Friday, February 24, 2012

The February Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting - 2012

The Delmar Planning and Zoning Commission had their February meeting last night. With the exception of David Ring, all members were present including new member Eric Catieller. The meeting started at 7 PM and ended by 7:35 PM.

Phillips Signs requested a sign approval for a 24 hour fitness center called "Anytime Fitness" to go into the old Bistro 54 units at Delmar Commons. The fitness center should be open in a month. Approval was given.

Pastor Michael Rittenhouse requested a favorable recommendation to allow the Old Diamond Dream Building to be used as a Church. A favorable recommendation was given to the Board of zoning.

Brenda Givins came before the commission representing Bill Mahan. She requested favorable approval for a variance to allow 3 Delaware Avenue to be used as a church. She said it was small church of about 40 members so parking would only be for about 12 cars. The board gave a favorable recommendation to the Board of Adjustment for this, after telling her that the house would have to brought up to code including ADA accessible. As you may recall this property faces Pennsylvania Ave and was originally a hair dresser shop than later a mortgage company.

The final person to address the commission was Ron Tarlaian from Bridgewood estates.

He is with their HOA and would like to request permission to sell an open space area that is somewhat unusable in their housing development. The lot in question is an odd shape one that the HOA can not use for a playground etc. The problem is Bridgewood does not have the required 20% open space land in their development now and if this lot was sold would put them at 13%. The commission denied the request to sell the open space area.

North To Alaska October 6, 1898

Our adventurous duo left home in January to go seek their fortune in the goldrush. Ten months later they are beating a hasty retreat from Alaska and by December had returned to the Eastern Shore. This is their final letter published in the Salisbury Advertiser.

Seattle, Washington
October 6, 1898

Dear Brother,

You can not imagine how glad we were to get on land again. We have been out on the water for forty days. We left Eagle City the 26th of August in our small boat “Mena,” and ran night and day. We would take six hours’ watches, I was on from six in the morning till twelve, and “Billy” from twelve to six and the same at night. We had to do this as we did not have any time to spare as the nights were getting pretty cold. We would average about seventy-five miles a day, often making one hundred.

We stopped at Star City the first night. On Sunday afternoon we got to Circle City; some claim this to be the largest log cabin town in the world. That may be but there is no one living in the cabins, at least not many, and things are a little dead around there since the Klondike strike. On Saturday night before we saw one of the finest exhibitions of the Aurora that it has been our pleasure to witness. It was something grand. I can only describe one scene and that was as if one had taken a fan with each fold gaily colored and open it in the sky, it being large enough to cover one half the sky. The effect was beyond description.

On Tuesday we got to Ft Yukon. There are only about a dozen log cabins there and they are nearly all occupied by the Indians. From there we proceed down the river, stopping at all the towns and villages.

The scenery was very pretty and it was an interesting trip. We had very nice weather until we passed Ft Yukon , and then it was windy and rained for four days and nights without stopping, but we pushed our little open launch along just the same, knowing that winter was coming whether it rained or not.

One day the wind was blowing so hard that we could not run at all so we stopped at an Indian Camp and spent the day, the Indians amusing us all day. As soon as we landed the old squaw came down to the boat and all she could say was to make signs and say ya kei yo hi kos ku ya kihi octi ne iska che-choc-ti, and then she left, but of course we answered her and like to tore our heads off nodding and shaking them, and say yes all the time. I suppose she was trying to sell us a fish for pretty soon she came back with a big salmon and holding it out to us saying all the time wa che-choc-ti meant we shook our heads and said no, we no che-choc-ti but would trade; we got two red handkerchiefs and offered them to her and we got the fish for two five cent handkerchiefs, instead of paying wa che-choc-ti, wa meaning one and che-choc-ti, silver money; or one dollar she wanted for the fish, but it was well worth it. Pretty soon the “old man” came down and wanted to shake hands with us and then about a dozen children and they stayed down almost all day. There was one boy that could talk English real nice, and he would translate the Indian latin to us, and he taught us a lot of Indian Language; he went to a mission school one year and learned to talk. The old squaw came out and gave us two regular Indian war dances, and they were real amusing. And the way those kids were dressed – some of them had a small piece of gingham (or something of the kind) with two arm holes cut in it and came down about three inches below the arms, and the rest was bare, nothing on at all, and it was very cold that day but they didn’t mind it.

