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Has the steamer Dawson City been wrecked?

Arctic & Northern History

Northern Ships & Shipping

Alameda Daily Argus (Alameda, California) - November 1, 1898

Has the steamer Dawson City been wrecked?

    A dispatoh in the San Francisco Call from Seattle upon the arrival there from St. Michael of the steamer Portland contains a paragraph to the effect that the steamer Dawson City was wrecked on the Yukon. The dispatch reads:

    "The news from the Yukon is not very encouraging. At least a dozen river steamers are stuck on the sandbars of the river, and not one of them will be saved. The Dawson City, which left here in June last with a party among which was 'Charley' Bruce of the yacht Rover, was a total wreck. She went on a bar in the Yukon flats and broke her back. The gold hunters deserted her and were making the best of the circumstances at St. Michael when the Portland sailed."

    Charles Bruce was first mate of the Dawson City, and when Mr. Leonard left in company with Dr. Humphrey the steamer was stuck on a sandbar. That she has gone to pieces, however, as indicated by the dispatch, is not credited by those who know the Dawson City.

    "She is very strongly built and it would be impossible for her to break on a sandbar," said E. K. Taylor to-day. "Of course, if the ice caught her in such a position it would snap her, but thin ice is just now forming on the Yukon and there could have been no danger in this direction at the time described.

    "It may be that the story originated through Mr. Leonard coming out by way of St. Michael and the fact that the steamer had been stuck on a bar when he left her."

    Joseph A. Leonard when seen at his home by an ARGUS reporter this afternoon denounced the story from Seattle about the Dawson City as an absurd and self-evident fabrication.

    "The steanter which brought this report down left St. Michaels only two days after I did," said he, "and was longer on the way as she stopped at various islands to pick up passengers.

    "We have received letters from Tanana river, near where the Dawson City lies, and they state that our steamer is all right. Those letters came down on the Portland, the same steamer which is alleged to have brought the news of the disaster. Mrs. Captain Barnes, aunt of Mrs. Requa, who was with our party, also got a letter dated on the 24th, ten days after I left.

    "It would be impossible for the steamer to break its back, and as all the dredging machinery had been taken out and the men were preparing to go into winter quarters when I left, it would be ridiculous to say they would go down to St. Michael even if anything did happen. They would simply remain where they were in winter quarters.

    "The Dawson City will be put on the ways for the winter, which will be done with little difficulty."

    Mr. Leonard is improving fast and wishes to express his deep appreciation of the general soiicitude in his behalf. He had no idea he had so many kind friends, he says, and he will soon be able to see them.