Newspaper Page Text
VOLUME LXXXH.-NO. 59.
SAILED FOR THE FROZEN GOLD FIELDS Cheers, Good Wishes and Good-Bys Speed Away the Excelsior* TEN THOUSAND PEOPLE SAW HER LEAVE. The Romance of the Yukon Clothed the Hundred and Twelve — Letters and Opinions on the Klondyke* It was good for the heart to see the ] stanch, pudgy, dirty Excelsior load up .with human soul* yesterday afternoon •' -and then swing from the turbid dock, rush out into the stream and plow its way to the Golden (.'ate and on to the *. chilling sea that Bering found. There were 10,000 men and women there at the sailing. Seldom has such a crowd been massed in San Francisco cityward from the | ark. It was a memorable scene. There were a few hours of growing hurry and bustle and massing of on lookers, a season of boarding and crowd ing, of laughing and crying, of hoping and trembling, of chatting and cheering, and then a few moments of loud hurrahs ■ as the 9ieamer swung and receded in the open bay, and the last adieux had been said and waved. * Tne Excelsior Las gone with 112 men and women bound for the mouth of the Yukon 2550 miies northward, and for the icy Onhir that lives at the end of a roman tic'if not perilous journey of nearly 2000 miles mor — the fri id Kiondyke Valley — ' that has fired a world. . The Excelsior will stop for coal at TJna ■ _-_a, .a the Aleutian .-''lauds, and barely may a letter reach here from there in week-*. Early in September the Excelsior will be bacK with news from the ones aboard of how they have fared to St. Michaels. How the Kiondyke has fired the popu lar imagination and absorbed the public interest! It was shown yesterday at Howard-ftreet wharf, where the Alaska Commercial Company's chief steamer lay and loaded. There was something about the Excels. or expedition that seemed to make it a tangible embodiment of the romance of the Yukon gold fields— a miniature of it ail on which . the soul could feed with its eyes. In truth the thing was a chapter of human life worthy of an hour's study by the hardest headed cynic. They may have been . fools, some of tlios? who strug gled up the gang-plank, but as for that it was "an affair of the heart" 'rather than of the head. They were strong-hearted ones, at least, who were envied and cheered; all gloried in their courage, and discretion was not cutting any figure in the thing. Very e.riy in the forenoon the crowd began to gather to watch the coming and loading of the picturesque lots of baggage and freight. The wind fluttered tne two blue pennants at the mastheads bearing respectively "Ex." and A. C. C 0.," the stevedores worked away and Captain Blair, the "ship's husband" of the com pany, was boss of the deck and all that went on before the hour of sailing. Passengers came early, especially the steerage ones, some of whom had plenty of money, out began roughing it from the start. Two wives came aboard with two strapping young husbands, and down in the stuffy steerage, where two could barely pass between the tiers of bunks, they picked out with wifely insistence just the right ones. Silas Peters, an old Comstocker. was early aboard, with his son, and the old man w 11 show how the thing is done. Another California miner of long ex perience and little lurk early lit his pipe on board. He had been staked with a thousand in Pasadena, his home, and then he was vaguely ready for the rustling ahead. Edward Holland, proprietor of the Com mercial Hotel, got aboard thirty bound monthly volumes of local dailies to be free reading at stores, hotels and saloons on the Kiondyke. Some boxes of fruit marked ''keep cool" were added to the deck piles and the donkey-engine at the bow kept jerking big slingfuls of bundles, trunks and boxes high in ihe air and deep in the hold. The boy with two uncles with a $2000 a day saloon at Dawson was nil right. The crowd grew to 2000 or so by 11 a. —„ when some customs searchers found fifty gallons of smuggled whisky in the hold and the confiscation of it began. It had been smuggled in by some of the crew without the knowledge of the company with a view to a fine speculation. It is" a violation of the Revised Statutes to take any whisky into Alaska without a permit from the Governor thereof, who lets a very little in ''for medicinal use." So th whisky went to the Appraiser's building, and Inspectors Johnson and Hills guarded the ship's side thereafter. Noon, an 4COO people. One o'clock, and 4000 more. The Excelsior was to sail at 2:30 and the crowd was growing. Cap tain Dunleavy sent for more and more policemen, and for a lime gangway to the gangplank and open spaces for baggage by the sbip's side were preserved. The passengers began to arrive in num bers, and the scene began to be intense as the bustle and the people increased. Everybody who knew anybody aboard wanted to get up the gangplank to say good-by, and the policeman and the stout deckhand at the loot of the gangplank had an awful time. It was a remarkable mixture on deck and shore. Millionaires and gaily-dressed women jostled broken-down miners, greasy laborers and "bums." all through that great human throng. On board were men of culture, name and character, and every range of mankind that with various purposes in view could rus tle a stake for the