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The Land of Nome A narrative sketch of the rush to our Bering Sea gold-fields, the country, its mines and its people, and the history of a great conspiracy (1900-1901)   By:

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The punctuation and spelling from the original text have been faithfully preserved. Only obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

THE LAND OF NOME

THE

LAND OF NOME

A NARRATIVE SKETCH OF THE RUSH TO OUR BERING SEA GOLD FIELDS, THE COUNTRY, ITS MINES AND ITS PEOPLE, AND THE HISTORY OF A GREAT CONSPIRACY

1900 1901

BY

LANIER McKEE

[Illustration]

THE GRAFTON PRESS NEW YORK

Copyright, 1902, by THE GRAFTON PRESS

PREFACE

After returning from his first experience in Alaska in 1900, the author was prompted to write from his diary, primarily for his friends, a sketch of the rush to the Cape Nome gold fields and the character of the country and its people. This account, with some modifications, forms the first half of this book. The second half, parts of which were written in the atmosphere of the situations as they arose during the following year, has been recently completed upon the adjudication of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Pacific Coast, which, in effect, finally frees northwestern Alaska from one of the most dramatic and oppressive conspiracies in recent history.

The writer believes that the discovery of this El Dorado of Bering Sea has created an epoch in the development of our national domain, wonderful and unprecedented in various phases, and but little understood or appreciated by the general public. Because of its uniqueness, it is a difficult matter to treat adequately. Certain features of the subject can hardly be exaggerated; for instance: the magnitude and blindness of the stampede of eighteen thousand fortune hunters in the summer of 1900, and the almost indescribable scenes which attended their arrival on the "golden sands"; the marvelous richness of some of the placer gold deposits; the dreariness and barrenness of the new country; and the enormity of the judicial conspiracy, whose proceedings the United States Circuit Court of Appeals has declared "have no parallel in the jurisprudence of this country."

Special laws concerning Alaska, the local methods of mining, and various other matters pertaining to the country and its people, are dealt with herein, probably with sufficient fullness for the general reader. The book, however, as a whole, is in narrative form; and personal experiences and character sketches (especially in the second part) have been freely utilized for the purpose of illustrating characteristic conditions and typical people.

If the narrative in places seems too personal, this, perhaps, will be pardoned, for the reason that an account of the actual experiences of a few individuals tame, indeed, compared with those of many others may better suggest the atmosphere of a weird land than a mere résumé of impersonal facts. Finally, it is hoped that this book may, in some small measure, prove of service in directing attention to the past neglect and present needs of our wonderful Alaska.

L. McK.

NEW YORK, February, 1902.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I THE RUSH IN 1900 1

II THE HYBRID CITY OF NOME 30

III TRAVEL TO THE INTERIOR 54

IV THE INLAND COUNTRY THE MINES 76

V MCKENZIE AT WORK THE STORM THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS 105

VI THE DANGERS OF BERING SEA A DISMAL OUTLOOK 137

VII UP THE STREAMS AN EVENING AT JOHNSON'S CAMP 166

VIII THE COUNCIL CITY MINING DISTRICT JOE RIPLEY AND OTHERS 187

IX THE OPERETTA AT DEXTER'S NOME CITY OF TO DAY 230

X THE END OF THE CONSPIRACY A WORD FOR ALASKA 246

PART I

1900

I

THE RUSH IN 1900

The remarkable discoveries of gold at Cape Nome, Alaska, situated almost in the Bering Strait, only one hundred and fifty miles from Siberia, and distant not less than three thousand miles from San Francisco and fifteen hundred from the famed Klondike, naturally created more excitement in the Western and mining sections of this country than in the Middle States and the "effete East," an expression frequently heard in the West... Continue reading book >>




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