Arctic & Northern Biographies
Klondike Gold Rush
The Klondike News,
Dawson, N.W.T., April 1st, 1898
Placer gold claim No. 38 Above on Dominion Creek was staked by Everett J.
Ward, on August 30, 1896. It is one of the richest in the district, and has already yielded its owner a fortune which will be more than doubled when the big "clean-up" is made this spring, and will continue to produce fabulous amounts for many years to come.
Mr. Ward is a native of Nova Scotia, having been born in Kings county, on January 26, 1863. He was a member of the Northwest Territory Mounted Police, and since 1879 was stationed at Fort Saskatchewan, in the northern part of the territory, 200 miles from the railway.
When in 1895 volunteers were called for service in the Yukon country, Mr. Ward was one of the first to sign the roll, and in company with Captain Constantine's force of twenty men left Seattle on June 5th of the same year on board the steamer Excelsior, and after a perilous voyage of ten days on the Behring Sea landed at St. Michaels on July 3d. They then took passage on the river boat P. B. Weare and came up the Yukon, and after a trip of twenty-one days arrived at Fort Cudahy, where there were but a few log-houses. Here they built their winter quarters.
In the spring of 1896, Mr. Ward, accompanied by six of the mounted police, went up the Yukon in a small river boat to the present site of Dawson to cut logs to complete their barracks at Fort Cudahy. They cut 13,000 feet of timber on what is now the central part of Dawson, made rafts of the logs and floated them to the fort, where they were used to finish the buildings.
By permission of their officer, Inspector Strickland, Mr. Ward and two companions came up to Lousetown and went over the summit, arriving at No. 66 below, on Bonanza creek, on August 29th. They went down to No. 52 below, where they made camp and stayed all night. All they had with them was a blanket apiece and a small amount of flour and bacon. The blankets were wet, for it had been raining. They slept that night in their wet blankets on a bar in the creek. The next morning was a very disagreeable one, and there was a drizzling rain falling which wet them to the skin. They started up Bonanza creek to stake a claim.
When they arrived at No. 36, which was the last claim staked, they drew lots to see which one of the three should have the privilege of staking the first claim. John Brothers drew the longest straw, and he staked No. 37. The next choice fell to Mr. Ward, and he staked 38. The third one of the party, Mr. Jenkins, got No. 39, and it proved a good one, for he afterwards sold it for $125,000. After staking his claim Mr. Ward hurried back to the island and finished the wood cutting, and then making up the rafts started down to Fort Cudahy. He had his claim recorded by Captain Constantine, who was at that time the recorder.
Mr. Ward let out a fraction of his claim on a "lay," and he remained at the fort doing police duty until August 1, 1897, when his term of service having expired he got his discharge.
The following spring - 1897 - the tide of emigration from Forty Mile went up the Yukon to the Klondike, and Captain Constantine, thinking it advisable to change his headquarters from Cudahy to Dawson, removed his men to the latter place and established Fort Herchmer.
In June, 1897, after the first "clean up" at the mine, Mr. Ward went up to his claim to settle with his laymen,and found that they had washed up nearly $40,000. This represented only two months work
of four men.
Not being able to carry the dust back to Dawson - a distance of eighteen miles - Mr. Ward concluded to invest it in mining property, and accordingly purchased an interest in claims Nos. 23 and 42 above on Bonanza, which investment has since proved a very profitable one. He also bought an interest in No. 3 below Old Discovery on Gold Bottom Creek, and in September, 1896, acquired by purchase a half interest in No. 30 above Discovery on Bonanza.
After leaving the service of the Mounted Police, Mr. Ward came up to No. 38 on Bonanza and employed men to build his cabins and to cut wood in preparation for the winter's work.
In October the work of sinking shafts and drifting was begun. Some idea of the richness of the claim may be gained from the fact that the owner has panned out $113 to the bucket. The pay streak has been located for 100 feet wide and is from four to five feet deep. It will average from twenty-five cents to $46 per pan. The fortunate owner expects to "clean-up" at least $150,000 in the spring. This is not a large estimate, as will be found when the final "wash-up" is made. There has been a large force of men at work on the claim, and considerable pay dirt has been drifted out, and it would not be at all surprising if the amount taken out at the end of the season was much greater than the figures given above.
The accompanying illustration of the claim was made from a photograph taken at the mine last February, in the middle of the busy season.
While No. 38 will produce enough gold to enrich a dozen men, it is not the only source of revenue which Mr. Ward enjoys. No. 23 above on Bonanza, in which he has an interest, is proving a very prolific gold producer and yields as much as three ounces to the pan. A 300-foot strip is being worked by the owners, and the remainder of the claim has been let out on "lays." The lessees are working their portion of it to advantage, and will realize large amounts on their contracts when they make the "clean-up."
Mr. Ward's pile is also being increased by the output of No. 42 above Bonanza, in which he also has an interest. This is one of the richest claims on that creek, and the pay dirt which it contains is almost inexhaustible. It extends from rim to rim, a distance of over 300 feet, and is from four to five feet deep. It has produced as high as $53.50 to the pan. It is believed that it will yield several millions before it is all worked out.
There will also be a good revenue from No. 3 below on Gold Bottom creek to help fill the coffers of Mr. Ward, who bought an interest in that claim at a reasonable figure. It is one of the most promising in the Hunker creek district.
The men who are working on Mr. Ward's claims have no reason to change employers, for that gentleman is paying the highest wages paid on Bonanza creek. His men get $1.50 per hour, and work eight hours per day.
Mr. Ward feels that he has earned a short rest, and he intends to take a vacation after the spring "clean-up." He will go to the United States via St. Michaels, and will spend the summer in the East. After several months of sightseeing and an indulgence in those luxuries which the toiler on the Klondike forsakes when he leaves civilization, he will return to his mines in the spring of 1899 by way of St. Michaels and the Yukon river.
Mr. Ward is a strong, healthy man, a typical specimen of the sturdy, adventurous miner. His long service in the mounted police has sfrengthened a physique capable of withstanding any hardship or fatigue, and his soldierly bearing gives him a peculiar distinction which marks him out as worthy of notice above his fellows.
In temperament he is sociable and good natured, and possesses a large share of the "milk of human kindness." His genial manner has won him hundreds of friends who are pleased at his success.