowned at the canyon.
"The miners term Forty Mile a 'bed-rock' creek—
that is, one in the bed of which there is little or no
drift, or detrital matter, the bottom of the river being
bed-rock. In many places this rock has been scraped
with knives by the miners, in order to gather the
small amount of detritus and its accompanying gold.
Very little of the gold on this creek was found in
Canadian territory, the coarsest gold being found well
up the river. The river had been prospected in 1887
for upwards of one hundred miles, and gold found all
the way up. The great point with a miner is to find
where the gold comes from. To this end he has to
reach a point on the river where there is none; then he
knows he has passed the source, and will search in
side valleys and gulches. The theory seems to be that
the gold is stored up somewhere and dribbled out
along the river. Pieces of gold-bearing quartz had
frequently been picked up along the river in the shallow drift, but none had been found in place, nor did
it appear to me that much search had been made for it. 78
Near the mouth of the river, there is an extensive flat
of detrital matter through which a couple of small
creeks flow. This is all said to be gold-bearing, and
it was thought, would pay well for sluicing. Accordingly, a couple of claimants had staked off claims at the
mouth of the creeks and intended to try sluicing in the
season of 1888.
"I think it may, with confidence,*be asserted that rich
finds will yet be made of both coarse gold and gold-
bearing quartz. It is not likely in the nature of things
that such a vast extent of country should have all its
fine gold deposited as sediment, brought from a distance in past ages. If this is not the case, the matrix,
from which all gold on th£se streams has come, must
still exist, in part at least, and will no doubt be discovered, and thus enrich this otherwise gloomy and desolate region. There are many bank and bench bars
along the rivers, which would pay well if sluiced, but
there is yet no convenient or economical way of getting water on them, and there is no pumping machinery as yet iij the country."
It is now nine years since the above was written by
this veteran explorer of tjie far northwest, and we, who
study the region to-day, see how completely Mr. Ogilvie's predictions have been realized. This explorer*
and surveyor re-entered the country in 1895, and continued his work of locating the boundary line, and of
defining the rivers and lakes of the Klondike district.
He also surveyed several townsites, including Cudahy,
Forty Mile and Dawson, and one or two mission posts.
In 1895-6 he made full investigations as to the coal
deposits, and found them to be of great extent and
good quality. On Coal Creek one seam was found to
be twelve feet six inches thick.
An extensive copper-bearing vein was found near
the Klondike above Fort Reliance. Asbestos was
also discovered in paying quantities. In 1895 the
placer diggings had greatly increased. A survey of
the Cone Hill quartz gold mine was made in 1895, WEALTH OF THE KLONDIKE. 79
and assays of the quartz taken from the mine proved
exceedingly satisfactory. The quantity of gold-bearing rock in this mine will not be exhausted for generations. Its extent and richness place the great Tread-
well mine of Juneau, Alaska, far in the shade. Other
paying quartz gold claims were located on Twelve
Mile Creek in the same year. These deposits are even
richer than at Cone Hill. In 1895 it became evident
that quartz gold mining would, in the near future, become a leading feature of the mining camps of the
Klondike country.
By the middle of 1895 the Alaska Commercial Company had four powerful steamers on the Yukon, and
the North American Trading and Transportation Company were preparing to increase its carrying capacity
on the same water-way. Thus, on every side, the country showed signs of progress. There was then, as there
still is a great demand for horses, which were being
taken into the country at a cost of about $250 a head.
In 1896 coal was found in vast quantities all along
Coal Creek, and from it up to Twelve Mile Creek,
which flows into the Yukon thirty miles up the river.
On the Cornell claim on Cliff Creek, the coal seam was
ascertained to be nearly six feet thick. It was in 1896
that coarse gold was discovered in vast deposits on
the Klondike, or Thron-Diuck, as it was first called.
Concerniiag these finds Mr. Ogilvie wrote the Canadian Minister of the Interior, under date of September^, 1896, as follows:
"I am very much pleased to be able to inform you
that a most important discovery of gold has been made
on a creek called Bonanza Creek, an affluent of the
river known here as the Klondike. It is marked on
the map extant as Deer River and joins the Yukon a
few miles above the site of Fort Reliance.
"The discovery was made by G. W. Cormack, who
worked with me in 1887 on the coast range. The indications are that it is very rich, indeed the richest yet
found, and as far as work has been carried on, it THE GOLDEN NORTH.
realizes expectations. It is only two weeks since it was
known, and already about 200 claims have been staked
on it and the creek is not yet exhausted; it and its
branches are considered good for 300 or 400 claims.
Besides, there are two other creeks above it, which,
it is confidently expected, will yield good pay, and if
they do so, we have from 800 to 1,000 claims on this
river which will require over 2,000 men for their proper working. Between Thron-Diuck River and Stewart River, a large creek called Indian Creek flows into
the Yukon, and rich prospects have been found on it,
and no doubt it is in the gold-bearing country between
Thron-Diuck and Stewart rivers, which is considered
by all the old miners the best and most extensive gold
country yet found. Scores of them would prospect
it but for the fact that they cannot get provisions up
there, and it is too far to boat them from here in small
"This new find will necessitate an upward step on
the Yukon and help the Stewart River region.
"News has just arrived from Bonanza Creek that
three menSvorked out $75 in four hours the other day
and a $12 nugget has been found, which assured the
character of the ground, namely, coarse gold and plenty of it, as three times this can be done with sluice
boxes. You can fancy the excitement here. It is
claimed that from $100 to $500 per day can be made
off the ground that has been prospected so far. As
we have about 100 claims on Glacier and Miller creeks,
with three or four hundred in this vicinity, next year
it is imperative that a man be sent in here to look after
these claims and all land mattery and it is almost imperative that the agent be a surveyor. Already on
Bonanza Creek they are disputing about the size of
Speaking at further length of the rich Klondike
region in the same year, 1896, Mr. Ogilvie said:
"As I have already intimated rich placer mines of
gold were discovered on the branches of this stream. Il
The discovery, I believe, was due to the reports of Indians. A white man, named Geo. W. Cormack, who
worked with me in 1887, was the first to take advantage
of the rumors and locate a claim on the first branch,
which was named by the miners Bonanza Creek.
Cormack located late in August, but had to cut some
logs for the mill here to get a few pounds of provisions
to enable him to begin work on his claim. The fishing
at Thron-Diuck having totally failed him, he returned
with a few weeks' provisions for himself, his wife and
brother-in-law (Indians) and another Indian, in the
last days of August, and immediately set about working his claim. As he was very short of appliances, he
could only put together a rather defective apparatus
to wash the gravel with. The gravel itself, he had to
carry in a box on his back from 30 to 100 feet; notwithstanding this, the three men working very irregularly, washed out $1,200 in eight days, and Cormack
asserts with reason, that had he had proper facilities,
it could have been done in two days, besides having
several hundred dollars more gold, which was lost in
the tailings through defective apparatus.
"On the same creek two men rocked out $75 in
about four hours, and it is asserted that two men in
the same creek took out $4,000 in two days with only
two lengths of sluice boxes. Mr. Leduc assures me he
weighed that much gold for them. They were new
comers and had not done much in the country, so the
probabilities are they got it on Bonanza Creek. A
branch of Bonanza, named Eldorado, has prospected
magnificently, and another branch named Tilly Creek
has prospected well; in all there are some four or five
branches to Bonanza which have given good prospects.
There are about 170 claims staked on the main creek,
and the branches are good for about as many more,
aggregating say about 350 claims, which will require
over 1,000 men to work properly.
"A few miles farther up Bear Creek enters Thron-
Diuck, and it has been prospected and located on.
I 82
Compared with Bonanza, it is small, and will not
afford more than 20 or 30 claims. About twelve miles
above the mouth, Gold-bottom Creek joins Thron-
Diuck, and on it and a branch named Hunker Creek,
very rich ground has been found. One man showed
me $22.75 ne took out in a few hours on Hunker
Creek^with a gold pan, prospecting his claim on the
surface, taking a handful here and there as fancy
suggested. On Gold-bottom Creek and branches,
there will probably be 200 or 300 claims. The Indians
have reported another creek much iarther up, which
they call 'Too Much Gold Creek,' on which the gold
is so plentiful that, as the miners say in joke, 'you have
to mix gravel with it to sluice it.' Up to date, nothing definite has been heard from this creek.
"From all this we may, I think, infer that we have
here a district which will give 1,000 claims of 500 feet
in length each. Now, 1,000 such claims will require
at least 3,000 men to work them properly, and as
wages for working in the mines are from $8 to $10
per day without board, we have every reason to assume
that this parr of our territory will, in a year or two,
contain 10,000 souls at least. For the news has gone
out to the coast, and an unprecedented influx is expected next spring. And this is not all, for a large
creek called Indian Creek joins the Yukon about midway between Thron-Diuck and Stewart rivers, and all
along this creek good pay has been found. All that
has stood in the way of working it heretofore, has been
the scarcity of provisions, and the difficulty of getting
them up there even when here. Indian Creek is quite
a large stream and it is probable it will yield five to six
hundred claims. Further south yet lies the head of
several branches of Stewart River, oh which some
prospecting has been done this summer and good indications found, but the want of provisions prevented
development. Now gold has been found in several
of the streams joining Pelly River, and also all along
the Hootalinqua.    In the line of these finds farther
»-rr —-—-— — Ti
souith is the Cassiar gold field in British Columbia;
so the presumption is that we have in our territory,
along the easterly watershed of the Yukon, a gold-
bearing belt of indefinite width, and upwards of three
hundred miles long, exclusive of the British Columbia
part of it. On the westerly side of the Yukon, prospecting has been done on a creek a short distance
above Selkirk, with a fair amount of success, and on a
large creek some thirty or forty miles below Selkirk,
fair prospects have been found; but, as before remarked, the difficulty of getting supplies here prevents
any extensive prospecting.
"Good quartz has been found in places just across
the line on Davis Creek, but of what extent is unknown, as it is in the bed of the creek, and covered with
gravel. Good quartz is also reported on the hills
around Bonanza Creek. It is pretty certain from information I have got from prospectors, that all or nearly
all of the northerly branch of White River, is on our
side of the line, and copper is found on it, but more
abundantly on the southerly branch, of which a great
portion is in our territory also, so it is probable we have
that metal too. I have seen here several lumps of copper, brought by the natives from White River, but just
from what part is uncertain. I have also seen a specimen of silver ore said to have been picked up in a creek
flowing into Lake Bennett, about fourteen miles down
it on the east side. I think this is enough to show
that we may look forward with confidence to a fairly
bright future for this part of our territory.
* When it was fairly established that Bonanza Creek
was rich in gold, which took a few days, for Thron-
Diuck had been prospected several times with no encouraging result, there was a great rush from all over
the country adjacent to Forty Mile. The town was
almost deserted; men who had been in a chronic state
of drunkenness for weeks were pitched into boats as
ballast and taken up to stake themselves a claim, and
claims were staked by men for their friends who were
«mh 84
not in the country at the time. All this gave rise to
such conflict and confusion, there being no one present
to take charge of matters, the agent being unable to
go up and attend to the thing, and myself not yet knowing what to do, that the miners held a meeting, and appointed one of themselves to measure off and stake
the claims, and record the owners' names*in connection
therewith, for which he got a fee of $2, it being of
course understood that each claim holder would have
to record his claim with the Dominion agent and pay
his fee of $15."
In December, 1896, Mr. Ogilvie wrote:
"Since my last, the prospects on Bonanza Creek and
tributaries are increasing in richness and extent until
now it is certain that millions will be taken out of the
district in the next few days.
"On some of the claims prospected the pay dirt is
of great extent and very ricl}. One man told me yesterday that he washed out a single pan of dirt on one
of the claims on Bonanza, and found $14.25 in it. Of
course that may be an exceptionally rich pan, but $5
to $7 per pan Is the average on that claim it is reported,'
with five feet of pay dirt, and the width yet undetermined, but it is known to be thirty feet even at that;
figure the result at nine to ten pans to the cubic foot,
and 500 feet long; nearly $4,000,000 at $5 per pan.
One-fourth of this would be enormous/
"Another claim has been prospected to such an extent that it is known there is about five feet pay dirt
averaging $2 per pan, and width not less than thirty
feet. Enough prospecting has been done to show that
there are at least fifteen miles of this extraordinary
richness; and the indications are that we will have
three or four times that extent, if not all equal to the
above, yet all, at least, very rich.
"It appears a great deal of staking for absentees has
been done, some of whom have turned up and some
have not. This has caused confusion, and leads to a
good deal of what might be called fraud, for it is easy
aaaur ' 1
for a few in the inner circle to know what claims have
been recorded in accordance with the law and what
have not. They can then for themselves, directly or
through the intervention of a friend, have the latter
jumped for their whole or partial interest. It appears
this has been done in several instances."
Again, under date of January, 1897, Mr. Ogilvie sent
information to his government, in the following terms:
"The reports from the Thron-Diuck (Klondike) region are still very encouraging; so much so that all
the other creeks around are practically abandoned,
especially those on the head of Forty Mile in American territory, and nearly one hundred men have made
their way up from Circle City, many of them hauling
their sleds themselves. Those who cannot get claims
are buying in on those already located. Men cannot
be got to work for love or money, and development
is consequently slow; one and a half dollars per hour
is the wages paid the few men who have to work for
hire, and work as many hours as they like. Some of
the claims are so rich that every night a few pans of
dirt suffices to pay the hired help when there is any;
as high as $204 have been reported to a single pan.
Claim owners are now very reticent about what they
get, so you can hardly credit anything you hear; but
one thing is certain, we have one of the richest mining
areas ever found, with a fair prospect that we have not
yet discovered its limits.
"Miller and Glacier creeks on the head of Sixty Mile
River, which my survey of the 141st meridian deter*
mined to be in Canada, were thought to be very rich,
but they are poor both in quality and quantity compared with Thron-Diuck.
"Chicken Creek on the head of Forty Mile, in Alaska, discovered a year ago and rated very high, is to-day
practically abandoned.
"Some quartz prospecting has been done in the
Thron-Diuck region, and it is probable that some good
veins will be found there.    Coal is found on the upper 86
part of Thron-Diuck; so that the facilities for working it, if found, are good and convenient
"A quartz lode showing free gold in paying quantities has been located on one of the creeks, but I cannot yet send particulars. I am confident from the nature of the gold found in the creeks that many more
of them~==and rich, too—will be found.
"I have just heard from a reliable source that the
quartz mentioned above is rich, as tested3—over one
hundred dollars to the ton, The lode appears to run
from three to eight feet in thickness, and is about nineteen miles from the Yukon River. I will likely be
called on to survey it, and will be able to report fully,
"Placer prospects continue more and more encouraging and extraordinary. It is beyond doubt that
three pans on different claims on Eldorado turned out
$204, $212 and $216; but it must be borne in mind
that there were only three such pans, though there are
many running from $10 to $50."
This closes the official information of the Klondike
country, up to the middle of August, 1897, but later
news was rec%ived through private sources, which the
foregoing fully substantiates. n
Methods of the prospector—Use of the Pan, the Rocker and
the Sluice—Mining in the Far North—Continuous daylight in summer and almost perpetual darkness in winter—Filling the hours of summer with hard work—
"Burning" in winter—Vast Peace River gold discoveries
—The Northeast route.
As many of our readers understand little of the nomenclature of the mining craft, or of the methods employed to separate the very small particles of the
precious metals from the baser material with which it
is associated, a short description will be in place here.
First, as to prospecting. When a miner "strikes" a
bar he "prospects" it by washing a few panfuls of the
gravel or sand of which it is composed. He is guided
as to the value of the "dirt" by "colors;" in other words
by the number of specs of gold he can see in his pan
after all the dirt has been washed out. Most of these
prospectors have had sufficient experience to determine the value of sand or gravel in a few minutes, and
to estimate, at once, how much a bar will yield per day
and per man.
The process of placer mining has been described as
follows: "After clearing all the coarse gravel and
stone off a patch of ground the miner lifts a little of
the finer gravel or sand in his pan, which is a broad,
shallow dish, made of strong sheet iron; he then puts
in water enough to fill the pan, and gives it a few' rapid
whirls and shakes; this tends to bring the gold to the
bottom on account of its greater specific gravity. The
dish is then shaken and held in such a way that the
gravel and sand are gradually washed out, care being
taken as the process nears completion to avoid letting 88
out the finer and heavier parts that have settled to the
bottom. Finally all that is left in the pan is whatever
gold may have been in the dish and some black sand
which almost invariably accompanies it.
"This black sand is nothing but pulverized magnetic iron ore. Should the gold thus found be fine,
the contents of the pan are thrown into a barrel containing water and a pound or two of mercury. As
soon as the gold comes in contact with the mercury it
combines with it and forms an amalgam. The process
is continued until enough amalgam has been formed to
pay for 'roasting' or 'firing.' It is then squeezed
through a buckskin bag, all the mercury that comes
through the bag being put back into the barrel to
serve again, and what remains in the bag is placed in
a retort, if the miner has one, or if not, on a shovel,
and heated until nearly all the mercury is vaporized.
The gold then remains in a lump with some mercury
still held in combination with it.
"This is called the 'pan' or 'hand' method, and is
never, on account of its slowness and laboriousness,
continued fo% any length of time when it is possible to
procure a 'rocker,' or to make and work sluices.
"A 'rocker' is simply a box about three feet long and
two wide, made in two parts, the top part being shallow, with a heavy sheet iron bottom, which is punched
full of quarter-inch holes. The other part of the box
is fitted with an inclined shelf about midway in its
depth, which is six or eight inches lower at its lower
end than at its upper. Over this is placed a piece of
heavy woolen blanket. The whole is then mounted
on two rockers, much resembling those of an ordinary
cradle, and when in use they are placed on two blocks
of wood so that the whole may be readily rocked.
After the miner has selected his claim, he looks for the
most convenient place to set up his 'rocker,' which
must be near a good supply of water. Then he proceeds to clear away all the stones and coarse gravel,
gathering the finer gravel and sand in a heap near the PROCESS OF PLACER'MINING.
'rocker.' The shallow box on top is filled with this,
and with one hand the miner rocks it through, while
with the other he ladles in water. The finer matter
with the gold falls through the holes onto the blanket,
which checks its progress, and holds the fine particles
of gold while the sand and other matter pass over it
to the bottom of the box, which is sloped so that what
comes through is washed\ downwards and finally out
of the box. Across the bottom of the box are fixed
thin slats, behind which some mercury is placed to
catch any particles of gold which may escape the blanket. If the gold is nuggety, the large nuggets are
found in the upper box, their weight detaining them
until all the lighter stuff has passed through, and the
smaller ones are held by a deeper slat at the outward
end of the bottom of the box. The piece of blanket
is, at intervals, taken out and rinsed into a barrel; if"
the gold is fine, mercury is placed at the bottom of the
barrel, as already mentioned.
"Sluicing is always employed when possible. It requires a good supply of water with sufficient head or
fall. The process is as follows: Planks are procured
and formed into a box of suitable width and depth.
Slats are fixed across the bottom of the box at suitable
intervals, or shallow holes bored in the bottom in such
order that no particle could run along the bottom in
a straight line and escape without running over a hole.
Several of these boxes are then set up with a considerable slope and are fitted into one another at the ends
like a stovepipe. A stream of water is now directed
into the upper end of the highest box. The gravel
having been collected, as in the case of the rocker, it
is shoveled into the upper box and is washed downwards by the strong current of water. The gold is detained by its weight and is held by the slats or in the
holes mentioned; if it is fine, mercury is placed behind
the slats or in these holes to catch it. In this way about
three times as much dirt can be washed as by the rocker, and consequently three times as much gold is se-
cured in a given time. After the boxes are done with
they are burned, and the ashes washed for the gold
held in the wood.
"A great many of the miners spend their time in the
summer prospecting and in the winter resort to a
method lately adopted and which is called 'burning.'
They make fires on the surface, thus thawing the
ground until the bed rock is reached, then drift and
tunnel. The pay dirt is brought to the surface and
heaped in a pile until spring, when water can be obtained. The sluice boxes are then set up and the dirt
is washed out, thus enabling the miner to work advantageously and profitably the year round. This
method has been found very satisfactory in places
where the pay streak is at any great depth from the
surface. In this way the complaint is overcome which
has been so commonly advanced by miners and others
that in the Yukon several months of the year are lost
in idleness. Winter usually sets in very soon after the
middle of September and continues until the beginning of June, and is decidedly cold. The mercury frequently falls to 60 degrees below zero, but in the interior there is so little humidity in the atmosphere that
the cola is more easily endured than on the coast. In
the absence of thermometers, miners, it is said, leave
their mercury out all night; when they find it frozen
solid in the morning they conclude that it is too cold
to work, and stay at home. The temperature runs to
great extremes in summer as well as in winter. It is
quite a common thing for the thermometer to register 100 degrees in the shade."
There is continuous daylight from the middle of
June until the early part of August; but in the middle
of winter there is little more than three hours of partial
daylight in the twenty-four. Hence constant daylight
for a portion of the year, and almost total darkness for
another portion, might very well create doubts in
one's mind as to what portion of the day in either case
should be given to sleep.    In the summer months it *M
is possible for a miner to put in as many hours as he
has the power to endure. Constant daylight admits
of several shifts of men being employed, and in this
way mining operations may go on continuously.
In this connection additional reports of the Klondike country, circulated by returning lucky miners,
and told in newspapers to fire the spirit of adventure
in the American people, may be mentioned. This one
was given out in Chicago in August:
"One year ago Fred Phiscator was a poor man engaged in" the lumber business at Barodo, Mich. He
arrived in Chicago on his way home from Alaska. In
a big red pocketbook which he carried in the inside
pocket of his vest there reposed a certificate of deposit
for $120,000, beside which Mr. Phiscator had sufficient
loose change to keep him from borrowing whenever
he wanted a cigar. And just as though he had been
used to counting his money in six figures all his life,
he remarked that he had refused $200,000 for the claim
he left behind, and thought it was worth $1,000,000.
Mr. Phiscator dropped his traveling bag before the
clerk's desk in the Great Northern hotel and said that
nothing was too good for him. It is his intention to
spend the winter with his family and friends and in
the spring he will lead a party of friends to the scene
of his fortune making.
"Mr. Phiscator. was one of a party of four that followed the discoveries on Bonanza Creek, and he and
another man located the claims that have been reported
as being so rich on Eldorado Creek. Mr. Phiscator
said the party was nearly out of food and was about
ready to turn back to the nearest trading post when it
met another party that had more flour that it needed
and sold his party some. That evening, while the
cook was preparing supper, Phiscator suggested to an
old man named Whipple that they go a mile up the
Klondike and wash a pan of Eldorado Creek dirt. They
did so, and were amazed when they found between $6
and $7 in yellow metal in the bottom of the pan.   They 92
immediately staked claims and went back and told
what they had found. The others in the party then
staked claims and all have become rich.    He said:
" 'This was a little over a year ago, and in that time
I have taken out more than $150,000, and have hardly
made a hole in my claim. In one hole 35 by 50 feet, I
took out $49,000. Most people I meet have a wrong
impression of what the claims are, and the reports of
fabulous wealth being taken out Of them are exaggerated.
" 'To work a claim a hole about 6 by 3^ feet, or
about the size of an ordinary mining shaft, is started
down. As the ground never thaws out to a depth of
more than two feet, this is not easy work. As it is not
brittle, it can not be shot out, so it is necessary to use
a pick until a certain depth is reached. Then fires are
built and the ^ground thawed out. A fire over night
will soften about three feet of earth. This is taken out
the next day and another fire built. The rich dirt is at
bed rock, and after this is reached the fire process is
continued, and the excavation is carried on laterally,
the dirt being taken out to about the height of a man.
It is necessary to do this work during the winter
months, for the reason that the gas fumes are so great
in the summer that it is impossible to work. All the
earth taken out in the winter is piled up, and when
summer comes it is panned for the gold.'"
In further confirmation of the contention of the author, who has traveled extensively through that region, the following additional proof of the existence
of pay gold on the eastern slopes of the Rockies is
submitted. The evidence is not the less valuable because it comes in a second-hand, or round about way:
"Tacoma, Wash., Aug. 22.—The next mining excitement will be on Peace River, in Northwest territory. Mining has been carried on there in a slow way
for years, but discoveries made this summer leave no
room to doubt that an immense amount of gold will
be taken out of that river and its tributaries during the PROCESS OF PLACER MINING.
next two years. Men who are now taking out gold in
large quantities there are not trying to create a boom,
but are quietly sending for their friends to come into
the country and secure claims.
"A. D. Kitchen, a prominent mining broker of this
city, has just returned from British Columbia. At
Vancouver he met a young man named Johnson, who
had just come down from Peace River with his partner, bringing $18,000. A third partner was left at the
mines. The two came out with part of the season's
output to secure supplies for the winter. The money
brought out was placed in a Vancouver bank. Part
of it w^ drawn out for the purchase of supplies, which
were at once shipped to Edmonton, Northwest territory, whence they were to be sent to the mines by a.
large pack train.
"The $18,000 brought out had been cleaned up by
the three men in three months. They went to Peace
River early in the spring, and Johnson started
out in July. Johnson said that all the miners on Peace
River were making a great deal of money with the
crudest of appliances. Up to the time he left only
pans and twelve-foot sluices had been used. Most of
the miners were not coming out this fall, because it
was possible to purchase supplies at the trading posts
of the Hudson's Bay Company near the mouth of the
river. Johnson toM Mr. Kitchen that if he wanted
gold all he had to do was to go to Peace River.
"The Peace River country is reached most easily
from Edmonton, which is 833 miles from Vancouver,
being 191 miles north of Calgary, on the Canadian Pacific Railroad. Fort Chippewyan, on Athabasca Lake,
at the mouth of Peace River, is reached by taking a
stage from Edmonton to Athabasca landing, forty
miles, and thence down Athabasca River and lake by
boat. Chippewyan is 465 miles from Edmonton.:
Steamboats go up the Peace River for a considerable
distance. A number of its tributaries, including the
Loon and Deer rivers, are as rich as the main stream. 94 THE GOLDEN NORTH.
"The Peace River rises in the eastern slopes of the
Rocky Mountains, a little north of the center of British Columbia. In the northern continuation of the
same mountains rise the Klondike, Pelly, Stewart, and
other gold-bearing tributaries of the Yukon. There
is this difference, that Peace River rises on the eastern
slope of the mountains, while the Yukon's tributaries
rise on the west side. Along Peace River on the north
are the Reindeer or Caribou mountains, which have
been found this summer to be rich in gold-bearing
"Mr. Kitchen found that other miners had recently
arrived at Vancouver, bringing large amounts of gold
from Peace River. He is accordingly arranging to
organize a company which will put steamers on the
Athabasca River and lake and on Peace River next
spring, and establish three trading posts. He will go
to Lincoln, Neb., where he formerly lived, to get part
of the necessary capital."
The Edmonton and Athabasca route will not only
be available for travel to the rich mining areas on the
eastern slopes of the Rockies—it will be found preferable to any other in reaching the Klondike territory
as well. This trail is both shorter—affording a much
cheaper route—and practicable for the transportation
of horses, machinery and supplies into the whole
northwest country, without hardship or serious difficulty. FURS, FISH AND GAME. 95
The silver, gray, black and red fox—Abundance of game—
The caribou, moose and the grizzly, brown, black and
silver-tip bears—Salmon and other fish, etc.
The principal fur procured in the Canadian Northwest, west of the Rockies and north of the 6oth parallel, which is just now being called the Klondike country, are the silver, gray and black fox, the number of
which bears a greater ratio to the red foxes than in any
other part of the north. The red fox is, of course,
very common, and a species called the blue is abundant
further towards the coast. Marten or sable, and lynx,
are quite numerous. Otter are far more scarce than
to the east of the Rockies, and beaver do not exist to
any extent. It is estimated that the value of the gray
and black fox skins taken out of the country annually
more than equals the value of all other furs secured.
Game is very abundant, but owing to the presence
of miners most of it has been driven back from the
rivers occupied by them. The Indians have to ascend
the tributary streams ten or twenty miles to secure
furs or game worth going after. Here on the uplands
are vast herds of caribou, although in some seasons
they disappear altogether. The Indians slaughter
them without regard to their meat necessities. Some
years ago moose were numerous along the principal
rivers, but are now seldom seen except at a considerable distance from the regions occupied by 'miners.
Eighteen moose were killed on Coal Creek in one day
in 1888. The Indians sell much of this meat to the
There are two species of caribou in the country.
One—the ordinary kind—is found in most parts of the
Wiffir^^ i
north. This much resembles and is generally spoken
of as the reindeer. The other is known as the "Wood
caribou," being a much larger and more beautiful animal. The ordinary caribou runs in herds, often numbering hundreds. They are easily approached and
may-be killed without much difficulty. When the Indians overtake a herd they surround it, gradually driving them into a bunch, when the animals, being panic-
stricken, are slaughtered in a wholesale manner.
There are four species of bear in this region. These
are the grizzly, brown, black, and a small kind cailed
the "silver-tip." The latter are of a gray color, and
are very fierce. There are a few of the common gray
wolves, but these are seldom met with. The arctic
rabbit is scarce, except once in seven years, when they
may be seen in myriads. They are plentiful for about
four years, and then disappear for about three years.
The marten is also subject to periodical increase. The
mountain sheep and mountain goats exist everywhere
in this country, but are most numerous on the mountain sides.
