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Pioneering In Alaska {1}
    by Knute L. Gravem (Volume 20: Page 111)

glance at the map of Alaska shows a piece of land shaped like an Indian arrowhead jutting out toward Siberia across Bering Strait. It forms the westernmost projection of the North American continent. This piece of land, icebound eight to nine months out of the year, bears proudly the name of Seward Peninsula. It became best known, however, not for its location, not for its name, but for its gold. On its southern shore, near the present town of Nome, several Scandinavian prospectors in 1898 discovered immense deposits of gold. Soon the great Nome gold rush focused attention on Seward Peninsula as never before.

For me Seward Peninsula has had a very special interest since 1900. I went up there that spring in the gold rush. When the tide of humanity ebbed back to the States, a few of us remained in the new country. The Kougarok district in the heart of the peninsula became in fact my home for many years. I mined there, I married there, my children were born there, and I continue to own mining property there. In the pages that follow I have jotted down some of my pioneering experiences on that distant frontier.


But first a few words about my background. I was born on a farm in Sundalen, Norway. The date was October 22, 1870, as recorded in the family Bible. At the age of fifteen I went to live with my oldest brother in Kristiansund. Following my graduation from high school, he gave me a clerkship in his office. It brought me board and room; on the side I earned a few kroner selling butter on commission for farmers. In the [112] meantime my other brothers, Ole and Martin, had emigrated to California. They did not encourage me to follow their ex ample, but my young mind was not blocked from the wondrous tales about America that were circulating. The temptation soon became too great and I decided to cast my lot with the multitudes that crowded every available steamer bound for this promising country. My father put up the money for a steerage ticket and I was off. The year was 1891.

In due course I arrived at Stockton, California, where my brothers had a bakery business. After working for a time in the bakery, I took a job as bookkeeper for a transfer company at $50 a month. Eventually, however, I came to see that there was no future in this job and decided to do some thing about it. It was a tossup between business, medicine, or law, and the decision was made in favor of medicine. I tackled Gray’s Anatomy and also studied evenings and Sundays in a doctor’s office. The next step was to enter Cooper Medical College in San Francisco. There I was graduated in 1897, and forthwith hung out my shingle in Stockton.

The first years of a young doctor’s practice are rather limited and mine were no exception. Things were slow. The Nome gold rush gave me the idea of going to a new place where I would have the same chance as any other doctor in building up a practice. I even thought it possible that I might make enough money to enable me to continue my studies and get to the top of my profession. Alaska seemed worth a try and I decided to go there. Before leaving I became a United States citizen and joined the B.P.O. Elks.

I sailed from San Francisco on the steamer “Zealandia.” It was loaded to capacity with freight and about 750 passengers, good and bad, and a number of stowaways. Many of these people had mortgaged their homes and farms and in vested their money in useless contraptions to mine gold with. It was a good-natured and hilarious crowd, buoyed up with anticipation of fortunes to be picked up overnight. Most of them were headed, as events proved, for disappointment. [113]

With the exception of a couple of days, we had fair sailing. In the Gulf of Alaska we ran into a heavy sea. During the forty-odd trips I later made between Seattle and Nome, I never saw such mountainous waves. The steerage and many of the cabins were badly flooded. The door to the smoking room on the main deck was torn off its hinges and a man had a gash cut in his cheek. I was called to attend him, as the ship’s surgeon was busy elsewhere. There was plenty of room at the dining tables for a couple of days. Personally, I had more trouble keeping things on the plate than on my stomach.

The fare was excellent. The tables were loaded down with grapes, nuts, and fruit of all kinds. That was in the good old days when butter and steaks were Q5 cents a pound and whisky one dollar a quart. There was keen competition between the steamship companies and they tried to outdo one another in service. The Alaska run furnished an unusual opportunity for testing superior service; meals had to be nearly continuous night and day to serve the multitude, most of whom had good appetites and were in the mood to celebrate. After some delay at Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands -the ice was not yet out of Bering Sea- we arrived at Nome and were dumped on the beach, with thousands of others, to shift for ourselves.

The width of Seward Peninsula varies from 80 to 150 miles, and the length is roughly 200 miles. In comparison with Alaska as a whole, it is small (some 20,000 square miles), yet its total area is greater than that of several States in the Union. Such facts were, of course, but dimly grasped by us newcomers at the time. What we did note at once, though, was the lack of a harbor at Nome and the lack of trees in the surrounding country. Once ashore we soon discovered the difficulties of walking across the tundra, which was covered with growths popularly known as “niggerheads.”

Shifting for ourselves in this inhospitable country was not easy. I could see no point in hanging out my shingle - the population was strong and vigorous, definitely not in need of [114] much medical attention. As for mining, I knew nothing about it. Certainly gold could not be scooped up on the beach by the bucketful. In this situation, I fell back upon my bakery experience. I took a job in a bakery at $10 a day, board included.

Later, in the Kougarok, I often baked the bread used at home. But in the summer of 1900, when the air was charged with excitement over rumors of gold strikes, it was impossible for me long to confine my mind to bakery duties. In Kristiansund thoughts of America had diverted me; in Nome thoughts of prospecting diverted me. Soon I joined forces with several others. We bought a small boat and went down the coast to Solomon River. After prospecting for a week or more without result, we returned to Nome.

In the meantime rumors were coming in that discoveries, as rich as the feces of the bull, had been made farther up the coast and in the Kougarok section. One day a man asked me to join a group of prospectors that he was sending up there to investigate. I accepted, and we started out in a gasoline schooner. I have an idea that we were trailing another schooner that had just left. Proceeding westward past Port Clarence Bay we reached Cape Prince of Wales where we had trouble. Our engine failed as we were rounding the cape, and we narrowly escaped being wrecked. Retracing our course, we entered Port Clarence Bay. There lay the other schooner. We talked with the men on it but, apparently, they didn’t know any more about the purpose of the trip than we did. A couple of our men were sent into the Kougarok by way of Teller and the rest of us returned to Nome.

The man who had grubstaked us was Tom T. Lane, a son of Charles P. Lane, millionaire owner of the Utica Mine in California and president of the Wild Goose Mining Company at Nome. The elder Lane is best remembered perhaps for his successful fight to regain his rich Anvil Creek claims after Judge Arthur H. Noyes of the district court in Nome had placed them in the hands of a receiver, Alexander McKenzie. [115] Whatever the outcome on the Anvil Creek matter in the summer of 1900, Tom did not want to miss any chances farther afield. Undisturbed by our return empty-handed, he grubstaked us again. It was customary for those who could afford it to grubstake others to go prospecting.

