History Hans Högman
Copyright © Hans Högman 2017-04-17

Gold Rush

Introduction

There have been two major gold rushes in North America (USA/Canada) during 19th century; In California, USA, and in the Yukon Territory in the northwestern corner of Canada. Sierra Nevada, California 1848 – 1855 Klondike/Yukon 1896 – 1899 (Northwestern Canada)

The California Gold Rush 1848 - 1855

On January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall (1810-1885) found gold at Sutters Mill, in Coloma, California. He had found shiny pieces of metal in the water wheel of a lumber mill that Marshall was building for John Sutter (1803-1880) on the American River in northern California. Sutter and Marshall tested the metal which showed that it was gold. Rumors soon started to spread and the gold rush became a fact. The rush lasted between 1848 and 1855. In the beginning the rumors spread slowly but soon the inflow of gold-seekers increased rapidly. At the end of 1848 about 6,000 gold-seekers had arrived in California. By the beginning of 1849 the rumors had reached the rest of the world. It has been estimated that about 300,000 people went to the gold fields of which about 90,000 arrived in 1849. Half of the gold-seekers arrived by sea and the other half overland. In total, about 50,000 to 60,000 of the gold-seekers were Americans, the rest were foreigners. The gold-seekers came from all over the world including Europe and Sweden. In 1848 it was primarily residents of California and Oregon that came. The first big wave of gold-seekers arrived in 1849. These gold-seekers were called "forty-niners" as a reference to 1849. Later "forty-niners" became a term for all the gold-seekers in California. The image to the right shows a gold-washer in California, a so-called "forty-niner". At first, the gold nuggets could be picked up off the ground but later, gold was recovered from streams and riverbeds using simple techniques, such as panning. The gold discovered led to great wealth for a few. However, many left the gold fields with little more than what they had started with. However, panning could not take place on a larger scale. Industrious miners and groups of miners graduated to placer mining "cradles" and "rockers" or "long-toms" to process larger volumes of gravel. In the most complex placer mining, groups of prospectors diverted the water from an entire river into a sluice alongside the river, and then dug for gold in the now exposed river bottom. San Francisco had been a tiny settlement before the Gold Rush began which became a boom for the city. In 1846 the city had a population of about 200 people. Six years later, in 1852, San Francisco had about 36,000 inhabitants and roads, churches, new town districts were being built. California became a state in 1850 as part of the Compromise of 1850. At the time there was no railroad connection between California and the Eastern USA; the railroad wasn’t opened until 1869. The gold-seekers arriving overland went by prairie schooners from the Midwest across the Rocky Mountains on different trails to get to California, for example the so-called California Trail. Another option was to go by boat around South America which took between 5 to 8 months. The California Trail was a far-reaching path of 3,200 km (1,990 mi.) through the western United States beginning in cities by the Missouri River and across the Rocky Mountains. The first part of the trail followed the same path as the Oregon Trail or the Mormon Trail. The image to the right shows the California Trail and Oregon Trail. Free image, Wikipedia. When the Gold Rush began, California was a peculiarly lawless place. On the day when gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill, California was still technically part of Mexico, under American military occupation as the result of the Mexican–American War. In 1848, California became a possession of the United States, but it was not a formal territory. California became the 31st State of the United States on September 9, 1850. Between 1848 and 1850 California existed under unusual conditions as a region under military control with no civil legislature, executive or judicial body for the entire region. Local residents were living under a confusing and changing mixture of Mexican rules, American principles, and personal dictates. The goldfields were primarily on "public land", which was land formally owned by the United States Government. However, there were no legal rules yet in place, and no practical enforcement mechanisms. The benefit to the forty-niners was that the gold was simply "free for the taking" at first. In the goldfields at the beginning, there was no private property, no licensing fees, and no taxes. The miners informally adapted Mexican mining law which earlier existed in California. For example, the rules attempted to balance the rights of early arrivers at a site with later arrivers; a claim could be staked by a prospector, but that claim was valid only as long as it was being actively worked. Miners worked at a claim only long enough to determine its potential. If a claim was deemed to be of low-value, as most were, miners would abandon the site in search for a better one. In the case where a claim was abandoned or not worked upon, other miners would "claim-jump" the land. Claim-jumping meant that a miner began work on a previously claimed site. The rules for mining claims adopted by the forty-niners spread with each new mining rush throughout the western United States. Congress finally legalized the practice in 1866. Gold was also discovered in Southern California but on a much smaller scale. The image to the right shows the goldfields in Northern California. Wikipedia Public Domain image.

