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All-American Mail Route in Alaska, 1899


The Klondike Nugget

Dawson, Y.T.         Wednesday, September 13, 1899


All American Mail Route - headline from 'The Klondike Nugget' of September 13, 1899

    Mr. George McDougall, the gentleman who last winter rendered the community such signal service by overhauling and bringing back to the courts of the land the escaping Michael Eschwege, returned to Dawson Saturday after a season of active "mushing" over on the headwaters of the Tanana. Mr. McDougall is a close observer and his comments upon the lower creeks and river towns are of decided interest.
    Fort Egbert is the American military station established at Eagle City. There is already a company of blue coats established there with a hundred more men on the way.
    A regular United States mail service has now been established over the Copper river route, between Eagle on the Yukon to Port Valdes on the Pacific ocean, over the all-American route. Relay posts are being established all along the route, which, by-the-way, is proving to be a fairly good one into Alaska. However, it is admitted on all hands that the only advantage of the trail over the route through Canadian territory down the Yukon, is its all American feature. The trail is only 350 miles long, and is therefore much less winding than the ice trail over the frozen Yukon. The mail service, with the aid of horses, is now in active operation.
    A wagon road is in process of construction between Eagle and the Fortymile river.
    The road in no place crosses the boundary, and strikes the Fortymile river well on the Alaska side of the danger line. It is believed that the completion of the wagon road and the establishment of an American customs house on Fortymile, at the Canadian line, will cause the upbuilding of Eagle at the expense of Fortymile city, since the latter town depends upon the American creeks entirely for its support. The customs house has already been established. The wagon road will be completed this fall.
    The S.- Y. T. and A. C. companies are both actively engaged in building operations at Eagle.
    Eagle is just at present enjoying an influx of trading dust from American creek. Two saloons are doing a thriving business,and the familiar gold scales are in particular evidence.
    The A. C. store has been discontinued at Seventymile city, though an expert from Peoria, Ill., is engaged in planning large hydraulic operations for that stream. The necessary plant is looked for either this fall or over the ice, ready for spring operations.
    Mr. McDougall and the balance of the Tanana prospectors heard nothing of the Nome strike until after coming out a few days ago.



Notes:

  • The Alaska-Yukon border was not a "danger line" in a literal sense. Mining laws were much more lenient on the US side, but beyond that, miners only cared which jurisdiction they were in when the Customs departments of the United States and Canada got involved.
  • The S.- Y. T. company was the Seattle-Yukon Trading Company
  • The A. C. company was the Alaska Commercial company
  • "trading dust" is gold dust, the usual currency in the interior of Alaska and the Yukon at the time
    
    

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