This time we were outfitted with furs and other winter clothing and sent to Teller on a steamer. Owing to the lack of a harbor at Nome and the shallowness of the water, ships had to anchor a mile or two off shore. Tugs and barges were used to transport passengers and freight out to the ships. We boarded our steamer during a storm. The barge on which we were towed out struck the side of the ship; its bottom was torn loose and it filled with water. We lost some baggage and one dog. To add to the uproar, a man fell into the water and had to be fished out. Without any further mishap we arrived in Teller, the new town on the inner shore of Port Clarence Bay.

It was now September. We made a number of prospecting attempts in the next few days. Stories about a strike on Blue-stone River had been current for some time. Upon making a search in the recording office on September 20, we learned that several claims in that area had been recorded. We decided to investigate. On the way to the Bluestone district another party was seen following us. It did not matter. Many claims had been staked, we found, but the gravel did not seem to us to be favorable for the concentration of gold, or even mineralized at all. We gave up the quest in that quarter. As darkness came on, we pitched our tent. The other party, which included a woman, had, with the characteristic improvidence of new gold seekers, neglected to bring a tent along, so we invited them to share ours.

Fall was now coming on rapidly. In October, before the freeze-up, my backer and I, in one canoe, and two others, in another canoe, went up the Kuzitrin River about 15 miles. This trip took us into the Kougarok district. We staked some ground on Ptarmigan Creek. After getting caught in a [115] snowstorm (my first since leaving Norway), we decided it was time to start back to Teller. Floating downstream with the current proved to be much easier than pulling the canoes upstream.

I was then sent down to Bering City, a small village on Port Clarence Bay, to take charge of some freight and pro visions that had been landed there. Between Bering and Teller, situated only 5 miles apart, there was a bit of rivalry as to which would be the more important town in the future. Mining was carried on in the hills back of both of them.

When I arrived I found five men, including a good Japanese cook, living in a large tent. We had plenty to eat and nothing to do. To this day I can’t quite understand why we were there. It may have been that we were holding down a choice lot in case the place should become a permanent city. Judging from the sudden growth of Nome, this was possible. Bering already had a recording office, a couple of saloons, a roadhouse, and a few cabins, the usual beginning.

Before navigation closed, the other men left and I took charge of the outfit for the winter. I put a small tent inside the large one and was quite comfortable. One day several neighbors with a dog team induced me to go with them to stake some ground on the other side of Port Clarence Bay. We crossed the bay in no time at all and put up at a make shift roadhouse, a double tent with an oil drum for a stove. We slept on the ground in our sleeping bags. I was called to see a native with a sore on her leg. Evidently it was a case of syphilis. The staking done, we returned the next day.

Tom Lane left for the outside on one of the last ships, to attend to his mining interests in Mexico. His brother Louis took charge of their interests in Teller, which included preparations to do some mining in the Kougarok. A two-room house was built on Quartz Creek, the scene of a big strike during the summer of 1900. About Christmastime three men with a team of horses came down from Teller and moved the outfit and me to this new house. Later a man with a dog team [117] hauled some lumber up there from down the river. The plan was to work a claim near the cabin; the lumber was needed for making sluice boxes.

But Louis Lane now had other plans for me. Early in January, 1901, he sent word by “Dago Kid,” the dog driver, that I was to come to Teller. I went down with this dog driver. Before starting out, he loaded up his sled with sacks of frozen ptarmigan, leaving no place for me. Another driver, who left Quartz Creek at the same time, had a lady passenger riding on his sled. It was up to me to mush behind. On Grantley Harbor we ran into a blizzard and it was rather tough to keep up with the dog teams, but I was less than half an hour behind them when we arrived in Teller.

An even tougher undertaking lay before me, as I soon learned. John O’Leary and I were ordered to proceed to Winter Creek, a tributary of Mary’s River, to do some prospecting. We were given a small outfit consisting of one dog, a small sled, a Yukon stove, a tent, and some provisions. I didn’t like it at all, as the chance of accomplishing anything with such an outfit was very slim, but I had no choice and we made ready to start.

The first day we crossed Grantley Harbor and stopped for the night in an Eskimo igloo. The second day we got lost and spent the night in the willows in snow hip-deep. We didn’t mind that because we had good furs and reindeer sleeping bags. When daylight came, we returned to the igloo to get the directions straight. The next day we crossed a ridge and came out on Imuruk Basin, where a small schooner had frozen in and was used as a roadhouse. We camped there for the night. Two days later we reached Winter Creek late in the evening. We pitched our tent in some willows, set up the stove, cut some green frozen willows and, with the help of kerosene, of which we had five gallons, we managed to make a fire and prepared supper. We crawled into our sleeping bags and had a good sleep.

In the morning we picked out a place for prospecting. The [118] ground, of course, was frozen and the only means we had to thaw it was by heating rocks, a nearly impossible task where there is no wood except frozen willows. In the afternoon of the first day a storm blew up all of a sudden. On the way to the tent we got separated. I was driving the dog with some willows on the sled and lost my bearings, as I was paying more attention to the dog than to the direction. The dog would have taken me to the tent if I had let him, but I thought I knew the direction better. That was my first lesson in the remarkable canine instinct. I knew I wasn’t far from the tent, so I decided to stop where we were until daylight. I turned the sled over on the side and walked around in a circle for several hours in order to keep warm.

After a while the weather calmed down a little and the moon began to peep out between the clouds. I spotted the tops of the willows along the creek and knew where I was. It wasn’t so easy to find the tent even then, as it was more than half covered with snow. I dug the snow away from the flaps and found my partner within, fast asleep. He had not taken the trouble to light the lantern, which I could have seen through the tent. I made a fire and got something to eat for myself and the dog. The sleeping bag looked pretty good to me and the dog slept at my feet.

The next day it was clear and bitterly cold. We had quite a time getting the kerosene to burn. It poured like heavy oil, which indicated that the temperature was around fifty degrees below zero. We decided to give up prospecting for the time being. Leaving the tent and stove, we headed for Dahl and Quartz creeks several miles away. The snow came up to our knees at every step. It was quite dark when we caught sight of a light on Dahl Creek. We still had a mile or more to go, and it was a very long mile, believe me. In fact, by the time we reached the cabin with the light we decided to stop there and not attempt even the additional quarter mile to our Quartz Creek camp. This cabin was provided with an extraordinary bunk, 16 feet long and 6 feet wide. Some other [119] prospectors had arrived during the day. Twelve of us piled into the bunk. We slept crosswise and looked like a pile of laid-out corpses, but, judging from the heavy snoring, we were very much alive. The next day I went down to the Quartz Creek camp and my partner and the dog went back to Teller.

