When the steamship Cleveland left Seattle’s docks on March 1, 1898, William Jay Woodin was on board, traveling with his father and several others. They were chasing the nineteenth century’s last great gold rush, but instead of mining, they planned to earn their fortune by providing supplies.
Enhanced with family photographs and skillfully edited, Will’s writings—including diaries, a short story, and a delightfully candid 1910 memoir—record events, emotions, and reflections, as well as his youthful wonder at the beauty surrounding him. Unlike many stampeders, Will’s party chose to take both the White Pass Trail and the Tutshi Trail, and his story offers a rare glimpse into ordeals suffered along this less common route.
Will’s experiences also epitomize a mostly untold story of how working-class men endured a grueling Yukon journey. He was part of an emerging middle class who, with minimal formal education, left farm life to seek urban employment. Whether packing tons of goods on their own backs or building boats at the Windy Arm camp, Will brings to light the cooperation and camaraderie necessary for survival.
Illustrations / maps / notes / bibliography / index / 294 pages (2016)