1897 Women’s Survival Kit

The following suggestions were made to women in order to survive in the Klondike. The women that were strong and stubborn that followed their husbands, fathers and brothers in the fever for gold complied this survival kit.  I found it interesting and I decided to share it.

Women must be properly clothed and equipped for the trip to the interior. The most important item is proper footwear. Some women have worn shoes that are three times larger than one’s foot. It is not necessary. Get a shoe that fits. If the sole is not very heavy, have an extra one added. Moccasins can be purchased from the Indians. The tall bicycle shoe with extra sole would make an excellent walking shoe. A pair of rubbers fitted to these might come in handy during the rainy season. A woman should start out with these items:

  • 1 pair house slippers
  • 1 pair knitted slippers
  • 1 pair heavy soled walking shoes
  • 1 pair Arctics
  • 1 pair felt boots
  • 1 pair German socks
  • 1 pair heavy gum boots
  • 1 pair ice creepers
  • 3 pair heavy wool stockings
  • 3 pair summer stockings

A ready-sewed tick would be nice to have, for it can be filled with dried moss and makes a good pioneer mattress. Also 1 feather pillow, 1 rubber blanket, 1 piece of canvas, and 3 or 4 wool blankets would make a snug bed. Some people have tried sleeping bags and have been disappointed in them. A piece of canvas 5 x 14 feet can take its place. Fold half of the canvas on the ground, place your bedding on it, and draw the other half over you. Thus you are protected from the dampness and the wind. If you are caught in a blizzard without a tent, you can stretch the canvas over a pole and have a temporary tent.

In the way of wearing apparel, a woman can get by in comfort with these items:

  • 1 good dress
  • 1 suit heavy mackinaw, waist, and bloomers
  • 1 summer suit
  • 3 short skirts of heavy duck or denim to wear over bloomers
  • 3 suits winter underwear
  • 3 suits summer underwear
  • 1 chamois undervest
  • 1 long sack nightdress made of flannel or elderdown
  • 1 cotton nightdress
  • 2 pair Arctic mittens
  • 1 pair heavy wool gloves
  • 1 cap
  • 1 Arctic hood
  • 1 hat with brim broad enough to hold mosquito netting away from face
  • 1 summer dress
  • 3 aprons
  • 2 wrappers
  • 2 shirt waists
  • snow glasses
  • summer gloves to protect from mosquitoes
  • satchel

When an Alaskan outfit is packed down in a canvas bag, it takes too long to search for what you need. Try using 3 canvas bags instead. One can be used for the bedding, another for the wearing apparel, and the last for foot wear. It makes unpacking and repacking unnecessary.

A good-sized mess box with a hinge cover and lock, containing enough food for the trip will be a great convenience and avoids the extra work of opening sacks and boxes at every camp. Some camp sites have commissary departments to purchase items such as butter and evaporated eggs. These items are useful in your mess box:

  • flour
  • bacon
  • salt
  • yeast
  • pepper
  • rice
  • beans
  • sugar
  • cornmeal
  • dried fruits
  • baking powder
  • condensed cream
  • beef extract
  • pilot bread
  • canned meats
  • chocolate

I wonder how those women carried all those belongings, don’t you?IMG_0848

 

 

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Anchorage

Anchorage is surrounded by the sea and Cook’s Inlet as well as the mountains. I consider it  a springboard to other destinations of Alaska. You can take a boat, ship, plane, bus, or ride the train from it.

There are many museums, including inside the Federal Building. Near West First Street is a monument of Eisenhower, for you history buffs. The Cook’s Hotel has a statue and a painting of Captain Cook. There are also several old paintings of the natives and the captain’s arrival.

For those who love to shop, you will be intrigued by the five-floored mall in downtown Anchorage. There are many fun tourist shops around too. Some shops have stuffed bears and moose to welcome guests. My favorite candy shop is inside the Cook Hotel. The owner colored his chocolates to look like the Northern Lights. How creative!

Many little parks dot the landscape of Anchorage. The Earthquake Park has a resident moose. Easy access from downtown is an eleven-mile coastal trail with spectacular views of the Cook Inlet. Kincaid Park is known for mountain biking. Many bicycle rental places are available. The pioneer spirit survives here. Anchorage has a population that appreciates the outdoors and never takes for granted the beauty here.