We traded for several Indian curiosities such as tobacco pouches, a skin parka, bow and arrows, Indian knives, moccasins, etc. but I like to forget to tell you about the Indians getting after us and for a long distance our hair almost stood on end, but it was all out fault. We passed an Indian Village and just around a curve there was a Indian burial grounds and we saw some funny looking things up on high poles over the graves, knowing it was Indian carvings we were very anxious to get hold of them, so we landed down the shore and walked back to the graveyard. I suppose one saw me go up in the burying grounds and at once started and other followed. I got three of the animals and started for the boat, I didn’t think to look around to see if anyone was in sight, but pretty soon Billy met me and told me that an Indian was after me, I didn’t turn around to look, but started in a run, got to the boat and put the animals under the bed and we were not long untying the boat and getting to the oars and then we worked like good boys , had a swift current and made pretty good time, but the Indians had little bark canoes and they would go right through the water. Finally they left us, or rather we left them, and then we took a rest but did not loose much time in getting as far away as possible.

As for wild geese and ducks I don’t think there can be any place in the world to equal that country, they seem to go in flocks by the thousands , and not very wild. If we had only had a shotgun we would have lived on geese and ducks.

We saw the river was about to freeze up so we stopped at Holy Cross Mission, which is only 400 miles from St. Michaels, September 11th, and waited for a steamer, but only had to wait a few hours. After we got on the steamer we thought our trouble all over but we got stuck on a sand bar and had to wait twenty-four hours for the tide to come in, then we arrived St. Michaels September 16th. we looked around for the best steamer, and one that was able to go to sea without too much risk. We bought passage at once so we would not have to pay any board (board $8.00 a day) and left Monday night, September 19th.

The Indians at St. Michaels are not as civilized as the up-the-river Indians. They bury their dead on the ground – too much trouble to dig a hole as the ground is frozen all year around. Then they get logs and pile upon the coffin, or box, to keep the dogs and things off, and then tin cans, bottles, bow and arrows, and in fact almost everything within the power of Mr. Indian to think of is put upon the poles. When the next generation dies their boxes are put on top of their father’s and mother’s just as they were laid on their ancestors, and the result is that there is quite a large mound of boxes.

They live mostly in turf houses. Their houses are made of a frame of driftwood ( no timber for hundreds of miles) covered with the mud or grass turf they dig up there.

When two days out we found that our trouble had only begun. The sailors say you can’t find a worse place anywhere than on the Bering sea during a storm, so you see it must be pretty bad. The waves run in three different directions and when they would all three strike the boat at one time you would think she was smashed to pieces from the way the timbers would crack and she trembled like a leaf. When three days out from the Yukon one of the worst storms the captain ever encountered burst upon the staunch little craft tearing away the mainsail and foresail, besides playing havoc with the rigging, the gale raged with unabated fury for twenty-four hours nearly every sea breaking over the steamer, and it not been for the fine seamanship of the Captain and crew all would have been lost.

It makes a fellow feel a little funny to see the wind tearing away both sails and playing havoc with the rigging and the waves breaking over the ship, and just to think we just outside the harbor but it impossible to get in between the rocks. Never did I realize the meaning of the word harbor as I did when I heard the mate say, within one hour we will be in the harbor. After we got in the water was as nice and smooth as you please. We went ashore and walked over to Unalaska, about half a mile, stayed there a while then went back to the boat.

Next morning the wind was not blowing so hard so the captain started again but had not gone far out on the Pacific when it came up stormy again and for seven solid days it was nothing but squalls and storms, some days a squall every hour, but most of the wind struck the ship astern, driving her along some of the time at the rate of fourteen knots an hour. Those waves on the ocean seemed to be 100 feet high but I guess not so bad as that; just imagine a man walking down the dining room and the first thing he knows he lying across the table, then he looks to see what takes him there, and by that time he is lying across on the other side of the room he raises up to see where he is, then he is away up in the bow of the boat trying to knock the partitions out with his head, then he raises up and the boat is still for a few seconds, he thinks he had better go his room, he gets up and starts, walks a few steps and he is landed down in the other end of the room knocking the feet from under another man; and then he gets to his room, goes to bed, takes hold of the rails with a dying grip, goes to sleep, wakes up in the morning, rubs his eyes and says he had a night mare.

Well I will tell you the rest next time if I don’t forget it. We have taken out “dust” up to the government assay office to have it coined into money. We saved out a few nuggets to look at when we get old, and to remind us of our trip through the land of gold. I suppose there is about seventy-five dollars worth of them. We will express them home in a few days for safe keeping.

We have now about shed our Klondike dirt and rags and are beginning to feel like civilized beings again. Just think! Fried Chicken yesterday, buckwheat cakes and sausage this morning and all the fruit we can eat, and in fact everything. Only those who have been deprived of those things for about eight months can appreciate the pleasure of having them. Not for money would we go down to bacon and beans again. We are fully satisfied now to stay in God’s Country, but I think it will be quite a while before we go east again. We have heard of the west and are anxious to see it.