Birds are rarely seen. A few ravens are met with
along the rivers. They are very active and noisy on
stormy days. Once in awhile the magpie and white-
headed eagle are seen. Partridges are very scarce,
but ptarmigan, or the arctic partridge, is abundant.
Wild geese and ducks are plentiful in season. The
ducks abound in endless variety.
Fish are numerous in all the streams. Lake trout
are caught in most of the lakes. They take a troll bait
readily. Salmon abound in all the principal streams
flowing into the Yukon. One can easily trace their
presence by the slight ripple they make on the surface, and they can be taken by gently placing a scoop
net in their way and lifting them out when they enter it.
Indians inhabit the country, but the tribes are not
very numerous, nor of any special interest. n
Verified reports of rich gold discoveries and the arrival of
the precious metal in this country likely to send a vast
population from the United States to the Klondike
regions—Might possibly lead to war between England
and this country—The feeling in London—Chicago and
London competitors—Routes for railroad communication with the upper Yukon—The boundary question
practically settled.
It is not impossible that the great influx of citizens
of the United States to the Klondike country, which
lies almost wholly within British territory, may lead to
serious international complications. There will be in
the neighborhood of 10,000 Americans in that region
by the spring of 1898, and the number is likely to be
quadrupled before the beginning of 1899. Some authorities estimate that 250,000, all told, will have gone
into the country before the beginning of the 20th century.
The excitement over the rich gold fields there is
being daily augmented by the return of miners with
bags of coarse gold and nuggets. Nearly all of these
pioneers of the new country bring fortunes, of greater
or less dimensions, with them, and leave behind them
gold' claims worth millions,, to which they propose to
return in the spring. Reports of this kind, all fully
verified, cannot fail to cause many thousands to leave
the United States for the Golden North. Reports
similar to the following are now, August, 1897, of almost daily occurrence:
j "Tacoma, Wash, Aug. 21.—T. P. Riley, formerly section foreman of the Northern Pacific at Alderton,
twelve miles from Tacoma, returned to-day from the
Klondike and weighed out in front of a Ledger re-
j 98
porter $85,000 in gold nuggets, the result of two years
of hardships and toil in frozen regions of the North.
"His partners, Flannigan and O'Brien, have an
equal share with him, and are now speeding across the
continent to Pennsylvania with $85,000 apiece of Klondike gold. Mr. Riley and his party left the Klondike
on July 6, and were twenty-three days at Dyea. They
carried their golden gleanings themselves, and, to
evade notoriety, told no one of their good fortune.
'All of my life, I have had to work like a slave for small
wages/ said Mr. Riley, 'but I am now independent for
life. Two years ago I was a section foreman on the
Northern Pacific, twelve miles from Tacoma. I was
a hard drinker, and for that I was discharged. It was
the best thing ever happened to me. I went to Alaska, and was near Circle City when the richness of the
Klondike was discovered. I at once went over, and
with my partners (Flannigan and O'Brien) took up two
claims. We worked all winter, and when the clean-up
came in the spring we had $85,000 apiece. Here is
mine.   How does it look?
" 'It means no more hard work for me. I have all I
want, and more too. I am going to Ireland to see
some of my relatives, and next March J will return to
Tacoma, buy me a good big farm, and live for the rest
of my days on what it will bring in. I left the Klondike
July 6th, and after a rapid though hard trip we landed
at Dyea on July 29th. Thousands of rich strikes have
been made there this spring and summer, and I would
not take $5,000,000 for my share in our two claims.
There is gold enough in the district to supply the world
and make everybody rich. A man who never had a
pick or shovel in his hand in his life stands just as good
a chance as an old, experienced miner. When I left,
there were nearly six tons of gold waiting to be shipped
down on the Portland, at St. Michaels, which I heard
will be here in a few days. On Stewart River, 180
miles from the Klondike diggings, rich strikes have
been made, and the people of the district are wild with IMPORTANT INTERNATIONAL QUESTIONS.       99
excitemenj: and many are rushing to the new diggings.
Dawson City is now quite a town, and has about 3,500
people*. The best buildings are given up to saloons
and gambling houses, and every one gambles and
drinks. Though the country is rich and the strikes
are numerous, I fear for the thousands who are trying
to rush over the passes at this season of the year. They
will many of them fail in their attempt, and, will leave
their bones along the trail. I would advise all who intend going to wait until spring and then go in over the
ice or Hudson's Bay route. If they go over the latter,
let them take plenty of horses and cattle with them and
they will have no trouble.'"
Mr. Riley talks about six tons, of gold. That appears to be fabulous, but it is impressed upon the
minds of the people as true; for word came from Washington on even date with the above that when the
steamer Portland comes out into Bering Sea with her
load of virgin gold, on her last trip, she will be convoyed to a place of safety by one of the revenue cutters
belonging to the United States government, now on
duty in northern waters. It is certain that instructions
were sent to Captain Tuttle, who commands the Bear,
to act as convoy to the treasure steamer.
These facts demonstrate that the reports of the Klondike gold diggings are not too highly colored. It is
probably nearer the truth that more gold came out of
the country in 1897 than there is any report of, for
the reason that many of the lucky miners are very
reticent about giving an account of their successes.
From English reports recently printed it is evident
that there is much anxiety felt in London as to the
future of the Golden .Northwest, lest it should in some
unforeseen manner fall under the jurisdiction of the
United States government.- This leads us to a few
words of history.
It was a happy day, or will prove such for perhaps
millions of souls, when, in 1867, Seward, backed by
Sumner—acting for the government of the United Mafci
States—purchased Alaska from Russia for $7,200,000.
The purchase was generally ridiculed at the time, and
the price paid was characterized as extravagant. No
one has yet given a true reason why, on the part of the
United States or that of Russia, the purchase and sale
were made. Many explanations have been made, but
this is the true one:
England and Russia were the only nations on earth
possessing information as to the value of the resources
of the great north. The former received its knowledge
through the officers, traders and factors of the Hudson's Bay Company. When Beaconsfield realized the
situation, he determined on the consolidations of the
British possessions in North America. The late Sir
John A. Macdonald, of Canada, was his chief lieutenant in the work. First came the confederation of the
four eastern Canadian provinces. Then British Columbia was added, and the whole Northwest territory
was purchased from the Hudson's Bay Company.
Meanwhile Beaconsfield was reaching out for Alaska, but the relations between Russia and England
were sufficiently. strained in 1867 to enable Seward,
who was watching the deal closely, to step in and make
the purchase.. In this way the United States obtained
a foothold in the north. The wisdom of this piece of
statecraft is only beginning to be understood. In the
years to come it will be seen that the absorption of the
whole Dominion of Canada by the United States,
which must come as a legitimate result of development
on this continent, will be accomplished largely through
the good offices of Alaska.
It is impossible to obtain a proper conception of the
great north by confining one's studies to Alaska proper. The gold'diggers on the upper Yukon find themselves on both sides of the 141st degree, which is the
' international boundary line. The Northwest Territory, and indeed the whole north of this continent, is
one and inseparable. Political divisions cut but little
figure, after all, in the development of natural re- \
sources in a vast country which nature has not been
pleased to divide.
It is a fact that the greater part of the Klondike gold
fields are in British territory. So are Dawson City
and Fort Cudahy. So are the rich, illimitable areas of
park country—lying as low as 400 to 600 feet above the
level of the sea—which stretch out from Lake Athabasca, westward along the Peace and Athabasca rivers
to the foothills of the Rockies; northward to and along
the upper waters of the mighty Mackenzie, to the 64th
parallel; eastward to the head waters of the great
Churchill; and southward, including the whole valley
of the Peace River, stretching away to the north
branch of the Saskatchewan.
This vast basin, many times greater than that of the
Mississippi, in which all the states northwest of the
Ohio and southeast of the Missouri could be duplicated, is sufficiently broad and productive to furnish
the world's population with bread and meat for many
centuries to come.
What then of political boundary lines? Canadian
enterprise is too feeble and British push too slow to
populate and develop such a country. It is left to the
people of the United States to go in and possess the
land, and as soon as they become informed of the
boundless wealth there—awaiting the pick and the
pan, the crusher and the stamp-mill, the rancher^and
the husbandman—they will go; and they will carry
the stars and stripes with them. This will seal the political destiny of the great far Northwest.
Before another generation has risen, it is possible
that the flag of the United States will be flying not only
from Sitka and St. Michaels, not only from Juneau and
Circle City, but above all the mining camps and trading posts from Rampart House to the valley of the
Peace River and the western shores of Hudson's Bay.
It is significant that the national government has
determined to establish an experimental farm to test
the productive qualities of the soil in the valleys of
m 102
Alaska. This is the beginning of the end. There can
be but one result of such an undertaking. The great
value and productiveness of the soil of the north is
already known to Great Britain, and will soon become
equally well understood and appreciated by the people of the United States. Who can foretell the outcome? It may be a quarrel over the sealing grounds;
and it is safe to say that nothing could familiarize the
people of this country with the resources of the great
north so effectively as marching an army of a few hundred thousand people across the 49th parallel over the
branches of the Saskatchewan, through the illimitable
park country of the Peace River valley, across the
head waters of the Mackenzie and the summit of the
Rockies, and thence to the Klondike.
Secretary Sherman has already sounded the keynote, and the British press is talking back impudently.
These mutterings may ultimately culminate in a storm
over the possession of the great northwest which, whatever other result might follow, would, more than anything else, tend to populate it and develop its vast resources. If we are ever going to have a war with England, as a solution of the hard times problem, or otherwise, by all means let it be a war for the possession of
the great north; for that would advertise the country
to the world, and send hundreds and thousands from
the overcrowded cities of this country to find happy*
homes of peace and plenty in that region.
But it is more agreeable and, of course, much mpre
reasonable to think of the colonization and development of the Golden North by peaceful methods. International difficulties likely to be met with will doubtless be solved peacefully, and the vast resources of
the north land appropriated to the profit of both the
countries immediately interested.
In a recent newspaper cablegram from London it is
stated: "The Marquis of Lome, in a signed statement, expresses the confidence of British statesmen in
the ability of the Canadian government to retain their
supremacy and maintain their hold of Klondike." At
the same time there is no denying that a feeling of uneasiness begins to be felt in London over the liability
of conflict between Canadian and American interests.
Englishmen believe Canada should control the Klondike and would support Canada in any restrictions
upon American enterprise, no matter how severe. The
opinion is commonly expressed that Canadians should
do precisely what the Boers did at Johannesburg, hold
the mines and tax the Uitlanders, not seeing that this
would give the Americans justification for a Jameson
raid. But the inherent weakness of Canada is felt in
the remoteness of the diggings and the necessity of
reaching them through American territory."
The last sentence of the above is absolutely ridiculous. There is no necessity for the British or the
Canadians reaching the country through American
territory. They have a far shorter and better route
by way of the Canadian Pacific Railway to Ednymton,
thence overland through the Peace River country and
across the head waters of the Mackenzie, as before
stated.   The report continues:
"Englishmen admit the Klondike is now controlled
by Americans, but these are described in papers here
as plunderers, ruffians and outlaws. The attempts of
the Canadian authorities to enforce the new and special taxes upon Americans going to the Klondike are
described as maintaining order and enforcing law.
Fears are expressed that Canadian customs officers attempting to collect taxes at Skaguay will be wiped out
by the Americans, and that the few Canadian officers
at Dawson will be laughed at and defied and the stars
and stripes raised by mob over the Klondike region.
"In that event it is said a strong force will *be sent at
once to the diggings, for England wants gold and
hates to see it go to the United States. Any conflict
or bloodshed between Americans and Canadian officers would at once raise the most serious complications.
'mM^imm waft
"Many Englishmen fear the proximity of the Klondike to the Alaskan boundary, the sensational wealth
of the mines, and the mad rush now being made, will
end in war between England and the United States.
One London paper has already announced that American politicians and journalists are now scheming to
bring on war through the Klondike with a view of annexing Canada, and warns readers to be prepared for
violent exhibitions of ill feeling.
"Shrewd observers here, however, say England
would put up with almost anything rather than incur
the risks of such a conflict, with the inevitable loss of
Canada. London speculators are looking enviously
toward the Klondike, but think Wall street will have
the first picking and that England will get left in the
rake-off. Nevertheless, many Klondike schemes are
being floated and the newspapers are printing full accounts of the new diggings."
Chicago, more than any other city in the world, is
deeply interested in this continuation of the northwestward march of civilization and material progress. This
city must reach the Klondike by rail, not only for the
tons of yellow metal which lie hidden in the sands and
rocks along the gulches and hills bordering the tributaries of the upper Yukon, but also for the measureless
bread and meat resources of the boundless country
which lie between, and which spreads out in rich, broad
There should be no delay in this undertaking. Nature has already provided a highway for our British
competitor. London and Chicago are the natural
competitors for the boundless wealth of the great
north. At first sight it may appear that London is so
much farther from the Klondike than Chicago that
competition is out of the question. Not so. The
Hudson's Bay route is not new to the world of enterprise. It is only 1,500 miles from Churchill on the
west shore of Hudson's Bay to the upper Yukon, and
the highest elevation of the Rockies to be crossed is IMPORTANT INTERNATIONAL QUESTIONS.      IO5
scarcely over 2,000 feet. Compare this with the
Rocky Mountain grades of the Canadian Pacific, the
Northern Pacific, the Union Pacific and the Southern
Pacific, and the advantages of the more northern route
are wonderful to contemplate.
A railroad from Churchill to the Klondike would
pass through the great valleys of the Peace River to the
upper Mackenzie, and might diverge to the north,
from the neighborhood of Lake Athabaska, reaching
the head waters of the Yukon with even a less elevation
than 2,000 feet.
The distance from Churchill—where there is one
of the finest harbors in the world, open the year round
—to Liverpool, by way of Hudson's Bay and Strait, is
only 2,960, and as transportation by water is so much
cheaper than that by rail, it will be seen that, for
seven months in the year at least, England could tap
the resources of the great Northwest almost as effectively as could Chicago by rail across the plains.
At this point a suggestion to the capitalists of Chicago may be ventured. While companies are being
incorporated for the purposes of carrying supplies to
the Klondike gold fields, and of developing the gold
mines located there, this question of a railroad from
Chicago to the head waters of the Yukon through
American and Canadian territory should not be left
without solution. Capital and push will build a railway from Chicago to Bering Sea, over a route passing
through the richest country on the face of the earth.
There are not more than 500 miles of territory in the
whole distance that is not either habitable and productive, or rich in gold fields. Congress would no
doubt respond by assisting such an enterprise both
with money and an Alaskan land grant. Such an enterprise would necessarily be of an international character. However, Chicago has vast interests at stake
in the solution of this problem, and those who become
the pioneers in such an undertaking will not only reap
material rewards but write their names in history as fcdlto
founders of a new empire, besides opening the way to
relief for the hundreds of thousands of the unemployed
and suffering of our own population.
The international boundary question in the far
Northwest is practically settled. General Duffield, of
the coast and geodetic survey of the United States
government, recently said:
"I do not believe that when the matter of the boundary line between.the two countries is definitely settled
there will be any appreciable change from what is
down on the map at present. There certainly will not
be as far as regards the Klondike region, which is beyond all manner of dispute in the British Northwest
"Dawson City is a hundred miles or more east of
the 141st meridian, which is the boundary line. Mount
St. Elias is near the intersection of the ten marine
league line with the 141st meridian. To be exact, the
summit is 140 degrees and 55 minutes, or 5 minutes,
on the Canadian side, which in that latitude represents
two and one-half miles. But on the southern side it
is only twenty-eight and one half-miles from the coast,
which brings it inside of the ten league line, or thirty
mile limit, and one and one-half miles on American
"At Forty Mile Creek our survey agrees with that
of the Canadian survey under Ogilvie within fourteen
hundredths of a second, which in that latitude represents six and a half feet. The Canadian line steals the
and a half feet from us. Crossing the Yukon
River the difference in the two surveys is fourteen seconds, which in that latitude represents 300 feet. According to the line of Ogilvie, the Canadian government surveyor, we gain 300 feet on the British side.
"We are anxious to compare the twqjpnes at the
Porcupine River crossing, which is several miles further north, but the Canadian government has given
us no notice of where it has fixed its line there. I do
not suppose that the difference will be worthy of note," W
General Duffield added that if there is any dispute
between the two countries over the boundary line it
will be in regard to the ten league coast line in the
southern portion of Alaska, as that is a question which
admits of considerable diversity of opinion.
A boundless territory of inexhaustible bread, meat and
dairy capabilities—Coal and other resources—How the
lower levels are sheltered from storms and cold.
We now come to make some observations on that
vast portion of the far northwest lying east of the
Rocky Mountains and north of the 6oth parallel, and
between it and the Arctic Circle. This area, including
the upper Klondike country, contains nearly 1,000,000
square miles, rich in timber, furs, fish, gold and minerals generally, with vast areas of good coal.
To the south of this district, and on the west, lies
British Columbia, bounded on the north by the 60th
parallel. While further east, and to the south, are the
provisional territories of Athabasca, in the Peace River region, with 104,500 square miles; Alberta, with
106,100 square miles; Saskatchewan, with 107,092
square miles; Assiniboia, with 90,000 square miles;
and to the east of this, the district of Keewatin, with
282,000 square miles; and to the south of the latter is
the province of Manitoba, with 73,956 square miles.
British Columbia has an area of 383,300* square miles.
The territory east of Keewatin and south of Hudson's Bay, known as the Eastern District, contains
196,800 square miles. The Hudson's Bay territory
proper contains 358,000 square miles. The river basins which compose this great north country have already been quite fully described. These areas including
the older provinces of Canada are equally as large as
the whole of Europe and about 500,000 square miles
larger than the United States without Alaska, and of
about equal extent to the United States including
In order to complete our observations on the entire
• north country, we must look with some care upon the
several divisions above named, commencing with
Manitoba, which, however, is so well known that it will
not be necessary to dwell at any length on that part of
the country. Manitoba is situated in the very center
of the continent, being midway between the Atlantic
and Pacific oceans on the east and west, and the Arctic
Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico on the north and south.
This province is now well settled and enjoys a high
grade of schools, colleges, churches and a well developed social life. The climate is warm in summer and
cold in winter. The summer mean is 65 to 70 degrees,
about the same as that of the state of New York, but
in winter the thermometer falls.below zero, frequently
from 30 to 40 degrees. However, the atmosphere is
bright and dry, and the cold is not so unpleasant as
that of less cold temperatures in the humid districts
farther to the south. It may be noticed here that the
isothermal line running from Winnipeg, the capital of
Manitoba, bears duly northwest until Fort Simpson,
on the Mackenzie River, is reached. Indeed, it may
be said that there are higher temperatures, in the cold
season, farther to the northwest than at Winnipeg.
The country is one of the healthiest on the globe, and
is exceedingly pleasant to live in. There are no diseases whatever arising out of the climate. Occasionally there are summer frosts, but these do not prove
severe oftener than once in seven years.
Very little snow falls on the prairies—and this is all
a prairie country for thousands of miles in every direction where the soil has been developed—the depth of
the snow ranging from six to twelve and eighteen
inches. Native horses can graze out of doors all winter, which they do by pawing the snow off the grass.
The snow disappears and plowing begins about the
middle of April, sometimes earlier. The Red River,
which flows from the interior of Minnesota northward
to Lake Winnipeg, opens about the same time.   There THE GOLDEN NORTH.
is practically no spring. Winter bursts into summer
during the month of April. The summer months include May, June, July, August and September. Autumn lasts until the end of November, when the regular frosts set in. Harvest work is always completed
by the middle of September.
The soil is a rich, deep black mold or loam resting
on a thick, very tenacious subsoil of clay. It is held to
be, together with that of the vast regions northwest of
it, the richest soil in the world, and is especially adapted to the growth of wheat. This wheat brings a higher
price in the world's markets than that grown in any
other portion of North America. Water is almost
everywhere found by digging wells of moderate depth.
The rivers and coulees are also available for water supply during the spring and early summer. Rain falls
freely during the spring, but the summer and autumn
are generally dry.
Agricultural pursuits are highly developed in Manitoba, there being in the present season about 2,500,000
acres of land devoted to the production of wheat, oats,
barley, flax, rye, pease, corn, potatoes and roots. The
yield for the present year is not yet known, but it is
estimated to be: Wheat, 40,000,000 bushels; oats,
25,000,000 bushels; barley, 6,000,000 bushels; flax,
1,300,000 bushels; rye, 70,000,000 bushels; pease, 30,-
000,000 bushels. The potato and root crops have also
been very successful. The inhabitants of that province
are confident of a great future for their country from
an agricultural point of view. Small fruits, such as
strawberries, raspberries, currants, gooseberries, cranberries, plums, etc., are plentiful, and wild grapes are
very common. Stock raising has been carried on in
Manitoba very successfully, but is conducted on a
much larger scale in the districts farther to the west.
This province has railway communication with the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and all parts of the country
to the south of it.
Very much that has been said respecting the soil, THE GREAT FERTILE NORTH.
climate and productions of Manitoba apply equally to
almost all the northwest country east of the Rocky
Mountains. To the north and west of that province
extends the region known as the North-West Territories of Canada. It is bounded.on the south by the
49th parallel, which divides central Canada from the
United States. A remarkable feature of this great
area is its division into three distinct prairie plains or
plateaus, as they are generally called. The first of
these is known as the Red River Valley and Lake
Winnipeg Plateau. The average height above the
level of the sea of this district is about 800 feet. At the
boundary line it is 1,000 feet. The second plateau or
steppe has an average altitude of 1,600 feet, and a
width of about 250 miles. It is a rich, undulating,
park-like country. It includes the Assiniboine and
Qu'Appelle valleys. The third plateau, or steppe, begins on the boundary line at the 104th degree, where
it has an elevation of about 2,000 feet, and extends
west for 465 miles, to the foot of the Rocky Mountains,
where it has an altitude of 4,200 feet, making an average height above the sea of 3,000 feet. A fourth vast
prairie steppe, larger than the other three together, lies
north and northwest of the last two named and includes the Peace River and upper Mackenzie basins.
This region is still more fertile and better adapted to
stock raising than that immediately to the south of it.
This is because its surface does not rise above sea level
more than from 400 to 800 feet.
It is an ascertained fact in meteorological phenomena that the cold storm-waves which rise in the arctic
pass over the lower levels to burst in tempestuous fury
and low temperatures on approaching the watershed
near the 49th parallel, or the foothills of the Rockies. 112
Districts of Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Atha-
baska—The vast fertile plains to the north—Greatest
agricultural and stock raising region on earth.
In this connection we continue our observations on
the prairie and plain regions of the Canadian Northwest lying east of the Rockies, before covering the
overland routes through the mountains to the Klondike country, north of the 6oth parallel, before referred to.
The District of Assiniboia comprises' an area, as
already stated, of 90,000 square miles. The valley of
the Qu'Appelle is in the district of Assiniboia, being on
the second plateau or steppe of the continent, reaching
from the Red River to the Rocky Mountains. This
valley is a favored part of the Northwest, and settlement in it is proceeding with surprising rapidity. The
transcontinental road traverses the whole breadth of
the district, entering it a few miles east of Moosomin,
about 200 miles west of Winnipeg. This rapidly rising town lies in the center of a highly favored district
where mixed farming vies with wheat growing for the
place of first interest. The railroad affords opportunity for the location of numerous market towns, advantage of which has already been taken at many points.
In districts at. some distance from the railroad, the
ranching industry is less impeded by the pursuits of
agriculture, and a large number of Assiniboia-fed animals now find their way each season to the English
market. The Manitoba and Northwestern road enters the territories in the northern part of Assiniboia
and runs through a prosperous district, the principal
points in which are the towns of Saltcoats and York- CANADIAN NORTHWEST. 113
ton. Railroad communication is also provided for the
settlers in the southern part of the district by the Souris
branch of the Canadian Pacific, which joins the northern and southern extensions—more familiarly known
as the "Soo" line—at Estevan. This latter road gives
a direct means of communication with many of the
large centers of the United States. At several points
on this latter road coal is mined, which, though it is
not of high quality, effectually settles the fuel problem,
as it gives excellent satisfaction—both for cooking and
heating purposes—when used with suitable appliances,
while the low cost of production keeps its price within
reasonable limits. In common with other places in
the Northwest Territories, the dairy industry is taking
a leading part in the up-building of Assiniboia, there
being but few settled localities that are not within easy
reach of a creamery or cheese factory. At present the
principal market for these products is found in the
mountains of British Columbia, but not a little is
shipped to points across the Pacific, Japan, especially,
being a large consumer of prairie-made butter.
At present Moose Jaw, the northern terminus of the
"Soo" line, may be described as being the western limit
of the purely agricultural area of Assiniboia, the whole
country west of this point being, in the main, devoted
to pastoral pursuits. The western part of Assiniboia,
like the southern part of Alberta, bordering on the
arid regions of the continent, is but sub-humid, and its
rainfall, though admirably suited to a grazing country,
is not at all times sufficient to produce cereal and root
crops in such abundance as is done elsewhere in the
territories where the natural conditions are more favorable. But the cattle of these western plains fully
demonstrate that the ability of the country to sustain
animal life has not departed with the buffalo that, not
many years ago, roamed these regions. The district
is everywhere covered with a short, thick, rich grass,
which is unusually nutritious. Towards the middle
of summer the grass presents to the eye a dried and 114
burned appearance, but is in reality only cured, and
retains all its natural sustenance. In this condition it
is devoured by animals with avidity, and they fatten
upon it to a surprising degree. The principal points
in the western part of Assiniboia open for grazing
leases lie in the hills to the south of the railroad, and
are to be reached from all points between Swift Current and Medicine Hat.
The Dominion Experimental Farm for the Northwest Territories is located at Indian Head in Eastern
Assiniboia, where extensive experiments in the selection of horned cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, grains, roots,
trees and grasses, suitable to the climate are continually being made, and much of the improvement to be
noticed in the methods of agriculture in the Territories
may be directly traced to the experimental work done
at this noteworthy institution.
The seat of the Territorial Government is established
at Regina, where the Lieutenant-Governor and members of the local administration reside. This place is
also the headquarters of the Indian Department for
Manitoba and the Northwest, and also of the Northwest Mounted Police. From Regina a railway runs,
north to Prince Albert on the Saskatchewan, which at
present forms the only means of rapid communication
between this district and the markets of the world.
The district of the Saskatchewan lies to the north of
Assiniboia and the province of Manitoba, and comprises about 107,000 square miles. But a small portion
of the district has, as yet, been opened up by settlement,
which has mainly sought the banks of both branches
of the river from which the district takes its name. The
oldest settlements in the Northwest are to be found
on the Saskatchewan, which for many years formed the
highway along which the furs exported by the Hudson's Bay Company from the districts to the far northwest were carried. Notable among these are the settlements of Prince Albert and Battleford, which latter
place was for a number of years the seat of the Terri- CANADIAN NORTHWEST. 115
torial Government, but, on the construction of the
Canadian Pacific Railroad, it was deemed advisable to
remove the departmental officials to a point nearer the
On account of its present difficulties of access, this
district is not filling up so rapidly as the neighboring
districts of Assiniboia and Alberta, but its immense
resources are not altogether overlooked by new settlers, and a steady growth of population is reported.
The Manitoba and Northwestern road is chartered to
build to Prince Albert, and other roads are projected
to various points on the Saskatchewan River, which,
when completed, will open up a district of marvelous
fertility. At present the only means of access to this
district by railway is by the Qu'Appelle, Long Lake
and Saskatchewan road, which runs into Prince Albert
from Regina, but other parts of the district are easily
reached by means of well-equipped stage lines. Settlement in this district preceded railroad construction
in the Northwest by a number of years, and there are
to-day probably no more prosperous and satisfied people in the country than those who thus braved the
vicissitudes and trials of frontier life. These, however,
are now almost altogether obviated, and the newcomer who takes up land in any portion of this district will find himself within reach of all the comforts
and most of the luxuries of life.
In addition to the older towns of Battleford and
Prince Albert, bright settlements are springing up at
Jackfish Lake, Turtle Lake, Duck Lake, Shell River,
Rosthern, Stony Creek, Carlton, Carrot River, Kinis-
tino, Birch Hills, The Forks, St. Laurent, St. Louis
DeLangevin and other places. In all these neighborhoods there are still large tracts open to the home-
seeker on the usual government terms of 160 acres free
to any settler who takes up the land to live on it and
cultivate it. Iplfc
The principal crops are wheat, oats, barley and roots,
which are raised successfully and in abundance.   The
^iTWiri n6
average yield of wheat (red fyfe) is about 30 bushels
to the acre in ordinary seasons, from the sowing of one
to one and a half bushels. Oats give a twenty-five fold
increase. Though the district has proved an admira-.
ble one for the cultivation of barley, yet the small demand for this cereal has hitherto kept its production
in the background. It being necessary at times to
provide food and shelter for stock in winter, animals succeed better in the hands of the farmer than
of the rancher. For herds of from 200 to 400 head no
portion of the Territories offers better openings, but
the farmer who has his 160-acre farm well stocked succeeds, equally well with his ambitious neighbor.
