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Les vieux de la vieille de Forty Mile
En tant que photojournaliste, Claude a trouvé son inspiration auprès des "vieux de la vieille" de Forty Mile. Ces personnages avaient d’abord été attirés au Yukon par la fièvre de l’or, mais ils étaient suffisamment ingénieux pour arriver à gagner leur vie autrement. Percy DeWolfe et son partenaire, Pete Anderson, chassaient et livraient de la viande de gibier aux prospecteurs. Durant la ruée vers l’or du Klondike, Dave Swanson effectuait le transport de denrées entre Forty Mile et Dawson.
Percy De Wolfe à Forty Mile, 1938.
Percy De Wolfe à Forty Mile, 1938.
Yukon Archives: #7098
Pete Anderson, 1932.
Pete Anderson, 1932.
Yukon Archives: #7125
"Dave Swanson, 'un vrai vieux de la vieille depuis 1887' qui n'est jamais sorti du territoire", vers 1920.
Yukon Archives: #7375

No. 1 Mr Percy DeWolfe.
A 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

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