Wm T. Hearn

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Yes It Is Getting Close To That Time Of Year Again When The Iditarod Starts

The Dover Post wrote about a South Dover Elementary Kindergarten who created an igloo out of plastic milk jugs. The igloo’s completion ties into the beginning of the school’s lesson on the famous Iditarod race. One of their teachers, Casey Stokes, is from Alaska, tracks the race, and each classroom picks a dog in the race.

Avenge Ellwood!

In looking at what other Historical Societies celebrate, I came across the notice that the Goleta Valley Historical Society is having a special exhibit of “‘Avenge Ellwood!’: The Japanese Attack on California,” a special exhibition commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Ellwood Shelling in Goleta. On Feb. 23, 1942, a large Japanese submarine identified as the I-17 surfaced at sundown off of Ellwood Mesa and fired its deck cannon at the tidelands oil-production facilities clustered along the shore.

Back in 2009 I did a post on this attack on California

The "Avenge Ellwood" logo was created in early 1943 for a war bond drive led by the 4th Santa Barbara War Savings Committee and the American Women's Voluntary Services. The image was used in newspapers, posters, and by local businesses who had donated to the cause. The money raised went directly to the purchase of a bomber plane and fighter plane that would boast the names"Flying Santa Barbaran" and "Ellwood Avenger." Like many WWII propaganda posters, the artist is unknown and the image was not copyrighted.

North To Alaska July 21 1898

William T. Hearn and William R. Bacon left the Salisbury - Delmar area January 31, 1898 for the Goldfields of the Klondike. They were two of about 100,000 people who went north in seach of gold, only about 4,000 would find gold. Moving from the Klondike they went to Alaska in search of gold and a paying job. They wrote a number of letters home to family and friends that were published in the Salisbury Advertiser. Over the next week or so I will post some of their letters home.

Letter to Harry Hearn from Wm T. Hearn

Dawson City, N. W. T.
July 21, 1898

Dear Brother,

We leave here today for Seventy Mile creek, it is in the United States territory, about 150 miles from here, think there is a better chance there, we have a job there for all winter if we like it. We will be at least 100 miles from postoffice, so you need not expect another letter before next summer and may be home before or by then, but will write if I see anyone going to the postoffice. Forgot to tell you the price of white potatoes, they sell for a $1 per pound or $60 per bushel, turnips 25 cents each, milk $1 a glass, coal oil $3 a gallon, etc. Those Wicomico farmers would go crazy if they could get that much for truck.

Why do they call this the frozen north? Thermometer registered 110 in the shade on July 18th.

W.T. H.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Walnut Street Project Meeting

I attended the Walnut Street Project public input meeting last night. There were seven or eight people from "the public", some elected officials, the town engineer, and the Town manager there. The meeting lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes, so if you attended you could still make it back home for prime time TV. The Walnut Street project is the resurfacing of Walnut street and the replacement of storm drains, water mains and sewer lines under the street. The project will be done in several phases with Phase one being the section from Pennsylvania Ave to Second Street. Currently it is felt the phase one of the project will begin in the summer and by fall the street will be repaved.

Joshua Taylor, engineer, for Davis Bowen and Friedel gave an overview of the project and recorded comments made by the public. What or who is missing from the above photo of elected officials from the town of Delmar Maryland? It seems that the female part of the Delmar commission, Wells and Ring, did not show up for the meeting. Also you will note that the big table at the front of the room for the elected officials now has a fancy front to it, as opposed to the pieces of paneling previously used.

Some of the comments given by the public, the engineering firm, the town manager, and the elected officials that were there last night are;

The water main presently is a 4 inch main. it will be replaced with an 8 inch main which will increase the pressure in the fire hydrants and improve the water quality.

The sewer main which at present is a Asbestos-Cement Nonpressure Sewer Pipe will be replaced with PVC.

The storm water mains and collection system on this street is poor and it will be greatly improved by this project.

It was felt that due to the poor condition of the street at present, danger from speeding vehicles was at a minimum. With a newly paved street more vehicles might speed and there was a discussion of putting a speed bump in the street. The elected officials said since this street was in the half mile school zone that the speed camera could be put on this street.

There was some comments about little league kids being around the construction which will be going on about the same time they are having games.

The hot topic last night was sidewalks. The engineer said since the street was 23 ft wide sidewalks would be installed on only the north side of the street and not the south side. Possibly no parking signs would go up.

One property owner said if the town install sidewalks he would like, in writing, something that said if the sidewalks ever needed maintenance the town would be responsible for the maintenance, not the property owner.

