Scarce separately issued map of Alaska and British Columbia, showing the various routes to the Klondyke Gold Fields, including a separate large format map showing the Lake Routes to Dawson.
Rare Gold Rush Guide Map. Eberstadt (163:20, 1964, priced at $75.00) describes the work as follows:
Not in Wickersham or Smith. An extremely important map and guide. The inside cover contains itineraries of nine routes to the Klondike gold fields and a section on the outfit for one man for one year with a list of provisions. The map lays down literally scores of routes and has a separate inset "Route Map."
Highly detailed map, showing routes to Alaska and locations of gold fields in red, along with the sea routes to the major starting points on the gold trails to the Klondyke region, Yukon, Cariboo, Cassiar, Kootenay and Omineca. Streeter notes that " All of Alaska to the Arctic Ocean is shown, and much of the Northwest Territory and British Columbia. Anchorage and Fairbanks have not yet been established." The printed wrappers include a list of the different routes, the tools, provisions, cookware, utensils, and clothing recommended for the trip and a summary of Klondyke mining laws.
A fine example of this important map and guide.
In August 1896, three people led by Keish (Skookum Jim Mason), a member of the Tagish First Nations, headed north, down the Yukon River from the Carcross area, looking for his sister Kate and her husband George Carmack. The party included Skookum Jim, his cousin, known as Dawson Charlie (or sometimes Tagish Charlie), and his nephew Patsy Henderson. After meeting up with George and Kate, who were fishing for salmon at the mouth of the Klondike River, they ran into Nova Scotian Robert Henderson who had been mining gold on the Indian River, just south of the big dike. Henderson told George Carmack about where he was mining and that he did not want any "Siwashes" (meaning Indians) near him.
August 16, 1896, the Skookum party discovered rich placer gold deposits in Bonanza (Rabbit) Creek, Yukon. The news spread to other mining camps in the Yukon River valley. Gold was first discovered in Rabbit Creek, which was later named Bonanza Creek. The Bonanza, Eldorado, and Hunker Creeks were rapidly staked by miners who had been previously working creeks and sandbars on the Fortymile and Stewart Rivers.
News reached the United States in July 1897, at the height of a significant series of financial recessions and bank failures in the 1890s. The first prospectors arrived in San Francisco, California, on July 15, and in Seattle, Washington, on July 17, setting off the Klondike stampede. In 1898, the population in the Klondike may have reached 40,000, which threatened to cause a famine.
The boom brought many interesting people, including William Howard Taft (Camp Skagway #1), who went on to become a U.S. President; Frederick Russell Burnham, the celebrated American scout who arrived from Africa only to be called back to take part in the Second Boer War; and W. W. White, author and explorer.
Most prospectors landed at the Alaskan towns of Skagway and Dyea, both located at the head of the Lynn Canal. From these towns they traveled the Chilkoot Trail and crossed the Chilkoot Pass, or they hiked up to the White Pass and then to Lake Lindeman or Bennett Lake, the headwaters of the Yukon River. Here, the prospectors built rafts and boats that would take them the final 500-plus miles (800-plus km) down the Yukon to Dawson City, near the gold fields.
The miners had to carry a year's supply of goods over the passes to be allowed to enter Canada. At the top of the passes, the miner's met Canada's North West Mounted Police at a post that enforced the provisions regulation, as well as customs and duties. It was put in place to avert shortages like those that had occurred in the previous two winters in Dawson City, and also to restrict the entry of guns, particularly handguns, into British territory. Another reason was to keep out of Canadian territory the criminal element which had established itself in Skagway and the other Yukon Ports (then still claimed as British territory), as well as the fears by British and Canadian authorities about a possible armed takeover of the goldfields as an American territory.
Once the bulk of the prospectors arrived at Dawson City, most of the major mining claims of the region were already established. However, any major potential unrest with the idle population was averted with the firm authority of the NWMP. under the command of Sam Steele.