Svensken Johan Olof Liedberg

Johan Olof Liedberg (1822-1886) was one of the first Swedish gold-seekers in California. He was born in 1822 in Jönköping, Småland province, Sweden, and emigrated to the United States in the spring of 1843 and claimed homestead land in Wisconsin. In 1848 he traveled westward together with a group of immigrants. The destination was Oregon and the journey went along the so-called Oregon Trail which began in Counsil Bluffs, by the Missouri River. During the 5 months long journey the destination was changed and the party now headed for California. At the end of September 1848, Liedberg arrived in California where he immediately went to the goldfields seeking gold. After a year Liedberg had panned a total of 14.5 Kg (32 lb.) gold! On November 28, 1849, he returned to Sweden with the fortune. However, in the fall of 1875 he again emigrated to the United States and this time settled in Chicago, IL. Three years later his wife joined him with the younger children. He wrote his memories down in a publication and died in 1886.

The Klondike Gold Rush 1896 - 1899

The Klondike Gold Rush between 1896 and 1899 was a migration by a large number of prospectors to the Klondike region of the Yukon in northwestern Canada (just east of Alaska) due to gold found in the area. The Gold Rush was also known as the Yukon Gold Rush or the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush. Sometimes the spelling of Klondike is also seen as Klondyke. On August 16, 1896, Skookum Jim Mason (1855-1916) and his party discovered gold in Bonanza Creek (earlier named as Rabbit Creek) in the Yukon. It is not clear who actually made the discovery of the gold but the official credit was given to George Washington Carmack (1860-1922), because he was the owner of the land. However, the Canadian Robert Henderson had already found gold in the area. Henderson had two Swedish assistants. These Swedes are not really known but their names are said to be Munson (Månsson) and Frank Swanson. The image to the left shows the Yukon Territory in northwestern Canada where the gold was found.Wikipedia Publoc Domain image. The rumors traveled fast and soon reached other gold mining camps in the Yukon River Valley. Carmack immediately measured out four claims and they were registered next day at the police post at the mouth of the Forty Mile River. By the end of August, all of Bonanza Creek had been claimed by miners. When news reached Seattle and San Francisco the following year, it triggered a stampede of prospectors. Newspaper reports of the gold fueled nationwide hysteria, causing many to leave their jobs and set off for the Klondike as prospectors. The number of people in the Klondike area reached to about 40,000 which caused starvation due to the shortage of supplies. Shortly after the stampede began in 1897, the Canadian authorities introduced rules requiring anyone entering the Yukon Territory to bring with them a year's supply of food to prevent starvation. In all, their equipment weighed close to a US ton (2,000 lb. or 907 Kg), which for the most part they had to carry in stages by themselves. The Canadian North-West Mounted Police set up control posts at the borders of the Yukon Territory or at easily controlled points such as the Chilkoot and White Passes enforcing the rules. Dawson City, founded by the prospectors, grew fast with the massive influx of gold miners. The large ores laid along the creek beds in lines of loose soil deposits, typically 5 m (16 ft.) to 9 m (30 ft.) beneath the frozen surface. In the sub-Arctic climate of the Klondike, a layer of hard permafrost lay only 1.8 m (6 ft.) below the surface. The miners used wood fires to soften the ground to a depth of about 35 cm (14 inches), then removed the resulting gravel. The process was repeated until the gold was reached. The image to the right shows prospectors ascending the Chilkoot Pass, 1898. The image's copyright has expired. By 1899 the prospectors had found gold having a value of 50 million USD which barley covered their costs. Mining diminished heavily after 1900. The journey to the Yukon proved too hard for many, and only between 30,000 and 40,000 arrived. There were two ways to get to the Yukon; by sea via Alaska or Canada (Skagway) or overland in Canada. The Klondike could only be reached by the Yukon River. River boats could navigate the Yukon in the summer from the delta until a point called Whitehorse above the Klondike. Travel in general was made difficult by both the geography and climate. The region was mountainous, the rivers winding and sometimes impassable. Of all the people who reached Dawson City during the gold rush, only around 15,000 to 20,000 (50%) finally became prospectors. Of these, no more than 4,000 struck gold and only a few hundred became rich.

