Sunday, April 29, 2012

North To Alaska March 1, 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.

Letter from W. T. Hearn To his sister

Dyea, Alaska March 1, 1898

The view coming from Seattle was something grand, mountainenous scenery nearly all the way. The Captain said it was the nicest trip he had made this year, no wind, clear and warm. The icebergs and glaciers were very pretty. We stopped at Victoria, Vancouver, Ft Wrangler, Juneau, Skagway, and Dyea and we saw many funny sights. We were on the water five days and five nights.

After we arrived here we set up our tent in a snow bank, but I am sure I was as warm as you were. It was the first time I slept on a $100.00 bed, I tell you it was something nice. We were in bed fourteen-hours the first night don’t you think we enjoyed it to sleep that long? There are about 200 tents here so we are not lonely. We have a nice carpet on the floor, as white as snow, but we are going to get a new one today, and have it made of green leaves, green you know is the style this spring.

We had a typical Klondike crowd on the boat; there were about 700 in all, and about 30 ladies, some wore the regular Klondike clothing built of corduroy, wearing bloomers and very short skirts, cap, etc. After the women start on their journey from here they dispose of their skirts altogether and wear bloomers or pants the same as men do and they can get along alright then.

When we were in Victoria we went to the Providential museum and saw all kinds of animals, birds, fish snakes and everything else that ever lived on the earth or in the waters of the sea., all kinds of skeletons, idols and gods of old times. It was night when we stopped at Vancouver and the only thing I saw there very funny was the tiny dog; it was ten months old and weighted 14 ounces , its body was three inches long and two inches high. In Juneau everything was comical, saw my first totem pole there it was in the Indian burial ground. Went to church there, to the Log Cabin Church, and heard a nice sermon, then went to the boat and went to bed.

While it is pretty county up here you need not be afraid of me making it my home for it is a pretty tough looking place to live. I haven’t seen any flowers blooming since I left Victoria. My whiskers are long enough to comb, wouldn’t you like to see me?

We are living like Kings up here, have a home of our own, and are as happy as a June bug the first day of June. The water is the nicest I every drank, just as clear as crystal running down out of the rocks.

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