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A Woman who went to Alaska

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Project Gutenberg's A Woman who went to Alaska, by May Kellogg SullivanThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.orgTitle: A Woman who went to AlaskaAuthor: May Kellogg SullivanRelease Date: August 26, 2007 [EBook #22409]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A WOMAN WHO WENT TO ALASKA ***Produced by Malcolm Farmer, Stephen Blundell and the OnlineDistributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (Thisfile was produced from images generously made availableby the Library of Congress)MAY KELLOGG SULLIVAN INALASKA DRESS.A Woman WhoWent ———To AlaskaBy May Kellogg SullivanI L L U S T R A T E DBoston:James H. Earle & Company178 Washington StreetCopyright, 1902By MAY KELLOGG SULLIVANAll Rights ReservedCONTENTS.Chapter PageI Under Way 9II Midnight on a Yukon Steamer 19III Dawson 28IV The Rush 36V At The Arctic Circle 48VI Companions 58VII Going to Nome 78VIII Fresh Danger 81IX Nome 94X The Four Sisters 109XI Life in a Mining Camp 131XII Bar-Room Disturbances 149XIII Off For Golovin Bay 162XIV Life at Golovin 184XV Winter in the Mission 199XVI The Retired Sea Captain 215XVII How the Long Days Passed 231XVIII Swarming 247XIX New Quarters 261XX Christmas in Alaska 275XXI My First Gold Claims 292XXII The Little ...
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Project Gutenberg's A Woman who went to Alaska, by May Kellogg Sullivan This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: A Woman who went to Alaska Author: May Kellogg Sullivan Release Date: August 26, 2007 [EBook #22409] Language: English *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A WOMAN WHO WENT TO ALASKA *** Produced by Malcolm Farmer, Stephen Blundell and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by the Library of Congress) MAY KELLOGG SULLIVAN IN ALASKA DRESS. A Woman Who Went ——— To Alaska By May Kellogg Sullivan I L L U S T R A T E D Boston: James H. Earle & Company 178 Washington Street Copyright, 1902 By MAY KELLOGG SULLIVAN All Rights Reserved CONTENTS. Chapter Page I Under Way 9 II Midnight on a Yukon Steamer 19 III Dawson 28 IV The Rush 36 V At The Arctic Circle 48 VI Companions 58 VII Going to Nome 78 VIII Fresh Danger 81 IX Nome 94 X The Four Sisters 109 XI Life in a Mining Camp 131 XII Bar-Room Disturbances 149 XIII Off For Golovin Bay 162 XIV Life at Golovin 184 XV Winter in the Mission 199 XVI The Retired Sea Captain 215 XVII How the Long Days Passed 231 XVIII Swarming 247 XIX New Quarters 261 XX Christmas in Alaska 275 XXI My First Gold Claims 292 XXII The Little Sick Child 311 XXIII Lights and Shadows of the Mining Camp 325 XXIV An Unpleasant Adventure 340 XXV Stones and Dynamite 354 XXVI Good-bye to Golovin Bay 374 XXVII Going Outside 379 Transcriber's Note Obvious printer errors have been corrected. All other inconsistencies remain as printed. A list of illustrations, though not present in the original, has been provided below: COVER MAY KELLOGG SULLIVAN IN ALASKA DRESS. DAWSON, Y. T. CITY HALL AT SKAGWAY. PORCUPINE CANYON, WHITE PASS. MILES CANYON. UPPER YUKON STEAMER. FIVE FINGER RAPIDS. GOING TO DAWSON IN WINTER. A KLONDYKE CLAIM. EAGLE CITY, ON THE YUKON, IN 1899. YUKON STEAMER "HANNAH." FELLOW TRAVELERS. ESKIMOS. UNALASKA. STEAMSHIP ST. PAUL. NOME. LIFE AT NOME. CLAIM NUMBER NINE, ANVIL CREEK. CLAIM NUMBER FOUR, ANVIL CREEK, NOME. MAP OF ALASKA. ESKIMO DOGS. WINTER PROSPECTING. AT CHINIK. THE MISSION. CLAIM ON BONANZA CREEK. ON BONANZA CREEK. SKAGWAY RIVER, FROM THE TRAIN. PREFACE This unpretentious little book is the outcome of my own experiences and adventures in Alaska. Two trips, covering a period of eighteen months and a distance of over twelve thousand miles were made practically alone. In answer to the oft-repeated question of why I went to Alaska I can only give the same reply that so many others give: I wanted to go in search of my fortune which had been successfully eluding my grasp for a good many years. Neither home nor children claimed my attention. No good reason, I thought, stood in the way of my going to Alaska; for my husband, traveling constantly at his work had long ago allowed me carte blanche as to my inclinations and movements. To be sure, there was no money in the bank upon which to draw, and an account with certain friends whose kindness and generosity cannot be forgotten, was opened up to pay passage money; but so far neither they nor I have regretted making the venture. I had first-class health and made up in endurance what I lacked in avoirdupois, along with a firm determination to take up the first honest work that presented itself, regardless of choice, and