Swedes in Klondike

Place names like Swede Creek and Swede Dome show the presence of Swedish prospectors along the Forty Mile River in the Yukon. John Ericson: Among the fortunate ones was John Ericson from Långserud in Värmland province, Sweden. His fortune came from the claim of the most gold rich deposit in the entire Klondike, Eldorado no 10. He invested his fortune in companies such as the newspaper Pacific Tribunal and mining in Nevada which gave good return for the money. In Värmland, Sweden, he bought the manor Odenstad. Carl Johan Anderson: Another fortunate Swede was Carl Johan Anderson, ”Lucky Swede” (1859-1939), from Tingstad near the city of Norrköping, Östergötland province, Sweden, son of a farmhand. In 1887 he emigrated to the United States, 28 years old. Also Charlie (Carl) Anderson went to the Klondike but arrived too late. All possible land was by then claimed by miners. However, in the Fortymile town he bought a claim from three Americans who had not been successfull, giving up after reaching a depth of 6 m (20 ft.) without striking gold. The claim was Eldorado no 29 and Anderson paid 800 dollars for it. The Americans thought they managed to sell a worthless claim to Anderson but they were wrong about the claim. Anderson used a new technique having a steam machine heating the shaft to soften the permafrost. For three years the gold mine produced gold worth about 1.5 million dollars which made him a wealthy man. However, the wealth wasn’t going to last. What he didn’t lose in his marriage to one of the town prostitutes, Grace Drummond, he lost in the great San Francisco earthquake on April 15, 1906. Eric Hegg: Another remembered Yukon Swede was the photographer Eric Hegg (1867–1948) famous for his portrayals of the life and people in Skagway, Bennett and Dawson City during the Klondike Gold Rush. He was born in Heggesta, Bollnäs, Hälsingland province, Sweden and emigrated to the United States in 1881 with his parents and siblings. His Swedish name was Erik Jonsson. With his camera he documented the Klondike Gold Rush. In October 1897 Hegg arrived in Skagway and opened a studio in the town. He was joined a year later by his brother and a friend. They undertook a series of expeditions along the Chilkoot Trail and further north and west to Dawson and the Yukon via Bennett taking numerous pictures along the way. Hegg owned two photo studios in Bellingham, north of Seattle, Washington.

The Emigration from Sweden to the USA (6f)

Source References

Source references Top of page
The image shows prospectors mining in a shaft, 1898. The image's copyright has expired.
The chapter “Incidents” is divided into several subpages:
Contents this page:
xxxxx Swegen xxxxxxxxxxx

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Dawson City 2003. Photo Keld H. Nielsen, Denmark, 2003. The images are shown with his consent.
Släktforskning Hans Högman
Copyright © Hans Högman 2017-04-17

Gold Rush

Introduction

There have been two major gold rushes in North America (USA/Canada) during 19th century; In California, USA, and in the Yukon Territory in the northwestern corner of Canada. Sierra Nevada, California 1848 – 1855 Klondike/Yukon 1896 – 1899 (Northwestern Canada)