Of the group there the more vocals ones did not want side walks but only a rolled curb.

There was a fear that sidewalks would encourage people to walk their dogs down this street and those people would allow their dogs to crap in the property owners front yard.

It was pointed out that Woodcreek and Delmar Manor did not have sidewalks. (When will the Town learn that if you give exceptions to Town standards it will come back to bite you in the ass everytime)

The Town Manager said the town would encourage sidewalks on all major streets in Delmar and Walnut street was considered a major street.

There are some sidewalks on Walnut street but they are not maintained and are buried under grass because the code enforcement officer doesn't enforce the maintenance of sidewalks.

All sidewalks will have to be ADA (Americans with Disabilitites Act) accessible.

The residents felt that there was not that much school pedestrian traffic to sidewalks on their street as school traffic was mostly north /south not east/west so sidewalks are not necessary.

I mentioned that since I walk around town a great deal, sidewalks would be a great improvement on the Maryland side of town as you would not have to walk in the street. I mentioned I broke my arm while having to walk in the street on the Maryland side of town due to the lack of sidewalks. A few people jumped on the fact I lived on the Delaware side of town and as such dismissed my comments - so much for the "one town" bullshit, which must only be used when elected officials are grandstanding.

The end comment was from the town engineer who said the decision on sidewalks would come from the The ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), i am not sure who or what government group that will be but anyway they will be the ones who decide the fate of sidewalks on Walnut street.

North To Alaska July 20 1898

William T. Hearn and William R. Bacon left the Salisbury - Delmar area January 31, 1898 for the Goldfields of the Klondike. They were two of about 100,000 people who went north in seach of gold, only about 4,000 would find gold. Moving from the Klondike they went to Alaska in search of gold and a paying job. They wrote a number of letters home to family and friends that were published in the Salisbury Advertiser. Over the next week or so I will post some of their letters home.

Letter to Mr. B. Frank Kennerly from Wm R. Bacon

Dawson City, N.W.T
July 20, 1898

Dear Frank,

I take the time to write you a few lines to let you know how we are getting along.

We got in Dawson July 9th, too late for the Fourth fun. Had a fine trip down. Was fifteen days on the water our fourth was spent on the banks of the Lewie. Dismal and Dreary? I should say yes; rained all day.

The rapids are not what lots of people imagine, and the worst piece of water on the whole route is the little stream between Lakes Lindman and Bennett. Next is Thirty Mile river. No one ever heard of it before, and no one expected to get in any trouble there. There is one rock in Thirty Mile on which more outfits have been lost than in all the rapids combined. We paid $13 for a pilot through Miles Canyon and White Horse and came through O.K. We ran Five Fingers and Rink rapids ourselves. Five Fingers is all right if you keep to the right. Rink Rapids are not much as the swells are only about two feet high.

I was disappointed in White Horse, it is a nasty bit of water when the water is low, that’s what they say, but when we came it was not half so bad as Miles Canyon. The land is low and level and in fact from an artistic point of view is not worth seeing.

The waves on Lake Lebarge were 10 to 13 feet high when we crossed. One that was never on it in a wind storm could never believe they could roll so high. We had a passenger, a Mr. Jo Langraham, he and Will got sea sick, I didn’t have time for anything like that, had all I could do to keep our little 18 ft boat from swamping by the waves breaking over the stern. I found my little knowledge of boating, gained while at Bivalve was worth more to me there than my life. But we got here safe and here we are, but not for long; will start for Uncle Sam’s territory tomorrow and will winter, as far as we can tell now, down about “Seventy Mile,” on the American side of the line about 100 miles from here.

Dawson is dead, at least for this year; mis-rule the cause of it; Major Walsh and his Northwest mounted police are the cause of the mis-rule.

Mine owners are not working their claims on account of the Royalty of ten per cent on everything. A man pays $10 license and then is not even allowed to catch a log drifting down the Yukon and should he go out and cut a tree down they charge 50 cents stumpage, and if you sell the wood you are liable to be fined or the wood taken away. Get a permit to build a cabin and after you get it built some one gets a grant for that piece of land and orders you off. Catch a fish and sell it and you get “pulled”, and dozens of other things. Of course you can get a permit for all these things, if you are in the ring or have a friend who is.

The miners have a meeting every two or three days and have sent a delegation to Montreal, or Otttawa rather; or wherever the head of government is.

