Klondike Christmas: A Rags-to-Riches Story

Miners who had worked the gold fields across the American West began making their way to the far-flung regions of the Alaskan and Yukon territories in the 1880’s in search of riches and adventure.  Gold was discovered along the Klondike River, but in amounts so small that claims weren’t worth making – at least not yet. Expeditions were planned to set out in early spring of 1896 following the formation of several gold mining and development companies.  In February the Bonanza-Eldorado Company was capitalized to the tune of $200,000,000, setting its sights on dominating the Klondike gold fields with its introduction of revolutionary mining methods. Newspapers referred to the region as either the Klondike or the Alaskan Gold Fields.  Technically, the Klondike region was Canadian (Yukon) territory, although borders had been disputed since Secretary of State William H. Seward arranged the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. On August 16, 1896 American prospector George Carmack, along with his wife Kate, a Canadian Indian (Tagish), and her brothers James Mason (also known as Skookum Jim) and Káa Goox (known as Dawson Charlie), were exploring the area south of the Klondike River.  The area had been explored for several years after the Tigit and Tagish tribes agreed to allow prospectors access to search for suspected gold deposits. Carmack’s group received a tip from another prospector, leading them to explore one of the Klondike’s tributaries, Rabbit Creek (later renamed Bonanza Creek, for obvious reasons).  Jim Mason had been given the nickname Skookum, which meant “strong, big and reliable”.  He was an expert hunter and trapper who assisted earlier surveying expeditions –...

Friday Musings: Christmas re-runs, a sale and what’s next for Digging History

I’ve just been reviewing the site stats for this year and want to thank all who have stopped by and supported Digging History!  This year was a huge leap forward in site traffic and I’ll have a posting with full details soon.  Stats indicate a lot of new visitors this year — if you took one of the many cards I gave out, I hope you’ve enjoyed the articles.  Since there are so many new readers this year, I thought I’d post links to a few past Christmas-themed articles: Christmas in Early America – how our early American ancestors celebrated Christmas. Myths and Legends: The Twelve Days of Christmas – the history of the late eighteenth century poem later set to an English melody in 1909. 1911 FAO Schwartz Catalog – click this link and see what “rich kids” asked Santa for in the early twentieth century. Ghost Town Wednesday: Christmas, Arizona – an old copper mining town in Gila County. Year-End Discounts Digging History isn’t just a history blog, it’s a business and one I plan to continue growing.  If you haven’t taken a look at the services offered, pricing and FAQs, click the links above and check it out.  I am offering up to a 20% discount for all services until December 31, 2015.  If you’re interested in finding out more about your family history, getting started with researching your family history, pedigree charts or maybe you’ve hit a “brick wall” in your research and could use a fresh set of eyes, you can “park” the discount with a small non-refundable deposit before the 31st to hold...

Friday Musings: What’s In A Name and How About the New Web Site?

While doing ancestral and historical research, I come across a lot of, shall we say, “unique” names, first and last. If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know about my tendency, especially on Tombstone Tuesday and Surname Saturday, to find the most unique (and sometimes outrageous) names to write a story about. Some of the names I’ve found and written about (in case you missed them): Bigger Head – Honest to goodness, this was the guy’s name. It appears to have been a family name. Lycurgus Dinsmore Bigger – I believe he was probably someone related to Bigger Head because Bigger was named after a “Bigger” ancestor. Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego Pierson – The “Three Hebrew Piersons” and one of my favorite stories. Remember Elijah Soper – his name was literally a reminder. The “Ocean Sisters” – in a family of ordinarily-named children, these two sisters had oceans for their middle names. Hiram Hezekiah Leviticus Lutrell – how much more biblical can one’s name be? America Virginia Palmer Bell – an interesting name and a link to a tragic story. I’m sure there were reasons these people were given these names by their parents. For Lycurgus, I can imagine his parents were perhaps well-read in the Greek classics. The parents of the Pierson triplets were probably deeply religious, and besides the Holy Trinity itself, where else in the Bible do you find such perfect names for triplets? More Musings on the Name “Pardon” I wrote a Surname Saturday article on November 22, 2014 about the Pray surname. While I was researching the name I came across...