in the meantime to secure a few gold claims, the fame of which had for two years reached my ears. In regard to the truthfulness of this record I have tried faithfully to relate my experiences as they took place. Not all, of course, have been included, for numerous and varied trials came to me, of which I have not written, else a far more thrilling story could have been told. Enough has, however, been noted to give my readers a fair idea of a woman's life during a period of eighteen months in a few of the roughest mining camps in the world; and that many may be interested, and to some extent possibly instructed by the perusal of my little book, is the sincere wish of the author. May Kellogg Sullivan. A WOMAN WHO WENT—TO ALASKA. CHAPTER I. UNDER WAY. M Y first trip from California to Alaska was made in the summer of 1899. I went alone to Dawson to my father and brother, surprising them greatly when I quietly walked up to shake hands with them at their work. The amazement of my father knew no bounds,—and yet I could see a lot of quiet amusement beneath all when he introduced me to his friends, which plainly said: "Here is my venturesome daughter, who is really a 'chip off the old block,' so you must not be surprised at her coming to Alaska." Father had gone to the Klondyke a year before at the age of sixty-four, climbing Chilkoot Pass in the primitive way and "running" Miles Canyon and White Horse Rapids in a small boat which came near being swamped in the passage. My brother's entrance to the famous gold fields was made in the same dangerous manner a year before; but I had waited until trains over the White Pass and Yukon Railroad had been crossing the mountains daily for two weeks before myself attempting to get into Alaska's interior. At that time it was only a three hours' ride, including stops, over the Pass to Lake Bennett, the terminus of this new railroad, the first in Alaska. A couple of rude open flat cars with springless seats along the sides were all the accommodation we had as passengers from the summit of White Pass to Lake Bennett; we having paid handsomely for the privilege of riding in this manner and thinking ourselves fortunate, considering the fact that our route was, during the entire distance of about forty-five miles, strewn with the bleaching bones of earlier argonauts and their beasts of burden. Naturally, my traveling companions interested me exceedingly. There were few women. Two ladies with their husbands were going to Dawson on business. About eight or ten other women belonging to the rapid class of individuals journeyed at the same time. We had all nationalities and classes. There were two women from Europe with luggage covered with foreign stickers, and a spoken jargon which was neither German nor French, but sounded like a clever admixture of both. Then there was the woman who went by the name of Mrs. Somebody or other who wore a seal-skin coat, diamond earrings and silver-mounted umbrella. She had been placed in the same stateroom with me on the steamer at Seattle, and upon making her preparations to retire for the night had offered me a glass of brandy, while imbibing one herself, which I energetically, though politely, refused. At midnight a second woman of the same caste had been ushered into my room to occupy the third and last berth, whereupon next morning I had waited upon the purser of the ship, and modestly but firmly requested a change of location. In a gentlemanly way he informed me that the only vacant stateroom was a small one next the engine room below, but if I could endure the noise and wished to take it, I could do so. I preferred the proximity and whirr of machinery along with closer quarters to the company of the two adventuresses, so while both women slept late next morning I quietly and thankfully moved all my belongings below. Here I enjoyed the luxury of a room by myself for forty-eight hours, or until we reached Skagway, completely oblivious to the fact that never for one instant did the pounding of the great engines eight feet distant cease either day or night. DAWSON, Y. T. A United States Judge, an English aristocrat and lady, a Seattle lawyer, sober, thoughtful and of middle age, who had been introduced to me by a friend upon sailing, and who kindly kept me in sight when we changed steamers or trains on the trip without specially appearing to do so; a nice old gentleman going to search for the body of his son lost in the Klondyke River a few weeks before, and a good many rough miners as well as nondescripts made up our unique company to Dawson. Some had been over the route before when mules and horses had been the only means of transportation over the Passes, and stories of the trials and dangers of