The Saskatchewan district answers all the requirements of a good dairy district, pure water, cool nights
and rich grasses. Every few miles there are streams
fed by living springs, all tributary to the main river;
while large lakes of fresh water are to be found in all
directions. The whole of the district is well wooded,
and the park-like character of the scenery has been
spoken of in appreciative terms by travelers of all
The climate of the Saskatchewan district is pleasant
during nearly every portion of the year. Occasional
storms occur in winter, but, speaking generally, the
weather, even during the coldest periods of winter, is
pleasant. The summer temperature averages about 60
degrees, the numberless lakes and vast water stretches
probably accounting for this equability of temperature. The tenderest of garden produce, such as melons,
cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, corn, tomatoes and
beans are grown every year in the open air successfully,
which is sufficient proof of the immunity of the district
from summer frosts.
The sportsman will find this whole region a continual charm. Fish are caught in nearly all the lakes
and rivers, while the prairie and woods teem with
feathered game and deer of all descriptions.
The District of Alberta comprises an area of about CANADIAN NORTHWEST.
106,000 square miles. It is bounded on the south by
the international boundary; on the east by the districts
of Assiniboia and Saskatchewan; on the west by the
province of British Columbia, at the summits of the
Rocky Mountains; and on the north by the eighteenth
correction line, which is near the fifty-fifth parallel of
Nature has been lavish in its gifts to Alberta. A
great portion of the district, being immediately related
to the Rocky Mountains, has scenery of magnificent
beauty, and the numerous cold rivers and streams
which flow into it from the mountains are as clear and
blue as the sky above them, and abound with magnificent trout.
The great natural beauties of Alberta suggest that
these foothills and spurs of the Rocky Mountains will
be the favorite resort of tourists and health-seekers,
when the eastern plains shall have received their population of millions. This district may also be said to
be pre-eminently the dairy region of America. Its
cold, clear streams and rich and luxuriant grasses
make it a very paradise for cattle. This is at present
the ranch country. Numerous ranches have been
started in the southern half of Alberta, both for horses
and neat cattle, which have already been developed
into great importance. Experience has proved that
with good management the cattle thrive well in the
winter, the percentage of loss being much less than
was estimated when the ranches were undertaken.
There is in these enterprises the commencement of
"great industries, and they are now sending cattle to the
eastern markets, and to those of Europe, by the ten
thousand head. Sheep thrive exceptionally well in
this district, as they do, in fact, all over the northwest.
The census returns of 1891 showed that horses over
three years old numbered 20,704; colts and fillies, 11,-
266; milk cows, 10,785; other horned cattle, 134,064;
sheep, 16,057; and swine, 5,103. In the three provisional districts of Alberta, Assiniboia and Saskatchewan n8
the increase of live stock in 1891 was 220,400 over
1885. It is not only in agricultural resources that the
district of Alberta is rich. There are in it the greatest
extent of coal fields known in the world. The Rocky
Mountains and their foothills contain a world of minerals yet to be explored, comprising iron, gold, silver,
galena, and copper. Large petroleum deposits are
known to exist. Immense supplies of timber may also
be mentioned among the riches of Alberta, and these
are found in such positions as to be easily workable in
the valleys of the numerous streams flowing through
the foothills of the Rocky Mountains into the great
The climate of Alberta has features peculiarly its
own. In winter it is liable to remarkable alterations.
When the wind blows from the Pacific Ocean, and this
is the prevailing wind, the weather becomes mild and
the snow rapidly disappears. When, however, it
blows from the north over the plains, the weather becomes very cold, the thermometer sometimes going
down to 30 degrees below zero. In summer there
is liability to frosts, but they are generally loca^ and
do not discourage the settlers. Calgary, the chief town
in Alberta, is advancing with very rapid strides. Many
substantial and really fine buildings have been and are
being erected. It is beautifully situated at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers. It is very thriving, does a large business, and commands a beautiful
view of the Rocky Mountains. The other towns are
Lethbridge, connected by railway with the Canadian
Pacific line, where coal mines are being worked; Mac-
leod, a ranching center; Banff, in the recently formed
National Park, near which anthracite coal is being
mined, and where the famous sulphur springs are
found; and Edmonton, which is the center of the oldest
settlement in the district. .
The District of Athabaska comprises an area of
105,000 square miles, and is bounded on the south by
the district of Alberta; on the east by the line between CANADIAN NORTHWEST.
the 10th and nth ranges—west of the 4th meridian—
of the Dominion lands system of survey, until, in proceeding northwards, that line intersects the Athabasca
River; then by that river and Athabasca Lake and
Slave Riyer to the intersection of this line by the northern boundary of the district, which is to be the thirty-
second correction line of the Dominion lands township
system, and is very near the sixtieth parallel of north
latitude; and on the west by the province of British
This district also has vast resources, but, being yet,
from its northern position, out of the range of immediate settlement, its riches in agricultural and
stock-raising capabilities, and its excellent climate are
known only to explorers and surveyors.
But even to the north of this provisional district, in
the broad Peace River Valley, and alluvial plains of
the upper Mackenzie, is a still greater country in extent and resources.
Two new provisional districts or territories have recently been erected in the far northwest by the Canadian government. The first is that called Mackenzie,
lying to the north of Athabasca, and extending westward to the summit of the Rockies. The.second is
called Yukon, and extends westward from the summit of the Rockies to the 141st degree of longitude,
and northward from the northern boundary of British
=^'^A' • • Wl!M» fcT-
■ww- 120
Excellent climate—Abundance of coal—Gold in inexhaustible quantities—Iron, copper, galena, mercury, platinum, plumbago, mica, salt and many other valuable
deposits—Progress of the mines.
And now a few words as to British Columbia. This
province extends about 700 miles from south to north
and nearly 500 from west to east—an area of more
than 350,000 square miles. It is separated from the
rest of Canada by the Rocky Mountains, while the
Pacific Ocean bounds it on the west, except for nearly
300 miles on the extreme north, where the Alaskan
possessions of the United States interpose between it
and the sea. The southern limit is the forty-ninth parallel, which forms the international boundarv between
the province and the United States. The northern
boundary is the sixtieth parallel. Vancouver Island is
separated from the state of Washington by the Strait
of San Juan de Fuca. It is oblong in shape, extending
northwesterly parallel with the mainland, from which
it is divided by the Strait of the Gulf of Georgia, a
distance of 300 miles, with a varying width of from
twenty to sixty miles.
The climate varies considerably, as the province is
naturally divided into two sections, insular and continental. It is much more moderate and equable than
that of any other province of the Dominion. In the
southeastern portion of the mainland, and particularly
on the southeastern part of Vancouver Island, "the
climate is much superior to that of southern England
or central France. In this section of the province snow seldom falls, and then lies but a
few   hours   or   days.     Vegetation   remains   green u»
and the flowers are bright through the greater
part of nearly every winter; while in spring and
summer disagreeable east winds, excessively heavy
rains and long-continued fogs are unknown. Generally speaking, spring commences in February in all
parts of the province west of the Cascade Mountains.
East of these mountains the winters are short, but
sharp, continuing from six to ten or twelve weeks, with
a temperature down sometimes as low as twenty or
even thirty degrees below zero. Summers in this region are correspondingly warm. In the northern portions of the province the cold of winter is severe; but
everywhere the climate is salubrious and healthy. In
proportion to the area of the province, the extent of
land suitable for agricultural purposes is small; but in
the aggregate there are many thousands of square
miles of arable soil, so diverse in character, location
and climatic conditions as to be suited to the production of every fruit, cereal, vegetable, plant and flower
known to the temperate zone. West of the Cascade
Mountains spring and early summer rains are quite
sufficient to bring crops to maturity; but further east,
in the great stock-raising interior, irrigation is generally required for mixed farming purposes. In this
part of the province there are immense areas of open
bunch grass country admirably adapted to grazing;
while the coast of the mainland and Vancouver Island
are much better suited to mixed farming. Unoccupied
land in these sections is all more or less timbered, but
with a considerable acreage almost everywhere that can
be easily cleared and brought under cultivation. Alder
bottoms and small grassy swamps are to be found in
nearly all the numerous valleys; and this is the description of land that settlers are looking after and locating
I In mineral resources British Columbia is by far the j
richest of all the Canadian provinces.   Coal is abundant, while gold, silver, iron, copper, galena, mercury,
platinum, plumbago, mica, slate, salt and many others ._....  -
are widely distributed. With the exception of- coal
nearly all the mining industries are in their infancy and
awaiting development.
The coal output from Vancouver's Island during
1894 was 1,012,953 tons, which is the second best year
on record. It was disposed of as follows: Exported,
827,642 tons; home consumption, 165,776 tons; leaving
less than two weeks' product on hand at the end of
the year. On Graham Island, the northern of the
Queen Charlotte group, three beds of bituminous coal
have been discovered, varying from 7 1-2 to 16 feet in
thickness, and of superior quality; also, two large
seams of anthracite have been found near Yakom
Lake, but neither have been developed. Near Crow's
Neat Pass beds of excellent quality and immense thickness (one seam being thirty feet) extend a distance of
about thirty miles. This coal is manufactured into
coke. At the Kootenay mines, coke now costs $14
per ton, but when the projected British Columbia
Southern Railway is built it is expected that better
coke, from the Crow's Nest collieries, can be supplied
in the Kootenay mining district at about ont-half of
the present prices. The smelters at work now in the
Kootenay are greatly hampered on account of the
high price of coke, one at Pilot Bay is using thirty
tons per day. Froni this smelter, which only commenced its operations March 9, 1895, the bullion
shipped to the United States, up to the 30th of June,
amounted to 1,301 tons. In the Cariboo district great
activity prevails in hydraulic mining. The success
which attended the short runs made by the companies
excited great interest. In June, 1895, a "clean up,"
after a run of 172 hours, gave sixty-six pounds, three
ounces of gold, valued at $14,400. Several joint
stock companies have been formed to prosecute gold
mining on a large scale in the Cariboo district. In
Wrest Kootenay, near the boundary line, profitable investments have been made. The first cost and development work of the "War Eagle" mine amounted   to RESOURCES OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
$32,500. Shipments of ore commenced January 1,
1895, and up to June 1, 1895, $82,500 were paid on
dividends. During June the shipments of ore averaged 420 tons per week, at an average value of $37
per ton. The ore is mined at a cost of $9.50 per ton,
freight and smaller charges amount to $14 additional
per ton. In the Kootenay district 1,215 mineral claims
were recorded, 797 transfers, and 962 certificates of
work issued in 1894. There were ninety-seven placer
claims recorded in the district of West Kootenay during 1896, and there were thirty-six mining leases in
force in the Yale district during 1894, 140 mineral
claims were recorded, seventy-seven transfers made,
and 125 certificates of work issued. Reports from Al-
berni district, Vancouver Island, are encouraging.
Assays of quartz found not far from Alberni town site
gave from $103 to $135 value of gold per ton, with
traces of silver. A large number of claims have recently been located in that district. For the year ended
June 30, 1895, forty mining and smelting companies
were incorporated in British Columbia to operate in
precious metals, with nominal capital aggregating
$24,344,000. The total output of gold in British Columbia during 1894 is officially stated at $456,066;
estimated yield of silver, $8,500; with $784,965 in gold,
silver, copper and lead ore shipped from Nelson to the
United States, not included. Number of miners employed in 1894 is given at 1,610. Rich deposits of iron
ore are found on Vancouver and the smaller islands,
as well as on the coast and mainland. Those deposits
are extensive and accessible, being situated mostly near
good harbors, with the necessary fluxes for smelting
conveniently at hand. The ore averages from sixty to
seventy per cent of iron. There is an abundance of
timber for charcoal, also coal and limestone in the
vicinity of the various deposits of ore. Latest reports
from Cariboo mining district state: "The Cariboo Gold
Fields Company are progressing very well with their
work.   A large number of men are employed on the tafei
pipe line ditch. Several hundred Chinamen are at
work on the big ditch, which will be nearly eleven miles
long, three feet deep, and seven feet wide. They have
already commenced the trestle work to carry the pipe
past the town, which will take about 2,000 feet of
trestling. The pay roll for whites alone is about $5,000
per month. The contract for the ditch was let to a
Chinese firm, their tender being considerably lower
than any other. The price is somewhere near $30,000.
Taken as a whole, Cariboo will turn out double the
quantity of gold this year that it did last."
The timber resources of British Columbia are practically inexhaustible. The immense value of this industry, also comparatively new, is beginning,to interest eastern lumbermen both in Canada and the States.
Large tracts of valuable timber lands have already
been purchased or leased by eastern capitalists, and
extensive mills erected here and there, while many
others are to be built in the near future. The 524,573
acres of forest lands leased to lumbermen are estimated to contain at least twenty million feet of timber
per acre.
Second to none of the above mentioned resources
is that of the fisheries. The land-locked and quiet
bays, inlets, and fjords, together with rivers and small
streams, teem with valuable food fish of almost every
variety known in the north temperate zone. Among
them are salmon and cod, several species each; halibut,
sturgeon, herring, oulachan and many other varieties,
besides small fish. One of the most delicious of deep
water fish is the skil, or black cod, as it is sometimes
called. This is considered far superior to the cod of
Newfoundland, and has only to be introduced into the
markets of the world to create an almost unlimited
Trip from Port Simpson on the Pacific to the summit of
Pine River Pass—Wonderful mountain and valley scenery—Resources of the mighty valleys in the mountain
Let us make three distinct trips across the Rockies,
first from the Pacific Ocean, at Port Simpson, eastward by way of the Skeena, the Pine River Pass, and
thence down the Pine to Peace River and to Lake
Athabasca; second, up the Lewis, from its junction
with the Pelly to form the Yukon, in the Klondike
region, to its head waters in the Rockies, thence across
the low range of mountains at this point, to the headwaters of the Peace River, and down that stream to
Lake Athabasca; and third, up the Pelly River, from
the same point of departure, to Dease Lake, thence
across the watershed by a chain of lakes, to the headwaters of the Liard River, and down the Liard to the
Mackenzie. The latter will include a description of
the wonderful Pdly River basin.
These journeys on the printed page will familiarize
the reader with the best routes by which to reach the
Klondike, and the entire gold regions of the far northwest, as well as with the districts in which future great
gold discoveries are sure to be made.
And now as to the first route—from Port Simpson
via the Pine Rivet Pass to Lake Athabasca, and thence
to the west shore of Hudson's Bay. This will carry us
through a country unsurpassed in the beauty of its
natural scenery, the value of its resources and its lessons i*i possible transcontinental communication.
The coast of Northern British Columbia, from
which we are to select our starting point for this jour- 126 THE GOLDEN NORTH.
ney, dissected as it is with inlets, has by no means an
abundance of good harbors. The inlets are, however,
for the most part, deep, with bold, rocky snores, and
traversed by strong tidal currents. The heads almost
always receive rivers, each of which has formed shoal
banks about its mouth, owing to which shallowness of
the water they are unsafe anchorages. Take, for instance, the mouth and estuary of the Skeena. It is
shallow and encumbered with bars and banks, and is
unsuited for a harbor.
Not far to the north, however, and easily accessible
from the valley of the Skeena, lies Port Simpson, one
of the safest anchorages on the Pacific coast, and one
of the finest harbors in the world. It is over three miles
in length, with an average breadth of over one mile,
is well sheltered, and very easy of access. Moreover,
it lies at the eastern end of Dixon's Entrance, through
which vessels lying in that port have direct connection
with the Pacific Ocean between Cape Knox, the northern extremity of the Queen Charlotte Islands, and
Cape Muzon, the southwestern extremity of Prince of
Wales Island. Passing out of Port Simpson, through
Chatham Sound, the Dundas Islands are on the left
and Fort Tongus on the right. There are no obstructions of any kind to interfere with navigation.
The physical features of the coast in this neighborhood are full of interest. Professor Dawson, who
has made a geological examination of this section,
says: "The Coast or Cascade Range of British Columbia is that forming the high western border of the
continent, but beyond it lies another half-submerged
range, which appears in Vancouver and the Queen
Charlotte Islands, and is represented in the south by
the Olympian Mountains of Washington Territory,
and northward by the large islands of the coast archipelago of Alaska. In this outer range there are three
remarkable gaps, the most southern occupied by the
Strait of Fuca, the central being the wide opening
between Vancouver and the Queen Charlotte Islands, COUNTRY OF THE SKEENA.
and the northern, Dixon's entrance. To the south of
these, the lower part of the valley of the Columbia appears to occupy a similar depression, through which,
and by Puget Sound, a moderate subsidence of the
land would enable the sea to flow, forming of the
Olympian Mountain region an additional large island.
Whatever the ultimate origin of the gaps holding the
Strait of Fuca and Dixon's entrance, they are features
of great structural importance, and are continued eastward in both cases by depressions more or less marked
in the coast range proper."
These observations are borne out by the fact that
Fraser River, carrying the greater part of the drainage
between the coast range and the Rockies, after flowing
southward for several hundred miles, reaches the sea
opposite the end of the Strait of Fuca; while the Skeena,
the river we shall ascend, whose tributaries interlock
with those of the Fraser, and derive their waters from
the same plateau, falls into the Pacific near the head
of Dixon's Entrance. We have but little to do with
the Fraser, however, as our route leads us to its head
waters only. The Skeena, to which we desire to direct
attention more especially, falls into the ocean near the
head of Dixon's Inlet, not far south of Port Simpson.
The tributaries of this stream interlock with those of
the Fraser. It is a wonderful volume of water, not so
much for its greatness as for the beauty of its scenery
and the magnificent valley through which it flows.
Another large river, the Nasse, flows into the Pacific
north of the Skeena, drawing its waters from the far
The country in the immediate neighborhood of Port
Simpson is not of great agricultural value. There are
patches of good soil; but for the most part the covering
of soil is nearly everywhere scanty. There is, however, an abundance of good timber, except on the
mountain sides, which are nearly all too steep for vegetation to cling to. This is considerably below the
sixtieth parallel. 128
Port Simpson, as you may judge, is an old seat of
the Hudson's Bay Company. The post wears a decidedly military appearance, notwithstanding that its
defences have long ago fallen into disuse. Besides the
company's officers and employes, there are quite a
number of traders in the neighborhood, as well as
Indians; and, like almost all the other important posts
of the ancient company, its mission church is one of
the most attractive features.
There is a large colony of Indians about sixteen
miles south of Port Simpson, called Metlah-Catlah,
where a station of the Church Missionary Society is
in a flourishing condition. Still farther to the south,
at the mouth of the Skeena, is a third Indian establishment, with one or two traders. These, with the exception of canning establishments, are all the settlements between the mouth of the Skeena and Port
The fisheries here are fast becoming important industries. The salmon are of excellent quality, and are
very abundant in both the Skeena and the Nasse to
the north of it. These fish are chiefly taken in nets in
the estuaries of the rivers, and a large number of Indians and Chinamen are employed in connection with
the canning business. The sea fisheries of the coast
also promise to afford a very profitable industry.
The climate of Port Simpson and neighborhood is
not subject to great extremes of temperature. There
is much rain at all seasons, and occasionally, in winter-
heavy falls of snow. We have at hand no meteorological data with regard to Port Simpson proper, but have
what speaks volumes in support of its excellent climate in the records of Sitka, two and a half degrees
north of that place. However, the latitude of Sitka
is but 57.3 N., or only about a degree north of Glasgow
in Scotland, while Port Simpson is about 54.33 N. At
Sitka the temperature observations, extending over a
period of sixty years, show that the mean temperature
of spring is 41.2; of summer 54.6; of autumn 44.9; of COUNTRY OF THE SKEENA.       129
winter 32.5; and for the entire year, 43.3F. The extremes of temperature for sixty years are 87.8 and—4.0.
However, the mercury has fallen below zero in only
four years out of the sixty, and has risen to about 80
degrees in but seven years of that period. The coldest
month is January, the warmest August; June is
slightly warmer than September. The mean of the
minima for seven years of the above period is 38.6,
and that of the maxima for seven years, 48.9, showing
a remarkably equable climate.
Fogs do not occur in the neighborhood of Fort
Simpson as on the southern part of the coast. In
proof of this we may quote the adventurous La Perouse, the mariner who subdued Fort Prince of Wales,
on Hudson's Bay, in 1782. He speaks of fogs in this
locality as of rare occurrence, and records obtained
subsequently to his fully justify his observations.
Professor Dawson, who has made extended observations around Port Simpson, says that the cause of the
exceptional mildness tof the climate of that district
is to be found not alone in the fact of the proximity of
the sea, but in the abnormal warmth of the water due
to the Kuro-Siwo or Japanese Current. The average
temperature of the surface of the sea, during the summer months, in the vicinity of the Queen Charlotte
Islands, as deduced from a number of observations in
1878, is 53.8. Between Victoria and Milbanke Sound,
by the inner channels, from May 28th to June 9th, the
average temperature of the sea surface was 54.1. In
the inner channels between Port Simpson and Milbanke Sound, between August 29th and September
12th, 54.5; and from the last mentioned date to October
18th, about the north end of Vancouver Island, and
thence to Victoria by the inner channels, 50.7, Observations by the United States Coast Survey in the
latter part of July and early in August, 1867, gave a
mean, temperature of 52.1, for the surface of the sea
between Victoria and Port Simpson, and outside of
the Prince of Wales archipelago, from Port Simpson 130 THE GOLDEN NORTH.
to Sitka. In the narrower inlets of the coast, the
temperature of the sea falls, owing to the quantity of
cold water mingled with it by the entering of the
Our journey is from Port Simpson to Churchill.
We travel first to the mouth of the Skeena, where is
situated the village of Port Essington, or Spuksute, a
native hamlet. The surface of the country here is low,
level and swampy, and rough with stumps and logs,
the remains of an originally dense forest growth. Behind the little flat on which the village stands is a
ridge, rising in one place to a remarkable peak.
As we are going over this route with a view to judge
of its practicability for railway location, we must observe that, from the Skeena, Port Simpson may be
easily reached by the iron horse. Mr. Crombie, C. E.,
in his report in 1877, says: "The distance to Port
Simpson (from the Skeena) is probably eight miles
greater than to a point on the mainland opposite Car-
dena Bay; but the obstacles to the construction of a
railway line are not so great, and the cost of building
it would probably be less."
The mouth or entrance to the Skeena was first explored by Mr. Whidbey, of Vancouver's staff, in July,
1793. He appears to have gone no further up than
the mouth of the Ecstall, and to have been too easily
convinced that the inlet was of no particular importance. To Vancouver the name of Port Essington is
due, and was by him originally applied to the whole
estuary. It is singular that, notwithstanding the diligence and skill of Vancouver in his exploration of
the west coast, he passed the mouths of the three
largest rivers—the Fraser, the Skeena, and the Nasse,
without specially noting them.
The mouth of the river has become pretty much
filled with debris brought down by the current, so that
notwithstanding the banks are bold, the water is
shallow. The mountains on either side, as you ascend
the river, are steep, and mostly covered with a dense COUNTRY OF THE SKEENA.
forest. Their summits, though scarcely ever over
4,000 feet high, are generally covered with snow until
early in July, and at any season large patches of perpetual white will always greet the beholder. In a few
cases wide areas of bushes and swampy meadows seem
to occupy the higher slopes, but numerous large and
bare surfaces of solid rock are visible, from which
snowslides and landslips have removed whatever covering of soil may have originally xlung there. The
tide flows up the Skeena for a distance of eighteen or
twenty miles above Port Essington. At this point the
river valley narrows somewhat, and a mass of bare and
rocky mountains appear on the north bank, whose
slopes are exceptionally steep, and end at the river
bank in bluffs and cliffs of considerable height. Between the head of tide-water and the mouth of Lakelse
River, a distance of thirty-six miles, the Skeena receives several streams of some importance. The valley
has an average width in the bottom of from 1 1-2 to
2 miles, the mountains bordering it everywhere,
reaching 3,000 to 4,000 feet at a short distance from
-the river. At about half way between the two points
mentioned, however, the height of the mountains appears often to exceed 4,000 feet, and they probably
reach 5,000 feet on both sides of the river, west of the
Lakelse. Near the Lakelse, with a decreasing altitude,
they assume more rounded forms and show less bare
rock, being covered with trees nearly up to their summits. The quantity of snow which accumulates on
the higher mountains is evidently very great.
Through the greater part of the Skeena the dull,
brownish water flows at the rate of four to six miles
an hour, sweeping round its many islands, and pouring
through the accumulated piles of drift logs with a
steady rushing sound. No reaches of slack water occur. The river is evidently quite shallow, although
it is navigable for steamboats for a distance of at least
five miles above the Kitsumgalum, where the Sipkiaw
Rapid is met with.   Islands are exceedingly numerous,
ggf»? fcate
and so divide the stream as to cause it to occupy in
many places a great portion of the valley. Above the
rapid mentioned, there are but few islands. About
four miles above the Sipkiaw, the Zymoetz River,
from the southeast, joins the Skeena. It is a stream
of considerable size. The mountains among which it
rises are over 6,000 feet high.
About five miles above the Zymoetz, or seventy-
seven from the Pacific, is Kitsalas Canyon. The
mountains at this point crowd closely on the river,
especially on the north side, and though the cliffs and
precipices are seldom over 100 feet in height, they
are rugged, and the hillsides above them are steep and
rough. The channel of the river is also broken by
several small islands. At the lower end of the canyon
the river greatly expands. In foaming torrents, or
dashing eddies of the canyon are the favorite salmon
fishing stations of the Indians. It is difficult to ascend
the river through this canyon, but the task may be
accomplished by skillful canoe-men, who make two
short portages; the rapids may be descended safely
without portaging.
There is a small Indian settlement on the north side
of the river at the lower end of the canyon. The huts
are mostly rude, and in front of them are planted
strangely carved totem-posts, having figures of birds,
beasts, etc., at the top. At the upper end of the canyon
on the south bank is another small Indian settlement
with about a dozen huts, some in a state of great
dilapidation. This canyon is in latitude 54, 37, 6 N.
Not far to the north of the canyon, the mountains are
over 6,000 feet high.
From Kitsalas Canyon to Kwatsalix, a distance of
about twenty-four miles, the general course of the
river is nearly north and south. Here the highest
range of the coast mountains appears to be crossed;
but the river has appropriated a natural valley, and not
cut through the range. The river in this part of its
course has several swift rapids, but when the water is
not too high, these are not hard to overconie. The
valley continues to be about a mile and a half wide—
in places two miles—between the steep slopes of its
bordering mountains. It winds considerably, but
makes no abrupt turns. On either side of the stream
there is a flat, sometimes more extensive on one side
than on the other, about thirty feet above the water,
well wooded, and containing a good spil. These
spaces are, in season, mostly covered with wild peas,
vetches, and other plants, growing luxuriantly, especially where the timber has been burned away.
Speaking of the scenery along this part of the river,
Professor Dawson says: "From various points a few
miles above Kitsalas Canyon, fine glimpses of the
higher peaks are obtained, but a better view, including
the whole snow-clad Sierra, some tent-like peaks of
which surpass a height of 8,000 feet, is gained on looking back on this region from the hills above the Forks.
In several places small valleys in the upper parts of
the range are filled with blue glacier ice, and one
glacier, which appears to be of some size, is situated a
few miles below Kwatsalix on the right bank. The
semi-circular valley containing this, surrounded by
peaks estimated at 7,000 feet in height and abundantly
covered with snow, is probably the finest piece of
mountain scenery on the river. The glacier occupies
the bottom of a narrow V-shaped valley and is probably about a quarter of a mile in width, rising up between the slopes like a broad wagon-road. The ice
appears from a distance to be completely covered with
fallen stones and debris, and though the slope of the
valley is considerable, the motion of the glacier must
be slow, as the stream flowing from it was, at the date
of our visit, nearly without earthy impurity. The end
of this glacier is about four miles back from the river,
and was estimated to be about 600 feet above it."
Kwatsalix Canyon is a part of the river less than
half a mile in length, where steep rocks and low cliffs
come down to the water's  edge; but, although   the ■ —i      as
water runs swiftly, there is scarcely a true rapid, and
canoes may be worked up it without great difficulty.
There.are a few Indian huts at Kwatsalix, but the
larger Indian village, Kitwanga, is situated on the right
bank of the river some twenty-four miles above it.
It consists of about fifteen or twenty huts, located on
a flat of considerable extent, and at a height of about
twenty feet above the river. A trail leads from this
place across to the Nasse River, which is three days'
journey to the north. ' The huts are of the usual style",
and the village is marked by several totem-posts
curiously carved.
About seven miles above Kitwanga the mouth of
the Kitseguecla River is met with, and some of the
strongest rapids on the Skeena are situated near the
confluence with this river. From a point above this
to the Forks, the current is less powerful. There is
a small Indian village near the mouth of the Kitseguecla, consisting of about ten houses of quite modern style. The Forks, or Hazelton, is situated on the
left bank of the Skeena, a short distance above the
junction of the Watsonkwa. It stands on an extensive
flat ten or fifteen feet above the river, and at the base
of a higher terrace, which rises very steeply to a height
of 170 feet. Two or three traders live here, and there
is an Indian village Of about half a dozen barn-like
buildings, each accommodating several families.
The Skeena country, or valley through which we
have traveled so far, may to some extent be called
an agricultural country. On the lower part of the
river, with the exception of a few islands there is no
good land. At about twenty-five miles below the
Forks, however, the higher terraces at the sides of the
river, and a few hundred feet above its level, extend in
many places some miles back from it. These plains
contain excellent soil, consisting of a sandy loam with
a considerable proportion of vegetable matter. Eastward from the Forks the valleys and plateaus present
the same characteristics, only that the fertile areas are COUNTRY OF THE SKEENA.
more extensive. Most of the rivers flowing into the
Skeena have more or less extensive valleys all well
suited to agriculture.
