Claude found inspiration for his aspirations in photojournalism among the “Old Timers” in Forty Mile. These individuals were lured to the Yukon by the promise of gold, but had enough vision to depend on their ingenuity for their livelihood. Percy DeWolfe and his partner, Pete Anderson, hunted and delivered wild meat to prospectors. During the Klondike Gold Rush, Dave Swanson hauled foodstuffs from Forty Mile to Dawson.
No. 1 Mr Percy DeWolfe.
Klondiker of some thirty-five
years experience. Came North in '98 by way of the Mackenzie river
route and down the Pelly River and the Yukon R. to Dawson ,
then newly-struck. Even at the present day this trip would
take many weeks of strenuous and perilous travel but at that time
travel was attended with far more difficulties. As an instance it
might be mentioned that at one particular stage of this hazardous
trip, a canyon was encountered on the Pelly River which had never
before been 'run' either
by white men or Indians. With his two partners and their small
boat loaded with their precious provision, DeWolfe came through
successfully though at the time he was but little more than
a boy, being not much more than twenty. During the past twenty years
he has made an enviable reputation as a mail carrier between Eagle
in Alaska and Dawson and during that period he has travelled in the
neighborhood of one hundred thousand miles, most of this being done
during the winter months and with dog-team. During this time, he has
never missed one trip through sickness and has earned the nickname
of "The Iron
Man of the Yukon '. Even in the Northland - the land of big
distances, it is generally believed that this constitutes a record.
Lonely trappers scattered along the trail have such faith in Percy's
regularity, that they have been known to bet their calendar by the
day of his visit.
No. 2 Mr Dave Swanson.
[N]ow living at Forty Mile
In the Yukon Territory some fifty miles below Dawson on the
Yukon River , is another of the Klondike 's oldest pioneers. Mr
Swanson came to the Yukon ( Klondike ) in 1885 long before (12 years
before) the city of Dawson was built and even before gold was struck
in that district. Mr Swanson came from the United States as a young
man attracted by the stories of gold which was then being found
on the Forty Mile River . For several years he panned for gold in
that district, later freighting supplies by dog-team to the miners.
During the exciting years of '97 and '98
when gold was discovered in the Dawson district, Mr Swanson
freighted food-stuffs from the Forty-mile area to Dawson as
most of the miners in the former district left there attracted by
the stories of almost fabulous wealth to be found near Dawson. Although
he lived so close to the scenes of so much excitement, Mr Swanson
himself never staked or mined in the newly-struck near Dawson .
It was nothing unusual, he says, for him to make as much as $50.00
a day hauling supplies with his dog-team and frequently he made
much more than this. Since those strenuous and exciting days Mr
Swanson has never made a trip to the Outside at least no further
south than Juneau in Alaska (south). (The term Outside is commonly
used in the Yukon to denote any place 'outside'
of the Yukon Territory . It may mean anywhere from British
Columbia say, to Mexico .) He has never seen an electric street-car,
or anything as modern as this. His furthest trip for considerably
over twenty years has been to Dawson, fifty miles away. He
always makes a point of going to the 'movies' when in town; and
- Yes, he has seen a 'flyin'-machine' once or twice - in the air,
but never closer than that. He says he is perfectly content at Forty
Mile with his two Shetland ponies and his dogs and cat. He owns
and runs a small trading-post here in Forty Mile besides cultivating
a fine garden.
No. 3 Pete Anderson.
[I]s another old-timer in the
Klondike who, with Percy DeWolfe (see No.1) as partner came into the
country in '98. During the early years of the gold-rush Mr. Anderson
hunted for the market with his partner DeWolfe. At that time, owing
to the tremendous influx of miners, it was almost impossible to keep
the camp in meat and as there was an abundance of moose and caribou
in the country many men made a living by hunting and selling wild
meat. Although the price of meat was very high, yet it was by no means
an easy way of making a livelihood. It was customary for two men to
go as partners and while one of them hunted, the other would haul
the meat to the market in Dawson . In the case of Anderson and DeWolfe
the former used the rifle, while DeWolfe was the dog-driver. When
it is known that in one season perhaps as many as fifty or more caribou
were shot, often as far as fifty miles from town and that these were
killed back far from any beaten roads, and that four caribou would
mean a good load with a dog-team, it will at once be seen that both
men would earn their money. Add to this the fact that temperatures
would range anywhere down to fifty and sixty below zero at times and
it becomes at once very clear that not only would the work be very
strenuous but occasionally extremely uncomfortable. Mr. Anderson now
lives in the little settlement of Forty Mile near Dawson where he
operates a wood business, cutting and hauling wood for the steamboats
that operate on the Yukon River .
Shows the above (Anderson)
making a salmon net, his son taking a lesson in the operation.
Article written by Claude Tidd, ca. 1938. 91/112 MSS 365 f. 9