Ketchikan

Ketchikan, Alaska is known as the salmon capital of the world. I saw a tumbling creek where the salmon spawned  I actually saw more salmon in Skagway than Ketchikan. July through August are the best times to watch the salmon jump. It’s also the time when bears, eagles, and other wildlife that love fish will come out into the sea.

Ketchikan is also known for its totem poles and native artwork. I found it funny that the tourist shop owners hustled to get their wares out when cruise ships approached the docks. As soon as the tourists board their ships, the store owners close shop. Every where you turn, there is a jewelry store. I avoided them and headed to the museums. Enjoy the pictures.

 

Precious Gold

During the Klondike Gold Rush, gold was used as currency. It was eliminated from common coinage in 1933, yet gold is well used in today’s world that the average person doesn’t realize.

Gold is a heavy, yellow metallic chemical element. It has the greatest density of any mineral and because of its high density, it collects in streams as placer gold. Miners collected the gold nuggets and gold dust in pans, rockers, and sluice boxes. Pure gold is a soft metal that scratches, bends, and breaks easily. Therefore, gold is often mixed with other metals for use in jewelry.

Gold is reflective and is an excellent conductor of electricity. It can be drawn or molded into wire or threads. It doesn’t tarnish, rust, or dissolve in water and most acids. Due to this nature, gold is now used in many technical fields. Did you know that gold is used in the trigger deployment system of airbags in cars? Auto manufacturers use gold to dry paint on their cars. Gold-plated connectors operate in a car’s engine to withstand high temperatures and corrosive environment under a car’s engine hood.

Many aircraft use gold-coated acrylic windows in cockpits to help the windows stay clear of frost and fogging. The reflectability of gold helps keep the cockpit cool on hot runways. It also maintains the heat of the cabin while in flight at high, cold altitudes. Did you know that Air Force One uses gold reflectors to confuse an incoming missile’s heat-seeking signal? It makes it difficult for the guidance system to focus on its target. Gold protects the onboard computers in the Galileo space probe. It is used in satellites and the space shuttle’s electronic circuitry.

A telephone’s mouthpiece has a transmitter that contains gold in the diaphragm. Telephone jacks and connecting cords also use gold for contacts. Gold is the best material to use in microcircuits of electronic equipment. Did you know that gold is used in medical monitoring equipment?

Wouldn’t those miners of yesterday be surprised how precious gold has become? I found this information interesting.

Skagway: A Gateway

Skagway means the windy place. With only 27 inches of moisture a year, Skagway is known as the sunshine capital of southeast Alaska. Its soil is rich and with the summer hours of the long daylight or Midnight sun, visitors will be surprised at the enormous growth of vegetation and flowers. The height of the gold rush had barely passed when the local residents exercised their green thumbs. By 1905, the White Pass railroad’s brochure proclaimed the beauty of Skagway’s flowers and prolific gardens.

The city had its history of brothels in its day. In 1898, on the corner of 6th and State, the Red Onion Saloon was a dance hall and bordello. It was moved later to Broadway. On some of the side streets, you can visit some of the old Red Light district areas. Not far from there, is a historic log cabin built by Captain William Moore and his son. He had followed gold rushes and settled there. He prospered, after the flood of gold seekers, by owning a dock, warehouse, and a sawmill.

Another interesting building is the Artic Brotherhood Hall. The old lodge members had collected 8, 800 pieces of driftwood and nailed them to the front wall. The building is now the home of the Visitors Bureau.

The Golden North Hotel is said to be haunted. Its famous resident, Mary was a woman  that succumbed to pneumonia in room 23 while waiting for her fiancé to return with gold. Guests claim to see her spirit in the room and feel a sensation of choking.

During the Gold Rush, criminals and con artists set up shop. One of the most notorious was “Soapy” Smith. He erected a fake telegraph company and charged $5.00 to send a message. The scam was the wire never left Skagway. The Klondike Gold Rush lasted just a few short years, but it made Skagway a bustling boomtown. No matter where you go in this town, you’ll feel like you are stepping back in time with its wooden sidewalks and  storefronts in a colorful picture of its past.

Not talked about for some unknown reason is a small creek park before you walk into the main drag of the city. In July and August, you can see the salmon jumping about as they are in the process of spawning. It’s a great wonder to watch. I highly recommend visiting this town.