Kiondyke. They became fellows for the "gold rush." The deck became crowded when most of the passengers were aboard, for many friends of favored ones managed to get aboard for the good-by. The ninety-two cabin pas sengers made brief visits to the nice saloons and their quite comfortable berths, and came on deck to see the ex citement. The sense of the parting hour came an hour before leaving, when Captain Hig gins went to the bridge and gave two warn ing whistle-blast:., and then tbe unbidden tears began to start from many eyes and throats became lumpy. Wives and sisters here and there seemed to display a woman's intuition that the future would not be all bright. A young fellow of the steerage kissed three good-by and didn't speak. Many dove into corners to hide the tears ana some in lighter mood would "laugh to fl.e away.' A. T. Hatch, the famous fruitgrower, struggled thiough the seething mass to the gangplank to go, a hale, gray-bearded man, to retrieve a fortune. Some of his friends passed up to him a silken flag, and about the staff was a bouquet of carna tions. He joined a crowd that climbed to one of the boats which hung from its —BUT THE EXCELSIOR GOT AWAY FOR .CLONDYKE ' AFTER ALL. The San Francisco Call davits and watched the scene, waving to Iriend after friend who haded him in the crowd. Soon a gilded horseshoe and then a gilded slipper reached him and the crowd cheered. The passengers climbed to the deck nouses and the bridge and the crowds on the wharf jammed closer. The donkey engine still puffed and now and then bell clanging came from below. John Dag gett, W. D. English and Major Frank Mc- Laughlin were among the well-known ones that managed to get aboard for -.dwells. A man stood at the crowded head of the gangplank and tears ran down his cheeks. 'For God's see if you can find my wife, Jack," he pleaded. "I was to meet her at 1 o'clock and didn't." He searched the 10,000 faces and the tears flowed. Two women carrying babies fought their way to the fool of the gang plank and to the strong arm that barred the way. "Let us go in," one of them shouted, with a desperate wrench at the arm. But her good-by had to De shouted up to the deck. "Good boy, Trilby ; got to go," the boys shouted to the fellow in the corduroy suit, with a great big revolver strapped to him. Hastily scribbled notes began passing rapidly from out of the crowd over their heads as everybody gladly -passed them on, and "God bless yous" and "good-bys" were read by many on deck. A yellow - backed ' novel was hurled thirty feet to the deck for someone. It fell into the bay, but "The Colonel's Christmas Dinner," by Captain Charles King, was fished out by some volunteer and tossed to the deck. Everybody displayed an intense inter est in this scene and at the gangplank Captain Blair shouted like a skipper in a storm to the struggling guard at the other end, "That little fellow with the brown SAN FRANCISCO, THURSDAY MORNING, JULY 29, 1897. Animated Scene Just ; as the Excelsior Cast Off Her Lines From Mission Wharf No* J. hat is all right!" and "Let that second lady come up!" Carriages began to roll up late, as cabin passengers or their friends came down, and getting t: c carriages on the wharf was like getting a car along Market street on election night. Bouquets and baskets of flowers, twenty of them, were passed or tossed to the deck, but there'll be no flowers at Kiondyke. Men anxiously searched the crowd for faces they wished to see, and so did the few women -passengers who had taken the chances,, and adieqx were waved and shouted momentarily. Photog raphers were "' perched at every point of vantage. Old miners were plenty in the crowd, and scores of them looked on sadly, realizing that they were too old to go, anyway, and discussed the riches that were taken out at Michigan Bar and made fun of dude outfits they saw on deck. One of the last to come aboard was S. W. Wall, The Call's chief correspondent, who was met at the steamer by dozens of his friends who had warm hand clasps and a wealth of good wishes for him. The decks were finally ordered cleared of visitors, and then came many brief and fervent good-byes, some tearful. At 2:40 p. m. the steamer slowly swung away from the dock and put forth. As she did so one mighty cheer from thou sands of throats went up and the waving and cheering ended only when the steamer rounded the' wharf and dis appeared from view. Many hundreds there were sorry they were not aboard. Captain Blair, Leon Sioss and Captain Dunleavy went down the bay on the steamer as far as Meiggs wharf, and the search at once instituted when the ship cast away brought forth two stow aways, who accompanied the gentle man -mentioned to shore on the tug Ida W. One of them was Edward Williams, formerly -fireman on the steamer, and he had $300 in his pocket when he was dragged forth from under the boiler. The other stowaway was found in the painter's locker. *•*""'.. • The passage to St. Michaels- will take about sixteen days, and the steamer is ex pected back about September 5. A YOUNG LADY'S EYES. What Miss Grace Cralb ' Noted Amid the Jam and Hurrah About the Excelsior. "Got to go" was the cry as each passen ger boarded the Excelsior, the first boat since the fever has seized