Alaska Gold Rush History and Genealogy





Located in the Yukon River region. This is one of the older placer districts in Alaska. Gold was discovered in 1884 on the bars of 40 mile Creek and on Franklin Creek in 1887. April 1893 population was about 300 but swelled to more than 1000 after new gold discoveries made in 1893 (Source P 294).


US Geological Paper 610

The Fortymile district, between lat 64 °00' and 64 °30' N.. and long 141 °00' and 142°20' W., along the international boundary, includes the upper drainage of Fortymile River, one of the Yukon tributaries that joins the main stream in Canada. It is one of the oldest placer areas in the Yukon region and had uninterrupted output through 1959. According to Mertie (1938, p. 157), gold was discovered in the district in 1886, but Smith (1933, p. 96) listed small production beginning in 1883. Discoveries of rich stream placers in 1893 in the Sixtymile River area, across the international boundary, drew many prospectors to the Fortymile district as well, and in a relatively short interval all the major gold-producing grounds in the Fortymile district were found. The placers of Dome, Wade, and Chicken Creeks were all discovered during the 1890's (Mertie, 1938, p. 157). Large-scale mining methods-dredge and hydraulic-have been used with success, which is probably why the district was still active in 1959. Total recorded gold production of the Fortymile district through 1959 was about 400,000 ounces, all from placers. The most abundant country rock of the district, according to Mertie (1938, p. 148), is the Birch Creek Schist, but locally other rocks are present. In the Chicken Creek and Franklin Creek areas granite is exposed (Mertie, 1938, p. 171, 182). Small patches of Tertiary conglomerate, shale, and sandstone are known in the Chicken Creek and Napoleon Creek areas, and some lower Paleozoic greenstone and limestone is exposed along Napoleon Creek (Mertie, 1938, p. 184). Basalt, gabbro, and diabase, younger than the granite, are found in the central part of the Chicken Creek basin. The productive deposits are in gravels of Pleistocene to Recent age. There are also ancient placers in the Tertiary deposits, but none of these contain gold in commercial quantities. On the other hand, these Tertiary deposits, where eroded, contributed their gold to the younger deposits. Quartz veins related to the granite intrusives are the ultimate source of the gold, according to Mertie (1938, p. 154).


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