12 August

Yukon Gold Rush

Gold Rush Begins

The man who started one of the biggest gold rushes in the world missed making a fortune because he didn't like Indians! Gold had been discovered along the Yukon River in 1896, and a few prospectors were making a little money. One of them was Robert Henderson. In one of the creeks running into the Yukon River, Henderson and four other men panned gold worth $750. Henderson called it "Goldbottom," and went to a settlement called Ogilvie for supplies.

On the way back, he met. George Washington Carmack, an American who wanted to be an Indian and who was known as "Siwash George." Carmack was fishing for salmon with two Indians, "Tagish" Charlie and "Skookum" Jim. Henderson urged him to try Goldbottom Creek. However, he added that he didn't want Indians staking claims.

Carmack didn't like Goldbottom Creek, and was angered when Henderson refused to provide tobacco for his companions. Carmack and his friends left Henderson and on the way back, on August 12, they panned some gravel on Rabbit Creek and immediately found four dollars worth of gold.

They staked claims, which Skookum Jim was left to guard, while Carmack and Tagish Charlie rushed to record them at Constantine's Post on Forty Mile. On the way there, Carmack told everyone about their discovery. 'They wouldn't believe him until he poured gold dust out of an empty shotgun shell. Henderson, however, was not informed, although he claimed later that he told Carmack to try Rabbit Creek.

Then the rush started. It was the Klondike Gold Rush, the biggest and most exciting in the world. Huge fortunes were made. "Big Alex" MacDonald staked half of Claim 30 on Eldorado for a sack of flour and made $20 million. He spent it almost as quickly and died penniless in a log cabin. One of the prospectors brought his bride along. Whenever she needed money, she just panned the muck the men were digging up and nearly always found a few nuggets! Poor Robert Henderson, whose dedicated work started it all, had to settle for a pension of $200 a month from the Government.


12 August

-1615    The first mass in Ontario was celebrated by Father Le Caron in Huron Village near Thunder Bay.

-1768    An Order-in-Council confirmed the border between Canada and New York.

-1787    Prince William Henry (later King William IV) arrived at Quebec as captain of the H.M.S. Pegasus.

              The first Anglican Bishop in the British Empire, Charles Inglis, was appointed for Nova Scotia and Quebec.

-1842    An Imperial statute created the Amalgamated Assembly of Newfoundland.

-1856    The Legislature of Vancouver Island opened. It was the first west of the Great Lakes.

-1882    The Grand Trunk and Great Western Railways were amalgamated.

-1889    An Imperial Act defined the boundaries of Ontario and Manitoba.