This last prospecting experience, which might have been fatal, probably did more than anything to cause me to think of making a change. An opportunity soon presented itself. While out hunting one day I met a man pulling a Yukon sled with a small outfit on it. He said he had a lease on a claim a short distance below my camp and needed a partner. After some further talk, I consented to go in with him. His name was John Ellingston. Another partner, “Cayuse” Johnson, soon joined us.

In the spring we sent for some lumber for a tent frame and sluice boxes. Owing to the shallowness of the upper Kuzitrin River, the stern-wheel freighters could not transport such supplies beyond Mary’s Igloo. My partner and I had to go down there to get our lumber. We loaded it on a small boat, which we hauled to the juncture of the Kuzitrin and Kougarok rivers, up the Kougarok to its juncture with Quartz Creek, and up Quartz to our claim. Because of the dry season the water in the creek was very low and we had a very hard time getting up. The work was bad enough, but the swarms of bloodsucking mosquitoes were even worse.

After setting up the tent we proceeded to sink a shaft with pick, shovel, and windlass. One man in the hole broke up the frozen material and loaded the bucket, which the other man at the top hoisted up on the drum of the windlass. This was not very difficult, as the contents of the shaft turned out to be mostly ice. In a few days we were down 60 feet but we found no sign of gold. Prospecting next in the bed of the creek, we found some fine colors. In order to expose the gold-bearing gravel, we dug a ditch and turned the water out of the creek. [120] We then set up a string of sluice boxes and took out a few ounces of gold.

Though the result of our efforts was far from encouraging, we soon became aware that our claim looked good to others. One day we saw four men approaching, shooting off their guns as they came. Drawing near, they said they were going to throw us off the claim. Our answer was, “Go ahead!” They didn’t, and finally went away. Our next visitor was a man on horseback. We recognized him as an eccentric old prospector who had been appointed deputy marshal for the occasion by a temporary recorder and commissioner located at Birch Hill on the Kuzitrin River. He presented us with a summons to appear in court. As there were no transportation facilities in those days, we walked 10 miles across the tundra to Mary’s Igloo and waited there some time for the arrival of the exalted equestrian and his mud-splashed horse. We were then taken down the river in a boat to Teller. After spending a night in jail, we were released on $2,500 bail.

Then something unusual took place. The judge sent for me and asked me to explain our position. I told him that so far as I knew it was a case of overlapping of two claims. The one that my partner and I were working on had been staked downstream and the claim below had been staked upstream. In other words, there hadn’t been enough ground for the full length of each claim. I explained, too, that the contending party did not demand the upper part of the claim on which we were working, so there couldn’t be a case of trespassing; their only reason for having us arrested was to get possession, which in those days was considered to be nine points of the law. I don’t know whether the judge talked with the other party or not, but the case was dismissed. Before leaving Teller I met Key Pittman, the attorney, who later became United States Senator from Nevada. On returning to our Quartz Creek claim, we found the other people in possession, just as I had thought we would. They left, however, when we appeared. [121]

We had won all right, yet our minds were not at peace. The claim had not produced well for us. Should it become a good producer, we had no assurance that the rival claimants might not pounce on us again with some charge or another. Finally, we sold the claim to them. They did not work it, I might add, and it has never been worked since.

By this time the short season was coming to an end. I decided to return to California for the winter. Several of us, after walking to Mary’s Igloo, took a boat to Teller. There, a few days later, we boarded a larger ship and continued on to Nome.

We found the town bursting with activity. Prospectors were arriving from all parts of the peninsula. Some of them, like myself, intended to take one of the last ships for the out side. Others came to spend the winter in town or to buy winter outfits to take back to camp. But whatever business brought a man to town, he was happy to be among his fellows again after months of relative isolation on the creeks. He was in a mood to celebrate and he did celebrate. We saw much money change hands at the gambling tables.

Apart from the more or less serious business of letting off steam, most of us paid respectful attention to the work of Judge James Wickersham at the United States District Court. Wickersham later described this work as “Cleaning the Augean Stables at Nome.” The Attorney General had sent him to Nome in September, 1901, to hold court in the absence of the ill-starred Judge Arthur H. Noyes. Finding a large number of lawsuits between jumpers and owners on the court’s docket, the new judge proceeded vigorously to bring them to trial. By October 11, when I embarked on the S. S. “Portland” for Seattle, Wickersham was rapidly restoring public confidence in court procedures. His program promised to check the kind of interference that my partner and I had experienced on Quartz Creek. {2} [122]

The effects of the celebrating in Nome did not end at the water’s edge. On the way from the shore to the steamer, one of my fellow passengers fell from the lighter into the sea. He had been celebrating a little too much and had poor control of his movements. We got him back on board and by persistent artificial respiration saved his life. This episode, sobering though it was to the victim, had no perceptible effect on others. Celebrating continued aboard ship. In the end there was a fight. One man received an eye injury and others minor cuts. This ill wind blew good to me. I was called to attend the injured and by the time we arrived in Seattle, the cost of my ticket had been returned to me. After a short stay in Seattle, I went down to San Francisco and to Stockton, where I visited my brothers during the winter.


In 1900 the “Zealandia” sailed from San Francisco for Nome on May 21. Some large ships, though none that large, had sailed even earlier from Seattle. All got through to Nome safely, despite a little delay caused by ice in Bering Sea. In 1901 the first ships had somewhat the same experience. Owing to the shortness of the mining season in Seward Peninsula, the urge continued strong to venture north as early as possible. Naturally the steamship company that could land passengers and freight there first had an advantage over its competitors. In 1902 the Northwestern Commercial Company determined to make an attempt to break the record. On April 19 its steamer “Portland,” of 1897 “ton of gold” fame, sailed from San Francisco for Nome, via Seattle. I was aboard in the capacity of ship’s surgeon. It seemed wonderful to get started a whole month earlier than in 1900.

The ship was commanded by the veteran mariner, Captain Charles E. Lindquist, who knew Bering Sea well. It carried a crew of fifty-two officers and men and a young stowaway. Of [123] this total only seventeen were born in the United States. The rest of us were born in twelve different countries. Scandinavians predominated; the first mate came from Denmark, the second mate from Norway. In age we ranged from twenty-one to fifty-eight years. It was a good crew under a good skipper.

According to the old saying, haste makes waste. The early departure of the “Portland” proved it. Instead of reaching Nome by the middle or latter part of May, the ship did not get there until the second of July. It got caught in the ice. In fact, an amazing adventure befell us on this voyage.

