ED COLEMAN: Klondike gold lured county men

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In a scrapbook at the Kings County Museum is a clipping from an 1899 issue of The Advertiser reading, “After a year’s absence, Josiah Bordon, son of George Bordon, Church Street, has returned from the Klondike gold fields.”

No mention is made of Josiah’s success - or lack of it - in the Klondike.  Like more than a few Kings County men, Josiah must have been tempted by stories of easy riches in the Klondike; and, like most men who made the long, arduous trip to the Yukon, he probably came home empty handed. 

Between 1896 and 1899, the community newspapers of Kings County reported local men of various occupations left home heading for the gold fields.  Those newspaper reports never mentioned the local boys found gold, and from this omission we can assume they didn’t.

However, one man who did strike it rich in the Klondike was North Alton-born Everett Ward.  A Northwest Mounted Police corporal at the time gold was discovered in the Yukon, Ward quickly retired from the force and headed for the gold fields.  His obituary, published in The Advertiser on his death in 1934, says he returned to Kings County a rich man.  Apparently, Ward’s proximity to the gold fields allowed him to get there early and stake a good claim.  Latecomers to the Klondike, such as the Kings County locals, found the various creeks and rivers with potential already claimed.

Klondike Ward, as he was known, left his mark on Kentville.  Most of the 10 or 12 houses and two or three stores he constructed in the town are still standing.  Klondyke Street in Kentville, even though the spelling is slightly different, is believed to have been named for him, but it isn’t known why.

As for the Kings County men – and, possibly, women – who ventured to the Klondike, I mentioned above their missions for gold were often recorded in community newspapers, such as the Register and Advertiser.  Here are a few typical excerpts from those papers, taken with his permission from a website created by Phil Vogler of Berwick:

“February 2nd 1898. Sheffield Mill.  Mr. Will Borden, who returned from British Columbia last autumn, intends going to the Klondike next week.  To the Klondike.  A party of five, one of whom is Ralph Crichton of Woodville, purpose leaving Halifax today for Edmonton, en route to the Yukon.”

“February 23rd, 1898.  Hantsport – The western fever has struck our town.  One of our boys left last Monday for the Klondike.”

“March 2nd 1898.  Gaspereau - On Monday Mr. Mariner Davison started for the Klondike.  It is hoped that he will be successful.”

“March 8th 1898.  Canning – Dr. G. L. Foster left last Friday for Ottawa, where he expects to join a party for the Klondike.  Canning will have quite a showing in the western country before long.  There will be quite a number start from here next week.”

 

Organizations: Kings County Museum

Geographic location: Kings, Yukon, Church Street Kentville North Alton Northwest Mounted Police Klondyke Street British Columbia Halifax Edmonton Gaspereau Ottawa

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