The climate of the Skeena country, especially in the
neighborhood of the Forks, is similar to that of Montreal, except that the. winters are colder. Snow generally falls first in October but melts again, the winter
snow not coming until the middle of December. The
winter is, in general, steadily cold, similar in all respects to that of Winnipeg except that there is always
a thaw in February. Spring comes even earlier than
in Manitoba. Grass begins to grow, and many varieties of trees to bud, the first week in April. Some little
cultivation has been carried on. Potatoes are annually grown; they are usually fit for use by*the first of
July, and are harvested before the^end of September.
Wheat has been tried and found to do well. Oats
do exceptionally well, and in 1878 two successive
crops ripened before the frosts came. The second of
course was a "volunteer crop." Squashes, cucumbers,
and other tender vegetables can be grown successfully. Cattle and horses are wintered with ease in this
section; but, as in Manitoba, they require to be stabled
and fed during the winter months.
The Skeena opens during the last week in April,
and ice forms over it during the last week in December. It is generally highest in July, and is lowest immediately after the ice goes out. Its vast volume of
water is supplied from the melting snow on the mountains. The snow-fall is from five to ten feet on the
lower Skeena, but in the neighborhood of the Forks
it does not exceed an average depth of three feet.
Above the Forks it is less than two feet, being less
throughout than in any location for a long distance
south of it. Upon the whole, the general characteristics of the climate are much the same as those of Manitoba.
The Watsonkwa River, which joins the Skeena from
the south-eastward at the Forks, has a magnificent fcafe
valley throughout its entire length. It is partly prairie,
and produces a magnificent growth of grass.
From the Forks eastward to the summit of Pine
River Pass, there are many routes which the traveler
may take; but it is impossible to state, until further
exploratory surveys are made, which is most suitable
for a railway line. It is sufficient to say that there
is a choice of some three or four, any of which offer
good facilities for railway construction. Owing to the
facts that the Skeena River, above the Forks, is very
rapid, and that the Babine River which flows into it
is quite impassable in its canyons for canoes, and that
it makes a long detour to the north, we will leave the
Skeena at the Forks for the north end of Babine
Lake. The distance is about forty miles in a straight
line; by the trail it is nearly fifty, and the direction is
almost due east.
The Skeena Forks, or Kitma, is the site of an Indian village where about two hundred and fifty
Tshimsians reside. Here the waters of the Bulkley
River, flowing from the southeast, mingle with those
of the Skeena, which, at, and above this point, flow
from the north. The waters of the Bulkley come from
the same series of small lakes in which the Nechaco
River takes its rise, flowing easterly to Fort George,
beyond which it is lost in the Fraser.
Our present route from the Forks to the north end
of Babine Lake is on a trail known as the Old Indian
route. It was cut out and improved by the Government of British Columbia a number of years ago, so as
to afford easy access to the Omenica mining district.
It is still used to a great extent by the Indians, who
make a regular business of carrying goods and provisions across. After leaving the somewhat flat country at the Forks, the trail passes over nearly level country for several miles. It is wooded with poplar, cotton-
wood and birch mixed with evergreen trees, and seems
to have a good soil, and to be well fitted for cultivation.
Grass, with wild peas and vetches, grow in great, COUNTRY OF THE SKEENA.
luxuriance; and, traveling through this beautiful district in the spring or early summer months, one will
find ail the thickets fragrant with wild roses. A great
variety of wholesome berries abound beyond the
limit of description, and strawberries, in their season,
might be gathered by the ton. It is indeed a wonderful country.
Not far from the Forks the trail reaches the gently
sloping hill sides on the right bank of the Watsonkwa,
which it continues to follow for seven or eight miles,
till a stream called the Suskwa is reached, just above
its junction with the Watsonkwa. In following the
hill sides, the valleys of several small streams flowing in courses of greater or less depth, are crossed.
The valley of the main stream, from the bases of the
mountains to the river side is wide; but the immediate
valley of the river is steep-sided, and its waters flow
onward with great force between rocky banks. The
Indians in this part of the country construct bridges
across such streams as are too rapid to be crossed in
canoes with safety, when they are not too wide for the
means at disposal. These have been called suspension
bridges, and are ingenious in plan.
About six miles from its mouth the Suskwa is joined
by the Skil-o-kis, from the north, a very rapid stream,
fifty-seven feet wide and two feet deep. This is crossed
by a newly constructed Indian. bridge like those
previously mentioned. Five miles further on, in a
general eastward direction, the main valley of the
Suskwa turns to the south southeast, while the trail
continues eastward by that of a large tributary. The
sources of this stream, known as the Oo-ats-anli, are
reached in about fourteen miles, and the summit is
passed at a distance of seven miles from the north
end of Babine Lake.
The summit of the range separating the valleys of
the Watsonkwa and Skeena from the basin of Babine
Lake is passed in a low altitude where mountain sheep
and mountain goats are to be seen in considerable
10 up
numbers. From this summit, looking eastward, Babine Lake is seen stretching far to the southeastward
like a silver ribbon, its banks generally low, with flats
or rounded hills of moderate elevation bordering them.
Before reaching the lake the trail crosses a small
stream called the Tzes-a-tza-kwa, or canoe-making
river. It is about fifty feet wide by one foot deep at
low water.
The group of lakes, says Prof. Dawson, of which
Babine is one, may be regarded as occupying two
parallel valleys, which conform to the general northwesterly and southeasterly bearings which govern the
main features of the whole country lying between the
Rocky Mountains proper and the coast. Babine Lake
for the greater part of its length, lies nearly parallel to
the Watsonkwa Valley, but at its southern end bends
abruptly eastward, a wide valley running through from
its extremity to the head of Stewart Lake. The watershed between the Skeena and Fraser River systems is
situated in this valley:—Babine Lake discharging
northward by the Babine River, which, after follow^
ing the general direction of the valley occupied by the
lake for some distance, cuts across the line of the Babine Mountains and reaches the Skeena; Stewart Lake
discharging by the Stewart River into the Nechaco,
and thence to the Fraser. The valley of Stewart Lake
opens widely at the southeastern extremity of the low
country of Nechaco and Chilacco. Stewart Lake occupies the southeastern part of the second or northeastern of the great valleys above referred to; and to
the northwest of it, in the same line, lie Trembleur,
Tacla, and Bear lakes. Stewart Lake is about forty
miles in extreme length, Tacla forty-six miles, and
Bear Lake about twelve miles; the dimensions of
Trembleur and Traverse or Cross Lake are not known.
Trembleur and Tacla lakes discharge southeastward
into Stewart Lake, while Bear Lake forms the source
of the Skeena. With the increasingly mountainous
character of the country to the north the height of the COUNTRY OF THE SKEENA.
water surface in the lakes increases, being approximately as follows: Stewart Lake, 2,200, Tacla Lake
2,271, Bear Lake 2,604.
The route from Fort Babine, on the northern portion of Lake Babine to Fort St. James, at the southern
extremity of Stewart Lake, is by the lakes above described. It is a six days' journey with ajpack train
from Fort St. James to Fort McLeod, on the north
end of McLeod Lake, which is in latitude 55 north, or
the same as Fort Babine. From Fort McLeod to the
summit of Pine River Pass the distance is short, and
the direction northeasterly. From Stewart Lake to
McLeod Lake the region, as a whole., is flat, and
characterized rather by low ridges and terraces than
by hills. Its eastern part drains towards Stewart Lake,
but the greatest area is drained by Salmon River and
its tributaries, which, flowing southward, join the
Fraser near Fort George. East of the Salmon River
lies the Pacific and Arctic watershed, beyond which
the Long Lake River, a small stream, is found flowing
toward McLeod's Lake. On leaving Stewart Lake
the ground rises gradually till a height of 400 feet
is gained at eight or nine miles from the lake. The
surface is generally undulating, has been frequently
burned over, and shows fine grassy meadows, suitable
for cultivation. From this place to the crossing of
Salmon River the country consists of undulating uplands, the highest point of which is about 700 feet
above Stewart Lake.
We may travel from the Hudson's Bay post, Fort
McLeod, at the northern end of McLeod Lake, to
the summit of the Pine River Pass, by way of the
Misinchinca River. The Pack River, issuing from
McLeod Lake, is about two hundred feet wide, and
has an average depth of about two feet in July. It
flows northward about fifteen miles to its junction
with the Parsnip River, which joins it from the southeast. At the mouth of the Misinchinca, the Parsnip,
according to comparative barometer readings, is 2,170
m*~s mmsu* ■■■ -mi 140
feet above the sea. It has a width of five hundred feet,
and is generally quite deep. The current is rapid, averaging probably three or four miles an hour, the
waters being brownish and muddy, and evidently in
great part derived from melting snow.
But we are nearing the Pine River Pass. The valley which is occupied by the lower part of the Misinchinca may be said to come to an end at the mouth of
the Atunatche, inosculating with a second, which runs
in a north northwest by south southeast course parallel
to the main direction of flexure and elevation in this
part of the Rocky Mountains. In the opposite direction this depression becomes the Atunatche Valley, and
further on that of the upper part of the Pine River,
which, after flowing north northwestward for eleven
miles, turns abruptly to the eastward and finds its way
to the Peace River below Fort St. John. Here on this
summit, in latitude 55, 24, 17, the height is but 2,440
feet above the sea, or, according to all authorities,
less than 2,500 feet.
From this point we are to descend to the great
agricultural plains of the Pine and Athabasca rivers,
and the vast fertile regions of the Peace River and its
tributaries. We have hurriedly sketched the distance
from Port Simpson on the Pacific to this Pass, in view
of its fitness for the location of a railway line to connect the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic, via Hudson's
The land in the Pine River Valley for fifty miles
above its junction with the Peace is of excellent quality, and well suited for agricultural and grazing purposes. It should be observed that this fertile strip of
land, lying nearly in the heart of the Rocky Mountains,
is an extension of the Beaver Plains which connect
with the great fertile belt stretching from Manitoba
to and beyond the Peace River.
Finally, the following may be noted as the salient
facts ascertained from this exploration, viz: That a
depression occurs in the Rocky Mountain range, ex- COUNTRY OF THE SKEENA.
tending from 55.15 to 5545, north latitude: That a
pass exists in this depression which, together with its
approaches from east and west is, with respect to railway construction, of a generally favorable character:
That the summit of this pass is 2,440 feet above the
.level of the sea, which summit, for the sake of convenient comparison, it may be observed, is 1,293 feet
lower than that of the Yellowhead Pass;' 1,065 feet
lower than the watershed between the Fraser and
Homathco rivers; 660 feet lower than the summit to
Dean Channel; and, to carry the comparison a little
farther, 5,802 feet lower than the highest point on
the Union Pacific Railway.
We have now to examine the country from the Pine
River to Churchill on Hudson's Bay, and see what its
advantages are, and to note some of its requirements
from the standpoint of cheap transportation. This will
complete our observations of the country to be
traversed by the proposed transcontinental Short
Line from the Pacific Coast to Europe, via the Pine
River Pass and the Hudson's Bay route. We will then
turn our attention to the other two before-named
passes to the north, which lead from the great plains
of the far northwest to the Klondike regions. I*K
A transcontinental route from Atlantic to Pacific through
Hudson's Bay and Strait—Across the rich, fertile prairies, through the Pine River Pass—Vast areas of rich
We have traveled in the forgoing chapter from the
•Pacific to and through the Pine River Pass of the
Rockies, and we will now complete the journey eastward to Hudson's Bay, and will travel more than a
thousand miles through the finest agricultural country
in the world. The descent from the summit is gradual
towards the level plains. The great fertile valley or
lower plain with its mighty rivers, its extensive, pure
lakes and innumerable small streams, stretches away
eastward to Hudson's Bay, northward, to our left, to
the head waters of the Mackenzie, and southeastward
for more than two thousand miles. The prospect to
one descending from this pass is inspiring. The fertile area before the traveler comprises over 300,000,000
acres. Down to our left on the broad plains of the
Peace River there is the climate of the most favored
portions of British Columbia, with the finest soil in the
world. There countless herds of cattle may roam and
fatten upon the rich grasses that everywhere abound,
without the shelter of barn or stable, and without being exposed to the severity of an ordinary winter
climate. There all kinds of orchard and garden fruits
may be cultivated and grown in plenty, and the best
cereals of the northern temperate zone harvested in
yields unequaled anywhere.
Down before us to the eastward, beyond the Smoky
River, are spread out the limitless alluvial plains of the
Athabaska and its tributaries, an expanse of fertile VJ
territory that must soon become thickly populated with
a prosperous agricultural community; while away to
the southeast, in the country of the North Saskatchewan, the heart of the wheat belt is reached.,
Mr. Sanford Fleming, C. M. G., in a paper read by
him in 1878 before the Royal Colonial Institute, London, England, gives the following description of the
prairie region. He said: "It has been fdund convenient in describing the general characteristics of
Canada to divide it into three great regions. Its leading botanical, geological and topographical features
suggest this division. One region, except where
cleared of its timber by artificial means, is densely
wooded, another is wooded and mountainous, the third
is a vast lowland plain of prairie character. The mountain region is on the western side; the prairie regions
in the middle; the remainder, which embraces the
settled Provinces on the St. Lawrence, originally covered with a growth of timber, may, for the sake of
simplicity of description, be considered the woodland
"The prairie region of Canada lies in the northern
drainage basin; it may be considered to extend from
south to north more than a thousand miles, and nearly
the same distance from east to west. It is not a treeless
prairie; a considerable portion is thinly wooded; yet
the whole is considered as more or less partaking of a
prairie character. The prairie region, so called, is
somewhat triangular in form. One side coincides with
the International Boundary Line, and extends from
the 95th to the 113th meridian; another side follows
the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains from the
49th to about the 64th parallel of latitude. The third
side, about 1,500 miles in length, skirts a remarkable
series of lakes, rivalling in size Lakes Erie and Ontario.
These great water-filled depressions lie in a generally
straight northwesterly and southeasterly direction.
They embrace Great Slave Lake, Lake Athabaska,
Lake Wollaston, Deer Lake, and Lake of the Woods, 144 THE GOLDEN NORTH.
and they appear to occur geologically, on the separating line, between a broad band of Laurentian or
metamorphic rocks and the softer Silurian formations.
This great triangular-shaped region is estimated to
measure about 300,000,000 acres. Its base, running
along the series of lakes mentioned, will probably average less than 1,000 feet above the sea; and its apex,'
near where the International Boundary Line enters
the Rocky Mountains, will probably be about 4,000
feet above sea level. This region may generally be
described as a great plane sloping from its apex in a
northeastery direction downwards to its base, but the
inclination is not uniform and unbroken. Several
terraces and well-defined escarpments stretching across
the country are met with at intervals. A great proportion of the surface is gently rolling, and hills of no
great height occur here and there. The rivers of this
division of the country flow for a great part of their
course in deeply-eroded channels, frequently of considerable width, and as the superficial formations are
for the most part drift or soft rock, the channels which
have been furrowed out are but little obstructed by
falls or steep rapids. They generally present a uniform descent, and the "long stretches of some of the
rivers, although the current be swift, are capable of
being navigated. A wide expanse of the region to the
south of the main Saskatchewan is a prairie, without
trees or shrubs of any kind; the treeless prairie passes
by easy gradations into copse-woodland with prairie
intervening. To the north of the Saskatchewan, woodland appears in various localities. On Peace River
there are extensive prairies; there is also an agreeable
mixture of woodland and prairie; and this character
of country appears to prevail for a considerable distance still further north.
"It is scarcely to be supposed that a region so extensive would be found all fertile land. The great
American desert, which covers a wide area in the
center of the United States, was at one time thought to FROM THE ROCKIES TO CHURCHILL.
extend north for a considerable distance into Canada.
The Boundary Commission's reports, however, appear to show, that the arid and unproductive tract is
more limited on the Canadian side than was previously supposed; and that a great breadth of the country
previously considered valueless may be used for pastoral purposes, and some of it ultimately brought under
cultivation. There are other places within the territory described as the prairie region, which are favorable for farming pursuits; and although certain drawbacks claim recognition, there can no longer be any
doubt respecting the salubrity of the climate and the
existence of vast plains of rare fertility. Information
on this head has been obtained year by year. Professor
Macoun, a well known botanist, has recently been
commissioned specially to investigate this subject. He
estimates that there are no less than 260,000,000 acres
of land available in this region alone for farming and
grazing purposes.
"The mineral riches of this great division of Canada
are but imperfectly known. It has, however, been established that immense deposits of coal exist in many
parts, chiefly along the western side. The examinations of Mr. Selwyn, Director of the Geological Survey, carry the impression that the coal-bearing rocks
pass, with their associated coal seams, and iron ores,
beneath the clays farthest east, and it may be that
shafts would reveal workable seams of coal at such
limited depths beneath the surface as would render
them available for fuel and for industrial purposes in
the heart of the prairies. Should these views of Mr.
Selwyn prove correct, their realization will be of the
greatest possible importance to the country. Besides
coal and iron ore, petroleum, salt and gold have also
been found. The Red River settlers, exposed to many
vicissitudes during a space of half a century, did not
greatly prosper. But since the incorporation with
Canada of the whole country formerly under the sway
of the Hudson's Bay Company, marvelous progress
has been made. The Province of Manitoba has been
created around the place which was once the Selkirk
settlement; its population has increased from a mere
handful to many thousands, and it has to all appearance entered on a career of unexampled progress.
"Manitoba, although a province with prospect so
brilliant, occupies but a small corner of the fertile
lands in the interior of Canada. The prairie region,
as set forth in the foregoing, is alone ten times the
area of England, reckoning every description of land.
Such being the case, it may be no vain dream to
imagine that in due time many provinces will be
carved out of it, and that many millions of the human
family may find happy and prosperous homes on these
rich alluvial plains of Canada."
Since the above was written by Mr. Fleming, much
that he predicted has been realized. Extensive coal
mines have been opened in the Saskatchewan Valley"
and are proving of vast utility. Petroleum has been
discovered in large quantities, and arrangements are
now being made to bring it into market; and the
agricultural capabilities of the region are proving to
be much greater than the estimate then placed upon
them. The whole prairie region has been divided into
five sections, viz: The Province of Manitoba, extending from the western boundary of Ontario westward
to the I02d meridian, and northward to the 53d parallel; the District of Assiniboia and Saskatchewan, extending from the western boundary of the Province of
Manitoba to the 111th meridian, and northward from
the International Boundary Line to the 55th parallel,
the former comprising the south half of the territory
described, and the latter the north half; the District
of Alberta extending from the western limits of Assiniboia and Saskatchewan to the eastern limit of British Columbia, and northward from the International
Boundary to the 55th parallel; the District of Atha-
baska, extending northward from the northern limits
of Alberta to the 60th parallel, and eastward from the FROM THE ROCKIES TO CHURCHILL.
eastern boundary of British Columbia to the inth
meridian. The last four will, in due timet be erected
into provinces, with responsible governments, with
about their present boundaries.
The carrying trade of that commerce will find its
principal channel through the waters of Hudson's
Bay; and the proposed railway line we are describing, from Port Simpson to Churchill, will not only
bring Japan and Europe closer together by thousands
of miles than by any other possible route, but must become the chief avenue of transportation for the whole
District of Athabaska and the greater portion of Alberta to the south of it, as well as for the illimitable
region to the north and northwest. 148 THE GOLDEN NORTH.
Description of the immediate Klondike country—Life at
Dawson City—Boom in real estate—Trading and the
high prices of supplies—Saloons and gambling—The
future of Dawson City.
But to return to the Klondike, from which point, or
rather from the junction of the Pelly and Lewis rivers,
we are to make two journeys up the western slopes of
the Rockies, across their summits, and down to the
great valleys to the eastward. As promised, one of
these will be by the Lewis, through the pass between
Fort Mumford and the mountains, bordering the
southern portion of Lake Dease, thence to the head
waters of the Peace River and down that stream to
Lake Athabasca; the other, and more northern, will
be by the Pelly River to Lake Frances, and through
the pass between the Blue Mountains and the range
to the southwest of Lake Frances, to the head waters
of the Liard River, thence down the Liard or Mountain River, to Fort Simpson, where it joins the mighty
Mackenzie in a magnificent prairie region less than
400 feet above the level of the sea.
Before following these routes on the printed page,
it will be interesting to take a look at Dawson City,
the metropolis of the mining camps of the far northwest, and of the country immediately surrounding it.
A little above Dawson City, which is on the northeastern bank of the Yukon, Klondike River is met,
flowing from the east or a little north of east. Thirty
miles above Dawson City, for which distance the Yukon flows almost directly from the south, Indian River *
is met with, flowing from the east. Between Klondike
and Indian rivers there is a net-work of creeks flowing I
into the former from the south, and into the latter
from the north, and into the Yukon from the east, the
banks of all being gold-bearing. An unexplored spur
of the Rocky Mountains projects westward to the
head waters of the Klondike and Indian rivers, and
separates between them for a considerable distance.
It is probably'from this spur, in which it is believed rich
quartz mines will be discovered, that the coarse gold
has been washed down to the creeks and rivers of the
immediate Klondike region. As before noted, the
principal creeks flowing into the Klondike from the
south are, commencing on the east, Too-Much-Gold
Creek, Hunker Creek, Soda Creek, Last Chance
Creek, Bear Creek and its branches, Boulder, Adams,
Eldorado and French creeks. The principal streams
flowing into the Indian River to the south are, commencing on the east, Dominion Creek, No-Name
Creek and Quartz Creek. An equal number of streams
flow southward into Klondike River from the north,
and northward into Indian River from the south. On
the west side of the Yukon, a number of rivers flow
from the west into that river which have already been
enumerated and described, the principal of which are
the Forty and Sixty Mile rivers.
This is the Klondike country proper, and Dawson
City is its metropolis. The place contains at the present time a population of about 4,000, and during the
coming winter, when a large number of miners will
take shelter there to await the warm weather of spring
to begin mining operations, it will probably reach 6,000
or 7,000. It is believed that before the close of 1898,
Dawson City will have a population of 20,000. However, as mining operations appear to be moving higher
up the slopes to the eastward, there is a good prospect
for towns of considerable size being developed somewhere on the upper waters of the Lewis and Pelly
rivers. But the fact that Stewart River, which flows
into the Yukon to the west, contains a vast area of pay
gold, together with the rich quartz mines which are I'linimw    iiihwii	
sure to be developed in the neighborhood of Dawson
City, point to that place as the greatest commercial
center of the gold regions west of the Rocky Mountains for a long period to come. More than this, it is
near the head of navigation of the Yukon River for
steamers of any considerable size, and. is a convenient
point to be reached by those going into the country,
not only by the way of St. Michaels to the Yukon, but
from Dyea and Skaguay through the mountain passes
to the north of these places, and by way of the Lewis
It may be noted in this connection that border settlements of considerable size will no doubt grow up at
St. Michaels, at the mouth of the Yukon, at Dyea, and
at Skaguay. In the expectation that a large number
of miners and prospectors will winter at St. Michaels
during the coming season, the North American Trading and Transportation Company has asked the government at Washington that one of the Revenue Cutters, now in the Bering Sea, be stationed at St. Michaels this winter instead of going to Seattle or San
Francisco, as usual. It is believed that the presence of a
government gun boat, with a crew well armed, would
have a good effect in showing the government's determination to preserve order and prevent robbery and
other forms of outlawry which might otherwise occur
there. At the time this is being written, our government has not decided what action will be taken in this
respect. It is expected that a considerable population
will be more or less permanently settled at St. Michaels, for which reason immense warehouses are about
to be built there; besides, it is evident that a considerable trans-shipping business will be carried on
at that place. At Dyea and Skaguay, both of which
places have already a considerable population, permanent towns of considerable size will no doubt grow
up in the near future, and it may be expected that the
government which has jurisdiction over these places
will amply provide for the enforcement of law and
order. Although access to the Klondike country
through the passes to the north of these places is not
impossible, it is not likely that these routes will be
abandoned, for their passes are being improved, and
will no doubt continue to be traveled, especially by a
large proportion of those who leave the Pacific Coast
to go into the north country light.
There is another point at which a large border mining town will no doubt start up with good prospects
next summer. We refer to some point on the Peace
River near its head waters. Vast gold deposits have
already been discovered in this region, both in northern British Columbia, and along the eastern slopes of
the Rockies on the banks of the brooks and creeks
which flow into the upper Peace and Liard rivers.
But to return to Dawson City, which is a typical
mining town. It is laid out in rectangular shape into
town lots. The streets are sixty-six feet wide and the
whole plat has been regularly entered with the Dominion government, by Joseph Ladue, its proprietor, as a
town site. It is situated on a stretch of low ground on
the northwest bank of the Yukon, a short distance below the mouth of the Klondike. During the present
summer a vast majority of its inhabitants lived in tents,
but a great many houses were built during the season,
preparatory to the requirements of winter. Some of
these are quite substantial buildings. It is unfortunately true that the best and most commodious
buildings in the town, aside from the somewhat extensive and imposing warehouses of the North American
Trading and Transportation Company, are occupied
by saloons and gambling houses; and these places, as
is the case with all mining centers of population, are
excessively patronized. Town lots in Dawson City are
being sold at a high figure, some of them bringing as
much as $5,000 each. Of course Dawson City is having a boom, and a real estate boom at that. But it is
having a boom in trade also; for all kinds of supplies
and provisions that have been taken into the country
?B»l ^l^LA.,1 «UU^tfL« LJiJjfgg .,-.•.. ..- ...
are being sold to miners at almost fabulous prices, and,
of course, yielding immense profits. So far as the real
estate boom is concerned, it will no doubt turn out like
that of Winnipeg, Manitoba, which continued at high
water mark from 1880 to 1883, when it collapsed with
a precipitancy that stranded the entire population of
that city. But the boom at Dawson City is on, and it
will continue for two or three years at least, probably
until the town has reached a population, during certain seasons of the year, of 25,000. During the present year the lowest standard of value in actual use
there, has been the fifty-cent piece, or, in the parlance
of the town, "four bits." This is the price of the smallest article, and takes the place, in small transactions,
of the penny in our American cities. During 1897 the
ruling prices at Dawson City have been about as follows:
Flour, per 100 pounds $ 12.00
Moose hams, per pound  1.00
Caribou meat, per pound  .65
Beans, per pound  .10
Rice, per pound  .25
Sugar, per pound  .25
Bacon, per pound  .40
Butter, per roll  1.50
Eggs, per dozen  1.50
Better eggs, per dozen  2.00
Salmon, each     i.oo@ 1.50
Potatoes, per pound  .25
Turnips, per pound  .15
Tea, per pound , 1.00
Coffee, per pound  .50
Dried fruits, per pound  .35
Canned fruits, per pound  .50
Canned meats.  .75
Lemons, each  .20
Oranges, each  .50
Tobacco, per pound  1.50 METROPOLIS OF THE KLONDIKE. 153
Liquors, per drink  .50
Shovels  2.50
Picks    5.00
Coal oil, per gallon  1.00
Overalls   1.50
Underwear, per suit  5-00@ 7.50
Shoes  5.00
Rubber boots  10.00@15.00
Lumber has been selling for $150 per thousand feet,
rough, and $250 dressed. Wages for unskilled labor
have run from $10 to $15 per day. This includes carpentering, for most of the joiners that have gone to
that country up to the present time are called "saw
and hammer men." Those who have been employed
in the mines have received from $10 to $15 a day, but
labor of this kind has been exceedingly scarce. Nearly
every man who has gone into the country has either
staked a claim for himself, or insisted upon working on
shares. There are two or three saw-mills in the neighborhood of considerable capacity, but that at Dawson
City is not very large. However, three or four more
will be in running order early next spring.
Dawson City is of course a lively mining town.
The population which has gone in there is of an exceedingly heterogeneous character, including a large
variety of nationalities and men of nearly every phase
of human experience. Notwithstanding this, up to
the early fall of the present year (1897) no serious
breaches of the peace have taken place. One shooting event is recorded, but the victim soon recovered,
and at last reports the offender was in the grasp of
the Canadian Mounted Police. This force is at Dawson City in considerable strength, and acting under
and by virtue of Canadian laws, exercises a most salutary influence upon the conduct of the inhabitants.
At Dawson City men are not what they appear.
Everywhere characters are hidden beneath a rough exterior. One will often meet with a polished college
e-~~a* 154
graduate under an exceedingly rough garb. In Dawson City one may sit down and discuss almost any subject, including the widest range of science, literature
and religion,- with one having the general appearance
of a highway tramp, and who, if casually met with in
the state of Illinois, would be regarded as the veriest
hobo. There is nothing in the way of what we call
style in Dawson City. Bar-keepers do not wear boiled
shirts, nor are those who preside at the piano or
manipulate other musical instruments in the coarse
dance-houses dressed in the garb of dudes.
Gold scales are found in every trading place in Dawson City, and the greater proportion of local retail
traffic is carried on with gold dust as a medium of exchange. Dance-halls may be found in the rear of almost every saloon. There is also an apartment connected with almost every drinking place devoted to
gambling, where the miner parts with his money or
gold dust to satisfy his thirst for speculation. The
liquors sold in these drinking places are of a vile character, much of them being compounded with drugs
on the spot, and containing very small proportions of
real whisky, gin or brandy.