There are thousands of people here and in a week or two men will be working for $5 a day. Now no man can afford to stay here for $5 a day and I am going to Alaska, where I am almost sure of making my expenses, as well as looking out for a good claim for myself. They are getting very scarce and the prospectors are getting discouraged. Hundreds have already gone home and they will number thousands before summer ends. None of the river boats have come up yet although one is reported 40 miles below on a sand bar. Four that were froze up came up the first of July but they were frozen about Circle City.

Dawson is not the Hot Town that they say of it ( thermometer only 110 in shade on July 18th). You never see a man packing more than $300 worth of gold at the most, and $50 to $75 is like the average. Of course the big companies handle lots of it, and I have seen $75,000 worth of gold lying on an old box in the corner of their office, just like you would throw that many sacks of tobacco.

When you buy and pay with gold dust you hand your sack over, the man takes out what he wants. When a man goes in a gambling house and buys chips, he puts up his bag, gets what chips he wants. If he loses they take out enough to pay, if he wins put it in. But gold is not flowing around like the papers use to say; and if a man loses a $100 gambling here it hurts him as bad as in the States. They call a man who uses paper money “checkawker” but everyone wants “Checkawker’ money and will even discount their bills if given that instead of dust.

Everything very cheap here: flour $12 per hundred, was $50 one while last winter, fresh beef 50 cents per pound, turnips and potatoes 25 cents each, beans 10 ½ cents, bacon 25 cents, fresh beef was $1.50 to $2 per pound in June, lots of cattle in now. A simple iron wedge can’t be bought and an 8 X 10 glass sells 75 cents to $1, we paid $1.50 for two, and paid $10 for a small grind stone without handle or trimmings. It’s the supply and demand that regulates those things.

I did not intend to write so much, but one more thing, “Swiftwater Bill” is broke, has built the finest house in town, but didn’t pay for it, so it belongs to someone else now; same way with a piano he brought in. He is at the end of his rope and a mere nobody now. Never was much but a famous liar as was lots of others that helped the Klondike boom.

You’ve heard of Berry Bros. and you would think they would have to cart their Gold down. Well they run their sluce box all day long and some time two or three days and never examine it to see if there is any gold there and when they do it is not choked up by any means, and they might run it a week or more if they liked. Lots of dirt they got out last winter not worth washing. Spent all winter drifting it out to let it lay where they put it.

Some few men have mines that pay and have got a good thing out of them but they are very few, and they don’t throw their money away and would kick as much over a dollar as you would or I would. But I still feel sure I will go out of the country with a little dust and at least be as well off as when I started, and the trip is already worth more than the expense.

W. R. Bacon

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The February Planning and Zoning Meeting

The Planning and Zoning Commission will meet 7 PM Thursday February 23rd at town hall. Among the items to be discussed will be;

Sign approval for "Anytime Fitness" in the old Bistro 54 units

Request to act favorably on a variance to use the old Diamond Dreams building for a church/Community Center.

Request for a favorable recommendation to lease 3 Delaware Avenue to a Delmar DE church.

A request to sell Open Space Land in Bridgewood estates

Zoning request for Heron Pond to Commercial and R-4

Walnut Street Project Workshop

There will be a town meeting tonight at 6:30 PM in Town Hall for public input on the Walnut Street Project. Certainly if you live on Walnut Street you will want to be there.

North To Alaska July 15 1898

William T. Hearn and William R. Bacon left the Salisbury - Delmar area January 31, 1898 for the Goldfields of the Klondike. They were two of about 100,000 people who went north in seach of gold, only about 4,000 would find gold. Moving from the Klondike they went to Alaska in search of gold and a paying job. They wrote a number of letters home to family and friends that were published in the Salisbury Advertiser. Over the next week or so I will post some of their letters home.

