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Gullrushet i Klondike og Alaska

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Kart over Klondike
The Gold rush trail.png
Miners and packers climbing the Chilkoot Pass, September 1898, during the Klondike Gold Rush
The Dyea waterfront during the Klondike Gold Rush.Hegg, Eric A., 1867-1948 (Lib. Uni. Wash., description) - NPS
Aerial view of Skagway, Alaska, 2009.Christopher Michel from San Francisco, USA
Aerial view of Dawson City and the Yukon River
I august 1896 vandret tre menn, amerikaneren George Washington Carmark, indianeren Tagish Carmark og lederen Skookum Jim Mason. Den 16. august 1896 fant Skookums følge rike gullforekomster i Bonanza Creek i Yukon, opprinnelig Rabbit Ceek. Funnet ble fort kjent og ved slutten av 1896 bodde 1000 i områdene rundt funnstedet.

Våren 1897 gikk det ut 2 dampskip med gullgravere fra St. Michael (der elva Yukon renner ut i Beringstredet) til San Francisco (Exelcior) og Seattle. Da startet gullrushet for alvor da budskapet nådde de store byene. Mange nordmenn skulle i perioden 1857-1902 bli gullgravere i dette området. Mange startet dit med båt fra Seattle, andre fra Tacoma, San Francisco og andre havner på kysten.

Det var to hovedveier til Yukon. Den mest berømte var en ca 50 km lang rute fra Skagway i Alaska over White Pass til Lake Lindeman og Lake Bennet, og deretter med selvbygget båt på sideelver til Yukon River og Dawson City i Klodike-regionen i Canada. Det var også en rute fra Dyea over Chilkoot Pass. I juli 1900 ble det åpnet Yukon Railway fra Skagway til byen Whitehorse ved Yukon. Dyea ble da lagt ned.

Senere kom det båtruter (elvedampere) fra munningen av Yukon opp til Dawson City, "Vannveien" eller "Rikmannsruta"

De canadiske myndighetene forlangte at alle som skulle inn i Yukon Territory måtte ha med seg utstyr for ett år, noe som i praksis veide ett tonn.

Allerede i 1860 var det blitt funnet gull i fjordområdene i Alaska. Mange gullgravere hadde i etterkant av gullrushet i California reist nordover til British Colombia, og senere til Alaska. 3.oktober 1880 gjorde iren Richard Harris og franskmannen Joe Juneau gullfunnet "Dicovery Point" ved Gold Creek. De bosatte seg ved et sted de kalte Harrisburgh, som de senere endret til Rockwell, og som så ble Juneau- hovedstaden i Alaska. I desember 1880 var det også et gullfunn på Douglas Island av fransk-canadieren Pierre Joseph Erussard. Rettighetene ble senere solgt til John Treadwell som utviklet Treadwellgruvene her.

Kart over rutene til Klondike

Brev fra L.C.Anderson til Washington posten, September 22. 1897:

The approximately three hundred Yukon gold seekers who left Seattle on August 18.1897 aboard the steamer "Humboldt" have finally after many delays and difficulties reached the famous river and are steaming upstream toward the land of gold. Arrangements for building the steamer that was to take the passengers up the river were made immediately. We encampeded a short distance from the headquarters of the North American Trading and Transportation Company. Finally, on September 18 the boat was launched in St. Michael. The boat, was christened "Seattle No. 1", is 152 feet long and 30 feet wide.

Round about Klondike there are no claims available for newcomers. We have heard nothing from the Stewart River region, but rich strikes have been made along Minook Creek, which flowes into the Yukon a short way above the Tanana river. It is impossible to say just where the Humboldt passengers will spend the winter. We just met the steamer "Alice" on its way down the river. Because of the low water level, it did not get beyond Fort Yukon. No boat can reach Dawson City this fall.

Brev fra L.C.Anderson til Washington posten, March 25. 1898:

This letter was carried by dog sled from Woodworth to Dawson City and from there to Juneau by the United States mail.

On September 27, we reached Tanana station. We ran into ice floes in great quantities. We set our course toard the mouth of Tozikakat river. The steamer wa laid upfor the winter, and the passengers began building log houses. Within two weeks a little town had sprung up which we called Woodworth in honor of Mayor Wood and Captain Worth, leader of the of the "May West", another stemer which had been laid up here for the winter.

About 85 miles above Woodworth lies Rampart City, where a large mining town has developed. As soon as a trail could be laid out, about a half of the Humboldt expedition went up there. Several tributaries flow into Minook Creek, and gold claimes are found everywhere.

Several large lumps of gold have been found, one being worth a hundred dollars. Fiften miles below Woodworth, near Gold Hill on Dahlquist Creek, R.C.Washburn of Seattle and I have settled down in a log cabin, and here we expect to stay until we find out what the creek hides in its deep bosom.

Brev fra pastor C.J.Larsen til Washington posten, September 18. 1897:

Tuesday evening, November 2 1897 I left Juneau abord the little steamer "Detroit", bound for Skagway. After a trip of 100 miles, we reached Skagway, which has been so famous during the last three months because of of the reputedly exellent road from here to the Klondike.