It will not be a surprise to the reader that a large
proportion of the inhabitants of the mining towns are
addicted to drinking and gambling. Those who go
into such a country are of a venturesome, speculating
spirit, and the time not occupied in actual mining
hangs heavily on their hands. Such restless spirits
are always sure to engage in any excesses for which
there are opportunities. But of course not all those
who face the hardships of that country are addicted
to the liquor habit or the game of chance. There are
many sober, industrious people in the Golden North,
and many more will follow them, who devote their time
and energies to delving in the mines both winter and
summer, or to grappling with other tasks, and who
frequent neither the dance hall, the card room, nor "t
the drinking bar. These are the men who succeed
best, and who bring most gold out of the country.
There are many excellent women at Dawson City,
notably Mrs. Capt. J. J. Healy, who has a quartz mine
known as the Four Leaf Clover, on the west side of
the Yukon opposite the mouth of the Klondike, which
promises to yield enormous riches. Most of the
women at this town are with their husbands, whose
fortunes they are sharing bravely. Some of them,
however, are working in various independent ways to
improve their own circumstances. It is notable that
several of the most fortunate men now struggling for
wealth in the gulches of the Klondike region are accompanied by their wives. In this connection, it is
noted with regret that the Canadian, laws do not recognize a married woman's property rights, hence she
cannot locate a claim in addition to that of her husband; but she can otherwise aid and assist him in
ways of incalculable value. It was observable in the
gold mining camp region, throughout the present
year, that married men became very desirous of having their wives join them, while the unmarried men
were sending letters to their sweethearts whom they
had left behind, at considerable pains and expense.
There is a class of women at Dawson City, however, who constitute the worst element of the town.
Fortunately the number is not large. These characters frequent the dance halls, and, as in all the years of
the past, follow the miners through every danger and
hardship. To his great credit, Inspector Constantine,
who is at the head of the Mounted Police force at
Dawson City, manages to keep the disreputable element under very strict control.
As before stated, the currency of Dawson City is
for the greater part gold dust. One entering a place
to trade, or a saloon to drink, has a quantity of gold
dust weighed out, which he exchanges for chips of
various denominations.   These chips he, in turn, ex-
r '*TEftr~"«BMMMMM 156
changes at the place where they were obtained for
whatever he chooses to purchase.
Dawson City is a most delightful place during the
short summer season. Daylight is continuous, and
one fortunate enough to possess a book or newspaper
may read without artificial light every hour out of the
twenty-four. Of course the mosquito and little black
fly keep up an unceasing annoyance, but this is really
the only drawback to one's happiness while in the
town. The climate is excellent and there are no diseases of any sort arising from climatic conditions. In
the winter season it is very cold, but with proper supplies one will not suffer from the extremes of winter
temperature. The atmosphere is exceedingly dry,
and a person can endure with much less suffering
twenty degrees more cold than in the more humid districts of our own northwest.
A newspaper is about to be established at Dawson
City, and in a short time the place will be in telegraphic communication with the outside world.
Steamers already arrive frequently by way of the Yukon during the summer season, but the winters will be
greatly enlivened and improved when telegraphic communication shall have been established between it and
the regions of civilization. At present the only exciting news in the town, aside from the arrival of
steamboats, consists in fresh gold discoveries. When
the latter are authenticated, they always result in a
stampede for the locality in which the important finds
have been made, and in the staking out of new claims.
It may be mentioned in this connection that during
1897 the policy of the miners in the Klondike region
has shown too much vacillation. Men have gone
from one location to another whenever reports indicated that there were deposits further on, richer than
those which they were working. In this way 'many
good claims have been abandoned, which, in the future, will no doubt be taken up by others and successfully worked.   A part of this constant changing, of METROPOLIS OF THE KLONDIKE.
location has been due to the preference for coarse
gold. Miners will always forsake the work of washing fine gold dust from gravel or sand for the prospect
of locating a placer claim where coarse gold is known
to exist.
During 1897 (as will no doubt be the case during
1898), the frequent discoveries of rich gold deposits
have kept Dawson City up to fever heat of excitement. It is almost impossible for one located in the
great cities of civilization to realize the high pitch of
excitement which almost constantly prevails in a border mining town. Old experienced miners are frequently disgusted with themselves when they hear of
the rich "strikes" which "green-horns" are constantly
making. A party of the latter will sometimes start
out for a point which has been prospected by veteran
miners and adjudged to be worthless, and will return
with the most sensational reports, bringing with them
ample evidence, in virgin gold, of the truthfulness of
the stories they tell. Then the "old time miners" look
into one another's faces with expressions of the deepest mortification. It is a fact that during the present
year more rich "strikes" were made in the Klondike
country by "green-horns" and "tenderfeet" than by
the most grizzled and weather-beaten miners of the
experienced type. The latter have to a great extent
followed in the footsteps of the former, and in this
way have located and staked out their best claims.
Nevertheless, while they have not been the discoverers of the richest gold deposits, they have proven
themselves to be the most .successful miners when a
profitable location has been made. Then it is that
the value of experience comes into play; for, one who
has been trained to operate with the pan, the rocker
and the sluice, no matter how crude the apparatus may
be, can wash out more gold in a single day than can
the inexperienced miner in a whole week.
At present dogs do most of the hauling in that country, but horses may be successfully and not very ex- 158
pensively kept there, so that in another year the distribution of supplies will no doubt be carried on from
Dawson City to the mining camps not only by boat
along the rivers, but also by means of horses. Arrangements for sending a vast number of these useful
animals to that region are already being made. The
country around Dawson City is also pretty well adapted to the maintenance of cattle, and beef may be produced in districts not far distant at but little expense.
There is room for at least a dozen more saw-mills in
the Klondike country, and a greater degree of competition in trade and transportation will prove of value
not only to those engaged in these lines, but to the
miners and settlers generally.
Mission churches have been established at Dawson
City by both Protestants and Roman Catholics, and
the condition of society is rapidly improving. New
business enterprises are starting up and the place is
rapidly taking on the air of an important commercial
center. The only competition of any importance in
that country is between the North American Trading
and Transportation Company and the Alaska Commercial Company, but this is of considerable advantage, and is likely to prove more beneficial next year
than it has during the present one. The business of
the first named corporation at Dawson City is in
charge of Capt. John J. Healy. He was the originator of the company, and it was through his personal
efforts that John Cudahy and P. B. Weare of Chicago
were induced to make large investments in the enterprise. Out in the far north, Capt. Healy, who is well
known in Chicago, and in Grand Army circles almost
everywhere, is a very important individual. Down in
Chicago, one might speak of the organization as "Cudahy's Company" or "Weare's Company," but in the
Klondike it is "Capt. Healy's Company." The Alaska
Commercial Company's business at Dawson City is in
charge of Capt. J. E. Hansen, who is an energetic, liberal minded and public spirited young man.
Capt. Healy and his wife have a comfortable home
at Dawson City. He moved there from Fort Cudahy some time ago. He was one of the first to prospect for gold in that vicinity, and five years ago located
a valuable quartz mine, which is now owned by his
wife, who has named it the "Four Leaf Clover" mine,
to which reference has already been made. The
blacksmith shops at Dawson City are doing well, and
there is room for one or two more. The same remarks will apply to barber shops, bakeries and laundries. A very large lodging house has been put up
at Dawson City during the present season, where
board and lodgings are provided, and where the price
of a meal is $1.50 for the regulation fare, which includes nothing in the way of luxuries. There are several other restaurants in the city, all in a flourishing
The facilities in the Klondike for sending money to
and from the United States are about to be very much
improved. Wells, Fargo & Co. are establishing a
branch of their business in Dawson, and this will furnish the opportunity for miners to send gold to their
friends and families in this country at a reasonable cost
for transportation and with almost perfect security.
Among the more notable women at Dawson City,
aside from Mrs. Capt. Healy, are Mrs. Clarence J.
Berry and Mrs. E. F. Gage, wife of the son of Lyman J.
Gage, Secretary of the United States Treasury. The
latter was in the country when the first Klondike discoveries were made, and soon after returned to Chicago. She embarked again for the Klondike in the early
autumn of the present year. Her husband is auditor
of the North American Transportation and Trading
On the return of Mrs. Gage to Chicago in July,
1897, she made the following statement concerning
her experiences in the far north:
"It is wonderful how fascinating the life on the
frontier becomes.   The man or woman who gets a i6o
taste of it and succeeds and thrives by it, rarely gets
to like anything else. It may be a barbarous confession, but it seems to me that the kindest, most considerate and most practically honest people that I ever
met are the miners who are risking all at one throw
in the work on the Klondike. It was here that I saw
a code of honor which made all men honest—a life in
which each man must live a fair part or get a forcible
and roughly polite invitation to move.
"It takes men of sturdy character to get into the valley, and the virtues which they cling to are ones from
which they want no man to part. I do not think that
I heard of a single case in my summer's stay in upper
Alaska where prospectors and diggers had been guilty
of dishonesty. It may be that honesty is a trait which
thrives because it is backed by the point of a gun, but
it is there nevertheless. Explorers going to the field
or miners coming out, frequently undertake greater
loads than the teams can pull through. It is the custom at such times to put the surplus at the roadside
and go on with half. The part left behind is perfectly
safe until it shall be called for. I doubt that this rule
would work in Chicago or other civilized places."
Description of trail by the Lewis and Peace rivers—Short
and cheap cut to the Klondike—Route by the Pelly and
Liard rivers.
The route from and to the Klondike country by way
of the Lewis and Peace rivers, and across the mountains between them, is already being traveled and is
likely to become a popular one during the latter part
of the approaching winter and early spring. A party
recently organized in Chicago has started out over
this route, in charge of Lambertus Warmolts. Concerning the trip he made the following statement before leaving:
"We estimate we will make the trip from Edmonton
to Peel River in twenty-three days. I have traveled
the same route before, having been in that country
all winter three years ago on a hunting expedition.
"There is only one portage to make, of sixteen
miles, near the foot of Lake Athabasca, and there is a
horse tramway there, built by the Hudson's Bay Company, that makes it easy. In fact the whole trip to the
Peel River is dotted with the company's posts. Their
steamers will take us down Great Silver Lake, and
the trip will not be a hard one until we reach the
"There we will knock our boats to pieces and build
sledges. We are going to haul our stuff the rest of
the way. We go up the Peel about 250 miles, and will
use sails, the wind being almost always from the north
in winter. We will have to make a trip across about
fifty miles of snow fields from the head of the Peel to
the head of the Beaver.   We have not decided yet l62
which to strike. We will work between the head
waters of those two streams."
The Beaver above referred to is of course the Peace
From the junction of the Pelly and Lewis rivers, at
Fort Selkirk, this route is by the Lewis River, which
has already been fully described. Considerably above
Vatchee Lake this river divides, the two branches finding their source in lakes of considerable size not far
west of Dease Lake. The latter lies southwest of the
Blue Mountains, a part of the Rocky Mountain chain.
On the southwestern shore of this lake is Dease House,
a Hudson's Bay trading station. South of the lake
and between the mountain ranges which lie along, in
an east and west direction, north of Fort Mumford on
the one hand, and to the south of Dease Lake on the
other, is a very convenient pass extending to the head
waters of the Peace River. There are no records at
hand which give the height above sea level of this pass,
but it is between 2,000 and 2,500 feet, and is one of the
easiest passes for pack travel through the northern
Rocky Mountain range, and is convenient throughout
its whole distance, during a greater part of the year,
for bob-sled or buck-board travel. The Lewis River
is left at about the 131st degree of longitude and the
head waters of the Peace River are reached at about
the 128th degree, which, in that latitude, is not more
than one hundred and twenty-five miles. Stretches of
the head waters of the Peace River may be navigated,
with slight interruptions, to "Old Fort," and below it
to Fort Dunvegan, and below it Fort au Tremble, and
still below that to Fort Vermilion at the Falls, and
from the Falls at. Red River Fort, where the Red joins
the Peace River, to Lake Athabasca at Fort Chippewyan. This is one of the most convenient routes of
travel that can be adopted for reaching the Klondike
country. It may be used successfully during any portion of the year except in the springtime, when, for
about forty days, when excessive freshets prevail in NORTHWEST ROUTES TO GOLD FIELDS.
the mountain streams, covering the lowlands, with
much water.
The distance from Lake Athabasca to Edmonton,
which is on the north branch of the Saskatchewan
River, is not great, and may be traveled almost entirely by water during the summer months, and in
winter by sleds. At Edmonton the Canadian Pacific
Railway is reached, which will carry the traveler to
Pacific or southwestern points of civilization.
This whole route may be covered from Edmonton
in the Canadian Northwest to Fort Selkirk at the
junction of the Lewis and Pelly rivers, or to the Klondike country in about three months. It may be traveled from Edmonton to the rich gold fields on the upper Peace and Liard river systems in about two months
or less, and by water and land to those points or to the
Klondike regions beyond the mountains. Any quantity of horses and supplies may be transported overland, in winter or summer, by the use of boats, sleds
and wagons, and at little cost. There is an abundance of wild fowl and game of all kinds throughout
this whole country, and in season grasses of most luxuriant growth abound everywhere. In the winter season native horses will paw the snow from the ground
in the lower levels and subsist in excellent condition
with one feed of oats daily; but in the mountain section the snow is too deep to permit of this method of
subsistence. Everywhere along the route there is
excellent timber, and one will not travel more than
one hundred miles in any direction without finding a
hospitable stopping place at or near some thriving
Hudson's Bay trading post.
The more northern route is by the Pelly River to
Lake Frances, which finds its bed well into the Rocky
Mountain region; on the western shore of this lake is
Fort Francis, an old Hudson's Bay trading station.
Near this fort to the south, and exactly on the 130th
degree of longitude, is the entrance to one of the most
accessible  passes   in   the   Rocky   Mountains.    Fort
Francis and Lake Frances are upon the highest elevation of the Rockies in this region, and as one enters
the pass north of the Blue Mountain range he immediately meets with the head waters of the Liard River,
and begins to descend the mountains towards the alluvial plains of the upper Mackenzie system. The
Liard River is descended to Fort Halkepp, a Hudson's Bay trading post, on its banks. A considerable
distance below this post the river turns abruptly northward and flows down to the Mackenzie, joining it at
Fort Simpson. The Liard River may be left at the
turn where one of its branches flows due south; this
may be followed to a point where the traveler can
proceed overland, traversing a beautiful park or prairie country, until Fort au Tremble, another Hudson's
Bay trading post, on the Peace River, is reached.
From that point the route is southeastward over the
same line that would be traversed in coming out of the
Peace River Valley.
The head waters of the Liard and Peace rivers,
which reach far up into the Rocky Mountains, are re-
enforced everywhere by innumerable smaller streams
flowing into them and connecting with still smaller
currents. Here and there are unexplored creeks and
brooks draining one of the richest auriferous mountain-slope districts to be found anywhere in North
America. It is because of the gold discoveries already reported from this region, and of those that are
sure to be made known hereafter, that the two routes
last mentioned are certain to become popular and
much traveled by those who will go from these fields
of civilization into the higher latitudes in search of
There is not a great deal of difference between the
distances or the time occupied in making the journey
over these natural lines of travel. The Peace River
trail is the shortest, but passes over greater altitudes,
while that by way of the Liard River is of course the
longest, being farther to the north; but the mountain NORTHWEST ROUTES TO GOLD FIELDS.
paths leading from its upper waters to Lake Francis,
which is the chief source of the Pelly River, is considerable lower than that from the source of the Peace
River to the lakes at the head of the Lewis.
In addition to this the overland route to be traveled
on the summit of the Rockies between the two points
last named is much greater than that of the more
northern line of travel; the head of Liard River is not
more than ten miles from Lake Francis, which is the
principal source of Pelly River.
One feature common to both of these routes is not
enjoyed by any other line of travel leading to the
Klondike country; it consists in the fact that during
the winter months very high temperatures, comparatively speaking, are recorded in the passes named.
This is due to low altitudes and to the northern Chinook winds which blow from the Pacific through all
the mountain passes of that region, constantly pouring
a mighty volume of warm atmosphere upon the alluvial park and prairie plains of the Peace and Mackenzie River basins. The snowfall is less than in any
of the mountain ranges either to the south of it or on
the western coast, and one may travel throughout all
this region during the coldest winter months without
suffering to any extent, if properly clad. We do not
hesitate to state from the authenticated information in
our possession that these are by all odds the best
routes for reaching the gold fields of the far north;
and, what is more, they are pre-eminently winter routes
and may be traveled quite as successfully during the
cold season as during the warm months of summer,
and vastly more so than in the springtime, when the
country is somewhat flooded for a little over a month. i66
Description of St. Michaels—Temperature and ice—Season
of navigation on the Yukon—"Fort Get There"—The
Dyea and Skaguay passes.
The gold seeker who reaches the Klondike country
by the St. Michaels route will occupy a longer time
from the start to the finish of his journey than by any
other line of travel open. From Pacific ports he may
take his choice, if traveling by St. Michaels and the
Yukon, of the North American Trading and Transportation Company or Alaska Commercial Company
steamers. The town of St. Michaels, at the mouth of
the Yukon, is a carelessly built collection of old Russian structures, the principal features of which are the
warehouses of the companies doing business on the
river. A number of independent traders also have
warehouses there of considerable extent.
At the close of the present summer St. Michaels had
a white population of about 500, mostly transient,
although it was expected that a still larger number
would winter there. The place includes about 300
Eskimos or Innuits, who are going and coming to and
fro in the fur and fish trade. There are no trees on
the island upon which St. Michaels is located, but it
is well covered with grass during the summer season.
Its surface is quite undulating and presents a pleasing
aspect. Of course it is not as cold at St. Michaels as
in the interior. The average temperature for the
twelve months in the year 1896 is recorded as follows:
January —5
February   —6
March  9.5
April   .....22.1
May  32.8
June 45.2
July   53.1        October  28.0
August    52.1        November  18.3
September 43.3       December   8.9
The season of snowfall begins about the first of October, and by the middle of the month ice has formed
at the mouth of the Yukon. Navigation closes about
the middle of September, however, for the upper part
of the river freezes much sooner than its mouth.
When the ice once forms, it remains fast until the end
of the first week in June, when it breaks up and flows
into the sea.   The river is cleared in about ten days.
Near to the town proper is a station of the North
American Transportation and Trading Company, to
which the name of "Fort Get There" has been given.
All merchandise, supplies and passengers are transshipped at St. Michals and "Fort Get There" by the
respective transportation companies. This is done because a class of steamers of lighter draught than those
which traverse the ocean are required for the river
traffic. Then the trip is made up the river, through
the country which we have already described, for about
1,750 miles to Dawson City. Different authorities
give us different lengths of this route, ranging from
1,650 to 1,800 miles. It is probably about the latter
distance from St. Michaels to the junction of the Lewis
and Pelly rivers at old Fort Selkirk.
Fresh salmon is almost a constant diet on board the
river steamers until one becomes tired of it. The
route by which one travels does not make much difference as to the kind of clothing and character of
supplies he should take with him into the Klondike
country, for these necessaries are for his use after he
arrives rather than during the journey.
Perhaps next in importance to the Yukon is the
Juneau route, the starting point of which may be
reached from any of the Pacific ports. Juneau is the
largest city in Alaska, and will probably continue to be
such.   Dawson City, which has already passed it in i68
population and commercial importance, is located in
the Canadian Northwest. Juneau is situated on the
mainland on level ground between the sea and lofty
mountains which rise nearly 4,000 feet above the sea
level. These mountains are capped with perpetual
snow and ice. The town was founded by Joseph
Juneau and Richard Harris in 1880. This Joseph
Juneau is a nephew of the Juneau of history, who
founded the city of Milwaukee, Wis. The city has a
population at the present time of about 3,000, five or
six hundred of which are constantly going and coming. It has a pretty good waterworks system, an
electric light plant, and two flourishing newspapers.
From Juneau the traveler proceeds by Lynn Channel, which has two sources or inlets, called Chilcat and
Chilkoot. These inlets lead respectively up to the
passes of the same names. The former is not very
well known and has not been extensively traveled up
to the present time. It has been called the "Dalton
Trail." The White Pass is being greatly improved and
has been recently much used from Skaguay. There
is some talk of the Canadian Government constructing a wagon-road through this pass in order to ascertain its advantages as a railway route. It is now generally believed that this pass will prove superior to
that of the Chilkoot, which has heretofore been much
more generally traveled. To reach either the Chilkoot
or White passes, the route from Juneau is by Dyea or
Skaguay, which is only eight miles. Dyea has become quite a town. It had for many years been a
thriving Indian village and trading post.
From Dyea, through the Chilkoot Pass, the route
leads to Lake Lindemann. The distance is a little
less than thirty miles. The ascent and descent through
this pass from Dyea to Lake Lindemann are very
steep, but the highest elevation reached is not more
than 3,000 feet above sea level, although the snow-
crowned mountains on either side of the traveler reach
thousands of feet into the clouds.   We have alreadv YUKON AND JUNEAU ROUTES.
fully described the routes of travel from Lake Lindemann and Lake Bennett, at the northern termini of
these passes, to the Lewis River, which is the first objective point of all travelers through them.
Near Dyea and to the east of it is Skaguay, where
there is a considerable town of delayed miners, and
from which many depart to scale the mountain passes
for the Klondike country. It will be some time before travel in these regions will demonstrate which is
the preferable pass over the mountains, but, as before
stated, it is likely that a considerable volume of travel
and transportation will continue to seek these routes.
Alaskan boundary controversy and correspondence between the United States and Dominion of Canada-
Population of Alaska—Increase owing' to gold discoveries.
Returning to Alaska proper we take a farewell survey of that territory, considering very briefly the
boundary question, the population, the towns and trading posts, the fur trade, the seal and other fisheries,
the commerce and transportation facilities, institutions,
etc. In the treaty of session of March 30, 1867, by
which the United States acquired Alaska, the bounda-
'ries between the territory and the British possessions
were defined as:
"Commencing from the southermost point of the
island called Prince of Wales Island, which point lies
in the parallel of 54 degrees 40 minutes north latitude,
and between the 131st and 133d degree of west longitude (meridian of Greenwich), the said line shall ascend
to the north along the channel called Portland Channel as far as the point of the continent where it strikes
the 56th degree of north latitude; from this last-mentioned point, the line of demarcation shall follow the
summit of the mountains situated parallel to the coast
as far as the point of intersection of the 141st degree
of west longitude (of the same meridian); and finally,
from the said point of intersection, the said meridian
line of the 141st degree, in its prolongation as far as
the Frozen Ocean."
"With reference to the line of demarcation laid down
in the preceding article, it is understood—
"1st.   That the island called Prince of Wales Island ALASKAN BOUNDARY QUESTION.
shall belong wholly to Russia (now, by this cession, to
the United States).
"2d. That whenever the summit of the mountains
which extend in a direction parallel to the coast from
the 56th degree of north latitude to the point of intersection of the 141st degree of west longitude shall
prove to be at the distance of more than ten marine
leagues from the ocean, the limit between the British
possessions and the line of coast which is to belong to
Russia as above mentioned (that is to say, the limit
to the possessions ceded by this convention) shall be
formed by a line parallel to the winding of the coast,
and which shall never exceed the distance of ten marine leagues therefrom."
The treaty of cession was concluded March 30, 1867,
and the consideration first agreed upon was $7,000,-
000, but when it was learned that there was a fur company and also an ice company enjoying monopolies
under the Russian government, it was thought best
that these should be extinguished; hence the United
States added $200,000 to the original amount agreed
upon, in consideration of which the Russian government handed the territory over free of all incumbrances.
Not long after the territory was annexed the eastern
boundary line of Alaska became a subject of some controversy between the United States and the British
governments. In 1872, President Grant recommended a commission to deal with the matter, but Congress
took no action. In 1886, President Cleveland asked
Congress for an appropriation of $100,000 for a preliminary survey of the frontier territory.
During the winter of 1887-88 informal conferences
were held in Washington between Prof. W. H. Dall,
of the United States Geological Survey, and Dr.
George M. Dawson, of Canada, both authorities on the
Territory of Alaska, but the conferences led to no result. On August 20, 1895, Lord Gough inquired of
Secretary Olney if a joint surveyor could not be ap- 172
pointed to act with Mr. William Ogilvie, who was then
about to survey the intersection of the 141st degree and
the Yukon River. The acting Secretary of State
asked if the proposed survey could not be delayed until Congress had had an opportunity to consider the
question. This suggestion was transmitted to the
Canadian government, which answered that the season
was so far advanced that it would not be possible to
communicate with Mr. Ogilvie before the next summer, when a considerable portion of the 141st degree
would already be marked on the ground. An extract
from a letter by Secretary Olney, dated March 11,
1896, was as follows:
"So far as the recent and existing surveys on either
side have progressed they exhibit a close coincidence
of results. At one point, as I am informed, the difference between Mr. Ogilvie's location and that made
by the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey is
only about 6 feet 7 inches. In another point the difference is in the neighborhood of 500 or 600 feet, and
at other points even closer coincidence than this latter is expected when the comparison of calculations
shall have been worked out."
Mr. Olney proposed that the two governments
should agree upon certain points of the 141st degree
at the intersection of the principal streams, locating
the same at a point midway between the determinations 'of the Coast and Geodetic Survey and of Mr.
Ogilvie, and providing for the junction of the points so
located by convenient joint surveys, as occasion should
require, until the entire line should be established.
This would supply a permanent line which for international purposes would be coincident with the 145th
degree, stipulated under existing treaties, and would
require no further immediate arrangement than the
dispatch of a joint surveying party to set up monuments at the points defined, with perhaps the survey of
a traverse line connecting the monuments on the Yukon and Forty Mile Creek, and farther south if neces- ALASKAN  BOUNDARY QUESTION.
sary. The Canadian government agreed to this proposition, and the convention is now pending before the
Senate of the United States.
No accurate estimate of the population of Alaska
was made until the census of 1890. In 1868, in a report by Major General Halleck, the number given was
82,400. In the same year, the Rev. Vincent Collyer,
in his report to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
added 11,900 Thlinket Indians to the number given
by General Halleck, making 94,300, while Ivan Pe-
troff, special agent for the tenth census (1880), states
the population as 33,426. The census of 1890, which
is the first detailed statement, fixes the number at 32,-
052, which is made up of 4,298 white, 23,531 Indians,
2,288 Mongolians, and 1,935 mixed blood. The gold
discoveries of the Klondike region during the present
year have had the effect of increasing the population of
Alaska by about 10,000. THE GOLDEN NORTH.
Sitka and Juneau—St. Michaels and the trading posts of the
Aleutian Islands—Douglas City and the great Treadwell
gold mine—Trade and traffic.
Sitka is the capital of Alaska. It is located in 57
degrees north and 135 degrees 17 minutes west, on a
low strip of land on the west of Baranof Island. The
population at the present time is about 3,000. An industrial school is conducted in the city and is in a
flourishing condition. Of course salmon fishing and
canning is the chief industry. Steamers ply quite frequently between Sitka and Portland, Oregon. The
harbor is small but safe.
The January temperature for Sitka for more than
forty years averages 31.4 above zero. The rainfall for
thirty years averages 84.06 inches annually. The winters at this place are much milder than those of many
European cities. By the inner passage, between the
archipelago and the coast of British Columbia and
Alaska, the distance from Portland, Oregon,,to Sitka
is 1,647 miles; large sailing vessels have to go outside.
Juneau is located near the Lynn Channel, by which
there are trails to the Yukon. Mr. Wilson says that
the year 1895 witnessed a great improvement in the
town, and Juneau is to-day a progressive city, with
fine buildings, wharves, electric lights, waterworks,
hotels, etc. Wrangell, on the northern part of the
island of the same name, is about ten miles from the
mouth of the Stikine, and is the point of departure for
traders and miners penetrating into the interior by
way of that river. Douglas City, on Douglas Island,
near Juneau, has a population of about 600. Here the
celebrated Treadwell gold mine is located   with the TOWNS AND TRADING POSTS OF ALASKA.     175
largest quartz mill in the world. The mine has
proved a great success financially.
Joseph P. Smith, director of the Bureau of American Republics, in a document recently issued, speaks
of the principal towns and trading posts of Alaska as
follows :
"Yakutat (population 308) is on Yakutat Bay. Nu-
chek is situated on Hinchinbrook Island, 432 miles by
sea from Sitka, and 50 miles from the mouth of the
Copper River. It was formerly an important trading
post, but much of the commerce has been transferred.
St. Paul, on the northern part of Kadiak Island, does
a large fur trade. There are a number of salmon canneries on the island, employing in 1890, according to
Longman's Gazetteer, 1,100 hands. Karluk (population 1,123) is said to have the largest cannery in the
world. Kadiak (495), Alitak (420), and Afognak (409)
are other villages on the island.
"On the Aleutian Islands there are many settlements. The one on Ounga Island has a population
of about 200, according to Mr. Petroff. Belkowsky, on
the southern end of the Aliasla Peninsula, has 300 inhabitants. Near Protassof (100 inhabitants) there are
warm sulphur springs and ponds. Iliuliuk, on Unalaska Island, is a point of considerable commercial
importance, having a church, custom house, trading establishments, wharves, etc. Nikolsky, on the south
of Unimak Island, has 127 inhabitants: it was formerly much larger. Nazan, on Athka Island, has a
population of 230, described by Mr. Petroff as thrifty
and prosperous. St. Paul, on the Pribilof Islands, has
a population of 398. The Amukhta and the Unimak
are the two safe passes between the islands.
