Historical Notes on the Yukon District

[ George Washington Carmack, 1896 ]

George Washington Carmack, 1896, na, 1896, NAC, C025638

In 1893, parties were sent by the governments of Canada and the United States to survey the region of the Alaska “coast strip” with a view to acquiring data for the determination of the line of boundary. About 260 miners remained in the interior during the winter of 1893-94. The estimated value of gold produced in 1893 was $176,000.

In the spring of 1894, Inspector Constantine and Sergeant Brown, of the North-west mounted police, were sent in to the Yukon district to collect customs dues and preserve order. W. Ogilvie, in the winter, conducted an exploration up the Taku river, but did not reach Teslin Lake. About 500 miners wintered in the district. I. O. Stringer of the Canadian Church Missionary Association was at Hershel Island this winter. The estimated value of gold produced in 1894 was $125,000.

Early in the summer of 1895, it was estimated that not less than 1,000 men were at work in mining in the Yukon district, chiefly on Forty-mile and Sixty-mile Creeks, 350 being employed on Miller and Glacier Creeks alone. A detachment of twenty mounted police was sent in by way of the mouth of the Yukon. W. Ogilvie accompanied this party. Fort Constantine was built at Cudahy as police head-quarters. Glacier Creek, a tributary of Sixty-mile Creek was first worked this year. The 121st meridian was run southward across the head-waters of Forty-mile and Sixty-mile Creeks by Ogilvie. Twelve whaling vessels remained at Herschel Island in the winter of 1895-96 and C. E. Whittaker, of the Canadian Church Missionary Association, was stationed there. The gold produced in the Yukon district this year was valued at $250,000.

In 1896, D. W. Davis was appointed collector of customs for the Yukon district. During the early summer most of the miners were employed on the branches of Forty-mile and Sixty-mile Creeks, but about 100 men were reported to be working along the Teslin or Hootalinqua. Late in August, “coarse” gold was discovered by G. W. Carmack in the Klondyke valley. The richness of the find became established before the end of the year and a “rush” occurred. Forty-mile and Sixty-mile Creeks were nearly abandoned and the population of Circle City. Alaska (more than 100 miles below the boundary) was reduced from about 1000 to about 300. Dawson, or “Dawson City” was laid out by J. Ladue at the mouth of Klondyke Creek. Glacier and Miller Creeks had been up to this time, the richest discovered. Early in the summer, Mr. J. E. Spurr of the U. S. Geological Survey, with two assistants, crossed by the Chilkoot pass and descended the river for the purpose of exploring that part of the gold-bearing region which extends into Alaska. Forty head of cattle were this summer driven in over the “Dalton trail” from Chilkat to Fort Selkirk. Dalton, by whose name the trail is known, had already crossed several times by this route, from 1894 or perhaps even earlier, but had not made it generally known. The arrival of deserters from the whaling vessels at Herschel Island overland via Rampart House on the Porcupine, is mentioned in the police report as having occurred annually for some years. The value of gold obtained in the Yukon district in 1896 is estimated at $300,000.

Source: George M. Dawson, "Historical Notes on the Yukon District" (Toronto: University of Toronto , 1898), 15-16

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