Two days out from Dutch Harbor we made our first con tact with the ice. It was May 7. For a time Captain Lindquist guided the ship from the crow’s nest through openings in the ice. When the ice became too thick the captain gave orders to drop the anchors, but not in the usual way, to the bottom of the sea. The ship was made fast to anchors secure in the ice, and thus we drifted with the ice at the rate of a mile an hour.

In the days that followed the “Portland” alternately forged ahead through and drifted helplessly with the ice. On May 12 we arrived within 60 miles of Nome. It was impossible to break through; we drifted past, headed north. Five days later we sighted the “Jeanie.” This steam schooner, the first vessel to arrive in Nome in 1901, had sailed from Seattle on May 1, five days after the “Portland.” It had caught up with us, thus overcoming the disadvantage of its later start. But the question remained as to which ship would reach Nome first. Nor did we fail to wonder what had become of the “Nome City.” It had sailed from Seattle a day and a half ahead of the “Portland.”

We continued to drift north. On the evening of June 1 we witnessed one of the most beautiful sights the human eye has ever looked upon. The weather had been a little cloudy for several days and nothing but ice could be seen. At about midnight on the date mentioned the fog cleared away and [124] exposed to our astonished gaze about 50 miles of the Alaskan coast. To the northeast of us the Diomede Islands, Fairway Rock, and the east cape of the Siberian coast showed up to great advantage. Along the base of the mountains a well-de fined Roman wall of fog was seen. Above this bank of vapor towered the Sawtooth Mountains. The effect of the crimson sun upon this creation is really beyond my power to describe.

To say that we saw the Diomede Islands is to say that our good ship was now in Bering Strait. We had left Bering Sea behind and were approaching the Arctic Ocean. Nothing could be done about it. Packed tightly in the ice, the ship was unable to move or make any resistance. The temperature averaged 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

Despite this unsought and unwelcome advance in the direction of the North Pole, our spirits were by no means cast down. Our amusements were in fact many and varied. Mock trials of breach of promise and divorce cases were taken up and vigorously prosecuted and defended. In one case the jury saw fit to impose fines upon the lawyers and their clients on both sides, including even the judge.

Certain individuals displayed much zest in playing “Solitaire Napoleon” and similar games. These games became known as “bughouse” games. Finally there was formed a secret order entitled “The Bughouse Society.” I have my receipt for “the sum of fifty cents in full payment of initiation” in this order.

On June 5, the day the “Nome City” arrived at Nome, we crossed the Arctic Circle and passed into the Arctic Ocean. Some of the passengers who could stretch their imaginations to an unlimited extent said they felt a bump in crossing the circle. The following day, we learned later, the captain of the revenue cutter “Thetis” received a petition from the citizens of Nome asking him to search for the “Portland,” which was “said to be in ice in Bering Straits.” Anxiety over our safety had been prompted by the safe arrival of the “Nome City.” [125] It was destined to become more acute in the weeks that followed.

We continued to drift north. This was perhaps the first time in history that a passenger steamer has been carried by the current over 400 miles. The general drift was along the 168th parallel. Our position on May 21 was 63 north, 168.05 west. On June 25 it was 69.07 north, 168.25 west. We were carried farther north than the early explorers who were searching for the North Pole. The average drift was about 12 miles in twenty-four hours.

During all these weeks we fared well with respect to health and food. As ship’s surgeon, it was my good fortune to meet with no serious case of illness. No accidents or deaths occurred. And we always had plenty to eat. At various times, to be sure, rumors were heard that provisions were getting low and that we might be put on short rations. Eventually, the meat began to get bad. Other items in the ship’s stores became exhausted. But there was always the reservoir of provisions in the cargo that could be drawn upon in case of real need. The owner of a shipment of fresh apples had a dozen or more boxes brought from the hold and put on deck for everybody to help themselves.

Despite one gloomy prediction that our ship would be stuck in the ice until August, it was released before the end of June. Our position on June 25 was 45 miles from Cape Lisburne, 205 miles from Cape Prince of Wales, 270 miles from Point Barrow, and 300 miles from Nome. The ice began to open up. At 2 o’clock on the morning of June 26 the “Jeanie” (never far distant) was seen to get under way. Eight hours later the “Portland” also began to move and headed south. We made good time during the day, as the ice opened up still more. The “Jeanie” got out of sight for a while but after a few hours we caught up with it. The “Portland” proved to be the better icebreaker. It was a great sight to see the ice pushed ahead, break up, dive under, and bounce up again. [126]

Soon, however, heavy ice blocked the passage of both ships. They anchored close together. The passengers visited forth and back, walking on the ice. There was plenty of liquor still to be had and, this being an occasion for celebrating, quite a few persons indulged too freely and had to be assisted over the uneven and tortuous path between the two boats. Seizing the opportunity to sit at another table for a change, some of us had dinner on the “Jeanie” and vice versa. We furnished our companion ship with some flour. Before long it was possible for the “Portland” to get under way again, the “Jeanie” following about a mile behind. We encountered the most massive ice seen on the whole trip. It was above the railing of the ship.

Our progress south and the presence of the other ship stimulated afresh the spirit of competition. Each ship naturally wanted to beat the other to Nome. But circumstances compelled the two captains to agree to stick as close together as possible. The “Portland” might need to get some coal from the “Jeanie” and the “Jeanie” was running short of provisions. As the propeller of the “Jeanie” already stood high in the water, its captain was reluctant to transfer any coal until we really needed it.

June 30 was a beautiful day and the mercury stood at 51. We were now on the southern edge of the ice pack, and a never-to-be-forgotten sight came into view. As far as the eye could see, the edge of the ice to the east and west was covered with walrus, their tusks glistening in the sun. Some were basking in the sun, others wallowing in the sea like hippopotamuses and bobbing up and down like hobbyhorses. The “Jeanie” came up and asked if we needed any coal. Our captain said he had enough and gave orders for full speed ahead. The “Jeanie” stood off toward Kotzebue Sound. Its passengers and crew gave us three cheers as we drew ahead. We enjoyed a special dinner to celebrate our deliverance.

As far as could be seen the next day, the sea was clear of ice, but suddenly the ship climbed up on a submerged [127] iceberg and slid off again. Fortunately, having a wooden hull, it took the impact without damage. We steamed into Bering Strait, passed East Cape of Siberia and the Diomede Islands. As we rounded Seward Peninsula, King Island came into view. Despite some drifting patches of ice, we made good time. The end was now approaching. The first to know of our resurrection (gloomy predictions had been made that we would never be seen again) were the passengers on the little coastal steamer “Tewkesbury,” which passed us on its way to Kotzebue from Nome. It was good to be among the living again, and a more exultant group of human beings would be difficult to imagine.