The California Gold Rush 1848 -

1855

On January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall (1810- 1885) found gold at Sutters Mill, in Coloma, California. He had found shiny pieces of metal in the water wheel of a lumber mill that Marshall was building for John Sutter (1803-1880) on the American River in northern California. Sutter and Marshall tested the metal which showed that it was gold. Rumors soon started to spread and the gold rush became a fact. The rush lasted between 1848 and 1855. In the beginning the rumors spread slowly but soon the inflow of gold-seekers increased rapidly. At the end of 1848 about 6,000 gold- seekers had arrived in California. By the beginning of 1849 the rumors had reached the rest of the world. It has been estimated that about 300,000 people went to the gold fields of which about 90,000 arrived in 1849. Half of the gold-seekers arrived by sea and the other half overland. In total, about 50,000 to 60,000 of the gold-seekers were Americans, the rest were foreigners. The gold-seekers came from all over the world including Europe and Sweden. In 1848 it was primarily residents of California and Oregon that came. The first big wave of gold-seekers arrived in 1849. These gold-seekers were called "forty-niners" as a reference to 1849. Later "forty-niners" became a term for all the gold- seekers in California. The image to the right shows a gold-washer in California, a so-called "forty- niner". At first, the gold nuggets could be picked up off the ground but later, gold was recovered from streams and riverbeds using simple techniques, such as panning. The gold discovered led to great wealth for a few. However, many left the gold fields with little more than what they had started with. However, panning could not take place on a larger scale. Industrious miners and groups of miners graduated to placer mining "cradles" and "rockers" or "long-toms" to process larger volumes of gravel. In the most complex placer mining, groups of prospectors diverted the water from an entire river into a sluice alongside the river, and then dug for gold in the now exposed river bottom. San Francisco had been a tiny settlement before the Gold Rush began which became a boom for the city. In 1846 the city had a population of about 200 people. Six years later, in 1852, San Francisco had about 36,000 inhabitants and roads, churches, new town districts were being built. California became a state in 1850 as part of the Compromise of 1850. At the time there was no railroad connection between California and the Eastern USA; the railroad wasn’t opened until 1869. The gold-seekers arriving overland went by prairie schooners from the Midwest across the Rocky Mountains on different trails to get to California, for example the so-called California Trail. Another option was to go by boat around South America which took between 5 to 8 months. The California Trail was a far-reaching path of 3,200 km (1,990 mi.) through the western United States beginning in cities by the Missouri River and across the Rocky Mountains. The first part of the trail followed the same path as the Oregon Trail or the Mormon Trail. The image to the right shows the California Trail and Oregon Trail. Free image, Wikipedia. When the Gold Rush began, California was a peculiarly lawless place. On the day when gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill, California was still technically part of Mexico, under American military occupation as the result of the Mexican–American War. In 1848, California became a possession of the United States, but it was not a formal territory. California became the 31st State of the United States on September 9, 1850. Between 1848 and 1850 California existed under unusual conditions as a region under military control with no civil legislature, executive or judicial body for the entire region. Local residents were living under a confusing and changing mixture of Mexican rules, American principles, and personal dictates. The goldfields were primarily on "public land", which was land formally owned by the United States Government. However, there were no legal rules yet in place, and no practical enforcement mechanisms. The benefit to the forty-niners was that the gold was simply "free for the taking" at first. In the goldfields at the beginning, there was no private property, no licensing fees, and no taxes. The miners informally adapted Mexican mining law which earlier existed in California. For example, the rules attempted to balance the rights of early arrivers at a site with later arrivers; a claim could be staked by a prospector, but that claim was valid only as long as it was being actively worked. Miners worked at a claim only long enough to determine its potential. If a claim was deemed to be of low-value, as most were, miners would abandon the site in search for a better one. In the case where a claim was abandoned or not worked upon, other miners would "claim-jump" the land. Claim- jumping meant that a miner began work on a previously claimed site. The rules for mining claims adopted by the forty- niners spread with each new mining rush throughout the western United States. Congress finally legalized the practice in 1866. Gold was also discovered in Southern California but on a much smaller scale. The image to the right shows the goldfields in Northern California. Wikipedia Public Domain image.

Svensken Johan Olof Liedberg

Johan Olof Liedberg (1822-1886) was one of the first Swedish gold-seekers in California. He was born in 1822 in Jönköping, Småland province, Sweden, and emigrated to the United States in the spring of 1843 and claimed homestead land in Wisconsin. In 1848 he traveled westward together with a group of immigrants. The destination was Oregon and the journey went along the so-called Oregon Trail which began in Counsil Bluffs, by the Missouri River. During the 5 months long journey the destination was changed and the party now headed for California. At the end of September 1848, Liedberg arrived in California where he immediately went to the goldfields seeking gold. After a year Liedberg had panned a total of 14.5 Kg (32 lb.) gold! On November 28, 1849, he returned to Sweden with the fortune. However, in the fall of 1875 he again emigrated to the United States and this time settled in Chicago, IL. Three years later his wife joined him with the younger children. He wrote his memories down in a publication and died in 1886.

