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Honolulu will be represented in a Klondike Expedition, 1898

Arctic & Northern History

Northern Ships & Shipping

The Examiner (San Francisco) Klondike Edition - February 21, 1898

Honolulu will be represented in a Klondike Expedition, 1898

    It is the California-Alaska Mining and Transport Company with which young "Billy" Corwnell will cast his fortunes, leaving by the Zealandia today with the Klondike gold fields as his destination. Some Honolulu people are already interested in this project and it is likely that others, when the enterprise is presented, will have shares, if stock cam be obtained. Aug. Conradt will accompany "Billy."

    A. F. Hopke, who is very well known here, writes from San Francisco to Colonel Cornwell quite an extended note in regard to this company. Among other things Mr. Hopke says:

    "Although I have the gold fever I do not like taking the responsibility of advising anyone else to go. I will willingly give you a few of my ideas about it. I have given the matter a good deal of thought and have gained a lot of information from various sources. I have had personal interviews with miners who have returned from there and who thad been very successful. I would not myself or advise anyone to go by way of any of the passes or overland routes. This is where the danger and suffering are encountered. However, thousands have gone these ways and it is said without much more difficulty than could be expected or stood.

    "I should advise going by way of the river route up the Yukon. I send you by this mail two prospectuses of an expedition. The little books are self-explanatory. No. 1 is for the intending investor who will join the expedition and No. 2 is for the investor who stays by his fireside and awaits the big fat dividends. I send you only one of No. 1 as there is only one place left vacant on the crew list. But, there is yet about $4,000 of stock to be had and you may know someone who wants a slice.

    "I saw the manager, Mr. Leonard and the attorney, Mr. Naylor, today. The one vacant place they have promised me to hold open till I can hear from you and your son. It will cost $1,500 to join the expedition as one of the crew. Mr. Leonard is a builder and contractor in Alameda and has amassed a considerable fortune in Alameda real estate. He is the promoter of the scheme as well as the manager. You are acquainted with the Captain and lots of other Island people know him well. He is Ed. von Schmidt, who was the first master of the schooner Claus Spreckels when that vessel was put into the line between San Francisco and Kahului in 1880. He has been in charge of his father's dredgers here since leaving the Spreckels employ. You may also know the engineer - Johnson. He was formerly at Naalehu plantation.

    "Leonard is averse to taking men who are too young and has refused several applications on that score. His own son, a boy of 20, is the youngest in the crew. The next in years is a man of 29, a dentist, who with one other member is now taking a course in assaying so as to be able to take care of that part of the business. Leonard is a shrewd business man. He is a carpenter by trade. In going he leaves a wife and daughters and a beautiful home to seek fortunes in the gold fields and he feels certain of success. One of the crew is a returned miner who has claims in the Klondike region.

    "This is, I think, the best manned and equipped expedition leaving here and I think they will make a success of the venture. You see it would cost as much for a man to outfit by himself as to buy into this crew. The man who goes with them will have associates of good judgment and business ability. They will have a home and will not be exposed to any of the hard-ships that may fall to the lot of the lone miner set adrift with his outfit.

    "The steamer is nearly completed and will be launched on the 21st of this month (March). It will then take but a short time to put in the machinery, which is all ready for placing. The marine inspectors have passed on the steamer for the sea trip and say they would give her license to go 'round the Horn. She will have an 18-inch false keel to make the voyage from here to St. Michaels. The keel will be taken off on entering the river.

    "Leonard was the promoter and president of the El Lueno de Oro Transportation and Mining Company, in which I am interested, but gave it up in favor of Captain McCulloch to go into the new scheme. The El Lueno expedition is wintering at St. Michaels and will proceed up the Youkon as soon as the river is open for navigation. Billy Coffee, who was once engineer at Spreckelsville is with the El Lueno expedition.

    "Leonard says frankly that he would like to have the Islands represented in his company and with the steamer, for the reason that if they do well a lot more capital will be required for more dredgers and he has the idea there is available capital in the Islands. He talks of ten more dredgers to cost $5,000 each. He would ship them up and mount them on barges to work the rivers."

    "It will be admitted that Mr. Hopke has made the matter of the expedition plans quite clear. In the two booklets to which he refers, both in possession of Colonel Cornwell, there is more detail of the enterprise.

    All of the miners have said that there was doubtless much gold in the streams of the country, especially in the Yukon. The way to get that gold is by dredging. Von Schmidt is the one man on the Coast who thoroughly understands that business. The field for prospecting and pumping the valuable gravel is without limit. The Yukon is one of the longest and oldest rivers in the world and there is gold all about it. This company is capitalized for $100,000 and the crew get no salaries till the earnings return twelve per cent on the whole investment. Colonel Cornwell is quite taken with the scheme and a number of other city people are enthusiastic concerning it. "Billie" Easie talked of such a plant of campaign before he left here.