Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Thar's Gold In Them Thar Hills....... by Jennifer Jakes

OK, as far as I know no one really ever said that except in the movies - but in 1897-1898 men and women alike not only believed it but risked their lives and livelihood to find some of that gold.

This post is going to be the first of a series about the Klondike Gold Rush which is the setting for my work-in-progress, ALASKAN HEAT.  I’ve found so many interesting facts about the era and the people that I thought it would make a great post. J I hope you enjoy! Don't forget to leave a comment and your email addy to be entered in the drawing for the Kindle!

Yukon Territory 1897
The Klondike Gold Rush
The gold rush started in July, 1897 when two ships docked - one in San Francisco and one in Seattle - each carrying miners returning from the Yukon. The miners carried large amounts of gold and didn’t hesitate to proclaim great amounts of wealth was to be had in the Yukon. The press was alerted and papers carried the story to the masses – stories as ridiculous as gold nuggets lying just barely underground. * More on the reality in later posts.*
Soon, miners of all shapes and sizes – both male and female - called "stampeders", were on their way to the gold fields. Within six months, as many as 100,000 gold-seekers headed to the Yukon. Only approximately 30,000 completed the trip.
Most stampeders knew nothing about where they were going, so pamphlets were available to help them on their way. *Note: The United States was still in economic decline at this time, so the lure of money, much less a way to get-rich-quick made many leave or sell what little they had and head to Alaska. *
 Many of the pamphlets were pure fiction, some written by men who never even made the journey. But nevertheless, the pamphlets made outrageous claims of “easy” routes to the gold fields. Outfitters – both along the West coast and in Alaska - sprang up overnight that were more than happy to sell the stampeders whatever they needed to get started – most of the time at outrageous prices, especially the outfitters in Alaska. The supplies included food, clothing, tools and camping, mining and transportation equipment. Helping the outfitters in this regard were the Northwest Mounted Police who required all stampeders to have one year’s supply of goods before they allowed them across the border into Canada. *More about the different routes in later posts*  The supplies equaled roughly one ton of goods per person.
Here is a list of required supplies.
1898 Supplies
McDougall and Secord Klondike Outfit List (clothing & food):
2 suits heavy knit underwear
6 pairs wool socks
1 pairs heavy moccasins
2 pairs german stockings
2 heavy flannel overshirts
1 heavy woollen sweater
1 pair overalls
2 pairs 12-lb. blankets
1 waterproof blanket
1 dozen bandana handkerchiefs
1 stiff brim cowboy hat
1 pair hip rubber boots
1 pair prospectors' high land boots
1 mackinaw, coat, pants, shirt
1 pair heavy buck mitts, lined
1 pair unlined leather gloves
1 duck coat, pants, vest
6 towels
1 pocket matchbox, buttons, needles and thread comb, mirror, toothbrush
etc. mosquito netting/1 dunnage bag
1 sleeping bag/medicine chest
pack saddles, complete horses
flat sleighs
100 lbs. navy beans
150 lbs. bacon
400 lbs. flour
40 lbs. rolled oats
20 lbs. corn meal
10 lbs. rice
25 lbs. sugar
10 lbs. tea
20 lbs. coffee
10 lbs. baking powder
20 lbs. salt
1 lb. pepper
2 lbs. baking soda
1/2 lb. mustard
1/4 lb. vinegar
2 doz. condensed milk
20 lbs. evaporated potatoes
5 lbs. evaporated onions
6 tins/4 oz. extract beef
75 lbs. evaporated fruits
4 pkgs. yeast cakes
20 lbs. candles
1 pkg. tin matches
6 cakes borax
6 lbs. laundry soap
1/2 lb. ground ginger
25 lbs. hard tack
1 lb. citric acid
2 bottles Jamaica ginger
*This list found on Adventure Learning Foundation Site. http://www.questconnect.org/index.htm

Remember, all of this per person had to be hauled over a mountain range. That’s what we’ll talk about next month. J
You can find Jennifer Jakes and all her books at her  Website


  1. Great post, Jennifer. I've read a fair bit about the gold rush, too. Looking forward to learning more.

  2. I am loving the snippet history lessons! And I am not carrying all that stuff..geesh! Crazy!

    bournmelissa at hotmail dot com

  3. I cannot imagine having to haul all of that stuff! I have visited some gold mining areas in Montana and the Black Hills and it really amazed me how expensive things where then. Often times food, such as eggs, cost more then, than it does now. Very interesting Jennifer. Jackie rings@wwt.net

  4. I enjoyed your post. The list of supplies is very interesting.

  5. Thanks, Margery!
    Mel B - I know, right?? I can't imagine carrying all that.
    Jackie- So true. I've read the true rich men were the ones selling supplies.
    BN- Thanks!

  6. This is a topic near and dear to the hearts of people who live in my city, Victoria, BC. It was the embarkation point for many of the prospectors. Good post.

  7. Oh, that's very cool, Anna. I wish I had the time and funds to travel around each and every setting from my books! LOL
    I'm glad you liked the post:)