former trips were heard upon deck each day, with accompaniments of oaths and slang phrases, and punctuated by splashes of tobacco juice. On the voyage to Skagway there was little seasickness among the passengers, as we kept to the inland passage among the islands. At a short distance away we viewed the great Treadwell gold mines on Douglass Island, and peered out through a veil of mist and rain at Juneau under the hills. Here we left a few of our best and most pleasant passengers, and watched the old Indian women drive sharp bargains in curios, beaded moccasins, bags, etc., with tourists who were impervious to the great rain drops which are here always falling as easily from the clouds as leaves from a maple tree in October. Our landing at Skagway under the towering mountains upon beautiful Lynn Canal was more uneventful than our experience in the Customs House at that place, for we were about to cross the line into Canadian territory. Here we presented an interesting and animated scene. Probably one hundred and fifty persons crowded the small station and baggage room, each one pushing his way as far as possible toward the officials, who with muttered curses hustled the tags upon each box and trunk as it was hastily unlocked and examined. Ropes and straps were flung about the floor, bags thrown with bunches of keys promiscuously, while transfer men perspiring from every pore tumbled great mountains of luggage hither and thither. CITY HALL AT SKAGWAY. Two ponderous Germans there were, who, in checked steamer caps enveloped in cigar smoke of the best brand, protested vigorously at the opening of their trunks by the officers, but their protests seemed only the more to whet the appetites of these dignitaries. The big Germans had their revenge, however. In the box of one of these men was found with other things a lot of Limburger cheese, the pungent odor of which drove the women screaming to the doors, and men protesting indignantly after them; while those unable to reach the air prayed earnestly for a good stiff breeze off Lynn Canal to revive them. The Germans laughed till tears ran down their cheeks, and cheerfully paid the duty imposed. Skagway was interesting chiefly from its historical associations as a port where so many struggling men had landed, suffered and passed on over that trail of hardship and blood two years before. Our little narrow gauge coaches were crowded to their utmost, men standing in aisles and on platforms, and sitting upon wood boxes and hand luggage near the doors. It was July, and the sight of fresh fruit in the hands of those lunching in the next seat almost brought tears to my eyes, for we were now going far beyond the land of fruits and all other delicacies. "Pick it up, old man, pick it up and eat it," said one rough fellow of evident experience in Alaska to one who had dropped a cherry upon the floor, "for you won't get another while you stay in this country, if it is four years!" "But," said another, "he can eat 'Alaska strawberries' to his heart's content, summer and winter, and I'll be bound when he gets home to the States he won't thank anyone for puttin' a plate of beans in front of him, he'll be that sick of 'em! I et beans or 'Alaska strawberries' for nine months one season, day in and day out, and I'm a peaceable man, but at the end of that time I'd have put a bullet through the man who offered me beans to eat, now you can bet your life on that! Don't never insult an old timer by puttin' beans before him, is my advice if you do try to sugar-coat 'em by calling 'em strawberries!" and the man thumped his old cob pipe with force enough upon the wood box to empty the ashes from its bowl and to break it into fragments had it not been well seasoned. Upon the summit of White Pass we alighted from the train and boarded another. This time it was the open flat cars, and the Germans came near being left. As the conductor shouted "all aboard" they both scrambled, with great puffing and blowing owing to their avoirdupois, to the rear end of the last car, and with faces purple from exertion plumped themselves down almost in the laps of some women who were laughing at them. PORCUPINE CANYON, WHITE PASS. We had now a dizzy descent to make to Lake Bennett. Conductor and brakeman were on the alert. With their hands upon the brakes these men stood with nerves and muscles tense. All talking ceased. Some of us thought of home and loved ones, but none flinched. Slowly at first, then faster and faster the train rolled over the rails until lakes, hills and mountains fairly flew past us as we descended. At last the train's speed was slackened, and we moved more leisurely along the foot of the mountains. We were in the beautiful green "Meadows" where