The news of our safety reached Nome as the “Portland” appeared off Sledge Island shortly before midnight. We dropped anchor in the Nome roadstead at 1 A.M., July 2. Owing to the continuous daylight the ship could plainly be seen, and all the steamers in the roadstead opened up with a tremendous chorus of whistles. The beach was already lined with anxious people waiting for information. Boats of all descriptions came out to meet us and the air was full of questions and answers shouted from the small craft and from the passengers bending over the rails. Nome was a bedlam of firecrackers and noise for hours. If ever a town was wide open, it was Nome that night.

In the excitement of the reception, we did not forget the worthy skipper who had brought us through safe and sound. Captain Lindquist’s passengers tendered him an ovation. He was praised as a master mariner in Alaskan waters and put in the class with two other well-known skippers, Captain Michael A. Healy of the “Thetis” and Captain Francis Tuttle of the famous “Bear.” His ship had suffered no damage other than a wearing down of its bow from bucking the ice. The “Jeanie,” in contrast, damaged its rudder and propeller and the “Nome City” was put temporarily out of commission. Yes, Captain Lindquist had done well, and we let him know in full measure that we were aware of it. [128]

Thus our extraordinary experience ended on a happy note. Memories of this trip will remain with me as long as I live. No doubt my fellow passengers could say the same. At the time, I felt that some of the incidents were worth recording so I put them into an article and sent it from Nome to the Stockton Evening Mail. I included a picture of the “Portland” in the ice and a map of our route. The account given above is based largely on the article as it appeared in the paper (July 19, 1902). {3}


After being the guests of the city of Nome for several days, we suddenly awoke to the fact that sightseeing in the Arctic and celebrating our safe return was not our objective. The short mining season had already advanced at least a month beyond the time when we had expected to land at Nome. It behooved us to get started with the summer’s work as quickly as possible. With several other men who were also going to the Kougarok, I embarked on a small steamer for Teller and from there went up to Mary’s Igloo by river boat. It was necessary to go the rest of the way to Dahl Creek on foot over the tundra. If anyone thinks walking over the spongy tundra, studded with niggerheads, is not an exhausting exercise, let him try it.

While at Dahl Creek I met for the second time the man who was destined to be my mining partner in the Kougarok for many years. His name was Nels O. Leding. Although Nels and I were of about the same age and were born in the same valley in Norway, we didn’t know each other until we met in Stockton, California, in 1898, when I removed a cyst from his back. In this country he had become a first-class sack sewer on combined harvesters in the wheat fields. Yet the high wages of $5 per day did not blind Nels to the allure of the Nome gold rush. He went north in the summer of 1900 and [129] did very well rocking for gold on the Nome beach. Two years later the big operator, Griff Yarnell, hired Nels as night boss on the famous No. 2 Dahl in the Kougarok.

My partnership with Nels began in 1903 on Wonder Gulch, a tributary of Coffee Creek. This creek was staked in 1900, quickly abandoned, and then restaked in 1 902. It is located in the central part of the Kougarok district about 100 miles northwest of Nome. Nels went there as watchman on the T. T. Lane ditch, which had an intake on Coffee Creek. He staked one claim for me and one adjoining for himself. At this spot we joined forces. We built an igloo, bought a small steam thawer, and sank several holes.

It remained to be seen whether this undertaking on Wonder Gulch would be worth while. The cost of operating in the remote Kougarok was so high as to compel the abandonment of other claims. Coal was $65 a ton, lumber 50 cents a foot, and everything else in proportion.

One day, as we were getting ready to pan some thawed dirt we had taken out, an Irishman named Larry Gallagher came by with a pack on his back. He stopped to see the result. “If you get a good pan,” he said, “I will give you a drink.” We panned and had a good one. “Well,” spoke our visitor again, “that is good for two drinks,” and pulled a demijohn out of his pack. This good pan not only spurred us on - it led to many more years of hard work and set the course of the rest of my life.

But I am getting ahead of my story. The only money I made in the summer of 190f2 was a $300 commission for selling a mining claim. It was enough for a winter’s grubstake. Many of us prospectors spent the winter in Mary’s Igloo; there were plenty of willows for fuel, rabbits and ptarmigan in the brush, and fish and water in the river. For shelter we built huts very much like those of the Eskimos. The only difference was that ours had floors and inside walls of lumber, but like those of the natives they were covered on the [130] outside with straw and sod. We suffered no lack of food or reading material.

I make special mention of our rabbit drives at the Igloo. We organized them on selected islands in the river. Two men, armed with shotguns, stationed themselves at certain points while the rest of us noised through the willows and drove the rabbits up to these bombardiers. The biggest kill was fifty-three in one drive.

Among those who went to Mary’s Igloo to spend the winter was Lars Gunderson, the United States commissioner and mining recorder for the Kougarok precinct. He moved his headquarters from Kougarok City late in the summer in preparation for the arrival from Minnesota of his wife and daughter and the latter’s two young sons, then went down to Teller to meet the family. They came, as planned, only to find the commissioner gravely ill. Navigation closed on the river. In November they were all brought to the Igloo by dog team over the winter trail. I attended the patient there. Gunderson rallied for a time but in the end, despite my care, the tender nursing, and the solicitude of the whole camp for this popular official, we could not save him. He died in March at the age of 52. His son Lars, who had been with him in the Klondike, was appointed to succeed him.

Spring came and prospecting was actively resumed. The most important concentration of development was around Dahl Creek and at Taylor, where a creek of that name flows into the Kougarok River. Quite a settlement grew up at the latter point and was known to most of us as Fort McFadden in honor of Jim (Swede) McFadden. Apart from the Scandinavians, a large number of the “inhabitants” were hard working and hard-drinking Irishmen and cowboys from Wyoming. Larry Gallagher, of the demijohn at Wonder Gulch, was one of them. At a Christmas celebration in a Dahl Creek cabin I once saw what the Wyoming fellows could do. They had half a frozen beef standing by the stove. As it thawed they sliced off steaks, threw them on the stove, and then [131] made sandwiches. These they washed down with whisky. In the absence of public entertainment, they provided their own. Apart from the drinking, they sang, told stories, and altogether had a wonderful time.

