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Prospector carrying supplies, White Pass, British Columbia, between 1893 and 1903 (AL+CA 7358)

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Prospector carrying supplies, White Pass, British Columbia, between 1893 and 1903 (AL+CA 7358)

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PH Coll 1354.5b
Florence Hartshorn arrived in Skagway July 1, 1898, and went to join her husband, Albert Hartshorn, at Log Cabin in the Yukon, where he had a blacksmith shop. Bert and Florence saw first hand the abused and exhausted horses and pack animals used to transport goods over White Pass. Florence never forgot the approximately 3,000 pack animals that died on that journey, most at a location named Dead Horse Gulch. In July 1928, she began working with the Alaska Division of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce and the Ladies of the Golden North to raise money for a memorial to those animals to be placed at Dead Horse Gulch. On August 24, 1929, the memorial was dedicated. It reads, "The Dead Are Speaking - In memory of us three thousand pack animals that laid our bones on these awful hills during the Gold Rush of 1897-1898. We now thank those listening souls that heard our groans across this stretch of years. We waited but not in vain."

Both Florence and Albert Hartshorn were born in Michigan in 1869. They had one daughter, Hazel Hartshorn Goslie. Florence worked as a photographer's assistant to E.J. Hamacher in the Lake Bennett area beginning around 1898. The family appear to have lived in Canada until the 1920s. By 1930, Florence and Albert were divorced. Albert was living in Idaho and Florence was living in Seattle. Florence died in King County in 1943. [Sources: Becker, EA. (1957). Monument at Dead Horse Gulch. The Alaska Sportsman XXIII (5), 12-17, 42-45. U.S. Census, Washington State Death Index 1940-1996]

Log Cabin, a day's walk from Bennett, developed as a major settlement in the first winter of the rush. In the fall of 1897, Thomas Tugwell and his son erected the grandly-named "British Hostelry" there. The pair of squat log buildings faced the trail, hugging the rocky ground and providing only minimal head room; patrons were clearly expected to remain seated during meals. The British Hostelry offered rooms and meals to travellers, and office space to a variety of entrepreneurs. A collection of tents sprang up on both sides of Tugwell's buildings. Storage, a general store, several suppliers of feed and outfits, even a bakery, were housed here. By spring, 1898, the community stretched haphazardly across a low ridge and boasted a large number of tent hotels, almost all with restaurants. Accommodation was basic, usually just a rough lumber cot. Log Cabin became a designated customs point that summer. Railway construction further increased the community's already booming businesses.

Traffic, like a wide, muddy stream in flood, flowed past the front of these establishments day and night. A well-travelled path meandered across the ridge among the huge stacks of hay bales, outfits awaiting customs clearance, piles of cordwood and building materials, and heaps of sacks containing everything from flour to roulette wheels. People on the move, amid yelping and barking dogs, haggled for a good price on new outfits or additional feed, while heavily-loaded sleighs pulled by straining horses crunched through the frozen mud of the trail. The noise, smells, and activities made for a lively scene.

As trail conditions deteriorated in the spring thaw, traffic through the White Pass ground to a halt. Freight hauling was limited to nighttime, when frost firmed the trail surface. With supplies cut off from the coast and outfits broken up for transport and storage, anxious stampeders began stealing from each other. Petty theft of flour, pork, and staple groceries in the Log Cabin area reached serious proportions in the early summer of 1898. The spring thaw altered Log Cabin's oasis-like nature. Many people found their previously comfortable camps inundated with murky ice-cold water as the snow melted into an unsanitary swamp. [Source: Neufeld, D. and Norris, F. (1996). Chilkoot Trail: Heritage Route to the Klondike. Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada: Lost Moose Publishing. Excerpts accessed at http://www.yukonweb.com/business/lost_moose/books/chilkoot/boom_towns.html
Subjects (LCTGM): Miners--British Columbia; Mining equipment--British Columbia; Shovels; Pots & pans
Subjects (LCSH): White Pass (B.C.)

date_range

Date

1893
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Source

Alaska, Western Canada and United States Collection
copyright

Copyright info

public domain

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