 

War of Bird Poop

Believe it or not, back in the 1840’s there was a war over bird poop. Europe and the USA had a population growth in the 19th century that strained the limits of agriculture. The land needed a boost of nutrients to grow food. A naturalist, Alexander Von Humboldt had discovered that plants around the desert coastal areas of Peru had been fertilized with guano and grew well. The pre-Columbian civilizations of the Incas and Moche had practiced agriculture with the dung. The seabirds on the islands and islets of Peru deposited excrement in layers over a hundred feet deep on these undisturbed islands. The dry climate preserved the nutrients in the mountains of dung. Vast flocks of numerous varieties of seabirds gathered to feast on the schools of fish that teemed in the waters cooled by the Peru current.

The first delivery of Peruvian guano arrived at the docks of Southampton, England and caused a stir because of the stench. Guano’s miraculous properties caused demand to skyrocket and triggered a financial boom. The Peruvian government allowed British and French companies to collect and trade the commodity in return for a cut in the profits. Merchants bought the guano for 12 pounds sterling per ton and sold it for double the amount. The boom sparked a search for new guano reserves. The USA wanted access to cheaper guano, but was frustrated by established British interests in Peru. The US government took formal action in 1856 and passed the Guano Islands Act. This allowed American citizens to take possession of any island containing deposits of guano, provided it wasn’t inhabited or under jurisdiction of another state.

Removing solidified bird feces was hard work. The workers inhaled noxious dust that contained pathogens which caused respiratory illnesses and dysentery. The government had problems keeping workers either from the people dying or refusing to work. Chinese indentured servants were brought in, but it proved to be too much endurance. Pacific islanders were recruited. Prompted by guano fever, the US took over territories in the Pacific and Caribbean. In 1889, the guano workers revolted and killed the supervisors. In the end, dwindling reserves deflated the guano bubble.

Norway started production of artificial nitrogen fertilizer in 1905 after the era of guano was over. The USA in 2014 applied preservation over guano-bearing islands. The Pacific Remote Island Marine National Monument is the world’s largest marine reserve. Approximately, 490,000 square miles are protected now.Ireland Mizzen Head

Early Seattle Vigilantes

I have heard stories about the depression era and other histories of Seattle, but this one caught me by surprise. I thought I would share it. In 1882, the public was outraged by the ineffective police response, increased lawlessness, and lenient court systems. After a popular merchant had been robbed and murdered, an organized vigilante committee apprehended two suspects. (The suspects had hidden in a haystack on a wharf.)

The mob overpowered the police and dragged the men,  James Sullivan and William Howard, to trees, near Henry Yesler’s home, and hung the men. A third man, Ben Payne, held for the murder of a police officer, was strung up beside the other two suspects.

For a progressive city to bypass the legal system was viewed as a mistake, even though the action had received public approbation at the time.

The Woman That Fought for Pants

March was Women’s History Month. I went to the White River Museum to see the displays about the past working women. The museum also had information and books on the subject of women’s voices in the past. I found this story interesting and thought I would share it. It’s about a woman that stood up to wear pants.

The revolution of 1789 was fought by the poor and most of them women. All over Europe, the poor revolted against the rich. The people worked long hours in filthy conditions for scraps of food and a place to live. They marched down the streets and demanded fair wages, bread, and soap.

With each new revolution, ruling men took away the rights of women so they couldn’t form clubs or take part in politics. Times were hard and sickness everywhere. Crops were failing and people were hungry. This is the world Marie Suize lived in. She was one of ten children and she wanted a better life.

In France of 1849, a poster advertised about the riches of mining gold in California. Marie Suize followed her brother to America for a chance at a better life. They arrived in California and took a steamboat to Sacramento. From there, they rode mules to the mining camp of Amador County. The miners were eager to see a woman, but they expected Marie to cook and clean for them. Marie had other ideas and told them no. She wanted to dig for gold like her brother.

There were standard dress codes for women in those days. After mud filled her shoes and soaked through her skirts, Marie had a terrible time getting to the gravel area. The miners laughed at her. Marie went back to her shack and put on her brother’s extra pair of pants and one of his shirts. She pinned up her hat and smashed a hat over her head. She pulled on some tall boots and strode through the mining area. The men were shocked at her attire. A lady wasn’t supposed to dress that way. The few women that came to camp, snubbed her because she wore pants. It was illegal for a woman to wear pants. It was considered “cross-dressing.” Marie worked as hard as the men in mining for gold and eventually they accepted her. They nicknamed her, “Marie Pantalon.”