"St. Michaels, on Norton Sound, is one of the most
important localities on the coast. It is a trading post,
says Mr. Petroff, where rival firms have established
their depots for the Yukon River and Arctic trade.
The station keepers come down from the^interior to
the coast at the end of June or first of July, and each 176
receives his allotment of goods to take back with him
in sailboats and bidars during the few months when
navigation on the river is not impeded by ice. The
vessels supplying this depot can seldom approach the
post before the end of June, on account of large bodies
of drifting ice that beset the waters of Norton Sound
and the straits between St. Lawrence Island and the
Yukon delta.
"Port Clarence, on the bay of the same name, is the
place where whalers wait for their tenders before proceeding through the straits. The harbor is excellent.
There is a reindeer farm here. The population numbers 485. Point Hope (population 301), Cape Lis-
burne, Icy Cape, and Point Barrow are the most important points on the northern coast.
"Nulato and Nuklakayet are trading posts on the
Yukon River, the former being 467 miles from the
sea, according to Lieutenant Allen, and Nuklakayer,
201 miles farther. Fort Yukon (about 300 miles distant from Nuklakayer) was formerly a trading post.
Lieutenant Schwatka says it was abandoned about
1880 as not remunerative, and Fort Reliance and Belle
Isle were established. Both of these have since been
abandoned. At Fort Yukon the river is said to be
seven miles wide."
Circle City, on the Yukon, near the international
boundary line, has become quite a trading center, but
when gold was discovered on the Klondike most of its
inhabitants moved to Dawson City, in Canadian territory. THE FUR-SEAL CONTROVERSY.
Account of the fur-sealing grounds, and their great value—
The annual catch—Pelagic sealing—History of the
great controversy—Solution of all difficulties practically accomplished.
We are indebted to the argument made by James
C. Carter, on behalf of the United States, before the
Tribunal of Arbitration in Paris in 1893, f°r the following instructive observations on the Alaskan fur-
seal resources and controversy: During most of the
eighteenth century, as all are aware, the efforts and
ambitions of various European powers were directed
toward the taking possession, the settlement, and the
colonization of the temperate and tropical parts of the
American continent. In those efforts Russia seems
to have taken a comparatively small part, if any part
at all. Her enterprise and ambitions were attracted
to these northern seas, seas which border upon the
coasts which in part she already possessed, the Siberian coast of Bering Sea. From that, coast explorations" were made by enterprising navigators belonging
to that nation, until the whole of Bering Sea was discovered, and the coasts on all its sides explored. The
Aleutian Islands, forming its southern boundary, were
discovered and explored, and a part of what is called
the Northwest Coast of the American Continent, south
of the Alaskan Peninsula and reaching south as far as
the 54th or 50th degree of north latitude, was also explored by Russian navigators, and establishments were
formed upon it in certain places. The great object of
Russia in these enterprises and explorations was to
reap for herself the sole profit and the sole benefit
which could be derived from these remote and icebound regions, namely, that of the fur-bearing animals
which inhabited them, and which were gathered by i78
the native inhabitants. To obtain for herself the benefit of those animals and of the trade with the natives
who were engaged in gathering them constituted the
main object of the original enterprises prosecuted by
Russian navigators. They had at a very early pericrd
discovered what we call the Commander Islands on the
western side of Bering Sea, which were then, as they
are now, one of the principal resorts and breeding
I places of the fur seals. They were carrying on a very
large, or a considerable, industry in connection with
those animals upon those islands.
Prior to the year 1787, one of their navigators, Captain Pribilof, had observed very numerous bodies of'
fur seals making their way northward through the
Aleutian chain. Whither they were going, he knew
not, but, from his knowledge of the habits of the seals
in the region of the Commander Islands, he could not
but suppose that there was, somewhere north of the
Aleutian chain in the Bering Sea, another great breeding place and resort for these animals. He therefore
expended much labor in endeavoring to discover these
resorts, and in the year 1786, on one of his voyages,
he suddenly found himself in the presence of that tremendous roar, a roar almost like that of Niagara, it is
said, which proceeds from the countless ^multitudes of
animals upon the islands. He knew then that the object for which he was seeking had been obtained; and
waiting until the fog had lifted, he discovered before
him the islands to which his name was afterwards
given. That was in 1786. Immediately following
that discovery many Russians, sometimes individually
and sometimes associated in companies, resorted to
those islands, which were uninhabited, and made large
captures of seals from them. The mode of taking
them was by an indiscriminate slaughter of males and
females; and of course it was not long before the
disastrous effects of that method became apparent.
They were greatly reduced in numbers, and at one or
more times seemed to be upon the point almost of
~""~ ~—^—^—^=^~—-—— THE FUR-SEAL CONTROVERSY. 179
commercial extermination. By degrees, those engaged
in this pursuit learned what the laws of nature were in
respect to the preservation of such a race of animals.
They learned that they were highly polygamous in
their nature, and that a certain draft could be taken
from the superfluous males without sensibly depreciating the enormous numbers of the herd. Learning
those facts, they gradually established an industry upon
the islands, removed a considerable number of the
population of one or more of the Aleutian Islands, and
kept them permanently there for the purpose of guarding the seals upon the islands and taking, at the suitable time for that purpose, such a number of superfluous males as the knowledge they had acquired
taught them could be safely taken.
Finally the system which they established grew step
by step more regular and precise; and sometime in
the neighborhood of 1845 they liad adopted a regular
.system which absolutely forbade the slaughter of females and confined the taking to young males under
certain ages and to a certain annual number. Under
that reasonable system, conforming to natural laws,
the existence of the herd was perpetuated and its numbers even largely increased; so that at a time when it
passed into the possession of the United States, it was
true that the numbers of the herd were then equal to, if
not greater,- than ever had been known since the
islands were first discovered. A similar system had
been pursued by the Russians with similar effect upon
the Commander Islands, possessions of their own on
the western side of theTBering Sea.
That was the condition of things when these islands
passed into the possession of the United States under
the treaty between that government and Russia, in
1867. At first, upon the acquisition by the United
States government, its authority was not immediately
established, and consequently this herd of seals was
exposed to the indiscriminate ravages of individuals
who might be tempted hither'by their hope of gain- 180 THE GOLDEN NORTH.
ing a profit; and the result was that in the first year
something like 240,000 seals Were taken, and although
some discrimination was attempted, and an effort was
made to confine the taking, as far as possible, to males
only, yet those efforts were not in every respect successful. That great draft thus irregularly and indiscriminately made upon them had undoubtedly a very
unfavorable effect; but the following year the United
States succeeded in establishing its authority and at
once readopted the system which had been up to that
time pursued by Russia, and which had been followed
by such advantageous results.
In addition to that, and for the purpose of further
insuring the preservation of the herd, the United States
Government resorted to national legislation. Laws
were passed, the first of them as early as the year 1870,
designed to protect the seal and other fur-bearing
animals in Bering Sea and the other possessions recently acquired from Russia. At a later period, this
statute, with others that had been subsequently passed,
was revised in the year 1873, when a general revision
of the statutes of the United States was made. They
were revised and made more stringent. It was made
a criminal offense to kill any female seal; and the taking of any seals at all, except in pursuance of the authority of the United States and under such regulations as it might adopt, was made a criminal offense.
Any vessel engaged in the taking of female seals in
the waters of Alaska, according to the phrase used in
the statute, was made liable to seizure and confiscation; and in this way it was rfoped and expected that
the fur seals would be preserved in the future as completely as they had been in the past, and that this herd
would continue to be still as productive as before, and
if possible made more productive. That system thus
initiated by the United States in the year 1870 produced the same result as had followed the regulations
established by Russia. The United States Government was enabled even to take a larger draft than THE FUR-SEAL CONTROVERSY.
Russia had, prior to that time, made upon the herd.
Russia had limited herself at an early period to the
taking of somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 seals
annually, not solely, perhaps, for the reason that no
more could be safely taken from the herd, but also for
the reason that at that time the demand for seals was
not so great as to justify the putting of a larger number of skins upon the market.
At a later period of the occupation by Russia, her
drafts were increased. At the time when the occupation was transferred to the United States they amounted to somewhere between 50,000 and 70,000 annually.
The United States took 100,000 from the beginning,
and continued to make those annual drafts of 100,000
down to the year 1890. That is a period of something
like nineteen years. The taking of this number of
100,000 did not at first appear to lead to any diminution in the numbers of the herd; and it was only in
the year 1890, or a few years prior to that time, that a
diminution in the numbers of the herd was first observed.
Such was the industry established by the United
States. It was a very beneficial industry, beneficial,
in the first instance, to herself. She had adopted the
practice of leasing these islands upon long terms,
twenty years, to a private corporation; and those
leases contained an obligation to pay a large annual
sum in the shape of a revenue tax and a gross sum of
some $60,000 as rent. In addition to that, the lessees
were required by the terms of the lease to pay to the
United States Government a certain sum upon every
seal captured by them, which, of course, resulted in
the enjoyment by the United States of a still larger
revenue. It was beneficial to the lessees, for it is to
be supposed, and such is the fact, that they were enabled to make a profit, notwithstanding the large
sums they were compelled to pay to the United States
Government upon the seal skins secured by them. The
whole product of the herd was contributed at once to 182
commerce, and through the instrumentality of commerce was carried all over the world to those who
desired the sealskins, and those who desired sealskins,
wherever they might be on the face of the globe, and
whatever nation they might inhabit, got them upon
the same terms upon which the citizens of the United
States enjoyed them. This contribution of the annual
product to the purposes of commerce, to be dealt with
as commerce deals with one of its subjects, of course
amounted substantially to a putting it up at auction,
and it was awarded to the highest bidder, wherever he
might dwell.
The effect of this was, also, to build up and maintain
an important industry in Great Britain. It was there
that the sealskins were manufactured and prepared for
sale in the market, and thousands of people were engaged in that industry, many more, indeed, than were
engaged in the industry of gathering the seals upon
the Pribilof Islands. That particular benefit was secured to Great Britain in consequence of this industry.
In the few years preceding 1890, the government of
the United States was made aware of a peril to the
industry which had thus been established and which
it was in the enjoyment of, a peril to the preservation
of this race of seals, a peril not proceeding from what
may be called natural causes, such as the killing by
whales and other animals which prey upon the seals
in the water, but a peril proceeding from the hand of
man. It was found that the practice of pelagic sealing,
which had for many years, and, indeed, from the
earliest knowledge of these regions, been carried on
to a very limited extent by the Indians who inhabited
the coasts, for the purpose of obtaining food for themselves and skins for their clothing, and which had
made a limited draft upon the herds in that way—it
was found that this practice was beginning to be extended so as to be carried on by whites, and in large
vessels capable of proceeding long distances from the
shore, of encountering the roughest weather, and of THE FUR-SEAL CONTROVERSY.
carrying boats and boatmen and hunters, armed with
every appliance for taking and slaughtering the seals
upon their passage through the seas. That practice
began in the year 1876, but at first its extent was small.
The vessels were fitted out mostly from a port in
British Columbia, and confined their enterprise to the
North Pacific Ocean, not entering Bering Sea at all;
and their drafts upon the seals even in the North
Pacific Ocean were at first extremely small, only a
few thousands each year. But the business was found
to be a profitable one, and, of course, as its profit was
perceived, more and more were tempted to engage in
it, and a larger and larger investment of capital was
made in it. More and more vessels prosecuted the
fishery in the North Pacific Ocean, and in 1883, for
the first time, a vessel ventured to enter Bering Sea.
Up to this time, during the whole of the Russian
and the whole of the American occupation of these
islands, there had been no such thing-as pelagic sealing, except in the insignificant way already mentioned
by the Indians. Those two nations had enjoyed the
full benefit of this property, the full benefit of these
herds of seals, in as complete a degree as if they had
been organized as the sole proprietors of them, and
as if a title in them, not only while they were ashore and
upon the breeding islands, but while they were absent
upon their migrations, had been recognized in them
during that "whole period, or as if there had been some
regulation among the nations absolutely prohibiting
all pelagic sealing. Up to the period when pelagic
sealing began to be extended, those advantages were
exclusively enjoyed by Russia and the United States;
and at first, this pelagic sealing did not extend into
Bering Sea, but was carried on in the North Pacific
Ocean and south and east of the Aleutian chain.
Why Bering Sea was thus carefully abstained from
it may, perhaps, be difficult to say. It may be for the
reason that it was farther off, more difficult to reach.
It may be for the reason that the pelagic sealers did not 184
at first suppose that they had a right to enter Bering
Sea and take the seals there, for it was well known
that during the whole of the Russian occupation Russia did assert for herself an exclusive right to all the
products of that region of the globe; and it was also,
of course, well known to all governments, and to these
pelagic sealers, that the United States had, when they
acceded to the sovereignty over these islands, asserted
a similar right, and made the practice of pelagic sealing, in Bering Sea at least—perhaps farther, but in
Bering Sea, at least—a criminal offense under their
law. But from whatever cause, it was not until the
year 1883 that any pelagic sealers ventured into Bering
Sea. During that year a single vessel did enter there,
took a large catch, was very successful and was not
called to any account; and this successful experiment
was, of course, followed during the succeeding years
by many repetitions of the same enterprise.
The extent to which pelagic sealing was thus carried
on in Bering Sea, its probable consequences upon the
herds which made their homes upon the Pribilof
Islands, was not at first appreciated either by the
United States or by the lessees of the islands. There
was no means by which they could easily find out how
many vessels made such excursions, and they did not
at first seem to suppose that their interests were particularly threatened by it. Consequently, for the first
two or three years, no notice seems to have been taken
of these enterprises by the government of the United
States, although it had laws made against them. But
in 1886, this practice of taking seals at sea became so
largely extended that it excited apprehensions for the
safety of the herd, and it was perhaps thought at that
time that there was already observable in the condition
of the herd some damaging, destructive consequence
of that pursuit of them by sea.
The attention of the United States having been
called to the practice, that government determined to
prevent it, and the first method to which it resorted THE FUR-SEAL CONTROVERSY.
was an enforcement of the laws upon her statute book
which prohibited the practice, and subjected all vessels
engaged in it to seizure and confiscation. Instructions
were accordingly given to the cruisers rof the United
States to suppress the practice and to enforce its laws.
The result was that in the year 1886, three British
vessels and some American vessels were taken while
engaged in the pursuit illegally under the laws of the
United States.   They were carried in and condemned.
These seizures, after much diplomatic correspondence, led to the final adoption of a treaty between the
United States and Great Britain, which was signed at
Washington, February 29, 1892.
The arbitrators under this treaty, Ho<n. John M. Harlan and Hon. John T. Morgan, representing the United
States; Baron Alphonse de Courcel, arbitrator named
by France; the Right Hon. Lord Hannen and Sir John
Thompson, representing Great Britain; Marquis E.
Visconti Venosta, arbitrator named by Italy, and Mr.
Gregers Gram, arbitrator named by Sweden and Norway, met at Paris on February 23, 1893, and were in
session until August 15, 1893. The public is familiar
with the terms of their award, which were not only
satisfactory to this country, but practically a final settlement of the controversy.
Since 1893, efforts have been made by the United
States for the further prevention of pelagic sealing and
the protection of the fur-seal fisheries. With this end
in view, Hon. John W. Foster was sent as agent to
England to secure the adoption of a modus vivendi
prohibiting all sealing until a final disposition of the
question can be had and a treaty can be entered into
establishing further regulations for the government of
the fisheries. At this writing no official data of the
results of this mission can be had, the agent not having
as yet submitted his report.
As a further result of the arbitration of 1893, a convention was concluded between the United States and
Great Britain, February 8, 1896, for the settlement of
13 £E$1
fgu.Jjn*±i-j...jmj i86
the claims of British subjects growing out of the seizures of British vessels in Bering Sea from 1886 to 1892,
which provided for the appointment of two commissioners, and, if necessary, an umpire. This commission was to sit at Victoria, British Columbia, and San
Francisco, Cal. Sessions have been held in both
places, but as yet the results of their labors have not
been made public. SALMON, WHALE, COD, HERRING. 187
Extent of the Alaskan fisheries—Statistics of the salmon
catch—Product of oil, bone and ivory—Cod and herring
The products of the sea, the lakes and the rivers are
the chief resources of Alaska. The native populations
have always obtained much of their food supply from
the waters, and in a less degree their clothing and
many of the conveniences of life. Their winter supply
of food is still largely made up of dried fish, seaweed,
and fish eggs, while fresh fish are eaten at ail seasons
of the year, not only by the natives, but by all classes
of people, and the abundance of this product insures
the most thriftless of a ready means of subsistence.
^Salmon fishing is by far the largest and most important industry. Thirty-seven canneries and seven or
more salting establishments were reported as in operation in 1890. The aggregate pack of the canneries
was 688,332 cases of four dozen one-pound cans, falling
a little short of the pack in 1889. The amount of
salted salmon was about 7,300 barrels, a little more
than the year previous. The salmon fisheries represent a capital of about $4,250,000, and they give employment to about 2,000 white laborers, 2,500 Chinamen, and 1,000 natives, and require in their business
for transportation, and in their work, about 100 steam
vessels and 500 fishing boats. The white and Chinese
laborers do not usually remain in the territory after
the season is* over.
The report for 1895 of Mr. Joseph Murray, special
agent to inspect the  fisheries  of Alaska,   says  that
* Joseph P. Smith, Director Bureau American Republics.
•ggwnrr^arffw i88
during the year nearly 7,000,000 cases, of 48 pounds
to the case, were packed, and the total value of the
salmon canned was over $2,000,000.
"The whaling business," says Mr. Lyman E. Knapp,
governor of Alaska, in his report for 1892, "in which
forty-eight vessels are engaged, resulted in a catch for
1891 of 12,228 barrels of oil, 186,250 pounds of bone,
and 1,000 pounds of ivory. The total value was
$1,218,293. Below is a comparative statement of the
amount of oil, bone and ivory taken during the last
eighteen years:
Year.                 Oil.           Bone. Ivory.
Barrels. Pounds. Pounds.
1891   12,228 186,250 1,000
1890    14,890 231,232 4,150
1889  12,834 231,981 1,506
1888    15,774 303,587 i,55o
1887    31,714 564,802 875
1886    37,260 304,530 2,850
1885    24,844 451*038 6,564
1884   20,373 295,700 5,421
1883    12,300 160,200 23,100
1882    21,100 316,600 17,800
1881     21,800 354,5oo 15,400
1880   23,200 339,000 15,300
1879    I7,4°0 127,000 32,900
1878        9,000         73,300 30,000
1877   13,900 139,600 74,000
1876       2,800           8,800 7,000
1875    l6>300 157,000 25,400
1874   10,000         86,000 7,000
Total, 18 years  318,917    4,931,950     272,410
The codfish business is next in importance in Alaska.
It is carried on at the Shumagin Islands and in the
Bering Sea. The catch of 1890 amounted to a total
of 1,138,000 fish.   Since the beginning of the codfish-
ing industry in this territory in 1865 the total number
of fish taken is 25,723,300, of the value of $12,861,650.
The first four years, the business did not come near to
its present proportions.
A hasty survey has given an idea of the extent of
the banks, and there is much yet to be done to proper!}
define their limits and determine their character. Port-
lock Bank, extending northeasterly from Kadiak, has
an immense area; Shumagin Bank, south of the Shu-
magin group of islands, has an area of about 4,400
square miles; Albatross Bank, off the southeastern
side of Kadiak, has an area of 2,900 square miles; Slime
Bank, north of Unimak Island, in Bering Sea, covers
an area of 1,445 square miles, embracing depths of
twenty to fifty fathoms; Baird Bank stretches along
the north coast of Alaska Peninsula 230 miles, with
an average width of forty miles, covering an area of
9,200 square miles. The depths range from fifteen to
fifty fathoms, with a bottom of fine gray sand.
The business of the Alaska Oil and Guano Company,
at Killisnoo, gives employment to forty-five white
men, fifty Indians, and a few Chinamen. Their principal business is fishing, and the manufacture of oil and
fish fertilizer, though thgy also have a trading post.
Their capital stock is $75,000. They have a fishing
fleet of three steamers, four scows and two small boats.
The product of their factory in 1891 was larger than
in 1890, being 300,000 gallons of oil instead of 157,000
reported the previous year. They also put up 700
barrels of salt salmon, and manufactured 800 tons of
guano. The value of the product was not less than
$114,000. The oil is worth about thirty cents per gallon and the guano about $30 per ton.
The fish used for the manufacture of oil is the herring, which is very abundant, very rich in oil, and
finely flavored. It is much used as a food-fish, and
also as bait in taking halibut and other large fish. It
is caught by the natives for their own use with a stick,
toward the end of which are inserted several sharpened 190
spikes. They dip the stick in the water, catch one or
more herring, and with a single motion land the fish
in the canoe, and then thrust the stick into the water
again. In this way they take immense quantities in a
short time. These fish frequent the still waters of bays
and inlets by the 'million, at different places, and in
varying seasons of the year, from August to February.
Halibut abounds throughout central, southern, and
western Alaska, and can be taken at any time during
the year. They vary in size from 15 to 250 pounds
each, those weighing from fifty to seventy-five pounds
being preferred. It is not uncommon, says Governor
Knapp, of Alaska, for Sitka Indians to visit Silver Bay
or the vicinity of Mount Edgecombe and return the
following day with nearly a ton of these fish. White-
fish, losh, and graylings are found in large quantities
in the Yukon, and afford more food for the natives
than the salmon. Black bass are abundant in southeastern Alaska, and trout and pike inhabit almost all
the rivers.
Transportation facilities—Exports and imports—Territorial
government—The civil list of Alaska.
Correct statistics as to the trade of Alaska are not
easily obtained, and this is largely due to the various
and uncertain transportation facilities. *The large
companies engaged in business in the territory usually
employ their own ships. There were some eighty-
seven trading houses reported in Alaska in 1891, located in not less than sixty towns and villages, and
scattered from Point Barrow to the southern extremity, and from Loring to Attu. The number of stores for
the sale of general merchandise in southeastern Alaska
in 1892 was forty-seven. The imports consist of merchandise, machinery, powder, clothing, provisions,
tools, furniture, etc. The .exports are made up of fish,
furs, whalebone, ivory, oils, gold and silver bullion
and ores. The total imports in 1892, according to the
report of Governor Knapp, of Alaska, amounted to
the value of $2,164,238.
Furs, curios, etc. from 13 stations, southeast Alaska  $  351,000
1,220,000 codfish (7,500 tons)  375,000
789,294 cases of salmon  3,157,176
9,000 barrels of salted salmon  81,000
186,250 pounds of whalebone  1,210,625
1,000 pounds ivory  5,ooo
12,228 barrels whale oil    103,668
! Joseph P. Smith, Director Bureau American Republics. 192 THE GOLDEN NORTH.
Product of the Killisnoo manufactory, oil
and guano  114,000
Gold bullion, Alaska Treadwell Gold Mining Company     707,017
Gold and silver ore and bullion by other
companies     400,000
13,500 seal skins taken under the lease;
52,087 seal skins taken by sealing fleet;
10,000 seal skins taken by natives and
others   755,587
Furs   shipped   by   Alaska   Commercial
Company   348,991
Furs shipped by other parties, western
Alaska  90,000
Other products not enumerated    60,000
Total $7,759,064
Balance of exports above imports $5,594,886
Among the furs may be mentioned those of the sea
otter, the seal, the beaver, the silver and blue fox, the
mink, and the marten.
Governor Knapp, in his report for 1892, says: "The
mail contract with the Pacinc Coast Steamship Company requires stoppage for receipt and delivery of mail
by their regular passenger and freight steamers, two
each month, at seven ports, viz: Kichkan, in Tongass
Narrows, Loring, Wrangel, Douglas, Juneau, Killisnoo and Sitka. For this service they are paid the sum
of $18,000 per year. When other trips are made and
other places are visited by the steamers of the company, mails are carried and delivered^ wherever they
call. By this more uncertain service, several mails
have been delivered at Metlakahtla, Mary Island, Chil-
cat and Hoonah, and the mail has been carried weekly
instead of semi-monthly to the first named places during the months of June, July and August. Another
mail contract insures monthly mail service from
Wrangel to Klawak and Howkan.   A small steamer, COMMERCE, GOVERNMENT, ETC.
or steam launch, plies between Wrangel and Howkan.
Between Sitka and Unalaska, a distance of about 1,350
miles, a small steamer has made seven regular monthly
trips, from April to October, stopping at.six places.
In Special Consular Reports on "Highways of Commerce, 1895," it is stated that the fare from San Francisco to Wrangel, by the Pacific Coast Steamship Company, is $50; to Juneau or Sitka, $70. There is also
steamship service from St. Michael's via Unalaska to
Seattle and San Francisco.
The report of the Second Assistant Postmaster-General of the United States for 1896 says that a post-
office was authorized at Circle City March 19, 1896.
The carrier for the first trip started from Juneau June
nth, and reached Circle City July 14th, carrying 1,474
letters. He returned by way of St. Michael, reaching
Seattle August 19th. On the second trip, the carrier
left Juneau July 8th, reaching Circle City August 6th.
Another trip was made in September, and four between November and May, 1897.
In 1886, in reply to an inquiry on the part of the
United States Senate, the director of the United States
Geological Survey, J. W. Powell, presented a report
on the feasibility of constructing a railroad between
the United States, Asiatic Russia, and Japan. Mr.
Powell said that from all available information the proposed line appeared to present no greater obstacles
than those already overcome in transcontinental railroad building. It was suggested that the line start
from some point on the Northern Pacific Railroad in
Montana, and run, via the head waters of the Peace
River, to the head waters of the Yukon; and thence
to some point on the shore of Bering Sea, the total
distance covered being about 2,765 miles. A branch
line of 375 miles from the head waters of the Peace
River might run to the mouth of the Stikine River,
so as to facilitate communication with Sitka.
There is not much of special interest in the government of Alaska.   In 1884 a district government was
*m* m
created, with a governor and district court, which sits_
alternately at Sitka and Wrangel. The laws are principally those of Oregon. There is a land office at Sitka.
Commissioner Hermann, of the United States General
Land Office, on July 31, 1897, stated that the mineral-
land laws of the United States, the town-site laws (providing for the incorporation of town sites and acquirement of title thereto from the government to the
trustee), and the law giving each qualified person 160
acres ofTand in a square and compact form, are applicable to Alaska. The coal-land regulations and the
public-lami laws do not extend to Alaska, as the territory is expressly excluded by the laws themselves
from their operation.
The following is a list of United States officers in
Alaska, furnished by the Department of the Interior,
August 7, 1897:
John G. Brady, governor, Sitka.
Albert D. Elliot, clerk of the court, and ex-officio
secretary of Alaska, Sitka.
William L. Distin, surveyor-general, Sitka.
John W. Dudley, register of the land office, Sitka.
Russell Shelly, receiver of public moneys, Sitka.
Caldwell W. Tuttle, commissioner at Sitka.
Kenneth M. Jackson, commissioner at Wrangel.
Lycurgus R. Woodward, commissioner at Unalaska.
John Y. Ostrander, commissioner at Juneau City.
Phillip Gallaher, commissioner at Kadiak.
John E. Crane, commissioner at Circle City.
L. P. Shepard, commissioner at St. Michaels.
John U. Smith, commissioner at Dyea.
Charles H. Isham, commissioner at Unga.
The following is a list of the judicial officers of the
United States in Alaska, furnished by the Department
of Justice, August 7, 1897:
Charles S. Johnson, district judge, Sitka.
Burton E. Bennett, United States attorney, Sitka.
Alfred J. Daly, assistant United States attorney,
James M. Shoup, United States marshal, Sitka.
Mountains of pure mica—The salmon fisheries of Ungava—
The Eskimos and their language—Extracts from prayer
and hymn, books—On to Churchill.
The reader is invited to accompany the writer on a
voyage from the Atlantic Coast through Hudson Strait
and Bay, in order to study the natural features, resources and native populations of that wonderful region. These observations are based on the travels of
the author during 1884, in his capacity as meteorological observer of the Canadian government expedition
sent out to enquire into the practicability of the navigation of those waters in connection with a proposed
transcontinental railway line from Churchill to Port
Simpson through the Pine River Pass. The journey
covering the country between the two points named
had been previously made.
Our good steamship Neptune is "laying to" off
Resolution Island, waiting for the fog to lift, so that
her weatherbeaten commander, Commodore Sopp, of
the Liverpool Job Brothers fleet, can see his way to
round Cape Chidley and enter Hudson's strait.
We have passed through Belle Isle, and made the
acquaintance of a score or more of mighty icebergs
which are going down from the Arctic rock mountains
to be dissolved in tropical seas. We have traversed
700 miles of rugged Labrador coast, paid a visit to
Nain, the capital of the Moravian mission stations,
called at Nachvak, the first of the Hudson's Bay trading
posts, and are now ready to make the voyage through
the strait and across the bay to Churchill harbor,
which lies in the shadow of the big stone fortress
abandoned by Hearne about 1782. rOT
At Nain we were introduced to a village of 500 civilized and educated Eskimos. They live in neatly built
thatched roof log houses. Nearly a century and a half
ago, when these Moravian missions and trading sta-.
tions were established, there was but little vegetation
and no timber in the neighborhood, but both have
come to them since. Now they "switch" down from
the hillsides, by means  of husky   dogs, logs ten   to
twelve inches in di-
k  %
II o o S ,     ameter    and    from
fifteen to twenty
feet long. It was
there that we got
our first lesson on
the phenomenon of
the march of soil,
vegetation and timber to the north,
and we were able
to enlarge on this
at Nachvak.
