Gold Mining

Is that legal?

     Miners and gold-seekers needed more than luck to get gold, they needed information about the law so that they could correctly file the claim and protect their find. Miners Guides provided sample forms, directions and a copy of the mining laws.

     Compare the legal documents called Location Notice and Proof of Labor with the samples found in the Miners Guide. Is there any important information missing that would make one of the documents invalid? Do you recognize any famous names? What can you infer about the discovery of gold from the location and dates on the documents?

U.S. District Court record of a proof of labor.

U.S. District Court record of a location of a mining claim.

Location certificate of placer claim, example. Miners'manual, United States, Alaska, the Klondike by Horace Fletcher Clark, 1898.

Circle City. Ellingen, photographer.

Delia's Dilemma

     Sometimes a person survived the hazards of travel, made it to the gold field and actually found gold. What did the miner have to do next to complete the dream of getting rich?

     How would you solve Delia's Dilemma?

     On May 19, 1896 Mrs. Delia Barker wrote a letter of Governor James Sheakley. She had a serious problem and she needed help fast. Her dilemma was: "a woman's rights to locate and hold mining claims: Placer, or Quartz."

     Read Delia Barker's letter to the Governor.

Letter to Governor James Sheakley from Delia Barker of Circle City requesting assistance in solving a mining dispute. May 19,1896. 5 pages

Map: Eagle District. Alaska Road Commission. [no date] Maps and Drawings. Asa_ RG 306, Series 1380

Gold Dust: How to Find It and How to Mine It. By Philip Minor 1898 A miners manual. 4 pages

     What do you think about her problem? Where is Circle City? Why did she need an answer quickly? What would you do if you were Delia? If you were the Governor what would you do? What do you think is fair?

Moore's Wharf

     Creating a written record is important to help establish legal ownership. Disagreements over boundaries and property lines can sometimes be settled when one person is able to show a legal document. Study the plat (map) showing the location of Moore's Wharf in Skaguay. Look at the document carefully.

     How much information does this plat give about the actual location of buildings on the property? What terms (words) are the same as those we use today? Are there unfamiliar terms? Compare the plat with the advertisement from the Skaguay News for Moore's Wharf.

District recorder plat showing the area awarded to Bernard Moore. [no date]

Newspaper: Skaguay News, December 31, 1897 page 10, close-up.

     How do the documents support each other? If you were looking for evidence about ownership, which document do you think would be most acceptable in a court of law? Why?

Overview I How do I get the gold? I What was a gold miner like?
Is that legal?

Homepage I Alaska's Gold Lode I The Discovery of Gold I Traveling to the Gold Fields
Gold Mining I Daily Life Our Legacy I The Edgren Saga I Gold Rush Stories
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Alaska's Gold was developed through a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission by the Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums, the Alaska Dept. of Education and Early Development.  1999.  All rights reserved.   Alaska Gold Themes written by Cristine Crooks, Alaska Consultants in Education.  Alaska's Gold Themes website developed by WEBDesign.