Basic supplies - food, coal, lumber, and mining equipment - had to be brought in from the States. Consequently, freighting became an important consideration. The route began at Teller on Grantley Harbor, where ocean steamers landed their supplies. Small power boats with barges picked up the freight there and towed or pushed it over Grantley Harbor, up Tuksuk River, across Imruk Lake (where “The Eskimo” was filmed many years later), and then up the Kuzitrin River to Mary’s Igloo, a total distance of 50 miles. The freight was now transferred to wide-bottomed scows, which were towed by horses some 7 miles up the river to Lane’s Landing (later called Shelton). The head of river navigation had now been reached. The supplies were loaded on wagons or sleds and hauled in some cases as far as 40 miles to the upper parts of the Kougarok. No wonder the total cost of this transportation to the miners was immense. Nels Leding and I had the advantage of being at the lower end of this land route, as Coffee Creek lies between Shelton and Dahl Creek.

The best-known river boats were the stern-wheelers “Kotzebue” and “Rough Rider.” The river was quite shallow but by pushing barges ahead of them or towing them behind, the boats carried on very well. It was an event for the natives as well as the whites to hear one of these little boats chugging along and to see its smoke from the housetops as it came up the river. Captain Storey of the “Kotzebue” once brought with him his two beautiful daughters, Olive and Vesta. I remember meeting them at Mary’s Igloo. It was during the mosquito season and these bloodsuckers didn’t need an introduction.

In 1903 an epidemic of ditch building started in Nome and extended to the upper Kougarok. The intention of the ditch [132] builders was to sell water to mine operators. But they neglected first to prospect the ground on which the water was to be used, to determine whether it could be worked profitably. The bubble soon burst. Despite an estimated expenditure of a million dollars for the building of ditches in the Kougarok, many of them were never completed. This fiasco gave the section a black eye for many years. We individual miners, however, did not give up. We kept on prospecting and developing our claims, and most of us were rewarded for our efforts.

During the summer of 1904 my partner and I developed our ground on Wonder Gulch, and took out enough gold to pay expenses. It was a tough job. The ground was 20 feet deep to bedrock and about 16 feet of muck had to be re moved before the pay streak could be exposed. There wasn’t much water to do it with. Therefore we built a 3-mile ditch ourselves and later acquired part of the one built by the T. T. Lane Company. After the freeze-up we sank more holes to determine the extent of the pay, but we spent the greater part of the winter at Mary’s Igloo.

Before long, significant changes took place in the country and in my personal affairs. In 1906, a year of heavy gold production, a railroad was under construction between Nome and the Kougarok. Its northern terminus was the end of navigation on the Kuzitrin River, at the place 7 miles above Mary’s Igloo where the wide-bottomed scows had been unloaded for years. This location, as the early maps show, was first named Lane’s Landing. We now named it Shelton after an old dog musher with one eye who had a roadhouse there. His nickname was “One Eye Peluk.” Reportedly he had lost the eye in a fracas in the Yukon country.

The coming of the railroad brought with it the end of Mary’s Igloo as an official and freighting center. As I have already told, the commissioner’s office was moved there in 1902. So was the deputy marshal’s office. The village also had the post office for the district and in time a telephone [133] connection with Nome. It now seemed suitable and convenient to move these offices to the proposed railroad terminus. Buildings had to be erected, of course, to accommodate them. In agreement with the railroad company and appropriate Federal officials, I undertook with my future wife (who will be identified shortly) to supply the quarters. As this promised to be a full-time job, I temporarily leased my interest in Wonder Gulch on a royalty basis to my partner and a friend of his.

Our plan for the new “town” provided for the erection of only two buildings from scratch. The necessary lumber and other material for them were bought in Teller and trans ported up to Shelton in the usual way and there converted into a jail (including living quarters for the deputy marshal) and a combination telephone exchange-post office-home. The jail was a two-story building with two rooms and two cells downstairs and two rooms upstairs. Our cottage consisted of four rooms: kitchen, two bedrooms, and a front room that served as an office for the telephone switchboard and post office. It also had a large attic. For a recording office I had a saloon building in Igloo hauled in sections to Shelton and set up between our house and the jail. It had two rooms.

This activity and the planning for it actually stemmed from another plan. Mrs. Carrie G. Lokke (the daughter of Lars Gunderson) and I had decided to get married. We first met in 1902 during her father’s fatal illness. Circumstances threw us together frequently in the years that followed. Apart from her duties as deputy recorder and postmaster, she had to provide some kind of schooling for her two sons, Albert and Carl. As I shared her strong belief in education, she accepted my offer to give the boys, at my cabin, lessons in history, geography, grammar, and other subjects; she gave the arithmetic lessons herself. We also shared interests in regard to business; that is, building and renting houses at Shelton. A relationship of trust and confidence and affection developed between us that led to our marriage. [134]

Brother Lars performed the ceremony in his capacity of United States commissioner. It was on Christmas Day, 1906. After the ceremony we went to the Kruzgamepa Hot Springs, where all the miners in the vicinity had been invited to celebrate the wedding. The celebration lasted several days and we were presented with a beautiful set of silver. At the invitation of Captain Kennedy, an old Yukon River captain, we spent our honeymoon in a small cabin of his in Mary’s Igloo. This friend had recently given each of the boys a nice Waltham watch.

No account of life in the Kougarok at this time could fail to mention the Kruzgamepa Hot Springs. They were located about 75 miles northwest of Nome in a grove of cottonwood between the Pilgrim River and the base of the Sawtooth Mountains. At this picturesque spot the water was too hot for bathing, even in the dead of winter with the temperature 30 to 60 degrees below zero. This situation was met by turning in cold water until a suitable temperature was obtained. Chemical analysis showed that the water contained iron, sulphur, and magnesium. People with rheumatism and other pains came up from Nome to enjoy the hot water, which was believed to have some medicinal values. To others the springs became a resort. All sorts of vegetables grew there in the warm soil. These hot springs ranked high among the blessings of the country.

In the winter of 1906-07 a government school for the Eskimos was opened at Igloo, with C. J. Tjernagel as teacher. Albert and Carl went there that year. When school closed in the spring we put our belongings on a bobsled drawn by two horses and moved to Shelton. The buildings were finished, but there was still much work to be done on the inside. I lined the walls of all the rooms with cheesecloth and papered them. I also made tables, desks, cupboards, and many other things. Soon Lars moved his office up from the Igloo and built a five-room house next to ours.

Our line of houses stood back from the river. The only [135] other houses in Shelton at the time were two roadhouses and a couple of cabins on the riverbank. To these were soon added a warehouse and office, built by the railroad when it reached this point. Its pile bridge across the river gave another evidence of man’s presence.

At first we did well at Shelton. We received $35 a month for the jail, $25 for the recording office, and $75 for the telephone service. The post office paid nothing but the income from stamp cancellations. With the increase in the recording business, I acted as deputy recorder. To the income from these various sources were added the royalties from my mining claim on Wonder Gulch. Things looked promising.