At Nain we
learned the rudiments of the Eskimo language, and
now all we need is
practice to make
ourselves perfect in
its oral and written
use. These natives
have the old and new testaments and numbers 1 and
2 of Sankey's Hymns, translated and printed in their
own language. They have a church, and in it a
harpischord, after the pattern of our old-style me-
lodeon, which was brought from Germany nearly a
century ago, but is yet in fair condition. They are fond
of music and have a trained violin orchestra.
Do you ask why these people are not taught a language other than their own?   That has been found an
impossible thing to do. They consider the attempt to
speak another language "the unpardonable sin." But
we can only speak of these strange people as a memory
now. Here is a leaf from one of their hymn books
containing a portion of the familiar hymns, "Knocking, knocking," and "Safe in the arms of Jesus."
But we must hurry forward. The fog has lifted and
our good ship has rounded the cape, entered Hudson's
Strait, and paid a visit to Ungava Bay. Here we inspected a mountain of pure mica, from the summit of
which were torn with our own hands sheets large
enough to carpet an ordinary parlor. It is the purest
of mica, faultlessly transparent, and abounds in quantities sufficient to supply the mica demands of the world.
In Ungava we met the refrigerator steamership
Diana on  her way
<CC>« f?4.*r !  <3HC adfL%>c- ac~
Pc*r tx^r AWv<n*c* tevwnd*.
rX<fKD« <toOe^< ArO.P**crq<nP*.
t*tta*a.W<ac AHaX A*c-fWc- A-
j>V<«-^>. cc-feo* A«torU <a.o.-
<r<-> APb<Kr AVb*P3J«. <r*.
from Ungava River
to England with
a full load of
salmon, taken in
one tide, by means
of a trap. This incident, and the
mountain of mica,
constitute the two
first hints on the re-
sources of the
But we must be away. Not, however, until we have
paid a short visit to the Eskimos on the south shore
of Hudson's Strait. Here the natives have not been disturbed by civilization, and they do not meet with even
Hudson's Bay traders oftener than once in three to five
years. They are a greasy, dirty, happy-go-lucky set,
living for the most part on the blubber of the seal, and
on wild fowl, which abounds in great plenty, cooking
all their food thoroughly, except the fat of the seal,
thus giving contradiction to much that has been falsely
written about them in this respect.   Seal oil, with lichen 198
moss for a wick, supplies their stone lamps, and they
are seldom short of this fuel.
There is no soil on either side of Hudson's Strait.
The rocks are bare except as covered by patches of
lichen moss, upon which great droves of cariboo   or
reindeer     feed     to
45, A*A?fto* M(\±
1. Q.U* LLt%
ftr^b PoWk
<JAo*6> t>LJ< ?
fkftefc A*.
2. aU*f ?<r*>S
OdAcl L<r>\
Spl A^Oc;
>&2.<rkc.^* Ac.
48. A*A?Ho* P-v?n^
heart's    con-
The   natives
in    reindeer
tents,    which
are easily moved
from place to place.
We enter Hudson's Bay from the*
straits at the sunrise of a bright, still
morning, with the
Diggs Islands on
our right and the
mighty Cape Wol-
stenholme on our
left. From the former, Henry Hudson
and his son were
set adrift in a jolly
boat by a mutinous
crew, never to be
heard from more;
and from the summit of the latter,
3,000 feet above the
water, streams are
pouring down from
a crown of perpetual snow and ice.
A few, days and nights bring us to Fort Churchill;
and now we must take time to go to the Rose Welcome
whaling ground, to the north, and to visit York Factory far to the south, at the mouth of the Hayes and
Nelson rivers.
ss-sa IN HUDSON'S STRAIT.                         199
IN HUBSON'S STRAIT.                ^^
Its length, width and islands—Height of its tides, and velocity of its tidal currents—Talks with Eskimos.
Before going up to Rose Welcome, where we will
enjoy the excitement of seeing a whale taken, let us
make some observations on Hudson's Strait, through
wfcich we have passed. From Cape Chidley to Cape
Best, on Resolution Island, at the entrance to the
strait, the channel is forty-five miles wide. The narrowest channel of the strait is at its western extremity,
where between Cape Wolstenholme and the south
shore of Nottingham Island, the channel is not more
than thirty-five miles wide. The tides in the strait rise
and fall from fifteen to thirty-five feet, and the tide race
runs at from four to ten miles an hour, at half fide,
according to location.
Its principal islands are Resolution on the north of
the entrance from the mouth of Davis' Strait; Big
Island on the north side of the strait, close to the mainland, called North Bluff; Charles Island, about fifteen
miles from its south shore, and about the same distance
northwest of Cape Weggs; Salisbury, about forty miles
from the north-main coast, with Mills Island twelve
miles to the northwest of it, both at the mouth of Fox
Channel; and Nottingham, near the center of the
strait at the entrance to Hudson's Bay.
The smaller or group islands are the Buttons, about
five miles north of Cape Chidley; Lower Savages,
northwest of Resolution, and between it and the north-
main shore; the Middle Savages and Saddle Backs,
lying close to the north main coast, about sixty miles
northwest of the Lower Savages, and a little to the
east of the Upper Savages; Big Island at the entrance ill
to North Bay; and the Digges, six miles west of Cape
Wolstenholme, at the south side of the entrance to
Hudson's Bay.
The water in the Strait is uniformly very deep; between Resolution and Cape Chidley it is three hundred fathoms. The center of the Strait' to the west
will average from two hundred to one hundred and
fifty fathoms, getting shallower as the entrance to
Hudson's Bay is neared. There are no shoals or dangerous reefs to render navigation precarious. The
same may practically be said in regard to fogs and
gales; fogs occur, but are usually of short duration,
and heavy gales are of rare occurrence. In this respect
the Strait is in happy contrast with the ever-squally
waters of the Labrador Coast. The variation or error
of the magnetic needle, in its application to .the navigation of Hudson's Strait, is as regular and reliable as
in any part of the world. It is about 50 degrees west
at Cape Chidley, and at the entrance of Hudson's Bay,
say at Nottingham Island, about 55 w. There is no
local magnetic force to interfere with navigating the
center of the Strait, and the compass, that is, the patent
Sir William Thompson compass, may be depended
upon; but the ordinary marine compass is practically
worthless. This arises from the close proximity of the
Strait to the magnetic pole, on account of which the
directive force acting on the needle is greatly diminished.
The shores of the Strait are high, bold and barren,
consisting of the Laurentian gneiss formation. The
waters abound in whales, porpoise,-walrus, seal, and
many kinds of fish, while on the shores and the borders
of the lakes and streams of the interior, fur-bearing animals, deer, white bears and a great variety of small
game, are plentiful. The Eskimos inhabit both the
north and south shores, and the borders of the rivers.
A visit to some of the Eskimo camps on the north
shore of Hudson's Strait proved interesting. There we
obtained    some    rare    skins    and    talked    to    the IN HUDSON'S STRAIT.
natives, to a limited extent, in their own language.
The author had, by that time, gained a slight knowledge of Eskimo. The following is from the author's
book "North Land," printed some years ago:
"I had in my hands a Snyder rifle, which attracted
the admiration of a young hunter. I allowed him to
examine it, and remarked, 'oonla-ko-olik,' which
means, Tt is a rifle.' . He was greatly pleased with the
idea that I could speak his tongue, and went into a
rigmarole of gibberish, of which I understood nothing, and to which I responded: 'Ontuke,' which is,
T do not understand,' Then his countenance dropped,
but to revive him I said: 'Ki-chin-a-coma,' which is,
T will give you tobacco.' His smiles returned, and
extending one hand he waited anxiously, for all Eskimos love tobacco. Exhibiting the tobacco, I asked,
'kito-ma-shima-yuk?' This demand for deer skin
brought another cloud to his face, but after a moment's
pause he shouted out, 'ko-le-tuk,' meaning a woman's
dress of deer skin. He exhibited two of these, made of
beautifully dressed skins, with shoulder hoods tor
papoose, and the inevitable long tails, the only distinguishing mark between the dress of the men and
that of the women. He laid them on the ground, and
I placed four plugs of black tobacco near by and asked,
'Oonah, oomung de?' or 'will you take this for that?'
He nodded assent and the trade was over, but not until his explanation of 'Match-a-mic,' had softened me
to the extent of one card of matches.
"I then asked for 'poyea,' or seal skin. He brought
from his bag of the same material four large skins, and
the same performance was repeated. I obtained them
for four mean little black plugs of tobacco, and felt that
the native had been badly swindled; while, on the other
hand, he seemed to think he had struck a bonanza, and
grinned all over his great broad ugly face.
"With a disposition to continue the traffic, I inquired for 'Nannuk,' or white bear skin. He exhibited
a piece about eighteen inches square, and I brought
14 202
out some more tobacco, but he shook his head and
wanted 'og-jik' (powder). I had none of this. Then
he wanted 'in-nip-a-lowlite,' (gun caps); I had none;
and then he shouted 'de-vine-looka,' all of which meant
only 'shot,' but I had none. However, he was not to
be easily discouraged and called for a 'shi-powit,' or a
pipe. I had only one and could not part with that, so
I said, turning away, 'ok-shan-i,' or good-bye. This
was a good stroke, I mean a business stroke. He came
to time without delay and called after me: Tish-shee-
yon-ma-go-lova-too-goot,' or T want to trade.' I then
exhibited two plugs of black-strap, and asked in a
decided tone of voice, as if it were my last offer,
'oomungde?' He yielded and I became the happy
owner of this small piece of valuable skin.
"Just then a new arrival advanced, and, extending
<my hand, I said carelessly, 'kan-we-kuk' (how are
you). He took my hand and shook it heartily, and
spreading out his skins, said 'pish-shee-yon-ma-go-
lova.' I turned him over to a companion who relieved him of his peltries, giving in return therefor as
little in value as I had done for the goods obtained
from the first."
Scenes and impressions of Marble Island—Visit to the Rose
Welcome—The "crow's nest" and Lookout-man—Harpooning a whale—An exciting contest—A "flurry."
On our way to the Rose Welcome we stopped at
Marble Island and were at once surprised at seeing
so many indications of the dead at the old winter
quarters of the New England whalers. On a high
gravel ridge, near the harbor, there was a string of
graves, some twenty in number, marked by large,
well formed oak monuments.
The scene about us was singularly impressive. In
the stillness of the morning, we viewed the little city
of the dead from the quarter-deck of our good ship.
The sun, yet low in the eastern sky, bathed in golden
brightness the vast sea over which its refreshing rays
greeted the little island. The breeze had not yet
awakened, and there was no voice of beast or bird,
nor breath of life to stir the atmosphere.
It was a place and an hour for contemplation, and
one could not readily turn away from its opportunities. Standing there and looking back over the history of ancient and modern times, it seemed that,
stretching from the land of the Norseman, and the
waters of Archangel, to "India's coral strand," all peoples, and tribes, and tongues, from the earliest days
of Chaldean power down to the history of Assyrian,
Persian, Grecian, Roman, and Anglo-Saxon supremacy, have, in the progress of the arts and sciences, in
the growth of political institutions of government and
civil liberty, in the development of commerce and the
advancement of industrial pursuits, and in the rise
and glorious reign of Christianity,been moving forward
ffl'ffiffff'T^pB&SB 204
northwesterly. The contemplation, visionary in one
sense, was real in another, and history was the source
of its inspiration. The general course of human progress, for thousands of years, has been to the northwest; it is still, in the flood tide of its strength, northwesterly.
Mankind, in all ages, in marching along
The highway of commerce, by mighty and strong
Impulse of progress, invariably throng
A course that leads north-westerly.
The first wooden monument met with on the far
north grave-ridge bore the following inscription:
Sacred to the Memory
Schooner Abbie Bradford,
who died of consumption at Marble Island,
April 5, 1881, aged 48 years.
There were many others. The bodies occupying
these had fallen victims to scurvy. Leaving Marble
Island, we steam north into the whaling ground, called
the Rose Welcome, to witness the capture of one of
these monsters of the sea. This calls for some observations on whales. * They live entirely in the water,
and obtain their livelihood there; hence their whole
structure is fitted for the seas only; and when they
are unfortunately cast upon shoals, they cannot of
their own power re-enter the water, but perish from
starvation. CAPTURING A WHALE.
They are forced to rise to the surface of the water
to breathe, which is called "spouting," because a column of mixed vapor and water is ejected from the
"blow-holes," rising above the surface to a height of
more than twenty feet. The fins are'simply undeveloped legs, suited to aquatic locomotion; but their
chief use seems to be to keep their immense bodies in
position and in caring for their young, as the propelling power is located altogether in the tail.
The northern whale is, when fully grown, about
seventy feet long, and in girth about thirty-five or forty
feet. Its color is velvety-black on the upper half of its
body, as also on its fins and tail, but its belly and the
.lower part of its jaw are nearly white. The sleek, shiny
appearance of its body is due to the oil which is constantly emitted through the pores of the skin. The
skin is threefold; the inner, or true skin is nothing
more or less than the blubber, or fat. This blubber is
generally about eighteen inches to two feet thick according to location on the body, and besides being of
value as an article of commerce, it is of great use to the
whale, offering an elastic resistance to the waves and
pressure of the water. In a full-sized whale the blubber will weigh thirty or forty tons.
The head of the whale is of enormous size, being
about one-third of the entire length. The jaws are
very long—more than fifteen feet, and about eight
feet wide, and ten to twelve feet from top to bottom
when open. The most peculiar part of the mouth is
the abundance of whalebone that it contains. It lies
in a series of plates, thick and close where it is attached to the jaw, but running into hair-like fibers at
the ends. On each side of the jaw there are over three
hundred of these rows with the bone usually about ten
or twelve feet long. A good sized whale will furnish
about one ton of bone, which is very valuable as an
article of commerce. The whalebone is of use to the
whale in catching its food and in separating it from
the water. li
The whales suckle their young. When first born the
young whale is without whalebone, and, therefore, its
mouth is not equipped for supplying itself with food,
so that it is wholly dependent upon the mother for
subsistance. The maternal whale keeps close to her
offspring, and does not forsake it until the whalebone
is grown and it is able to support itself.
Whaling is one of the most exciting vocations
known to man. It is not attended with as many dangers as writers have generally depicted, but it necessitates many hardships, great exposure, and, of course,
some risk of life. Steam vessels have pretty much
superseded sailing craft in this trade, and are found,
for many reasons, to be very much more adapted to it;
but in Hudson's Bay the sailing vessel is still used.
When the ship, with her crew and hunting appliances,
has reached the whaling waters, the "crow's nest,"
which consists of a barrel, supplied with furs and comfortables, without any top, and with its bottom arranged so as to open and shut on hinges, is arranged
on the cross-tree of the foremast. The lookout-man
ascends the rigging, passes up into this nest, closes
the trap after him, and, with the aid of a telescope
keeps a vigilant outlook for whales. Meanwhile all is
gotten ready on deck for putting off in the boats whenever a monster is sighted. The lookout-man may have
to endure many long, weary, tedious hours before his
aching eyes are gladdened by a sight of the object of
his watch, but as soon as he observes a whale, he carefully notes its location and the direction from the
vessel to it. Then, opening the trap, he rapidly but
quietly descends. Not a word is spoken, but the man
on the bridge gives the sign and a boat is made ready.
Six oarsmen and a helmsman are at their posts. The
lookout-man jumps into the boat, takes his place at
the swivel harpoon gun, and at once becomes the
harpooneer. He gives the course, and the boat with
muffled oars puts away toward the whale, and, after
cruising about for several hours, it may be, the giant 1
comes to the surface to blow, perhaps within a hundred yards of the hunters. He generally remains
partly out of the water five or ten minutes, so that there
is time to get the boat into position. The swivel gun
is turned upon him and discharged, sending into his
side a harpoon, some two feet, to which is attached a
line six hundred and twenty fathoms long. The harpoon is about eighteen inches or two feet in length.
The stock is inserted in the muzzle of the gun, and the
line is fastened to a ring at one side. The barbed
point of the deadly weapon projects from the gun
some ten or twelve inches. Fourteen fathoms of the
line are left loose, in a proper coil, so that the harpoon
will be impeded as little as possible. If they have succeeded in making fast to the whale, which generally
makes off under water, the line is payed out with the
friction of two turns round the "bullet head," and a
small flag, called the "boat's jack," is sent up as a signal
indicating the situation of the ship.
Meanwhile the captain has taken up his position in
the "crow's nest," and as soon as the signal is given
he gives the word from the lookout, "a fall!" This is
taken up by the cook or others on deck; and, for a
minute, all are shouting "a fall!" "a fall!" and all are
rushing for the boats. Should the men be in their
j berths, no time is allowed or needed for dressing. They
sleep with their clothes on, and with such extra garments as they may require in a small bag attached to
their persons by a rope, so that when the word is given
they require only to jump for the boats. Each man
knows his station in one of the six boats sent out on
"a fall!" The helmsmen, the oarsmen, the lancers,
and the harpooners, are each and all at their posts,
while with muffled oars they speed away toward the
struggling whalers in the first boat sent out, leaving
on ship-board only the captain, the cook, and one or
two sailors.
The great object of these assisting boats is to get as
near the whale as possible when he comes to the sur-
W 208
face, and to discharge the contents of their harpoon
guns into his sides, so as to secure him by additional
lines. A premium is placed upon this work to the extent of one dollar a man for each harpoon inserted.
The assisting boats are equipped with swivel guns,
the same as the first boat sent out. When the whale
has been secured by four or five harpoons, and when
he has "flurried," and not until then, the lancers approach him. The whale "flurries" soon after being
harpooned, or by the time he has been fastened by two
or three lines.
It is hard to describe a "flurry," but it is a flurry with
a vengeance. The whale becomes alarmed, excited,
and loses his head, and in this condition he blows
and tears around in indescribable fury, lashing the
water with his tail, and rendering approach to him exceedingly dangerous. All keep their distance during
the "flurry;" but this exhibition of power is generally
succeeded by a calm, in which the victim is said to be
getting sick. He comes often to the surface, and remains partly out of the water for several minutes each
time. The boats approach closer and closer, near the
forward fin, so as to avoid his tail, and with hand-
lances, lances on poles about ten feet long, pierce his
sides. Sometimes he is fired into with "exploding
bomb lances," which, after piercing his flesh some two
feet, explode inside, making great havoc of his vital
Under this treatment he soon begins to blow blood,
which is a most wonderful spectacle. But there is no
mercy for the whale. He is lanced and pierced and
butchered until he turns himself over, in a sort of death
act, and yields himself up to his captors. The men
with knives make holes through his tail and lower lip,
and fasten lines thereto, when another signal is given
for the approach of the ship, which presses hurriedly
towards them. No matter how long and arduously
the men have worked, or how cold and exhausted they
have become, they are all jolly now, and, holding on CAPTURING A WHALE.
to their prize, they while away the minutes until the
vessel arrives, by singing some of their favorite songs.
On the approach of the vessel, the whale is made
fast to her side, tail forward, so that the large open
mouth will not fill with water in case of the advance
of the ship, and the work of sculping is begun. This is
done under the superintendence of an official called
" the Inspectioneer." Eight or ten men are lowered
upon the body of the whale, with nails or brads in
the soles of their boots, like creepers, in order that
they may not slip off his round form; and with long
knives well sharpened for the purpose, commence the
work of removing the blubber, which is generally
eighteen inches thick over the whole carcass.
The whale industry is in the hands of citizens of the
United States from New England. THE GOLDEN NORTH.
> Rev. Mr. Lofthouse—A curious courtship by photograph and
letter—An intended bride starts from the old country
for Hudson's Bay to become the wife of a missionary—
The porpoise fishery.
It is about six hundred miles from the Rose Welcome whaling ground to Fort Churchill, or old Fort
Prince of Wales, which is at the mouth of the Churchill
River. The fort is a magnificent structure. One corner of it was shattered by an attempt made to blow it
up when abandoned by Hearne in 1782; but it is
otherwise in an excellent state of preservation, and
will remain so, unless taken down, for centuries to
come. It was built by the Hudson's" Bay Company
and occupied nearly half a century as payment for its
construction. A little way up the river from the fort'
is the trading post, where Chief Factor Spencer resides in a well appointed cottage with his good wife
and children. This cottage has been standing for nearly fifty years and is still sound in every part. Besides
the other residents at this trading post, we meet with,
the Rev. J. Lofthouse, who at once becomes a person
of peculiar interest. He is, as the reader will have
supposed, the missionary stationed at this post
by the Church of England, and is a pleasant looking,
affable young person, well qualified to get along in a
quiet way, without occupying any more space in the
world of thought and action than the small duties of
his limited sphere require. He came out from his
Yorkshire home in 1882, and has been since located
part of the time at York. He had, only a few days before, completed the journey from that place to Churchill   along   the   coast   on   foot,   a   distance   of   over DAY AT FORT CHURCHILL. 211
one hundred and fifty miles, in order to meet the out-
coming Hudson's Bay Company's ship as soon as she
reached her first anchorage on the west shore of the
bay. Do you ask why he could not wait for her arrival at York? For the best of all reasons. His future
wife came out with the vessel to join him in matrimony
and the cares of married life in his adopted home on
the shores of Hudson's Bay.
There is a good deal of romance connected with the
story of the reverend gentleman's courtship. After
becoming settled in his new northwestern charge, he
bethought him of the necessities of his new position.
Of course the comforts of home could not be complete
without a wife, and neither at York nor at Churchill
was there to be found a person suitable. In fact there
were no unmarried ladies at these places except Cree
ladies; and although some of these are really beautiful and fairly well educated, they are not just suited to
the necessities of the parsonage. Under these circumstances, the Rev. Mr. Lofthouse exchanged photographs, through friends in the old country,* with a
young lady whom he had never seen, but of whom he
knew something by hearsay. The courtship, the proposal, the acceptance, and the whole business had been
completed in the narrow scope of two letters; but let
not the reader suppose it lacked sentiment and feeling
on that account. Far from it. On the contrary, the
intended bride and the intended bridegroom, were
greatly overcome by the peculiarity of the circumstances. They were to meet as strangers, as lovers,
betrothed, promised, engaged, and for the purpose of
marriage,   And they did meet, and were married.
There is neither an Eskimo nor yet a resident Indian population at Churchill. The inhabitants of the
place number about forty. These are Chippewayan
half-breeds, except the officers of the post and their
families. There are, however, about two hundred natives in the neighborhood which visit the fort, off and
on, during various seasons of the year.   The Indians ■JT
(Chippewayans) come, in the early spring, to trade,
bringing with them the valuable skins of the otter,
the deer and the marten, the mink, the silver-gray
fox, etc. The Eskimos visit the fort, generally during the winter, laden with white bear, deer, white fox,
wolf and other fur-bearing skins. In this way a considerable traffic is carried on, to the great profit of the
Hudson's Bay Company and to the many hardships
and privations of the natives, who, however, appear
most in their true element when half naked, half
starved, and very dirty.
The half-breed population of Churchill, less than
forty souls, dwell with a few exceptions, in a long low
building owned by the company, in which they are a
sort of tenants at will. In the best sense of the term
they are nothing more nor less than slaves. They
are called servants. That name, perhaps, suits their
condition and circumstances best. There is generally
a sort of engagement or agreement between the men
and the company. They are engaged for periods of
from three to five years, at stipends ranging from one
pound to two pounds ten shillings a month, and are
always paid in merchandise at Hudson's Bay Company's prices, prices that are never complained of,
because there is not the slightest advantage in complaining, but which are large enough to make up for
the infrequency of purchases. They live and die in
the service of the company, enjoy but few privileges,
few comforts, and have no opportunities of learning
anything about the world in which they live.
From the large number of children among them,
and their very healthy condition, it is plainly to be
seen that they are on the increase. They are provided
with all the absolute necessities of life in full supply.
They are seldom in want of food, except occasionally
when the supplies at the post run short, as the country is full of deer, wild geese in their season, and small
game; and as the company's agents treat them honorably, their condition is one of comparative comfort. DAY AT FORT CHURCHILL. 21^
In conversation and manners they are very simple,
plain, dull and quiet people; and, in speaking with
them, one is impressed with their dense ignorance of
all things. Their knowledge of mechanics is confined
to fire-arms and sailing craft.
Walrus hunting is an important industry at
Churchill. Early every spring two large boats are sent
up to the walrus grounds just to the northwest of
Marble Island. Last season this enterprise was conducted by George MacTavish, chief clerk, who, with
a crew of. half-breeds and Indians, took twenty-two
large walruses in a few days, and could have easily secured as many more, only that the blubber from the
carcasses of those he captured more than loaded his
boats. He experienced a very successful trip, with
the exception that one of his Indians died suddenly of
heart disease during the voyage up.
Aside from the walrus hunt, Mr. Spencer is developing a large porpoise, or white whale fishery, on the
very shores of Churchill harbor, where, with his nets
and traps, he took, last season, one hundred and ninety of these mammals, of immense size. By increasing
his facilities, five hundred or a thousand might be
taken annually. Two large blubber refineries have
been opened at Churchill, where the fat of the porpoise and walruses is refined and placed in casks ready
for shipment to Europe. This oil, together with the
furs which are taken from the natives in exchange for
merchandise, and the ivory from the walrus, make up
an annual budget at Churchill of great value. These
products are exported each year in the company's
ships, and find a ready market in the old world, to the
great advantage of the Company's treasury. 214
Buildings at the trading post—The Church and the School
—An interesting murder trial.
York factory at the mouth of the Neison and Hayes
rivers, is not the splendid place it was half a century
ago, but is in good condition and is yet an important
Hudson's Bay Company trading post. The buildings,
of which there are about fifty belonging to the post
proper, many of them large and handsome, are clean
and bright-looking, and must have been erected at
great expense. The main factory building is a square,
with a court-yard in the center, being over two hundred feet on each side. The front center is three stories
high, the other portion two stories. It is of wood, as
are all the buildings belonging to the place. It stands
back about three hundred feet from the front palisade,
which runs along parallel with the Hayes River, upon
which it fronts.
Potatoes and turnips do pretty well in the gardens
at York Factory.
Away to the north of the village, about three miles,
are the ruins of old Fort York, which was captured
and destroyed by La Perouse in ^1782. Between this
and the new fort, as it is generally called, and near to
the latter, is the powder magazine, enclosed by a high
palisade, and the grave-yard.
The little church within the palisade, where the white
people attend service, is a neat" structure, much like
that at Churchill, but about double the size. It contains a melodeon, and is otherwise well appointed.
Next to it is the school house, just outside of the
palisade. It is a neat, clean, well kept building, where
in the summer months school is kept up from eight OBSERVATIONS AT YORK FACTORY.
o'clock in the morning" until about five o'clock in the
evening.; There are, including white and Cree, about
one hundred and twenty-five children. These have
but one teacher, but are taught separately.
The white children attend school, and English
branches are taught, from eight to half-past ten in the
forenoon. From that
hour   until   five   in ALPHABET.
the evening the Indian children are
taught in Cree, to
read and wrrite, and
to apply the rudiments of arithmetic.
Great progress has
been made in the
education of the
Cree Indians. The
same syllabic characters are used as in
teaching Chippewa-
yan. A number of
useful text-books
have been printed,
and, through the
indefatigable efforts
of Mrs. Mason, the
mother of Mrs.
Fortesque, - wife
of Chief Factor
Fortesque, the entire Old and New
Testaments have
been printed and published in the Cree language. It
is a great credit to the efforts put forth at York factory,
on behalf of education, that almost all the Indians
there, who are of sufficient age, can read and write with
ease in their own language.
A few years ago the quiet of York Factory was dis-
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The dot over any syllable lengthens the vowel sound
igMii 2l6
turbed by a murder. In a brawl between two Indian
women, named Nancy Natainew and Mary Quaqua,
the former threw an ax at the latter, which she managed to avoid, but it struck her son John, a small boy,
on the head. He died from the effects of the blow
two days after. The woman, Natainew, was duly tried
before Justice Fortesque in the school-house. Chief
Factor Fortesque, besides exercising some judicial
functions as the head officer at the post, is a Justice of
the Peace for the Northwest Territories of Canada.
D r.     Matthews,
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nn bnns cc^u w> t>tocs*ne
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British law, but as
the trial proceeded, their manner became greatly
changed. All the feelings of their race became aroused,
and they looked upon the prosecution as a piece of
tyranny or persecution on the part of the Hudson's
Bay Company. Before the trial came on they had
seen the whole affair, and related every phase of it
acting as Clerk of
the Court and
Crown Prosecutor,
interested himself in
bringing the murderess to justice;
but before the
trial had proceeded
far, he found himself surrounded by
many and great difficulties. At the
outset the natives
were loud in their
denunciations of the
conduct of the
hostile squaw, and
manifested the
greatest desire to
see her brought under the penalties of OBSERVATIONS AT YORK FACTORY.
with great exactness; but in the witness-box they
knew nothing about it whatever. Indeed, they were
dumb. As the examination progressed the feelings of
the natives became more intense in favor of the prisoner; and finally the woman, Natainew, became a martyr to the fullest extent of their appreciation of the
It was plain that anything like conviction by the
testimony of Indian witnesses would be an impossibility, and Doctor Matthews gave the case up, leaving it
to the discretion of Justice Fortesque to deal with the
squaw as he might think fit. She was sentenced to
one month's imprisonment, and to the worse penalty
of having her beautiful, long, black hair cut off close
to her head. This punishment, in the eyes of her
sympathizers, was nearly as bad as hanging.
