Life on the Yukon River in 1899–1901


Surely Charles Rudolf Weddleton was not the only Yarmouth resident to be lured by the Last Great Gold Rush to the Klondike region of the Yukon River, but instead of prospecting he worked as a steam engineer in riverboats on the Yukon River. When he returned to Yarmouth he brought souvenir books and photographs [1, 2] showing where he had gone and what he had done. Later he published recollections of his Yukon experiences [3] that reveal what he himself had been like. Today all this material is a valued possession of the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives.

The photographs below are from the Weddleton collection of the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives. They are ordered by the route Weddleton (and many prospectors) had traveled to reach the Klondike. From Skaguay (or Skagway), on the coast of Alaska, one trekked over the Border Mountains to a sequence of lakes at the British Columbia–Yukon Territory border that comprise the upper reaches of the Yukon River. Then, one way or another, one traveled 600 miles down the Yukon River, past White Horse, to Dawson City and the Klondike. Also featured are three Yukon riverboats (S.S. Bailey, S.S. Clifford Sifton, S.S. Selkirk) on which Weddleton had served as chief engineer in consecutive seasons (1899–1901).

References and Notes

    [1] E. A. Hegg (Illustrator), Souvenir of Alaska and Yukon Territory. Skaguay, Alaska, 1900. 104 pp. (Y MS1 645.2, YCMA)

    [2] Album 79 (Y MS1 645.16, YCMA), entitled “Alaskan Views.” 15 pp. Contains fifteen photographs by H. C. Barley. Loose photographs in the Weddleton collection are filed in the photograph archives under PH–37A–Klondike.

    [3] Charles R. Weddleton, “Swift Water Trails” in Maclean’s Magazine, 1 November 1931, pp. 19–20, 52. (2000:6.1 O/S, YCMA)

    [4] I thank Jamie Serran, Archivist at the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives, for providing access to photographs and archival material in the Charles R. Weddleton collection.

William Day (1 October 2012)