SEWARD PENINSULA (Alaska Historic Information)
Every one interested in this peninsula should obtain a copy of E. H. Harrison's Nome and Seward Peninsula, which is the best publication existing concerning the vicinity of Nome.
First, the Russian traders and missionaries, then the whalers, followed by the Western Union Telegraph Company, broke the unnumbered, undisturbed and unimportant years of monotonous Esquimaux possession of Seward Peninsula. There were small native settlements here and there at the most protected points, but nothing extraordinary happened until September, 1898, when E. O. Lindblom, John Byrnteson and Jafet Lindberg discovered gold in paying quantities on Anvil Creek, a dozen miles back of Nome. I he whole world had the gold fever because of the fabulously rich strikes in the Klondike, and the reports of this discovery caused the rush of Skaguay, Valdez and Dawson to be repeated or excelled at Nome in 1900, when it arose from a pile of ice to a tent city of twenty thousand unorganized, bewhiskered stampeders.
Although Nome has no harbor, yet the ocean commerce of that port from June to October is tremendous. Gold has been found in the sea, on the shore, in the creek beds, on the benches and everywhere.
More claim jumping, bribery, and perjury occurred around this camp than any other of the kind in the history of the world. The court records, involving clients, attorneys, judges, marshalls and receivers, present the blackest picture in the history of the common law.
Few of the wrongdoers received legal punishment, but many forfeited their lives, or gambled their ill-gained fortunes away, and it is seriously hoped that the others will purchase nothing but misfortune with theirs. A very large per cent of those having courage enough to face danger and death in search of claims were Scandinavians, than whom there are no more honest and hard working people on the face of the earth, nor are there any who so feebly defend their own rights. These were usually the victims. Their only shame is that some of their own race helped to rob them. The combined flames of Hadeas would not be hot enough for a just punishment to the human devil who robbed or attempted to rob an honest, hard-working, good-natured Swede. Jack London and Rex Beach may exaggerate some features of Alaska, but they could not do this one justice. The list of disgraced and discharged officers, court records and information of clients and friends, convinces me beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am not overstating the case. The Guggenheims may pay less than some of their is worth, but they can feel proud that they did not steal any of it or cover the court records with perjury for it, as has been charged to some others.
Enough gold has been taken from Anvil Creek alone to repay the purchase price of Alaska, and every year enough is taken from this peninsula to repay the purchase price of Alaska. In all approximately fifty millions of dollars in gold has been taken out, and but a scratch has been made. Some of the most valuable mines were discovered in the least expected places, and so in the future any one may find millions under the water-soaked tundra. The gold is practically all placer. The future will reveal its mother lode. It contains a very little silver. Some soft coal is found, and prospects of tin at York and Teller. Cape Mountain and Ear Mountain are granite intrusions, in which tin has been located, and if the tin locations depend on similar formations they will be confined to these mountains for the reason that such intrusions are very infrequent here; however, the geological agents of the government advise a further search in the slates. Perhaps a hundred thousand dollars worth of tin has been mined and the prospects are now fair for American tin.
Along the beach are a number of villages consisting of a half dozen shacks, and a mission (and at one time a native town hall), including Shishmaref, York,
Teller, Tin City, Cheenik, Bluff, Dickson, and, inland, Council City, Candle City, Dahl, Noxapaga, Hot Springs, Igloo and a large number of mining camps. Many of these places are numerously populated in the active season. Nome ;ias about five thousand in winter and ten thousand population in summer.
There are many gigantic undertakings in this district. In 1902-3 the Council City & Solomon River Railway, and Seward Peninsula Railway were commenced. The former, starting at Nome, has been extended to Lamb's Landing, about seventy miles, and the latter up Solomon River, half that distance.
Ditches, almost as long, carrying water over divides, around mountains from one stream to another, wind like threads all over the land and furnish the greatest assistance for procuring the gold. Titanic steam shovels, dredges and hydraulic lifts, horse scrapers, common sluice boxes, long toms, rockers and hand panning add their share. In winter, during the long night, light and water is not needed by those burrowing deep into the earth by a process of fire thawing or steam thawing, and the dirt is piled high at the mouth of the tunnel or shaft, to be washed with the first available water in the spring.