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Many Yukon steamers are not seaworthy, 1897

Klondike gold Rush

Northern Ships and Shipping

Elmira Gazette and Free Press (Elmira, New York), Thursday, October 14, 1897

Elmira Gazette and Free Press - Thursday, October 14, 1897

Light Draught Steamers for the Yukon ARE UNSEAWORTHY - October 14, 1897

    San Francisco, Oct. 14. - Captain Herring of the revenue cutter Thomas C. Corwin states that many of the steamers going up the Yukon are unseaworthy and strongly advises prospectors, especially those from the east, not to buy tickets on any vessels until they are satisfied they will be able to make the trip. When the Corwin left St. Michael's on Septamber 2th, the steamer Hamilton had started up the Yukon, expecting to winter wherever timber could be found. The Seattle No. 1 was also going in with Mayor Wood and party. She will also winter in the Yukon. The W. R. Merwin, an old side-wheeler, carrying 140 passengers, and the Mare Island have started from Dutch Harbor for winter quarters, but it is doubtful whether they will get further than St. Michael's, as they have sixty miles of rough water to cross and both are cranky river boats.

    The steamer Eliza Anderson still remains at Dutch Harbor, but her passengers have gone on to St. Michael's on the schooner Baronoff. They wanted to board the Merwin, but the captain declared he could not accommodate them. They were persistent and wanted to draw lots with those already on that vessel for the use of sleeping quarters. Upon the captain refusing their requests, some of the Anderson's passengers became aggressive and bloodshed was only averted by the action of Captain Herring, who strongly advised all parties against any breach of the peace.

    There is intense feeling against the promoters of these winter expeditions to the Klondike and serious trouble may yet occur.

    Statements by Captain Herring regarding the seaworthiness of the old river boats sent to the Yukon are corroborated by Dr. Sheldon Jackson.

    here is plenty of coal at Dutch Harbor and in Alaska, a supply having been recently landed.

    At Dutch Harbor, seventy-five men are engaged in putting together two river steamers which were taken to that place in sections. About 1,000 miners and prospectors will winter at St. Michael's, coming from both north and south. There are two houses ready and another in course of construction and food is said to be plentiful.

    The steamer Portland may be expected at Seattle about October 22nd, the Cleveland may come in her stead, as it is doubtful which one will start first. The steamer will bring the last batch of miners who will leave the Klondike for the winter with the result of their season's work. It is possible that a large amount of treasure may be brought and the Bear has been ordered to act as the convoy to the first departing treasure laden vessel from the mines.


   San Francisco, Oct. 14. - Information has just been received that the Canadian Pacific road has placed two corps of surveyors with a view of opening up the Stricken river route to the Yukon mines. From the mouth of the river to the point at which the road down the Yukon will begin there are said to be no engineering difficulties and it is believed the line can be kept open seven months in the year. It is proposed to run a line of fast steamers from Victoria for Wrangel. Steam vessels can run up the Stricken river for about 149 miles. From this point a railroad will be built to Teslin Lake, 125 miles further. Light draught steamers will be placed on the Yukon and it is belived that Dawson City may be reached in ten days from Victoria, or thirteen days from San Francisco.


    San Francisco, Oct. 14 - The Corwin brought the news from St. Michael's that Father Barnum, who has conducted a mission for many years there, is authority for the statement that a channel not yet known to navigation exists at the mouth of the Yukon river. He states that it is close to the south side and will permit steamers by avoiding the shallow bars, to proceed up the river for a distance of 500 miles. This winter Collector of Customs Anders and Captain Peterson will explore the new channel.