The Nelson and Hayes rivers, at the mouths of
which York Factory is located, wind away to the
southwest to Lake Winnipeg, a distance of about
425 miles. There are over 100 rapids on the Nelson,
all of which have to be portaged.
15 218
Character and value of these animals—The porpoise fisheries—The Walrus hunt—Peculiarities of Narwhal—
Probabilities of a seal breeding ground in Hudson's
Strait—Great possibilities of the oil industry.
Hudson's Bay and Strait are the dwellings of the
porpoise, or white whale. There countless thousands
may be seen tumbling about on the waves and performing all sorts of sportive exercises. They herd together in vast droves, often thousands and tens of
thousands in one school. Sometimes these shoals
will form in "Indian file" and shoot over the water,
showing their backs like a long, black, winding, ever-
changing streak on the surface of the sea. We met
with them everywhere, and I am justified in saying
that the waters are alive with them.
Their mouths are furnished with sharp teeth, which
are so arranged that they interlock when the jaws are
closed; thus they are well provided with the means of
capturing and devouring food.
The porpoise is seldom seen in deep water, and generally keeps pretty close to the coast, frequenting bays,
inlets and the mouths of rivers. They generally
ascend the rivers with the tides and will never go further up than the tidal flow, but will always stop when
it stops, and descend with it. They are very fat and
contain blubber similar to that of the whale. A good
sized porpoise is worth$75.
The walrus belongs to the seal family and presents
a very grotesque appearance} Its head is its most
conspicuous part. Its nose is covered with long bristles and its head with long wiry hair. Its ivory tusks,
often eighteen inches long, project from the upper PORPOISE, WALRUS, SEAL.
jaw. The tusks of the wairus are of a superior quality
of ivory.
The walrus is an exceedingly valuable animal, both
as an article of commerce and to the Eskimo of the
north. The blubber, ivory, and skin are always in demand. The tusks furnish ivory of a peculiarly white
hue, said to hold its color longer than that of the elephant's tusk. The oil produced from the blubber is
very delicate, and always commands a high price. The
skin is thick and extremely tough, and is valuable to
the Eskimo for dog-harness, and to civilized man for
many purposes. The Eskimos use the tusks for harpoons, spears, and fish-spears; the intestines for nets;
its oil and flesh for food, and its bones for kayak frames
and other purposes.
The narwhal, or sea unicorn, is valuable for its oil
and ivory. Its horn, from five to seven feet long, is
of the very finest ivory, and susceptible of an exceedingly high polish. A full sized horn is valued at from
$60 to $80.
The oil seal, which abounds in countless millions in
the North Atlantic and adjacent seas and bays, is
richly coated with blubber, while the skins are of great
value either when tanned into leather or prepared
with the fur on, and used for garments. Cod and
salmon abound in the inlets on the south shores of
Hudson's Strait. WFx
The silver, blue, gray, red and white foxes—The ermine—
The marten—The otter—The varying hare—The lynx
—The wolf—The sable, musk ox, etc.—The fur trade.
Having spoken of the oil-bearing mammals of the
Hudson's Bay region and the economic fishes, we will
now briefly direct attention to the fur-bearing animals
of that district. In the first place, should the traveler
in that region depend upon the Hudson's Bay Company's employes for his information concerning these
resources, he will remain in ignorance. These people,
when being questioned concerning the furs or other
products, can manage to talk and yet say the least of
any persons to be met with.
Beaver are very scarce, but foxes are still plentiful.
Of these there are many kinds, and the price of their
skins ranges from one dollar to five hundred, so that
the fur trader must be well versed in all these varieties
in order to know the commercial value of the various
skins brought to him for traffic. Foxes have so many
names, and there are so many different names for the
same kind of fox, that one meets with difficulty in attempting to describe them. We hear of the black,
the blue, the silver, the gray, the cross, the red and the
white fox.
Probably the most fashionable fur of to-day is that
of the silver fox, which is found plentifully in the Hudson's Bay region. , It is a rich, deep, glossy black,
with a bluish tinge; so beautiful are they that $500
has been given for a single skin, and La Houtan states
that, in his time, the skin of one of these foxes brought
its weight in gold. Skins frequently bring $250. Of
the two thousand caught yearly in different parts of
North America, about one thousand are used in Eng- FUR BEARING ANIMALS.
land, and a much smaller number in the United States.
The choicest skins are taken on the northern shores
of Hudson's Strait and on the rough coast of the extreme northwestern portions of Hudson's Bay. Some
are caught in Russia, but the fur is of a poorer quality
and not valued so highly.
The cross, red, blue, gray and white foxes are all of
considerable importance, each having a certain commercial value. The best cross fox skins are worth $40
each, and over 10,000 are shot or trapped in the
northern regions yearly. The blue fox skins are worth
$20 apiece, and about 7,000 are captured annually, but
some of these are secured on the borders of the White
Sea and in Greenland. The other varieties bring from
one to five dollars each. Of the ordinary red fox over
100,000 are secured every year by the Hudson's Bay
Company's posts of the north.
The fur of the ermine, or stoat, has been esteemed
from ancient times, when only the nobility were allowed to wear it; but the demand for it to-day is as
great as when the use of it was confined to the upper
classes. They are small animals, but when the fur is
secured in very cold weather, from the snow-clad
slopes, their skins are valued at $250 each.
There are many other varieties of valuable furs
taken in the Hudson's Bay region, as will be seen by
the following list showing the catch for one season in
and about Cumberland House:
Bear   372
Ermine   ....... 226
Blue Fox  4
Red Fox  91
Silver Fox  3
Marten     2il57
Musk-rat 180,791
Skunk    6
Wolf ,  76
Musk-ox  1
Beaver   4,684
Fisher    50
Cross Fox  30
White Fox.... 332
Lynx     442
Mink   7>790
Otter   424
Wolverine  175
Weenisk    1 *F,
Romance of the marriage of an Eskimo Princess—Habits of
life—The Kayak.
Before quitting the Hudson's Bay country we must
relate a little piece of romance and say something
about the Kayak and the Eskimos generally. One day
in wandering among the rock hills on the south shore
of Hudson's Strait in the neighborhood of Prince of
Wales Sound, we came to a little inlet, a narrow arm
of the sound extending in among the rocks, entirely
hid from view until the traveler approached the water's
edge. There were natives residing on both sides of
the cove. It was evident that something unusual was
going on. An old chief, with his great red cap, stood
upon a cliff near his tent on one side, while, upon the
waters of the lake-like inlet, a boat and half a dozen
kayaks were filled with Eskimos, apparently enjoying
a holiday. Upon inquiry, we found that the chief's
daughter, his only child and a native beauty, had just
given her hand in marriage to a young Eskimo. The
event was much out of the general order of marriages,
as the newly-made husband was to succeed the old
chief as head-man over this scattered population. A
few questions revealed sufficient romance to make the
wedding very interesting. The story is given in the
following measure:
Nestled in rocks of gneiss,
Formed while chaos-gloom yet shrouded earth,
And sheltered by eternal snow-crowned cliffs,
The placid waters of the cove, by not
One ripple stirred, bore on their liquid breast
Kayaks, trimmed out with spears and gaffs and hooks,
A guard of honor due the pair made one
In bonds unsanctified by rite of church or creed. OBSERVATIONS ON THE ESKIMOS.
The whale-boat had, by generous loan, or from
The loancr's wish to fosterIxade, contained,
Besides the tawny brave and blushing bride,
Seated aft on skins of Polar bear, four more
Strong bending to the oars.   Her jacket was
Of seal, the tail bedecked with finer furs
Contrasting shades and colors gay—not wide,
But pennant-shaped, and further trimmed with strips
Of feathered skins of Arctic birds of white
And shades of every hue.   Of raven black
Her hair in braids hung down upon her breast,
And falling back, trailed in the liquid blue.
Her head was bare; nor was the use of veil
Indulged, nor decorations grand, except
A neatly twisted wreath, extending from
Her forehead back, of Arctic poppies bright,
And freshly gathered from the rocky shore.
Her hands ungloved; her feet in boots of seal;
Her neck was girt about with ivory balls
And balls of Latrobite, strung on a thread
Of skin, and from it, on her throbbing breast,
Hung down a cross, hewn from a tusk,—
A cross without a meaning to the bride,
But patterned from the pictures left
By sailors, who for furs had traded them.
Her charms had famed her in a hundred camps,
And far and wide her name, on native tongues,
In words of praise and boast was spoken oft.
A princess of a royal line of chiefs,
An heir to idleness and ease, with right
To be attended by the common herd
And give command.   Her home a ruler's hut,
And hence a palace grand.   The only heir
And only child of Chief Utongkakum,
Whose rule of thirty years as native chief
Of Eskimos for many miles around
Had blessed his race, and made his name a word
For common use.   The aged chief could not
Much longer wear his modern cap of red,
But Soon his crown must rest on other's head.
To gain the princess-daughter's hand was much
To be desired for her natural charms,
But more because with that the winner gained
A crown.   Princess Lu-killia-ke-a-kum
Utongkakuk, by many suitors wooed,
But won by none, until by test to find a man
As true, as brave, and worthy to be called
A chief, the conquest of her heart was made
By young Shemomamik. 224
The contest for her. hand, the battle for
The crown, was brought on thus.   The evening shades
Were falling, when, as four brave hunters sat
On skins about her royal father's hut,
Each waiting for the word, the answer to
A prayer that sweet Lu-killia-ke-a-kum
Would stoop to be his bride.   Behold, a grim
Huge Polar bear approached, but turned
Away as yelping dogs disclosed to him
His peril.   The princess answered, pointing to
The monster, king of Arctic seas:    "To him
Who brings, unaided but by lance and nerve,
The soft, white pelt of that huge bear,
I give my hand and grant my father's crown."
The bear-skin on the whaler's stern-sheets spread,
As cushion for the beauty, princess-bride,
Was from the body of that bear.   The groom,
Whose arm supported her, and on whose head
The ruling crown, a cap of reddish cloth,
Reposed, and at whose side a lance was slung,
Our hero!    Brave Shemomamik had won!
Now, there is very little ceremony connected with
an Eskimo marriage, even with the marriage of a
chief's only daughter, and that little consists of the
fortunate man conducting his wife from the tent of her
people to the tent of his people. That is all there is to
it. And, very often, the little romance that might be
connected with this performance is annihilated by the
fact that the bride is so conducted against her will; for
the Eskimos are mated, so to speak, while they are
yet children. That is to say, the parents of the girl and
the parents of the boy agree that, when the proper
time comes, their children shall live together as man
and wife. This agreement, of course, comes to the
knowledge of the boy and girl concerned while they
are yet very young, and it may be that they grow up
to think very much of each other, and become happily
joined together; but it may also happen that the girl
will take a hearty dislike of the choice made on her
behalf, and grow up to thoroughly hate and despise
him.   All the same, when he becomes old enough to OBSERVATIONS ON THE ESKIMOS.
maintain her by the chase, he demands his property
as it were, and she is compelled to submit. But we
must not suppose the latter to have been the case with
the marriage in question.
It is an error to state that the Eskimos have no
chiefs, or "Uttericks," as they call them. They do not
dwell in large settlements, but in every district the
number of families dwelling there submit themselves,
in many things, to the ruling voice and advice of their
chief man, and generally contribute to his support.
They are but little governed, and never go to war with
each other, and seldom quarrel. However, they are
not without courage. On the Coppermine and Mackenzie rivers, where they sometimes come into collision with the Indians, they fight fiercely, and are
greatly dreaded.
We must correct most writers on the customs of
these people in saying that polygamy is rare among
them. All their head men maintain two or three
wives, and it is a sign of importance that a man supports more than one wife. Moreover, they often separate, the man finding another wife and the woman another husband.
Their courtship and marriage are very simple. They
have only to do a limited amount of courting, and at
a very early age—say ten or eleven for the girl, and
twelve or thirteen for the boy—before they dwell together as man and wife. There is neither marriage
nor burial ceremony among the unchristianized Eskimos.   All is simplicity, and very unromantic.
The whole Eskimo population of the world is put
down at forty thousand. It is probably less. There
are, perhaps, not more than ten thousand between
Cape Chidley on the north Atlantic and Alaska; certainly not over fifteen thousand.
They remain for the most part pretty close to the
shores. Even on hunting expeditions they follow
some coast. On the eastern side of the continent they
extend southward to the fiftieth parallel of latitude, 226
while on the western side they are seldom found south
of the sixtieth, on the eastern shore of Bering's Strait.
On the shores of Hudson's Bay, 55 north latitude, is
their southern limit.
Throughout this vast domain no other tribes intervene, except in two places on the western shore,
where Kennayan and Uglange Indians come down to
the sea for purposes of fishing. Rink divides them
into the following groups:
1. The East Greenland Eskimos, few in number,
every year advancing further south.
2. The West Greenland Eskimo, civilized, living under Danish rule, and extending from Cape Farewell
to 74 north latitude.
3. The Arctic Eskimos, living in the neighborhood
of Smith's, Whale, Murchison's and Wolstenholme
sounds, not, within the memory of man, having any
intercourse with those residing south of them. They
are very isolated and have greatly diminished in numbers of late years. These Eskimos did not until very
recently possess the kayak—skin-covered canoe—nor
the uomiak, or open skin boat; nor the bow and arrow. They are bold hunters, pagans, and are thoroughly typical Eskimos, There are at present about
300 of these people, and one authority says that they
have begun to increase in numbers again.
4. The Labrador Eskimos, mostly civilized'.
5. The Eskimos of the interior, occupying the coasts
of Hudson's Bay, Hudson's Strait, and westward to
Barter Island, beyond the Mackenzie River, inhabiting
a stretch of country 2,000 miles long and 800 miles
6. The Western Eskimos, from Barter Island to the
western shores of America. These differ somewhat
from the others in their habits and style of dress, and
they are allied to certain Indian tribes in Alaska.
7. The Asiatic Eskimos, different altogether from
those of America, with whom they have no connection
First, as to their appearance. They are not a very
small race. Their height is about five feet eight inches
or five feet ten inches, sometimes six feet, but rarely;
but their style of dress makes them look smaller than
they are. Both men and women are muscular and
active, having pleasant, good-natured faces. Sometimes they are handsome. They are sure to "grin".on
the slightest provocation.
Their faces are oval, broad and flat, with fat cheeks.
The forehead is not high, and quite retreating. Their
teeth are good, but owing to the character of their food
are worn down to the gums by the time they have
reached old age. Their noses are flat, generally, but
not always. Their eyes are small, black and bright.
Their heads are large and covered with coarse, black
hair, which the women generally keep in braids, or
dress into a top-knot on their crowns; the men clip
their hair in front and allow it to fly loose behind. The
men have a slight mustache and insignificant whiskers.
The skin, when cleaned of grease and smoke, is only
so slightly brown that red shows readily in the cheeks,
especially of the women and children.
They soon age, and seldom live to be over sixty.
Their hands and feet are small and well-formed, and
as a rule they are better looking than the best of the
Indians. The men, women and children dress entirely
in skins of the seal, reindeer, bear, dog, and even fox;
but the first two greatly predominate. The men and
women dress much the same. The jacket of the men
has a hood which, in cold weather, is used to cover the
head, leaving only the face exposed. This jacket must
be drawn on over the head, as it has no opening either
in front or behind. The women's jacket has a fur-lined
"amowt," or large hood, for carrying a child, and a
very absurd-looking tail behind, which is generally
The trousers are usually fastened into the tops of
boots well made from prepared sealskin. The won>
en's trousers    are  nearly  always  ornamented   with
aaWt-.-J^iJUJ^yii.^-ia^.T- 228
eider duck's necks or embroidery of beads, or other
decorations. In the winter they wear two suits of
clothes, boots, trousers, jacket and all, one with the
fur out, and the other, that worn next the body, with
the fur turned in. They also sometimes wear shirts of
bird-skins, and stockings under their boots of dog or
young reindeer skin, but this is noticeable only in the
case of chiefs.
Their clothes, like all other articles of Eskimo manufacture, are.very neatly made, fit perfectly, and are
sewed with "sinew-thread" and a bone needle, if a steel
one cannot be had. In person they are usually filthy,
and never wash themselves. The children, when very
young, are sometimes cleaned by being licked with
their mother's tongue before being put into the bag
of feathers, which serves them as bed, cradle and blankets, when they are lucky enough to have such bags,
they being more generally consigned to the "amowt,"
without clothing of any kind.
In summer the Eskimos live in conical skin tents,
and in winter in half underground huts (igloos) built
of stone, turf, earth, etc., entered by a long tunnel-like
passage which can only be traversed on all fours.
Sometimes they erect neat dwellings from blocks of
snow, with a sheet of ice for a window. These are
comfortable only in cold weather. As soon as the
soft weather of spring comes they begin to leak and
are deserted.
In their dwellings one will always find a stone lamp,
the flames of which, being fed by oil through a wick of
moss, supply both heat and light. On one side of the
tent is the bed or lounge where, on innumerable skins
of all kinds, they sleep and lay around day and night.
The floor is usually very filthy, being often defiled by a
pool of blood or the carcass of a seal.
These tents or huts are always surrounded by a host
of wolf-like dogs. These, in summer, sleep outside,
but in winter in the huts, or in the passages leading to
them.   Sometimes one hut or tent accommodates two OBSERVATIONS ON THE ESKIMOS.
or three families, but more t)ften each family will have
a dwelling by itself.
They are exclusively hunters and fishers, and derive
nearly the whole of their subsistence from the sea.
They use no vegetables, and live exclusively upon the
flesh of animals and fish. The seal and other oil-bearing animals, the reindeer, the polar bear, supply them
with food, clothing, fuel and light, and frequently also,
when- driftwood is scarce, the material for various
articles of domestic economy.
The shuttle-shaped kayak, covered with hairless
seal-skin, usually stretched on a wooden frame, is
sometimes made on a frame of bones from the walrus,
or of horns from the reindeer.
One of the most attractive features of Eskimo life
is the kayak. What the canoe is to the Indian, the
kayak is to the husky denizen of the north. They are
not the same in shape, nor in construction, nor in anything else, except in weight, and in the dangers to
which a greenhorn is exposed in attempting to navigate them. In shape they are similar to an old-fashioned weaver's shuttle, and draw less water than the
ordinary canoe. They are about thirty feet long, not
more than two feet from top to bottom at the center,
and about thirty inches wide at the same point. The
top is straight from forward point to stern point, except that from the center to the ends each way they
gradually become narrower, until at the points the
width is not over two or three inches; and from the
center, each way toward the ends, and toward the top
as well, the bottom slants upwards and outwards, until
at the points the thickness is about two inches. It is
flat at the bottom, but much narrower than at the top.
There is a round hole at the top, at the center, formed
by a hoop, to which the sealskin is attached. The Eskimo sits in this hole, with his feet stretched out toward
the forward end and his head and shoulders above it.
The Eskimo in his kayak is generally covered with a
waterproof entrail dress, tightly fastened around the 230
mouth of the hole in which he sits; so that, should the
craft overturn, which sometimes happens, not a drop
of water will enter. A skillful kayaker can turn a complete somersault, kayak and all, through the water.
It is a sight to see an Eskimo fighting a walrus in
one of these kayaks. The latter invariably attempts
to pierce the kayak with his tusks; but when he makes
the venture, in his foolhardy courage, he not only fails
to succeed, the little craft being too nimble in the water
to give him any chance, but receives a harpoon in his
side, or is pierced to the heart with a deadly lance.
With a buoy attached to the carcass to keep his prize
from sinking, the hunter paddles it in tow to the shore.
The natives use but one paddle in the kayak; but
it is not the same as that used by the Indians in the
canoe. It is a double paddle; that is to say, both ends
are flattened, and, in paddling, first one end is used
and then the other, on one side and the other alternately. The central portion^ of the paddle is round,
and the water is prevented from running down on the
hands, as the instrument is used, by pieces of skin
which are placed tightly around at the proper places.
A new beginner will have some trouble in navigating
the kayak, and it will be well for him, at first, to keep
in shallow water. It tips over with the slightest provocation, and, as you cannot extricate yourself from the
hole without some little difficulty, and are precipitated
into the water head first, it becomes a matter of importance that you either know how to balance yourself
properly, or are prepared for a plunge bath. One of
our party, in making the attempt, went over head first
into ten fathoms of water; but, as he was a good swimmer, he soon managed to kick himself loose^and take
refuge in a neighboring boat. It does not take long,
however, to learn to handle one, and we would recommend kayak clubs as a means of healthy amusement for young Americans. NATURE'S NEWEST LAND.
Wonders of the new north—Product of natural laws for the
last one thousand years—Specific work of glaciers—New
areas for many millions—Probable gold and otheiT
products—Hard times to disappear as dew before an
advancing sun.
We are nearing the completion of this work, and
must now speak of' the probable future of the Golden
North Land. Gold mining is already the pioneer industry, and it must be through the excitements and
push of this enterprise that the great resources of the
far north will become known and developed. The
thirst and search ior gold will carry a vast population
to parallels above the fifty-fifth and sixtieth, but when
the rich deposits of the yellow metal have given up
the bulk of their treasure, which will probably not be
realized for more than two generations, those high
latitudes will not be deserted. Other richer and possibly more permanent resources will hold a mighty
population there for all time to come.
One of the most remarkable characteristics of the
north—one pre-eminently for the solution of scientists—is that, with every succeeding century, the^cli-
mate and soil become better adapted to the habitation
and pursuits of man. It has been estimated that, on
an average, soil and vegetation, forests, and in their
train, cereal capabilities, are marching upward across
the parallels of latitude at the rate of considerably over
a hundred miles in a century.
The author has traveled across the continent, above
and below the sixtieth parallel, from the Atlantic to
the Rocky Mountains, touching the Hudson's Bay
trading posts on the following chain, and at each point
named, the same story was told by those in charge, to
wit: That the soil is every year increasing in its depth
and capabilities, the climate gradually improving, and
forest resources rapidly developing. Starting at Nach-^
vak, on the Upper Labrador, nearly up to the sixtieth
parallel, we learn from the traders that while, 100 years
ago the largest specimens of tamarac and spruce were
not more than four feet high, and that these bushes
were scarce* at that, to-day Nachvak inlet, from the
Hudson's Bay trading post, which is twenty miles
from the coast, up the river for a long distance there
is an abundance of forest trees from six to fifteen inches
at the butt, and from twenty to fifty feet in height,
some of them much higher. The garden at the trading
post now produces quite a variety of vegetables,
whereas, a century back, little or nothing in that line
could be cultivated. ^
These remarks will apply with equal, and in most
cases, far greater force, o Fort Chimo at the head of
Ungava Bay; to Fort George, at the mouth of Big
River on the east main coast of Hudson's Bay; to
Moose Factory, at the mouth of Albany River, on
James' Bay; to Fort Severn, at the mouth of the river
of that name on the southwest shore of Hudson's
Bay; to Fort York and Fort Churchill, on the western
shores of the same bay; to Fort Chippewyan, on Lake
Athabasca; to Fort Resolution on Great Slave Lake;
to Fort Providence, on the western extreme of the
same lake; to Fort Franklin, on Great Bear Lake; and
to Fort Simpson, and even to Fort Norman, on the
Mackenzie River.
The natural laws under which Providence is pushing
back the cold of the north towards the pole, and extending the regions for man's profitable occupancy, do
not yet appear to be fully understood. Many travelers
of the far north, some of them men of scientific attainments, contend that there is a very slow and almost
imperceptible revolution of the earth from north to
south, but meteorological phenomena in the south,
which, however, is not very fully understood, scarcely NATURES NEWEST LAND.
warrants such a theory. We leave this question to
those better able to grapple with it. However, the
facts are as we state them. Northern thermal limits
are moving northward, and forests, vegetation and
agricultural possibilities follow closely upon these advancing limits.   Why and wherefore, we know not.
Many learned men talk strangely about "glacial
periods." Much of this appears to be absurd to those
who visit and commune with the glaciers of the far
north. Far too much is charged up to glaciers. At
any rate that is the belief of the author. It Would seem
that glaciers are simply river builders, and when they
have accomplished this task, they depart for tropical
seas where they are dissolved.
It must be a mistake to suppose that there was any
soil or vegetation on the solid formation of the great
North American plain, which now comprises the
Mississippi basin, when monster glaciers chiseled out
the channels of the Father of Waters, and its principal tributaries. Icebergs seldom, if ever—we think
never—work in latitudes where they can be dissolved
before reaching the ocean. Natural laws do not operate in such a futile way. Under such circumstances a
glacier would sink into dissolution with its task but
half done.
It is more reasonable to suppose that at some period
in the past a line drawn due west from the site of New
York City to that of San Francisco, traversed the most
northern habitable limit of the continent. Existing
prehistoric remains support this theory. Glaciers are
drainage constructors. They prepare the natural
drainage systems of the earth's surface, and make
ready the barren areas, for the coming of soil and
vegetation, and, if one will look at the great river
systems of this continent, he will conclude that they
do their work well, leaving it in such a state of perfection that the hand of man finds it quite easy to
carry it forward to suit his necessities. When a mighty
glacier has chiseled out a deep channel four or six or
ten or fifty or 500 miles long, and enters the sea, the
track left behind is called an inlet. When it has, later
on, become bordered with soil and forests, it is called a
These hints give a new interest to the north land.
It is a country of great resources already, and with
each succeeding generation it will improve in this respect. There is wealth enough in its auriferous regions
to make a million persons rich, and its greater alluvial
areas will, in the not far distant future, support a vast
population, who will become rich in supplying the
world's markets with bread, and meat, and butter and
cheese, and other soil products.
. The gold deposits of^the far north are nearly, if not
quite, inexhaustible. Long before the rich placer gold
regions have been gone over or even explored, quartz
gold mines of great richness will be opened and profitably worked, and while the gold is being taken from
the earth, during the next few years, many thousands
will go to that country. Some will grow rich in the
transportation business; others in mining and selling
coal; thousands will gain wealth in silver and other
minerals; forests which invite sawmills will yield up
their treasures; the carpenter and builder and plumber
and gasfitter will leave overcrowded industries in
these older cities to find profitable employment in the
north; merchandising will be a means of great gains in
that land of high latitudes; the blacksmith and the
machinist will thrive there; so will the baker and the
barber; the hotel, restaurant and boardinghouse keeper will flourish; and, later on, horse and cattle ranchmen, with their herds on the plains to the east of the
mountains, will enter upon an era of wonderful prosperity, to be closely followed by the agriculturist, who
will enjoy even greater gains.
It will be from the development of these resources,
more than from anything else, that general prosperity
will return to the United States. That wonderfully rich
north land will, it is believed by some, produce gold, NATURE'S NEWEST LAND.
most of which will be coined into money and put in
circulation in the United States, in abouf the extent
and ratio represented by the following diagram:
Possible Ten Year, $2,865,000,000 Product. 3T;
If this enthusiastic forecast is half realized, there will
be no scarcity of money in this country, and millionaires will spring up among the common people everywhere. Hard times will disappear as dew before an ascending sun. The silver agitator will "lose his usefulness," and the days of the socialist crank and the anarchist will come to a close in this country.
It is within the bounds of solid facts to say that two
good miners working together can produce $10,000
each in the gold regions of the far north annually. This
may be regarded as a minimum average. Then why
should people starve or suffer in these lower latitudes.
Listen to the clanging of the Klondike bells! Buckle
on the armor for battle with the snows and frosts and
mosquitoes of the north; endure hardships for a season
or two, and peace and plenty will probably be your lot
Great increase of 1897 over 1896—Probable stability of the
gold product of the Klondike—Influence of increased
gold supply on silver—Gold monometallism likely to be
continued—Views of Director Preston of the United
States Mint.
We have at hand some valuable statistics from R. E.
Preston, director of the United States Mint, at Washington, D. C. He gives the probable output of gold
for 1897, and a very valuable contribution to gold
statistics generally. His article which recently was
printed in the New York Herald is as follows:
"That gold exists in large quantities in the newly
discovered Klondike district is sufficiently proved by
the large amount brought out by the steamship companies and miners returning to the United States who
went into the district within the last eighteen months.
So far $1,500,000 in gold from the Klondike district
has been deposited at the mints and assay offices of the
United States, and from information now at hand,there
are substantial reasons for believing that from $3,000,-
000 to $4,000,000 additional will be brought out by the
steamers and returning miners from St. Michael the
last of.September or early October (1897). One of
the steamship companies states that it expects to bring
out about $2,000,000 on its steamer sailing from St.
Michael September 30 (1897), and has asked the government to have a revenue cutter act as a convoy
through the Bering Sea. In view of the facts above
stated I am justified in estimating that the Klondike
district will augment the world's gold supply in 1897
nearly $6,000,000.
».»:;—ywwivcra^rpi ■se
"The gold product for the Dominion of Canada for
1896, as estimated by Dr. G. M. Dawson, director of
the geological survey of that country, was $2,810,000.
Of this sum the Yukon placers, within British territory,
were credited with a production of $355,000. The total