Three wharves, extending a a mile out to deep water, are under construction. A tramway is also being built on the mountain pass over which the road runs to Lake Bennett. There are about two hundred Scandinavians in Skagway, but most of them intend to leave for Yukon next spring.

The future of Skagway would seem to be uncertain, because the trail from here to Yukon is not so excellent as was at first believed and claimed. Most of those who tried the crossing came back. It is dreadful to hear some of the men tell the hardships they endured trying to get across White Pass. Not less than 2.800 dead horses are lying along the trail.

On Tuesday the 9th I took a little sailboat to Dyea, some 6 miles north of Skagway. As a town it is only four weeks old, but is already world-famous, since it is the gateway to the shortest and best crossing to the Yukon. A tramway to Sheep Camp is under construction, and from there a steel cable, propelled by a steam engine, is to be strtched along the slope to the top of the mountain. Baskets will be attached to the cable, and freight carried all the way up. Once the top is reached, it is easy to haul the goods by sleigh down to Lake Lindeman, where boats for the trip to Yukon are built

(But, Dyea was doomed to defeat because in July 1900 the White Pass and Yukan Railway was completed, connecting Skagway with Whitehorse and the Yukon.)

Brev fra Andrew Nerland til Washington posten, April 29, 1898:

In April 1895, an avalanche of snow buried the line of climbing men from Sheep Camp to the summit. The slide began as blue smoke far up the mountain and swept across the trail in a blinding storm of snow and loosened rock. The men waiting in the camp below worked in relays to recover the victims. But the men of Dyea had little time for disinterring the certainly dead, and many bodies were never found.

Presumably ten or twelve of them were Scandinavians.

Brev fra Andrew Nerland til Washington posten, June 10, 1898:

When we had brought our goods to Lake Lindeman, we waited for a very windy day. When it came, we loaded our equipment on the sleds, set sail on the ice, and off we went clear to the lower end of Lake Bennett, about 30 miles from the upper end of Lake Lindeman. Here we were determinded to build our boat. I would estimate that about two thousand different boats ar under construction along Lake Lindeman and Bennett.

As soon as the ice braks up we shall continue our trip dowen the Yukon Valley to the land of gold.

Brev fra H.Field til hans far Søren Fjeld of Fergus Falls, vist i Washington posten, February 18. 1898:

The price of goods is pretty high up here. We pay one hundred dollars for a sack of flour, one dollar for a pound of beans, a dollar and a half for fresh meat, fifteen dollas per gallon for kerosene.

Dogs sell for about two hundred and fifty dollars each.

People are much affected by illness, namely, thyphoid fever and malaria. Many Scandinavians took sick and died here last summer, among them two dollars by the name Carlsen, each of whom had thirty-five thousand dollars in gold, but the gold coul not help them.

Brev fra Andrew Nerland til Washington posten, Desember 30, 1898:

Dawson has undergone great changes during the last six months. Where formerly stood only a few log cabins, beatiful buildings have now sprung up which would be an adornment for any city.

Standard items for a one-man Alaska "outfit" as recommended in Tacom tidende, October 30. 1897, were the following: 400 pounds flour, 50 pounds corn mail, 50 pounds oatmeal, 35 pounds rice, 100 pounds beans, 40 pounds candles, 100 pounds granulated sugar, 8 pounds baking powder, 200 pounds smoked and salted pork, 2 pounds soda, 6 pounds yeast, 15 pounds salt, 1 pound pepper, 1/2 pound ginger, 1/2 pound mustard, 25 pounds canned fish, 50 pounds canned meat, 50 pounds dried apples, 25 pounds other dried fruits, 10 pounds dried prunes,10 pounds raisins, 50 pounds dried vegetables, 50 pounds dried potatoes, 24 pounds coffee, 5 pounds tea, 5 pounds condensed milk, 5 pounds soap, 25 pounds canned butter, 60 boxes of matches.

I can give the following scanty information about acquaintances from Seattle. It must be remembered that they are spread over a large territory. Gulbrandsen and Kolloen ar workin on a lay on Bear Creek. Torhus and Aune are similarly engaged on Leota Creek. Thompson and DeFlaw on Hunker Creek, and Larson and Halvorsen on Bear Creek. L. Miller, Anderson and many others are are busy on claims along different streams, while Waldahl is manager of No.12 on the Eldorado and has Sandvig, Fosness and others working for him.

Yesterday came a shipment of 3.000 pairs of Norwegian moccasins (finnsko)- the best kind of shoes against the Alaska cold. I bought a pair for eight dollars.

Brev fra Andrew Nerland til Washington posten, April 28, 1899:

Besides Bonanza and Eldorado, the only regions which yielded nything last year, we now have Hunker, Dominion, and Sulphur, all of which have provided to be rich in gild. Furthermore, many hillside and bench claims on Bonanza also turned out to be profitable ventures.

Gold Rim Creek, is already famous over the whole Northwest Territory and Alaska. In case Gold Rim turns out to be as rich as rumor has it, many Norwegians will become wealthy, because more than half of the valley is owned by our countrymen.

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