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Gold Rush Women

Northern Placer Gold Stampedes

by Murray Lundberg

      1898 !! - a quick look at the events schedules for Alaska and the Yukon for 1998 indicates that we will have to excuse those people, visitors in particular, who assume that nothing has ever happened up here except the Klondike Gold Rush !! But, we survived the Alaska Highway Anniversary, so we'll recover from this one too.

      Those of you who are lucky enough to have access to primary or secondary sources for your Northern research already know that gold rushes feature in our early journals and newspapers in an amazing variety of sizes and locations. Indeed, these stampedes provide us with some of the most colourful episodes in our history. Some of these stampedes even resulted in some gold being produced!

      The following stampede notice from the June 17, 1899 issue of The Klondike Nugget is fairly typical of the genre:

Another stampede out of Dawson, and one which possesses more than the usual amount of merit, took place this week as a result of the arrival in the city of Pat E. Dunden, Messrs. Pearl, Crane and others from the waters of the upper White river. They reported the discovery of gold on what has been named California creek, a tributary of the White river, and showed several samples of the precious metal, which they found at a depth of fifteen feet. Several of the discoverers recorded immediately, and Gold Commissioner Senkler posted a notice of the discovery at his office. Three members of the party came down the White and Yukon rivers on a raft, while the others walked in, striking the city via Swede creek, which, they say, is the proper trail to take.
The new creek heads in the vicinity of Glacier and Miller creeks of the Forty-mile district, both of which have been gold producers. The reason it had not been heard of earlier is because the prospectors had been making their headquarters principally at Forty-mile.
Among the Dawsonites who went on the stampede is Policy Bob, who claims to have had men at work on the creek all winter.

      The placer discoveries listed below are those which resulted in both a stampede (although some were very small), and production of gold (many stampedes were phony). The dates given are those of the staking of the first claim. As always, referenced corrections and/or additions are most welcome.


1849: Russian River, Kenai - the first gold mining in Alaska (only a few ounces).

1861: Stikine River (Buck's Bar, lower river)

1871: Cassiar District, northwestern British Columbia - the stampede peaked in 1874. Laketon was established on Dease Lake as the service centre.

1875: Shuck River - the first payable quantity of placer gold discovered in Alaska.

1880: Gold Creek, near future site of Juneau (placer gold merely pointed to the lode gold deposit, which caused the stampede)

1881: Big Salmon River - the first payable quantity of placer gold discovered in the Yukon.

1884: Cassiar Bar, Yukon River (below the Teslin River)

1885: Stewart River (primarily Chapman's Bar and Steamboat Bar)

1886: Fortymile River (Franklin's Bar)

1887: Lituya Bay (beach deposits)
        : Khantaak Island, near Yakutat Bay (beach deposits) - may have been discovered in 1880.

1888: Resurrection Creek, Kenai Peninsula

1891: Miller Creek, which became the richest creek in the Fortymile District.

1892: Birch Creek - the stampede peaked in 1895. Circle City was established as the service centre.
        : Glacier Creek, Sixtymile District

1893: Koyukuk River (Tramway Bar) - the first gold on the Koyukuk was reported in 1878.
        : Mastodon Creek and Independence Gulch, near Circle City.

1894: Palmer and Bear Creeks, Kenai Peninsula. The stampede peaked in 1896, when Hope and Sunrise boomed as service centres.

1895: Quartz Creek - the first gold discovered in the Klondike.

1896: Hess Creek, Rampart - probably discovered first in 1893.
        : August 17 - Bonanza Creek, Klondike - the stampede peaked in 1898. Dawson City was established on the Yukon River as the primary service centre, Grand Forks on Bonanza Creek as the secondary centre.

1898: Porcupine Creek (north of Haines)
        : Chistochina
        : Manley Hot Springs
        : Neukluk River
        : March - Melsing and Ophir Creeks, Golofnin Bay.
        :Livingstone Creek, north of Whitehorse. Possibly discovered in 1894.
        : Yakataga (beach deposits)
        : Indian River, upriver from Dawson City.
        : Kobuk River
        : September 22 - Anvil Creek, near the future site of Nome. Gold discovered in Nome beach sands in 1899. The stampede peaked in 1900.
        : Porcupine Creek, north of Haines - the stampede peaked in 1899.
        : California Creek, White River. Stampede mainly from Dawson, June 1899.

1899: Koyukuk - first large amount of gold on the Koyukuk.

1900: March - the beach at the mouth of Daniels Creek, Topkok (40 miles east of Nome).
        : Solomon River, east of Nome.
        : Bluestone District, Port Clarence.
        : Kotzebue Sound - rushes in 1896 and 1898 had produced little gold.

1901: Candle Creek, 300 miles north of Nome
        : Koyukuk District (larger than the 1899 rush). Wiseman established as the service centre.

1902: Tanana Hills - Barnette's Landing (Fairbanks) boomed as the service centre.

1903: Bullion and Ruby Creeks, south and north-east of Kluane Lake, respectively.
        : Chandalar District. Beaver was established on the Yukon River as the service centre.

1904: Several streams near Cape York - York Mining District formed.

1906: Chandalar District
        : Kantishna

1907: Innoko River - Cripple Landing was established as the service centre.

1909: Otter Creek, Iditarod District

1910: Ruby

1913: Marshall

1914: Livengood

References & Further Reading:

  • Brooks, Alfred Hulse - Blazing Alaska's Trails (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 1973)
  • Gates, Michael - Gold at Fortymile Creek (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1994)
  • Hunt, William R. - North of 53°: The Wild Days of the Alaska-Yukon Mining Frontier, 1870-1914 (New York: Macmillan, 1974)
  • Wright, Allen A. - Prelude to Bonanza (Sidney, BC: Gray's, 1976)


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    ©1997-2009 Murray Lundberg: Use for other than research purposes must be approved by the author.

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