the people going direct to the gold fields. More than 8000 people were present to watch the boat leave the docks. The crowd was composed of men, women and children. There were people everywhere on the coal- bunkers, on top of surround ing buildings, and even on tbe masts of the near-by vessels. Enthusiasm ran high and those on the docks were nearly as enthusiastic as the lucky ones who were able to procure pas sage on the vessel. Cheer after cheer went up as some more or less well-known person boarded the boat. Outside of the newspaper men the most popular man who left, judging from the manner in which the crowd welcomed him, was ,W. M. Rank, former superin tendent of the Alameda Electric Railway. He was the recipient of one demijohn and fourteen bottles of — it must have been water. - «> <<>>' "Kitty" was another popular person. It took a long time to discover who "Kitty." was, but, after a great deal of trouble, she was found. Belore the boat left, though, she came to tronble for saying farewell to Continued on. Second Page. BUCCANEERS WAIT FOR NUGGETS A Wild Tale of Piracy Alarms the Nation's Capital. RUMORS OF RED-HANDED CHINESE. A Revenue Cutter Wanted to Convoy the Portland and Her Gold. PRESIDENT WEARE POURS IN DISPATCHES. The Portland Will Carry $2,000,000 on the High Seas and Captain Ktdjl's Ghost Is Abroad. WASHINGTON, D. C, July 28.—In formation that an attempt will be made by a gang of pirates, said to be Chinese, to 3e*z* an American steamer laden with $2,000,000 worth of gold dust from the Kion dyke has been received at the Treasury Department. Officials there are consid ering the advisability of sending a rev enue cutter to convoy the vessel to a place of .safely. A request for the protection of a cutter came from P. B. Weare of Chicago, presi dent of the Northwestern Transportation and Trading Company. Eli Gage, son of t'-e Secretary of the Treasury, is an offi cer of the company. Weare telegraphed the department yes terday that he desired to have a revenue cutter detailed to see the steamer Port land safely out of Bering Sea, as she would bring a large amount of gold dust. The telegram also said that the company feared trouble, but did not statu reasons for the belief nor the character of what was expected. It also sa:d that the cutter would not be needed from Unalaska to Seattle, "As we think we will be all right between those places." From other sources the department heard that pirates might attempt to seize the Portland, and that it was expected PRICE FIVE CENTS. that the vessel would convey about ' $2,000,000. Another telegram was received from, Weare to-day saying that steamers of the •. company would leave St. Michaels Au- . gust 5 and 15 and September 15. Natur ally the treasury officials are concerned over the rumors of a revival of buccaneer- • ing. They are reticent about their au thority for the report that Chinese pirates have organized an expedition to capture the Portland, but show that they believe ■ it has reliable foundation. 7 ■;■ ■ The uneasiness of Weare over the in formation is indicated in other telegrams wnich were sent urging that the request be granted. He did not say definitely when the Portland would leave for Seattle, but the wording of one of the dispatches points to September 15. The dispatch said that a large amount of treasure would be carried by the last steamer. Weare suggested that the revenue cutter Bear be assigned to the duty. The d partment will be unable to com ply with this request, however, as the Bear 'is required for other service, la order to secure definite information in quiry has been sent Weare to ascertain the date of the sailing of the vessel on which the gold dust is to be taken to Seattle. No cutter will be detailed until all necessary facts have been communi cated to the department Several revenue cutters attached to the Bering Sea fleet are available for service. Captain Hooper, the commanding officer of the fleet, was at Unalaska when last heard from, July 5. One Alaska trans- - portation company's steamers will leave for St Michaels in a short time, carrying dispatches from the Treasury Department to Captain Hooper. It will also probably be laden with a supply of arms and am munition for use in repelling any piratical attempt on the Portland. Whatever you see in "The Call" relating to the rich Kiondyke placers, you may rely* upon a* truth. THE CROWN'S CRAB. It Will Take IO and 20 Per Cent, Half the Claims and Then Be Enterprls -• OTTAWA, Oxt., July 28.— For two days the Dominion Cabinet has been in session discussing plans for the organization of the Yukon district and at the close of the final silting late last night the Govern ment's policy wae settled. . The most important decision is to im pose a royalty upon the output of the placer diggings. Under the regulations recently issued the fee for registering a .' claim was fixed at $15, while an annual assessment of $103 was to be paid by the holder. Now in addition to this royalty 10 per cent will be levied upon the out put of all claims yielding $500 per month and 20 per cent upon each c.aitn yielding over that amount. Among those posted the opinion is freely expressed that it will be impossible ' to so supervise the output of the thou** .