National Geographic : 1898 Apr
ALASKA AND ITS MINERAL RESOURCES the Pioneer American Fur Co., and in 1871 entered the service of the Alaska Commercial Company, from which he retired, with a modest competency, in 1875. He is now living in his native town in the Province of Quebec. An indefatigable traveler, a delightful companion en route or by the camp fire, full of expe dients whatever befell, tactful and adroit in his dealing wfth the natives, generous and helpful to the inexperienced-in short, a capital voyageur of the best type-no one who knew him in those days but thinks of him always with admiration and affection. His services to geography are commemorated by Lake Lebarge, on the direct route to the Klondike, and Lebarge river, an afflu ent of the Yukon from the north below Fort Yukon. The name Lebarge has been variously spelled; the form in use during the expedition has been adopted as here written by the U. S. Board on Geographic Names. Frank Ketchum lies under the green turf of an Unalaska hillside. May his faithful companion and our good friend survive for many happy years. WM. H. DALL. ALASKA AND ITS MINERAL RESOURCES* By SAMUEL FRANKLIN EMMONS, U. S . Geological Survey INTRODUCTION Alaska was first visited by a Russian expedition under Bering in 1741. In 1799 the territory was granted to a Russo-American fur company by the Emperor Paul VIII, and in 1839 the charter was renewed for twenty-four years. In 1867 it was ceded to the United States for a money payment of $7,200,000. The first mining excitement in the interior was in the Cassiar mining district in British Columbia around Dease lake, near the head of the Stikine river, from 1871 to 1887. Later, prospectors found their way into the more northern regions and down the valley of the Yukon into American territory, where they discovered valuable placers on Birch creek, Mission creek, and Fortymile creek, small southern tributaries of the Yukon. In the autumn * This paper, published with the permission of the Director of the U. S. Geological Survey, is an abstract of a pamphlet prepared by his direction to accompany a map of Alaska, and giving such information, compiled from data in the possession of the Sur vey, as it was thought would prove useful to the traveler or prospector who might visit that region.