Letter to Harry Hearn from Wm T. Hearn

Dawson City, N. W. T.
July 15, 1898
Dear Brother,

We have arrived at Dawson City and I suppose you want to know something about our trip down the lakes and rivers. We left Lindman Thursday, June 23rd; run down to Lake Bennett in about one hour. There is a canyon between Lindman and Bennett where the water runs very swift and is full of rocks also which makes it almost impossible to run a boat through; nine cases out of ten you will strike a rock and tear the boat to pieces unless you have experienced men to run her. We gave a man three dollars to run our boat through, but he let us go with him, we wanted the experience of riding on bad water, enjoyed it very much, came through all right. Then we met a friend that we got acquainted with in Dyea and he said he would like to come down with us. He gave us $40 to bring him down. We left Bennett Friday with a good wind so we made good time, it was not too long before the wind got stronger and the waves rolled about eight feet high, but “Mena” rode them beautiful. We camped at the head of of Tagish Lake, the next morning was calm and clear so we had to row, in about three hours we came to Windy Arm, thinking we could get over all right by rowing we started across, the wind was getting stronger every minute but there was nothing to do but stick to the oars, we pulled three solid hours but then we could pull no longer and we saw the wind was getting the best of us so we raised our sail and started for shore; just as we reached the shore our boat filled with water and everything we had got a good soaking . We unloaded the boat and pulled her up out of the water to keep the waves from beating her to pieces. We spent the balance of the day drying our outfit; there were others. Next morning it was calm and we got out of that place as soon as possible, we reached Tagish house a while before Midnight, but did not leave there until the following Monday . Before leaving we had to have our boat inspected register and numbered. Our number is 13,980, so you can imagine something about the number of people that come up here; each boat will average at least four people. When the ice first broke up there were as many as 700 registered one day. Then we went on down six mile river to White Horse Rapids. The rapids was not just what I expected to find, but it is a swift piece of water, about midway there is a fall of about five feet, that is where its rough, after you shoot over the falls; but we got through all right kept everything in the boat covered with the tent. Wouldn’t have missed it for anything. Left there at 3 o’clock and by ten were at Lake Lebarge, and as we had a fair wind we decided to run all night as that is a bad piece of water to get over. About Midnight the wind begin to blow to beat the band, but we could not stop as the shore was very rocky and the waves rolling from ten to fourteen feet high. I lay down and was soon rocked to sleep in the cradle of the deep. Mena behaved nicely and was obliging as the two girls she is named after. We got across about eight o’clock and had breakfast and went to bed and slept all day. When we were building out boat the people at Lindman told us that it was no use to go to so much trouble to build a boat just to go down the river in but I remember what Mr. Hill had told me, “that anything worth doing at all, was worth doing well,” and I also knew whose life depended on that boat; and I was glad that night that our boat was well built, had it not been it would have gone down with some of the others. We were told by an old shipbuilder that it was the best built boat he had seen on the river. We started again at six in the evening and run down thirty mile river until midnight, went in camp by two big scows that had been wrecked they had an $8,000 outfit, lost half. Thirty Mile River is the most dangerous piece of water on the whole trip (I mean of any length) there are so many big rocks just under the water. There are lots of wrecks on that river but we had no trouble at all.

Continued on down to Five Finger rapids. There is but little danger there, very swift, but short and sweet. An hour’s run brought us to Rinks Rapids, there is no danger at all.

Fourth of July it rained all day so we stayed in camp. Tuesday about noon we entered the broad waters of the Yukon. The current in the river is so strong that we floated about five miles an hour and we had nothing to do but lie around and enjoy the beautiful scenery, which was very pretty. We arrive here Saturday, took a walk down town and to my surprise I found that one can buy almost anything here that you can in the States, and cheap too; pretty good oranges and lemons for fifty cents each, newspaper $1 each, chairs that sell for $2.50 a dozen in Salisbury, $10 each, and a coffin for $500. If I had brought some embalming fluid, case of instruments and a set of tools, I could make a fortune within a year, but I haven’t got them.

I think we go to work next week at $8 per day, unless I can get some tools and start up a shop, haven’t decided yet just what to do. It is no use to go out prospecting around here, for one hundred miles it is all staked off, and there is a ring here and unless you can get into the ring you can’t do much.

I have gained 25 pounds and am four inches larger in the waist, clothes all too small, healthy country, I have never felt better.

Since I have wrote the above we have got another job for three or four weeks at $15 a day. I have taken a trip up to the mines but they are nearly done washing and the nuggets on the bushes are not quite ripe yet, so I didn’t get any to send home.

Life here is altogether different from life in the States, it seems that we are living in another world. We are camping on the Klondike River, only about four feet from the water’s edge. Dawson is a city of tents of five and ten thousand possibly, more. They are just as close together as they can be and are a pretty sight. It is almost impossible to get into the postoffice, you have to stand outside and wait for about twelve hours. If you will give a policeman two dollars he will go in the side door and get your mail.

From Your Brother,
W.T. Hearn

Monday, February 20, 2012

North To Alaska June (Second Sunday) 1898

William T. Hearn and William R. Bacon left the Salisbury - Delmar area January 31, 1898 for the Goldfields of the Klondike. They were two of about 100,000 people who went north in seach of gold, only about 4,000 would find gold. Moving from the Klondike they went to Alaska in search of gold and a paying job. They wrote a number of letters home to family and friends that were published in the Salisbury Advertiser. Over the next week or so I will post some of their letters home.

