Stories indexed with the term ‘Yukon’

In the Archives: Alaska Trumps Michigan

Editor’s Note: Laura Bien’s local history column this week relates a familiar tale of a gold rush expedition that did not actually lay claim to any gold – but it’s through some elegant prose from an Ypsilanti teacher-turned-prospector’s diary.

A single personal belonging of onetime Ypsilanti teacher Frederick Boyd survives today: a diary preserved in Alaska. With Frederick, the tiny book crossed mountain passes, frozen snowfields, and part of the Pacific ocean. The book details Frederick’s struggle as a miner in the turn-of-the-century Klondike gold rush.


Beginning in the summer of 1897, Klondike travel agents began advertising in Ypsi papers. This ad is from the Jan. 27, 1898 Ypsilantian.

Frederick had likely read the stories in his hometown paper warning against Yukon hardships – stories that also detailed the luck of a fortunate few. Frederick had a secure job, a wife, and an infant daughter.

On the morning of March 6, 1898, the 33-year-old teacher stepped from the Ypsi depot platform onto an eastbound Michigan Central train. As it began to pull out, he saw his 27-year-old wife Celia on the platform holding their daughter Daphne. Frederick was leaving behind his classroom, his friends, his and Celia’s home, and his hometown. [Full Story]