National Geographic : 1893 Feb 08
188 J. E. McGrath-The Alaskan Boundary Survey. portions of the territory have not proven inaccessible to those solitary searchers for the precious metal, and everywhere they have found " color," but up to the present time no place has paid steadily and well, except the small river called by the natives Chitandipeh, and by the whites Forty Mile creek. Here last season there were about 150 white men, and when we left camp Davidson in June, 1891, it was the only river below Pelly, except the Kuyukuk, on which mines were worked. The lower part of the Forty Mile is abandoned now, but the richest ground is in the gulches near the head of the creek, and it is estimated that it will be several years before their treasures are all extracted. Mayo and McGuesten are the traders who supply these men with stores, and they told me that their shipments of gold dust for the past year amounted to $40,000, and this, they estimated, was a little less than one-half of the total output of the creek. The regular mining season lasts for only about three months, but some men do a little winter mining, which is extremely laborious. It necessitates first chopping a great quantity of cord-wood, which then has to be hauled to the bar that is being worked. Here it is heaped up in piles and fired, and then the thawed ground is dug out and piled on some bank above high water, and when summer comes and the ice goes it is taken down and washed out. In the winter of 1889-1890 three men took out 23,000 buckets of dirt, which netted them $1,000 apiece for their three months of the hardest kind of mining work known. The largest nuggets ever found in Alaska have been found on Forty Mile creek; one was shown us which was worth $56, and in last July a man named Nelson took out a nugget worth $260. The evidences that Alaska gives on all sides of the existence of gold will always tempt men to go there, but real exhaustive ex aminations of her streams will not be made until the miners feel sure that when they return to the trading posts after a long sea son's prospecting they can depend upon finding food there. As affairs are managed now, they must return to the stations in the middle of their short working season to see what the steamboat has brought, and no one can tell when some accident will happen to the one steamer that connects the interior with Saint Michael, and force all hands to leave the country or else face the possibility of starvation, as was the case in the fall of 1889. It is a very risky venture trying to live on the country in the interior of Alaska.
1893 Feb 20
1892 May 15