The coming of the telephone and the railroad brought us into much closer contact with Nome and other places in the peninsula. In 1908 the first all-Alaska sweepstakes dog race was run from Nome to Candle and return. The race, it was hoped, would settle arguments as to who had the best teams. One result was immense activity in the telephone service. Everyone wanted to know the progress of the race. We were kept busy at the switchboard at Shelton for more than four days and nights relaying reports.

Several distinguished persons visited Shelton that summer. They included Governor Wilford B. Hoggatt of Alaska, Dr. Cabell Whitehead of the Alaska Banking and Safe Deposit Company (who was fated soon to die in a railroad accident), and Jafet Lindeberg, president of the Pioneer Mining Company. Albert and Carl took some of them to good fishing spots and, in appreciation, Lindeberg later sent each boy a fishing rod.

The most important occurrence in 1909 was the birth of our first son. I delivered him myself with the aid of a registered nurse from Nome. We named him Lars after both his grandfathers. As far as I know he was the first white child to be born in the Kougarok. Not only that - he was the first baby up there to have a bath in a regular bathtub, which was brought from Nome on the railroad. [136]

Before the year was out we had another increase in the family, this time by marriage. While Mrs. Frances Brous, the nurse, was with us, the baby’s uncle Lars became a particularly frequent visitor at our house. She eventually returned to Nome on one of the last trains. But romance was in the air. The winter snows had scarcely settled down upon us when the commissioner hitched up his dogs and headed for town. There Mrs. Brous became his wife. On the way back to Shelton the honeymooners were caught in a blinding blizzard and spent the night in a snowdrift on the Golden Gate Divide. The next morning the storm subsided and they resumed their journey without further mishap. {4}

During the winters at Shelton we lived pretty much to ourselves. We were pioneers in the true sense of the word, a handful of people on the far frontier. We had neither school nor church. The Eskimos remained at Mary’s Igloo, where the Protestant and Catholic missions and the government school were located.

Our principal occupations were to keep the house warm, eat, sleep, read, and attend to the chores, which were many. The house was banked all around with a two-foot wall of sod to keep the cold from coming in from beneath and to protect the perishables in the cellar. For fuel we used willows, alder, and some birch that grew along the river and in the gullies. These small trees were cut, hauled home by dog team, cut again into stove length, split, and stored in the woodshed. As this wood was frozen solid, it split easily. We used about thirty cords over a winter.

Water had to be hauled from the river. All we had to do when we needed some was to put a couple of barrels on a sled, hitch the dogs to it, drive down to the river, cut a hole in the ice, fill the barrels, drive home and empty them into a large tank in the kitchen.

As there were no facilities for heavy transportation during the winter, we had to start out with enough provisions to last [137] for eight months. We bought about $500 worth of goods and had them shipped up on the last train or river boat in the fall. We bought no beef, as we had plenty of reindeer meat, rabbits, ptarmigan, and fish. In October or November a couple of reindeer carcasses were cut up into proper roasts, steaks, and stews and put in the shed to freeze. With the exception of bacon, ham, and salt pork, we had our own meat market. We shot geese and ducks in the fall and froze them. Fresh vegetables were short, but we had plenty of canned goods.

Wild berries grew in abundance. My wife and mother-in-law were great hands to put them up for winter - blueberries, salmonberries, and cranberries (the Norwegian tyttebær). They also turned their talents to making bread, cakes and pies, and Scandinavian pastries. Mrs. Gunderson’s baked beans won her many compliments. I made bread, too, and taught the boys to make it.

The dogs were fed on rice or cornmeal cooked with whitefish. This tasty fish ran up the river in great schools in the fall and we caught them by the ton in nets and seines. When traveling on the trail for several days we carried dried salmon for the dogs. Sometimes they rustled their own food. The telephone line ran from our house over the hill to Coffee and Dahl creeks. Large flocks of ptarmigan flying low at great speed often failed to see the line in time, and numbers of the birds were killed outright or crippled. Our dogs caught on to this, so when we turned them loose to be fed they would dash up the hill along the line and pick up the casualties.

We had a great deal of reading matter. Once a month the mail carrier brought us newspapers and magazines by the sackful. It kept us busy catching up before his next trip. There was something for everybody. Among the magazines I mention Scribner’s, World’s Work, Review of Reviews, Woman's Home Companion, and Literary Digest. Grandma got Skandinaven. For the boys came St. Nicholas, American Boy, and Youth’s Companion. [138]

Apart from this periodical literature, we had at hand a set of the New International Encyclopedia in twenty-five volumes, and Modern Eloquence in fifteen volumes, a compilation of speeches and orations edited by Thomas B. Reed. I used to read some of these speeches aloud to my wife. During the political campaign last summer (1952) I found it interesting to compare them with the speeches of Eisenhower and Stevenson. The speeches of today, which have to be boiled down to save time, may be more effective on the general public than the eloquence of an older day.

I must not fail to speak also of the United States Geological Survey’s famous Bulletin No. 328, which was issued in 1908 under the title, The Gold Placers of Parts of Seward Peninsula, Alaska. It contains a wealth of information on the Kougarok as well as about other parts of the peninsula. In this bulletin is printed Jafet Lindeberg’s long letter on the discovery of Anvil Creek in 1898. Perhaps the most noted among the geologists who compiled the bulletin was Alfred H. Brooks.

Thus passed our happiest years. In the summer of 1911 a second son was born to us and we named him Roy. That fall the older boys went to Nome to get some formal schooling.

Meanwhile things took a general turn for the worse. The Kougarok could not support the railroad and it went into bankruptcy. Soon other evidences of decline showed them selves. The recording business fell off and my brother-in-law resigned to attend to his mining interests. This left our building vacant, as his successor set up an office in his own cabin. The jail building also became vacant when the deputy marshal’s office was discontinued. The telephone exchange was abandoned and the post office was moved to the hot springs. We were thus hard hit financially although we had recaptured most of the capital investment in the houses.

There were other consequences as well. Deputy Marshal Darrah resigned soon after Lars did because he had so little to do in that law-abiding country. The new commissioner [139] and the new deputy marshal determined to make some business. One day the latter served a warrant on me for practicing medicine without a license. At first I was too surprised to say anything. Bail was arranged immediately and a date set for the jury trial that I requested.