The Klondike Gold Rush 1896 -

1899

The Klondike Gold Rush between 1896 and 1899 was a migration by a large number of prospectors to the Klondike region of the Yukon in northwestern Canada (just east of Alaska) due to gold found in the area. The Gold Rush was also known as the Yukon Gold Rush or the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush. Sometimes the spelling of Klondike is also seen as Klondyke. On August 16, 1896, Skookum Jim Mason (1855- 1916) and his party discovered gold in Bonanza Creek (earlier named as Rabbit Creek) in the Yukon. It is not clear who actually made the discovery of the gold but the official credit was given to George Washington Carmack (1860-1922), because he was the owner of the land. However, the Canadian Robert Henderson had already found gold in the area. Henderson had two Swedish assistants. These Swedes are not really known but their names are said to be Munson (Månsson) and Frank Swanson. The image to the left shows the Yukon Territory in northwestern Canada where the gold was found.Wikipedia Publoc Domain image. The rumors traveled fast and soon reached other gold mining camps in the Yukon River Valley. Carmack immediately measured out four claims and they were registered next day at the police post at the mouth of the Forty Mile River. By the end of August, all of Bonanza Creek had been claimed by miners. When news reached Seattle and San Francisco the following year, it triggered a stampede of prospectors. Newspaper reports of the gold fueled nationwide hysteria, causing many to leave their jobs and set off for the Klondike as prospectors. The number of people in the Klondike area reached to about 40,000 which caused starvation due to the shortage of supplies. Shortly after the stampede began in 1897, the Canadian authorities introduced rules requiring anyone entering the Yukon Territory to bring with them a year's supply of food to prevent starvation. In all, their equipment weighed close to a US ton (2,000 lb. or 907 Kg), which for the most part they had to carry in stages by themselves. The Canadian North-West Mounted Police set up control posts at the borders of the Yukon Territory or at easily controlled points such as the Chilkoot and White Passes enforcing the rules. Dawson City, founded by the prospectors, grew fast with the massive influx of gold miners. The large ores laid along the creek beds in lines of loose soil deposits, typically 5 m (16 ft.) to 9 m (30 ft.) beneath the frozen surface. In the sub-Arctic climate of the Klondike, a layer of hard permafrost lay only 1.8 m (6 ft.) below the surface. The miners used wood fires to soften the ground to a depth of about 35 cm (14 inches), then removed the resulting gravel. The process was repeated until the gold was reached. The image to the right shows prospectors ascending the Chilkoot Pass, 1898. The image's copyright has expired. By 1899 the prospectors had found gold having a value of 50 million USD which barley covered their costs. Mining diminished heavily after 1900. The journey to the Yukon proved too hard for many, and only between 30,000 and 40,000 arrived. There were two ways to get to the Yukon; by sea via Alaska or Canada (Skagway) or overland in Canada. The Klondike could only be reached by the Yukon River. River boats could navigate the Yukon in the summer from the delta until a point called Whitehorse above the Klondike. Travel in general was made difficult by both the geography and climate. The region was mountainous, the rivers winding and sometimes impassable. Of all the people who reached Dawson City during the gold rush, only around 15,000 to 20,000 (50%) finally became prospectors. Of these, no more than 4,000 struck gold and only a few hundred became rich.

Swedes in Klondike

Place names like Swede Creek and Swede Dome show the presence of Swedish prospectors along the Forty Mile River in the Yukon. John Ericson: Among the fortunate ones was John Ericson from Långserud in Värmland province, Sweden. His fortune came from the claim of the most gold rich deposit in the entire Klondike, Eldorado no 10. He invested his fortune in companies such as the newspaper Pacific Tribunal and mining in Nevada which gave good return for the money. In Värmland, Sweden, he bought the manor Odenstad. Carl Johan Anderson: Another fortunate Swede was Carl Johan Anderson, ”Lucky Swede” (1859-1939), from Tingstad near the city of Norrköping, Östergötland province, Sweden, son of a farmhand. In 1887 he emigrated to the United States, 28 years old. Also Charlie (Carl) Anderson went to the Klondike but arrived too late. All possible land was by then claimed by miners. However, in the Fortymile town he bought a claim from three Americans who had not been successfull, giving up after reaching a depth of 6 m (20 ft.) without striking gold. The claim was Eldorado no 29 and Anderson paid 800 dollars for it. The Americans thought they managed to sell a worthless claim to Anderson but they were wrong about the claim. Anderson used a new technique having a steam machine heating the shaft to soften the permafrost. For three years the gold mine produced gold worth about 1.5 million dollars which made him a wealthy man. However, the wealth wasn’t going to last. What he didn’t lose in his marriage to one of the town prostitutes, Grace Drummond, he lost in the great San Francisco earthquake on April 15, 1906. Eric Hegg: Another remembered Yukon Swede was the photographer Eric Hegg (1867–1948) famous for his portrayals of the life and people in Skagway, Bennett and Dawson City during the Klondike Gold Rush. He was born in Heggesta, Bollnäs, Hälsingland province, Sweden and emigrated to the United States in 1881 with his parents and siblings. His Swedish name was Erik Jonsson. With his camera he documented the Klondike Gold Rush. In October 1897 Hegg arrived in Skagway and opened a studio in the town. He was joined a year later by his brother and a friend. They undertook a series of expeditions along the Chilkoot Trail and further north and west to Dawson and the Yukon via Bennett taking numerous pictures along the way. Hegg owned two photo studios in Bellingham, north of Seattle, Washington.

The Emigration from

Sweden to the USA (6f)

The image shows prospectors mining in a shaft, 1898. The image's copyright has expired.

Source References

Source references Top of page
Dawson City 2003. Photo Keld H. Nielsen, Denmark, 2003. The images are shown with his consent.