Letter to Frank Kennerly from Wm R. Bacon

Lake Lindeman, B.C.
June (Second Sunday)
My Dear Frank,

This is a fine, fine country, but d--- the mosquitoes, they worry us night and day, and to make it worst they are getting thicker every day. I was up on Long Lake yesterday where there is not much but ice and snow and the mosquitoes were as thick there as any where; they seem to breed right in the snow. The first arrivals were big black ones, and now we have all sizes. I think after we have been bothered with them for a few weeks we will be like the river men – won’t mind them much.

Will has gone to church this morning, didn’t suit me. The Salvation Army holds service in a big tent not far away, but most people don’t have time for church, so the attendance is very limited. A pack train of burros has just gone by with one of the drivers swearing at them by the yard. Guess he will interrupt the service. By-the-way that reminds of the one fact that I never told you before and that is one can hear more oaths on this trail in an hour than in Salisbury in a month. Everybody swears, and they seem to always find something to swear at. The pack animals get the most of it.

We had a drove of about one hundred head of fine fat steers brought in yesterday; I tell you they looked fine. We haven’t seen a piece of steak since we left the states and hardly anything else except bacon and beans, until this morning we each had an egg, and to say they were fine is hardly expressing it. I never liked eggs at home but I surely enjoy that one, first I have eaten since I left Wicomico.

Taking everything into consideration I think we fare very well here. We have granulated potatoes, just about like new potatoes only they are ground up and served like mashed potatoes, evaporated onions, evaporated soup vegetables, and a condensed vegetables soup, beef extract, condensed milk, “crystalized “ eggs, haven’t used any yet, we have oatmeal and milk every morning, rice and fruits, corn meal, etc. we can really get up a fair meal but as we haven’t much of a change we get tired.

We have got our boat very near complete, would have had it entirely complete, except corking, had we not run out of lumber. Fair lumber here sells for $250.00 per 1000 feet, so we laid up today debating whether to buy more or go in the woods and “whip” it out. We tried whipping before and soon gave it up and cut our logs and pulled them on skids across three quarters of a mile of flats to the stream, coming near “pulling the liver” out of us. We got them down and rafted them and got on to come down, and down we did come. The current runs about twelve miles an hour and is full of rocks and short curves at that. It was more exciting than riding down from the Scales to Sheep Camp. Think I told you how, when the snow was on, some of the people used to coast about three miles on a stretch, I have seen them going so fast that they would strike a lump and jump 20 or 30 feet. We didn’t jump on the raft but we ran into the bank very often. We got down safe and had our logs sawed one half for the other.

It will soon be two weeks since we began to hunt our timber. The logs we get are only about six to eight inches through.

Our boat is 18 X 3 ½ ft bottom and 20 X 6 ft top with 2 ½ ft sides, built on skiff style. We are rigging a square sail like the Chinese junks have, fasten to the mast in the middle. That the way most of them are being rigged, although some have the schooner sail and some have three cornered one. They are beginning to go down pretty lively now and in course of a few weeks Lindeman will be entirely deserted.

We will be here only a few weeks longer when we join the happy throng and see what is to come next. Only hope we will not see the bottom of “hoss” rapids instead of Dawson.

After this batch of letters goes out we will not write anymore for “Lords Know When.” We have no idea yet where we will locate but feel quite sure we will visit “Uncle Sam” territory before we stop for very long. Don’t like living under the Queen very much. Have to get a license to live almost, at least for everything you do, and then pay the crown a royalty on what you happen to make.

There is an Indian at the Scales about my height only a little stouter built that won a bet the other day of $400 that he could put 280 pounds up the summit without resting but three times and those rests to be limited. He did it and is now ready for bets that he can carry more. Carrying that up the summit and carrying it to level ground is far different.

From what I can see since I have been in this section I think the firm of Kennerly Mitchell and Co., must be enterprising men, and from the trademark “I X L” I suppose they must have sent “Mr. Othello” out here to do a little advertising, we caught a view of two of them, one on a snow bank about seven miles from Dyea, the other at the beginning of the Canyon about two miles from Lindeman.

Frank, the spring here is something wonderful, “today we have snow on the ground, tomorrow flowers are blooming,” almost expresses it. The sun shines for eighteen hours and everything grows by magic. There is a stream between Long and Deep Lakes one can wade across it with rubber boots and in some places might jump across. On one side snow is ten or twelve feet deep and on the other side flowers in full bloom. Long Lake is full of ice, people walking over on the ice, and yet along the shores you can find flowers almost anywhere - some thing certainly new to me.

Will and I have turned out to be barbers, I cut his hair and trim his whiskers and he does the same for me. We now have our hair clipped as close as we can get it, it saves the trouble of combing you know. A big item, Supper is ready so will close.