Marie struck it rich. She invested in shares of mines and she also bought some land. She prospered by making wine on her land with a friend. Marie opened a wine shop in San Francisco and a liquor store in Virginia City, Nevada. Marie loved the freedom of wearing pants, but the law was firm. One day, she drove her wagon to Virginia City to check in on her store. She was reported by some gossipers and arrested for wearing pants. Marie was fined five dollars and instructed to wear lady’s attire.

Her adventure caused a protest during the Women’s Suffrage Movement and they organized a meeting to express their indignation. Many of the ladies in California did not approve of Marie’s pants. The Women’s Movement was afraid they would lose their fight for the vote if they appeared to want their freedom too. They thought of Marie as an embarrassment. So by the time she returned to Amador County, Marie was arrested for wearing pants. Her fellow miner friends supported her. They coaxed the judge into dropping the charges, as it was a waste of time and to go hunting instead. Marie lived out her days in that town and wore her pants. She wore a dress though, whenever she left her county.

Back in the 1970’s,  girls also fought for the right to wear pants to school. The dress code had been for girls to either wear a dress or a skirt to their knee caps, until the law was changed. Women are strong and will always fight for what’s right.

The Power of Nicotine

Nicotine is a natural insecticide that comes from the family of nightshade plants, including the tobacco plant. Purified nicotine was used by farmers many years ago as an insecticide, until it was found toxic to humans. It takes only 60 mg of nicotine to kill a human being. So why do people still smoke?

The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world’s population of 7 billion people smoke tobacco on a regular basis.  The average cigarette yields 2 mg of absorbed nicotine in the body and a regular smoker can take 60,000 hits of nicotine in a year. Despite it’s a poison at high doses, low doses of nicotine are addictive. When smoked, nicotine-rich blood reaches the brain within 7 seconds. Nicotine works in the brain by binding to receptors that cause an increase in alertness and arousal. The Dopamine-producing neurons promote craving. Nicotine overstimulates the craving circuit to expect a big reward. This system can be activated by perceiving the cues associated with smoking such as seeing a pack of cigarettes, a bar, or smelling smoke.

Tobacco smoke contains thousands of chemicals that are inhaled into the lungs and absorbed into the body. Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and the number one killer of Americans. It is the third leading cause of death from chronic lower respiratory disease. Chewing tobacco is a major mouth cancer risk.

About 35% try to stop smoking each year, but less than 5% succeed. Withdrawal symptoms include: irritability, stress, depression, insomnia, anxiety, decreased heart rate, increased appetite, weight gain, and problems with concentration. The US Surgeon General has said, “Smoking cessation represents the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of life.”  The nicotine content of American cigarettes increased in the late 1900s and early 2000s. By 2012, smoking cigarettes declined to 20.5% of men and 15.3% of women. Millions of smokers want to quit and haven’t been able to quit. Many of these people need professional help and treatment to attain permanent abstinence from nicotine. Available treatments include: behavior therapy, medications, and nicotine patches. It is generally accepted that failed quit attempts are part of the road to permanent abstinence. Nicotine is one of the most powerful addictions and that is the reason why some people can’t quit without help.

The Panic Years

Our economy has suffered over the last few years, but our elders that lived through the depression of 1929 can attest that they have seen worse. After reading through some old history books I found in some antique stores, I can honestly say that 1873 seemed far worse than the depression era of 1929. Why is it that no one speaks of that panicky year of financial instability?

In 1873, stocks depreciated more than two hundred million dollars. New York alone saw nine hundred people starve to death while  thirteen hundred citizens died of violent deaths.

The Children’s Aid Society provided shelter to over eleven thousand homeless boys, while thousands more didn’t receive any help. Three thousand infants were found abandoned on their doorsteps and more than one hundred babies were found dead in dumps and ash-barrels.

Businesses failed by thousands, hundreds of thousands of laborers lost their jobs, diseases and crime increased, and the nation faced disastrous poverty. After all this, plus the depression era of 1929, why can’t America learn from its mistakes?

 

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