Yukon Riverboat Days

A first hand account of the trials, tribulations and hardships of Riverboat men and their families lives in the Yukon.

Many books have been written about the Klondike gold rush of 1898, and the paddlewheelers that piled the waters of the mighty Yukon and its tributaries. Much less attention has been paid to the folks who lived along the shores of the river; between the main centers of Dawson City and Whitehorse, in the Yukon Territory. There were times, when I was writing this book, that I found myself in a kind of ‘Time Warp’. The period of my life as a child, growing up in Whitehorse in the decade between 1930 and 1940, became the present, and I was looking back from there to the turn of the century. The early years on the Yukon river, about which I was writing, seemed much closer from that perspective and I found it easier to identify with the folks whose stories I have told here (many of whom I know personally as a child, as older people). Some of these folks have since passed on, but have loft this account of their personal experiences. Others are very much alive, having come to the Yukon in the more recent days of the riverboats. Many of these true-life chronicles are excerpts from personal interviews with Yukon old-timers, taped in the mid-1970’s. In fact, one gentleman, Mr. Frank Goulter, was 102 years old at the time with a memory that would put a lot of much younger people to shame.

I am proud to have this opportunity of passing these fascinating memoirs on to you. The should not be allowed to die, unheard. Together, they form a colorful mosaic of the early history of the riverboat days in the Yukon. Included here are woodcutters, riverboat men, mounties, and trading post operators, and the wives and families of these men.

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