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The Sternwheeler Prospector - last boat into Dawson in 1903

The Yukon River Sternwheeler Prospector

The Yukon Sun - Wednesday, October 21, 1903

PROSPECTOR MAKES PORT - After Remarkable Trip Down River - October 21, 1903.

    After battling with the ice for five days the Prospector, Captain Wallace Langley at the wheel, arrived last evening with three scows in tow. As she swung into the shore opposite the foot of Princess street, not a person on the ice but complimented the skipper that brought his boat through with such a big tow.

    Willing hands grasped the line thrown ashore and rushed pell-mell over the broken and frozen surface of the Yukon to make it fast on shore. A second later a cable was sent ashore, and the little craft had ended a voyage which seems very remarkable after so many boats had failed to make good on the same trip.

    A Sun reporter was one of the first aboard the craft and Captain Langley was queried about the trip.

    "I want you to understand one thing," began the captain, "and that is the Yukon will have no ice in if it continues to get much lower. Ice might form in pools, but there will be no water running. Why, a steamer running now is nothing more than a river sleigh. Fact!

    "We left Whitehorse on Sunday morning at daylight and made the foot of Laberge that night. The next day we tied up just above Big Salmon. Tuesday we reached a point just above Five Fingers. Thursday we came to Hellgate and found the Tyrrell had a big manila line across the channel with which she was trying to pull herself off the bar. The line would not sink in the water, and we had to wait until next day in order to get by her. Not a stick of wood was aboard the Tyrrell when we left there. We could not help her and so came on the next morning. This was on Friday, and we ran into the mush ice that day and drifted in it until we reached a point six miles below Selwyn, where we drifted on a bar as a result of the well being frozen up on the boat, which did not permit the boilers getting water. It was pretty tough to feel that had the engines been working the bar would certainly have been missed.

    "It so happened that Dan Steere, with twenty men, was aboard, and they all pitched in and helped to lighter the scows.

    "Monday we left our bar and tied up that evening at Stewart, and yesterday came through to Dawson. The ice is bad, but, by my love of salad day, the water in the Yukon is about as low as it can get and be called a river.

    "When we passed the boats at Steamboat slough the Whitehorse and Selkirk were trying to pull the others off the bars. The boarders on the Selkirk and Whitehorse gave us a great yell as we passed by. The Zealandian was afloat and assisting some. The Canadian was hard on and so was the Bailey.

    "We passed the Thistle above Ballarat. The Columbian at Indian river is what I call a boat very much out of water, for there does not seem to be more than a foot of water under her, and she is right at the head of a bar broadside on."

    Captain Langley stated that the ice was nowhere as thick as it was from Indian river to Dawson, Anchor ice came to the surface carrying gravel, which shows that the water was very cold.

    Among the passengers was Frank Mortimer, who is loud in his praise of the work done by Captain Langley. Mr. Mortimer says the captain was on watch from the time the boat left Whitehorse, was always busy, and, above all, was good natured. Mrs. Mortimer returned with her husband.

    The freight was consigned to the following parties:

    Palmer Bros., 44 tons; Stewart River Company, 40½ tons; G. I. C. Barton, 27 tons; Pacific Cold Storage Company, 64 packages; P. Miller, 2; Mrs. Hutcheon, 13; W. E. Squires, 4; Hershberg & Co., 6; Vaut & Miller, 89; E. Leibman, 26; Ladue Company, 1,372; G. I. C. Barton, 330.

    Following were the passengers:
    From Whitehorse - A. B. Palmer, Mrs. Hutchinson.
    From Minto - D. Steere, J. Mcleod, C. H. Wood, J. B. Nott, D. J. McAuliff, Joe Cardinal, F. J. Rogers, J. N. Storrey, D. McRae, A. Beetey, L. Duebell, G. R. Wallace, F. M. Graham, F. Charbot, D. La Francois, F. Oulette, O. DeBuryne, G. Melville, L. Annalfe.
    From Stewart - M. Smith, P. Nelson.
    From Indian River - Mrs. Kuba, Miss Kennedy, Dan Swecier, William Eilarg.

    In the same issue of The Yukon Sun, there were also two brief reports on the activities of two of the passengers:

"Among the passengers arriving on the Prospector last evening was A. B. Palmer, of the firm of Palmer Bros., local merchants. Mr. Palmer has been in the East for several months, principally at Ottawa. He says that business was never better than at present. Great enthusiasm prevails over the proposed Grand Trunk Pacific railroad, and on every hand are heard words to the effect that it will be the making of Canada, especially the West. While at Whitehorse he picked up the last of the shipments made by his firm and had the pleasure of landing here last evening with a scow which contained what was left of the firm's orders for the year."

"Dan Steere and twenty men returned on the Prospector last evening from a two months' trip over the government road from Stewart river to Minto putting it in good repair. Steer declares the road to be fit for the heaviest kind of traffic now, and that no one can complain aout the winter road this year."

A photo of the Yukon River sternwheeler Prospector at Dawson on October 20, 1903.
"Last boat to arrive - Oct 20, 1903." Photo by Goetzman, Dawson.