No Scenes of Violence

The days of gold discoveries in the West have been called to mind the past week by the arrival at San Francisco of a number of miners from the Klondike region, on the borders of Alaska, who claim that the gold-fields of that section are among the richest, both in quality and in extent, that have ever been known, and in proof bring each from $5,000 to $100,000 of dust and nuggets, about $500,000 in all, and as much more followed in a few days, The first indications of the find were in August and September of 1896; but the news was received with more or less incredulity. During the winter, however, the mines have been worked by those on the ground, and with the most marvelous results. The Klondike River empties into the Yukon east of the border between Canada and Alaska, so that the mines now worked are all in Canadian territory. Those who have come have taken the river steamers down the Yukon to its mouth, something more than 2,000 miles, and from there were transferred to ocean steamers, arriving at Seattle and San Francisco last week. They announce, however, that the best way of reaching the field is by steamer along the coast to Juneau City, in Southern Alaska, and from there by trail over the Chilhoot pass for 650 miles, taking an average of twenty five days. The chief difficulty met with by the miners is the climate, which in winter is very cold, and the difficulty of transporting provisions.

The Canadian rules for staking claims and governing the communities are very rigid, so that there are no scenes of violence such as characterized early Western mining. The police seize all arms; and while there are saloons and much gambling, there is little or no serious trouble. The mining is placer mining, and the gold is so coarse that about 90 per cent is saved without any quicksilver, many of the miners simply using a pan and rocker. So great is the demand for workers that fifty dollars a day is paid, but few men can be hired to work. Dawson City, the headquarters, has already a population of 3,000, and the probability is that during the next year there will be from 20,000 to 30,000 people in the region. There are also reports of the discovery of great coal and oil supplies. Samples have been brought to Seattle, and tests show the quality to be of as high grade as any in Pennsylvania. Companies have been formed, and there are reports that the Standard Oil Company has already made an offer for the property, which, being close to the ocean, is easily accessible.

Source: Unknown, No Scenes of Violence, The Independent (July 22, 1897): 10

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