Sunday, April 29, 2012

North To Alaska April 7, 1898


William T. Hearn and William R. Bacon left the Salisbury - Delmar area January 31, 1898 for the Goldfields of the Klondike. They were two of about 100,000 people who went north in seach of gold, only about 4,000 would find gold. Moving from the Klondike they went to Alaska in search of gold and a paying job. They wrote a number of letters home to family and friends that were published in the Salisbury Advertiser. Over the next week or so I will post some of their letters home.

From W. T. Hearn to the Editors of the Salisbury Advertiser

Sheep Camp, April 7, 1898

Thinking possibly you would like to have a correct report of the snow slide which occurred two and a half miles above here and one half mile below the foot of the summit, Sunday morning, about ten o’clock, April 3rd, and as I was an eyewitness shortly after it occurred, I will write you a few lines. The exact number that have been taken out at present is fifty two dead and several that are still living and are getting along OK. There is one lady among the dead.

The men had gone up to pack their goods on the summit, but as it was to stormy to work, they were returning, but quite a number of them were camped up there in a very dangerous place, even the Indians will not camp up that far. A blinding snow storm had come up, and those that were not tented up there were all together trying to find their way to Sheep Camp.

The Masons, Odd Fellows, and Knights of Pythias who were on the trail held a meeting and it was resolved that they would have the body of any brothers who were among the victims embalmed and sent home. All work was stopped on the trail Monday and Tuesday until the bodies could be found. The number may reach seventy five or even one hundred, as it will be almost impossible to find them all before next summer when the snow melts.

The rush on the pass is pretty well over now; a short time ago it was estimated that there were 10,000 tons of freight along the trail from Dyea to the summit. We are getting along nicely and enjoying camping life. Wish all “The Boys” were with us.
Wm T. Hearn

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