pretty and fragrant wild flowers nodded in clusters among the tall grass. At Bennett our trunks were again opened, and we left the train. We were to take a small steamer down the lakes and river for Dawson. We were no longer crowded, as passengers scattered to different boats, some going east to Atlin. With little trouble I secured a lodging for one night with the stewardess of the small steamer which would carry us as far as Miles Canyon or the Camp, Canyon City. From there we were obliged to walk five miles over the trail. It was midsummer, and the woods through which we passed were green. Wild flowers, grasses and moss carpeted our path which lay along the eastern bank of the great gorge called Miles Canyon, only at times winding away too far for the roar of its rushing waters to reach our ears. No sound of civilization came to us, and no life was to be seen unless a crow chanced to fly overhead in search of some morsel of food. Large forest trees there were none. Tall, straight saplings of poplar, spruce and pine pointed their slender fingers heavenward, and seemed proudly to say: "See what fortitude we have to plant ourselves in this lonely Northland with our roots and sap ice-bound most of the year. Do you not admire us?" And we did admire wonderingly. Then, again, nearing the banks of Miles Canyon we forged our way on up hill and down, across wet spots, over boulders and logs, listening to the roar of the mighty torrent dashing between towering, many-colored walls of rock, where the volume of water one hundred feet in width with a current of fifteen miles an hour, and a distance of five-eighths of a mile rushes insistently onward, as it has, no doubt, done for ages past. Then at last widening, this torrent is no longer confined by precipitous cliffs but between sparsely wooded banks, and now passes under the name of "White Horse Rapids," from so strangely resembling white horses as the waters are dashed over and about the huge boulders in mid-stream. Here many of the earlier argonauts found watery graves as they journeyed in small boats or rafts down the streams to the Klondyke in their mad haste to reach the newly discovered gold fields. After leaving White Horse Rapids we traveled for days down the river. My little stateroom next the galley or kitchen of the steamer was frequently like an oven, so great was the heat from the big cooking range. The room contained nothing but two berths, made up with blankets and upon wire springs, and the door did not boast of a lock of any description. Upon application to the purser for a chair I received a camp stool. Luckily I had brushes, combs, soap and towels in my bag, for none of these things were furnished with the stateroom. In the stern of the boat there was a small room where tin wash basins and roller towels awaited the pleasure of the women passengers, the water for their ablutions being kept in a barrel, upon which hung an old dipper. To clean one's teeth over the deck rail might seem to some an unusual undertaking, but I soon learned to do this with complacency, it being something of gain not to lose sight of passing scenery while performing the operation. MILES CANYON. At Lake La Barge we enjoyed a magnificent panorama. Bathed in the rosy glow of a departing sunset, this beautiful body of water sparkled like diamonds on all sides of us. Around us on every hand lay the green and quiet hills. Near the waters' edge they appeared a deep green, but grew lighter in the distance. Long bars of crimson, grey and gold streaked the western horizon, while higher up tints of purple and pink blended harmoniously with the soft blue sky. As the sun slowly settled the colors deepened. Darker and darker they grew. The warm soft glow had departed, and all was purple and black, including the waters beneath us; and as we passed through the northern end or outlet of the lake into Thirty Mile River we seemed to be entering a gate, so narrow did the entrance to the river appear between the hills. At night our steamer was frequently tied up to a wood pile along the banks of the river. No signs of civilization met our eyes, except, perhaps, a rude log hut or cabin among the trees, where at night, his solitary candle twinkling in his window and his dogs baying at the moon, some lonely settler had established himself. The Semenow Hills country is a lonely one. Range upon range of rolling, partly wooded, hills meet the eye of the traveler until it grows weary and seeks relief in sleep. Five Finger Rapids was the next point of interest on our route, and I am here reminded of a short story which is not altogether one of fiction, and which is entitled: Midnight on a Yukon Steamer.
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