The Langlows were not along in the first great gold rush in the Klondyke. Louis had his own mine in Glacier that gave him enough for a living, and the brother felt obliged to stay there with him. Louis, himself, kept himself, for the most of the time, in Forty Mile City at his home, ;for now his wife was not very well, and therefore they decided to leave that fall with the last boat. A few days earlier he sent a letter to the brother in Glacier about this. The letter did not have many. words, it was an order that he should come soon and bring along the "bank".
The time had come, the boat was ready to leave Forty Mile, but no brother Jens was in sight. What should Louis do? Without gold, he could not leave. He begged the captain to wait. This he did for three hours, but then it was a straight "no". He loosened the rope and the ship sailed down the Yukon River for the last time that year.
Hardly half an hour later! A small riverboat landed by the dock and out of it stepped two men, a big and strong Indian and a very small white man. The last one carried a sack on his back, and it was not entirely empty. Among other things there was gold worth about $7,000; the "bank" for Louis Langlow. Was it a good omen that the brother came late that day?
That same evening the brothers became' acquainted with a man who had come straight from Klondyke. He owned a claim there, and he was willing to sell the same if he could get what he asked - $1,000. The Langlow brothers decided to buy, and the next day the Eldorado 12 was registered in 'the name of Louis Langlow.
Jens now got a new job; he should immediately go to the Klondyke and start trial digging on the new property which they had bought.
The first gold claim in the Klondike mining district had been filed on Bonanza Creek, August 17, 1896. The first claim on a tributary creek named Eldorado was staked August 31, 1896; Claim 12 was staked September 1 and all of Eldorado was staked by September 5.
One can but imagine the disappointment, if not outright horror, as the last riverboat left for the "outside" without' the ailing wife and six-year-old daughter. Consigned to another year of isolation in a rough cabin, in a rougher community, to face a dark and bitterly cold winter once again, must have seemed the cruelest of fates. The delayed arrival at Forty Mile in September 1896 and the inevitable "missing of the boat" were to have far-reaching consequences.
Eldorado gold claims were to become world-famous. Quoting from Berton, Page 57, 1958 Edition:
"Nobody then knew, of course, that this was the richest placer creek in the world, that almost every claim from one to forty was worth at least half a million, that some were worth three times that amount, and that a quarter of a century later, dredges would still be taking gold from worked-over gravels."
As to the purchase of Eldorado 12, the documentation varies somewhat. Again quoting from Berton:
"William Johns, the newspaperman, immediately sold half his Claim 12 for $500 and considered himself lucky to unload it. Three months later, he sold the other half for $2,500. The claim was one of the richest on the creek."
From Adney, The Klondike Stampede, Page 328:
"Mr. Johns (William D.), little realizing the value of his claim (Eldorado 12) sold a one-half interest to Knute Langlow for $500; one-half cash and one-half to be paid "on bedrock". It was considered he made a good sale. Some while after (information having privately reached parties in Forty Mile), he sold the other half for $2,500; a good sale, also a good buy."
Why were these early claims sold so soon and for nominal prices,? The possible worth of the Klondike claims would not be known for several months, well into the winter, and to prove up on the claim and maintain ownership, it would have to be worked. This meant shelter, food and supplies and digging through frozen ground to bedrock, where the veins of gold would be found. Those who sold claims so quickly did not have the funds necessary to work the claims, but, most of all, they had little confidence that the claims would prove of value when the diggings were sluiced out the following spring. On Page 324 of Adney, there is a picture of summer diggings (1898) on Eldorado Claim 12.
When official Canadian surveyor, Ogilvie, disclosed a shortage in the resurvey of the original staking of Eldorado 12, the overage was acquired as Eldorado 12A; later one or more of the Langlow brothers became owners of Claim 17 above on Bonanza Creek, and a fraction claim on Hunker Creek. Incidentally, Knute Langlow was not involved in the purchase of Eldorado 12 as he could not have arrived in the Klondike until late spring of. 1897, and in this respect, Adney's statement is incorrect.
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