“Gold fever” – Women did much more than work in the dance halls and help with laundry during the Yukon gold rush of the 1890s. Did you know that one out of ten “stampeders” was a woman? And some of the woman did quite well:
Typical of these hardworking women adventurers was Mrs. Willis, who left her disabled husband at home and set out alone to the Klondike, vowing that she would not return until she could bring a fortune with her. True to her word, she staked a claim that yielded $300,000.
Journalist Annie Hall Strong offered some advice for women headed to the Klondike. Her article, “Hints to Women,” first appeared in the December 31, 1897, edition of the Skagway News and was reprinted in newspapers around the country.
Women have made up their minds to go to the Klondike, so there is no use trying to discourage them ….when our fathers, husbands and brothers decided to go, so did we, and our wills are strong and courage unfailing. We will not be drawbacks nor hindrances, and they won’t have to return on our account.
Of the type of woman who should make the trip, she said
First of all, delicate women have no right attempting the trip…Those who love luxury, comfort and ease would better remain at home.
Strong herself had been one of those who contracted what she termed “acute Klondicitis.” She arrived in Skagway in the late summer of 1897.
You can’t help but admire the courage of these early pioneers. How about you, would you have been struck by “Gold Fever?”
Feature photo: Gold Rush