The trial took place at the stated time. As the jurors had been summoned from a considerable distance and were losing valuable time from mining operations, they were not in a very pleasant mood. They heard the charge. My statement ran as follows:

Gentlemen of the Jury, As you have heard I have been accused of practicing medicine without a license. That is not true. I have a diploma and license from one of the best medical colleges in the United States, but have no Territorial permit and I do not want any. You all know that I have no professional office and that I am engaged in mining operations requiring close attention. However, Territorial License or not, I cannot, according to the medical code and the law of the land, refuse to attend any one that may be in need of immediate medical attention, when no other doctor is available. If I should refuse to do so, I would be liable to a heavy fine. As there is no established physician in this isolated community of ours, it would take at least two days, several days in fact during a blizzard, to summon a doctor from Nome. If you gentlemen, on the way back to your mining operations, should be so unfortunate as to meet with an accident and the commissioner and deputy marshal here prevent me from coming to your assistance, I shall hold them responsible for any fine or penalty imposed upon me for not doing so.

It didn’t take the jury long to decide on a favorable verdict. Thereafter I answered emergency calls as usual and without interference.

My mining interests on Coffee Creek continued. I worked steadily there with my partner, doing the preliminary work of removing the glacial muck down to the pay streak. One rainy season we hired four men to shovel the pay dirt into the sluice boxes. But it was slow business. In 1913, following a dry season, I made up my mind that Coffee Creek could be made to pay if it were worked as a unit instead of as individual claims. I proposed to form a corporation if the owners, many of whom had already abandoned their claims, would [140] deed them to the company and accept a certain number of shares of stock in payment. They agreed, and the Coffee Creek Mining Company came into being that year. The greater part of the creek claims were gathered up this way. This was organizing on a shoestring, a weak one at that. We had no capital; the law required that $100 worth of work had to be performed each year on each claim, and there were many of them. I had some help from a few of the stockholders, but the greater part of the burden of doing assessment work fell upon myself.

As we had no further business at Shelton, my family went to Coffee Creek for the summers. The next step was to spend the winters in town so Lars and Roy, the second set of boys, could attend kindergarten. Late in the fall of 1914, after the first snow was on the ground, I hired an extra dog team and driver and we all started for Nome. We made the trip in two days. We bought the house that had formerly belonged to C. M. Thuland, the well-known attorney.

World War I had already broken out in Europe. It seemed very remote to us in Seward Peninsula. In 1915 the family went back with me to Coffee Creek for the summer; in 1916 I went alone. The season was fairly good and we were able to hire four men to do the sluicing. In 1917 we had an even better year, with six men working. But in April of that year the United States had declared war on Germany.

Alaska felt the effects before long. Its young men either enlisted or were drafted for military service. Albert enlisted. Others left for the outside to work for the high wages. My wife and I left on the last sailing of the “Victoria” in 1917. We had both lived in Alaska the year around since 1902. Our young sons knew nothing but Alaska. A new cycle was beginning in the lives of all of us.


We landed in Seattle early in November and then went by train to California. After staying a few days with my brothers [141] in Stockton, we rented a house in Berkeley. This university town became, in fact, our home. From 1917 to the outbreak of World War II, I left it only to make my annual summer trips to Alaska.

These trips usually began in June with the first ship of the season and ended in October with the last ship. The Alaska Steamship Company gave me passage on the “Victoria” in return for my service as ship’s surgeon. I have a particular affection for the memory of this ship, not only because of the long association but because it was launched the same year I was-1870.

I had one experience on the “Victoria” that was more than I had bargained for. When it sailed from Nome on its last trip in October, 1918, everything seemed to be under good control. I was aboard after spending a fairly good season alone on Coffee Creek. A restful voyage seemed in prospect. But this was not to be. Three days out an invisible foe, influenza, struck with full force. More than 50 per cent of the 700 passengers and crew were stricken. Three of the passengers, two of whom were on their way out for treatment for other ailments, died. Another doctor was asked to assist me in this emergency, but he, too, fell a victim to the “flu” and for three days and nights I was in constant attendance. Al ways slightly underweight, I lost ten pounds. The company was generous enough to compensate me for special services.

The years after 1918 were disappointing ones for us miners in the Nome and Kougarok sections, as well as elsewhere in Alaska. The gold deposits were thought to be pretty well worked out. Some old prospectors, however, did not believe it. They were guided by reports of the geologists that the country was highly mineralized and that many more discoveries could be made. I, for one, took their word for it and stuck to Coffee Creek.

In 1929 we decided to try to have our property patented. A United States mineral surveyor, with his assistant and my self, surveyed the ground and we applied for a patent. Later [142] an inspector checked the surveyor’s findings and the value of the work that had been done on the ground. He said he would make a favorable report. In 1932 the survey was approved by the Cadastral Engineer of Alaska. The patent was then granted and signed by President Herbert Hoover.

Soon the price of gold was raised from $21.60 to $35.00 per ounce. This made mining profitable on a scale hitherto unknown on Coffee Creek. The man who had drilled the ground prior to our application for a patent wanted to lease it. We gave him a lease on part of the ground in 1936. He took three other men in with him to form the Grant Mining Company. They built a fine camp on Coffee Creek and installed a pumping plant with several thousand feet of pipe. Later, bulldozers and other equipment were added. The resulting operations confirmed the geological reports and our own prospecting. Gold deposits in paying quantities were found as expected. Royalties came to the Coffee Creek Mining Company.

In the midst of this new development, accompanied by the airplane and the radio, I kept a reminder of my pioneering days-my cabin. I bought it originally in Teller. It was taken down in sections and brought by boat to Mary’s Igloo, where it was set up again. Later, it was hauled by horse team across the tundra to Dahl Creek. Still later, it was moved to Coffee Creek, where it served as my summer residence for many years. It stands there today. In that cabin I dreamed dreams, some of which have come true.


<1> This account by Dr. Gravem (1870-1957) was submitted by his stepson, Dr. Carl L. Lokke of the National Archives, who has made some editorial revisions and supplied the footnotes. Dr. Lokke was recently appointed a member of the Association’s editorial board. Ed.
<2> “Cleaning the Augean Stables at Nome” is the title of chapter 24 in Wickersham’s Old Yukon: Tales - Trails -and Trials (Washington, D. C., 1938); Noyes had left Nome in August, 1901, to stand trial for contempt of court before the circuit court of appeals in San Francisco. He was found guilty, and President Theodore Roosevelt removed him from office on February 24, 1902.
<3> J. Homer Fitch, another passenger, also kept a log or diary on the trip. Excerpts from it, plus a passenger list, appeared in the San Francisco Call, July 19, 1902.
<4> A full account of this episode reached the Twin Cities three months later; St. Paul Dispatch, February 18, 1910; Minneapolis Tribune, February 19, 1910.

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