Yakobi Island, Alaska: July 7, 1895. Quarto (ca. 26 x 20 cm). 2 leaves written recto and verso so 4 pp. Brown ink written in a legible hand on beige lined laid paper. Original fold marks, a couple of small holes where folded, not affecting text. Overall a very good letter.
Dix starts the letter by saying that: "I have just received about fifty lbs. of mail, the first mail this year. Your letters of Dec. 8/94 and Feb. 24/95 in the lot. I am the sole inhabitant of this island at present. A few prospectors came out here last summer and looked at the mountains from their boats; but did not find anything. It is a hard country to prospect. Rough waters; high mountains. The veins are small and pockety. It will take close prospecting and hard work to find anything here. Veins do not crop out like in the Juneau belt. I spent four months prospecting last summer and have been at it all of this season up to date. I have found several veins; but none where I could pick the gold up with my fingers as I did in my first find here. I think that I have got a mine here but don't know certain yet. A hand mortar has been big enough mill for me so far. I have got to sink to prove its value. It looks hungry at present; but that don't discourage me at all. I am going to prospect on the outside country till the fall gales set in and then I shall go back to my tunnel again. Got hard rocks. Two feet a week is all I can make. Rather slow work developing a mine single handed. I am on the east side of Yakobi Island, about seven miles from Cross Sound in the Lisianski Strait: This strait separates Yakobi Island from Chichagoff Island; is nineteen miles long and from one to two miles wide. No sheep on any of the islands but thousands of deer and plenty of bear. I have killed two bear during the last week. The sea otter grounds are about sixty miles northwest of here. It is ten miles from the north end of Yakobi Island to Cape Spencer the nearest point on the mainland. Cape Spencer on the mainland and Point Bingham on Yakobi Island are the entrance points from the ocean to Cross Sound."
Then Dix describes the news from the Yukon (mentioned above) and also describes further news of Alaska gold strikes: "There has been a big strike in the Cooks Inlet country, placer, coarse gold. (This strike centered around Hope, on the Kenai Peninsula which grew to 3,000 people during the Cook Inlet Gold Rush of 1895-98) Ed. De Graff writes me that there has two hundred men gone up there by way of Sitka. There has one steamer and several small sailing vessels gone from Juneau. Press. Clouelman, Bob. Michaelson and several old timers including Chicago Jack have been up there several years working fine gold diggings. There is another big field there. I think some of going there next spring. I will get reliable news from there next month. There is a mail steamer running from Sitka to the westward now. I got a letter from Alex. Jurgensen this mail; he is still on Butte Creek. Tom O'Conor died over a year ago in the country hospital. Hans Jurgensen died last fall. He was found in his cabin paralyzed four days before he died. The Dix mine is running: got a wagon road down to the mine now. Sixteen men at work. Now Jack whenever you feel like coming where I am, don't let any hodo sentiment stop you. I have got no ready money in sight here at present; but I have got a never failing supply of clams on the beach. Plenty of salmon, halibut and herring in the surrounding waters, plenty of deer and bear waiting to be shot when needed. Grouse, ducks and geese too numerous to mention, wild berries in their season. No danger of starving, I think I am just as well off out of civilization as in it. I take the Scientific Press, Examiner, Truth Seeker and Alaskan News; besides I get a host of other papers and magazines. I get my mail two or three times a year. I got a box of chewing gum from the Examiner presses. What more does a man want?" The Dix mine mentioned is likely the author's family one on the western branch of Butte Creek in the Sierra Gold Fields in California. The vein Dix mentions on Yakobi Island is likely gold-quartz vein where workings started in 1887, most likely by him. Mindat.org. Overall a fabulous early Alaskan/Yukon Gold Rush letter.
Price: $2,250.00 USD
Status: On Hold