by Laura Samuelson, Director, Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum
In the last post on this blog, Wilfred and brother Ed spent a lot of time perfecting the operation of their water pumps. Wilfred suffered from severe indigestion from heaven knows what and with no Tums around in 1900. However, they did see their first sign of GOLD. It was $18 per ounce back then…
July 15th, 1900
It is just a month today since we landed and we are running now in good shape. We have everything in good running order. Can see lots of gold in the boxes. We will put on a night shift this evening. I will run the night shift and Ed take the day run. Our ground prospects fine and we are happy about all this gold. We hired two men today at six dollars per day.
July 16th, 1900
I worked in the night shift all night. Went to bed at 8 this morning and got up at 5:30PM. The sun rose at 2:30A.M. The moon staid in the same position all night long. About half way up above the horizon in the S.E. Apparently it did not move at all. Struck 15¢ a pan on our ground today.
July 17th, 1900
Had to stop pumping at 10:15PM as the water gave out. Put the men at cleaning bedrock. Started the engine at 2:30A.M. and sluiced until 6 o’ clock. Went to bed at 9A.M. and slept till 1PM. Cleaned up the boxes and got one pound of amalgam. Had to take the suction pipe off and clean out the strainer and tighten the joints. Heard that the government is going to send five transports to take our destitute men from here. Had to lay off the night shift at 10:30PM as the suction pipe was stopped up. We worked until midnight on the suction pipe.
July 18th, 1900
Got up at 7A.M. and started the diggings at 8:30. Weather is cloudy but warm. A steamer loaded with Cheechalkers came in this morning. I have had to turn my socks over as I have worn out the heels in all of them. I now wear the heel on top and am all right for a while. Our clean up weighed 5 oz. value $90. We removed the foot valve from the suction pipe and we are now getting more water. Dig a good days work today. Got letters from home. One letter of June 16 was 33 days on the trip to Nome.
July 19th, 1900
Wrote a letter home this morning and sent it downtown. We sluiced until 12:30PM when our pump began bucking. Worked on the pipe all afternoon. Got fine prospects in the mine. The sea is very rough and the breakers damage our suction pipe. The dynamo got a hot box. I worked on it until 10PM.
July 20th, 1900
Started our pump this morning and she gave us as much trouble as ever. Went to work at 9A.M. lagging the drive pulley. Got through at 11:30 and we now get enough water. Sluiced all afternoon. We will put on 2 men tonight. I slept all afternoon, as I must be up all night. It is very windy today and the sea is very rough. Heard that the “Bear” took out 250 strapped men to Seattle. The people are leaving as fast as they can get money enough to get out on.
July 21st, 1900
I went to bed at 7:30A.M. and slept till 2PM. Ed moved the sluice boxes and we will start another fit tonight. Our pump is lots of trouble. I think we have mastered it though. Opened it this afternoon and took out some sticks, a chunk of wood and some seaweed. We now get a fine flow of water. It is now midnight and I am writing this by the light of the rising sun. One star is visible tonight, the first I have seen for two months.