Regards to all the boys
Wm R. Bacon

Sunday, February 19, 2012

North To Alaska June 1898

William T. Hearn and William R. Bacon left the Salisbury - Delmar area January 31, 1898 for the Goldfields of the Klondike. They were two of about 100,000 people who went north in seach of gold, only about 4,000 would find gold. Moving from the Klondike they went to Alaska in search of gold and a paying job. They wrote a number of letters home to family and friends that were published in the Salisbury Advertiser. Over the next week or so I will post some of their letters home.

Letter to Harry W. Hearn from Wm. Hearn

Lake Lindeman, B.C.
June, Don’t know.

Dear Brother,

We are getting along finely and will so long as we can get plenty of beans and fried mosquitoes; and that just reminds me, when you boys come out here bring a plenty of barbed wire fencing to fence in your tent to keep out mosquitoes. I like Alaska much better than I did some time ago. The snow is nearly gone except in places and there are lots of different kinds of wild flowers in bloom; we can find pretty flowers not five feet from a snow bank, and there are lots of wild berries ripe. They are ripe before the snow goes off, don’t know when they bloom; that is what so many birds are after up here. It seems right home like to hear the (wait till I kill and skin this mosquito) Robin sings; I found a Robin nest this week with four eggs in it, was tempted to take the eggs home for breakfast but thought it would be to bad to do so. But “Billy” saw a chicken rooster yesterday running around, the only chicken we have seen in Alaska, and not far away he found a hen’s nest and we had eggs for breakfast this morning.

On the coast of Alaska is a great summer resort for the people living in the west. I am glad I can spend a summer at a summer resort.

I have had my hair cut and my whiskers trimmed English style, my hair was about five inches long and had not cut it before since last August.

If the people who write to me didn’t have any more paper than I have they would use both sides, but possibly they think I am short of paper and will need one side to answer. I walked thirty miles to the post office a few days ago to get my mail and received one from Minnie, and one from New Haven, Conn., he said he felt just like dropping me a few lines, he must be very high if he can drop a letter to me for I am about thirty five hundred feet above sea level. Sometime the clouds come down all around us and we can see only a few feet from us.

When I was coming from the post office a big mosquito pitched on my hand and I was going to let him “fill up” and then kill it and send it home, but I was afraid I would never get home if I should loose that much blood, so by the use of rocks I managed to kill it, and carry it home by its hind legs.

We have got our boat about done and now we can’t decide what to name it. Every boat must be inspected, named, numbered and registered. Our boat is eighteen feet long, three feet six wide in the bottom and six feet wide at the top, but I suppose you want to know how we like whipsawing and how it is done; first you must walk about five miles to find timber and then hunt half a day to find logs long enough, then after you get the logs the next thing is the saw pit, which is a framework about eight feet high, then get the logs on the pit, line it up, then you are ready for the saw. We put one log on the pit and decided it would be easier to put them out to the water edge and build a raft and float them to the saw mill and have them sawed, so we took the one we had on the pit and started to the water; we got nearly there and that was hard that we thought we had rather whip saw, so we went back and put two logs on the pit and put our saws together and begin to saw, we sawed about twelve inches and then we had enough of whip sawing. We didn’t have money enough to buy a boat and we couldn’t buy lumber; boats cost 125.00 and lumber twenty-five cents per foot, so what were we going to do? It looked like we were going back home, so the next morning we left our saw home and took our axes determine to pull those logs to the water, and they went along pretty well after we determined to do it, and after a little more than two days work we had them all to the water, and the next day we made the raft; we had 125 feet of 5/8 rope to make it with. Then came the fun for we had to build the raft on land as the water ran so rapidly that it was impossible to build it in the water. We build our raft on the banks of the rapids, brother to the White Horse rapids, where the water runs about twelve miles an hour. One man said he would not ride a raft through those rapids for a $1000. Another man said it was too big to go through. We left our watches home and everything that water would hurt, expecting to get a ducking. When it struck the water we jumped on and it started off as Ashland Malone said about the cars “H—bent for Dublin” it didn’t go far before the stream turned and we found that we could not do anything toward guiding it so we just let go. In turning the corner it struck the bank and swung around and started the other end first. I think it was the most crooked stream I was ever on, but we saw that if the rope would hold we were all right, but if it should break it was all over with us. That ride was the most fun and the most excitement I have had since I have been in Alaska and now wish we had another to bring down. We expect to leave here in a day or two if our boat don’t leak too bad; have not put her in the water yet.

These flowers were pulled only a few inches from a snow bank, there are lots of them here and any number of snow balls.

It costs us twenty-five cents every letter we mail or receive here, and will cost a dollar after we leave here.

Regards to all.
Wm. Hearn