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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, July 29, 1897, Image 1

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Cheers, Good Wishes and
Good-Bys Speed Away
the Excelsior*
The Romance of the Yukon Clothed the
Hundred and Twelve — Letters
and Opinions on the
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
A Wild Tale of Piracy
Alarms the Nation's
A Revenue Cutter Wanted to
Convoy the Portland and
Her Gold.
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
that the vessel would convey about '
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.
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** .

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