MR. W.J. ARKELL, of Frank Leslie’s illustrated newspaper and the Judge, is organizing an expedition of special correspondents and artists to explore Alaska this coming summer. It is believed that a thorough exploration of this comparatively unknown region will reveal more wonders than were discovered by Stanley in Africa.
The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Mar 20, 1890
The frontpiece of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated newspaper for the week ending June 28th consists of three pictures showing the start of the Alaska expedition on its long journey. An article accompanies the pictures giving the experiences of the party up to the present stage of their travels. It tells of the difficulties encountered to obtain natives to carry the necessary provisions and equipment into an unknown land. This expedition promises to be one which will rival Stanley’s in interest, especially in the minds of the American people.
Bismarck Daily Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota) Jun 29, 1890
Image from the “Alfred Bennett” files on rootsweb. Lots of good old pictures!
LOST IN A WILDERNESS.
Anxiety Regarding the Fate of Two Members of an Alaskan Exploring Party.
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 6. — Much anxiety is felt here over the fate of Wells and Price, two members of Frank Leslie’s Alaskan party, who started last fall with a small stock of provisions into the unknown Copper river country in Alaska. The last seen of them was on Forty Mile creek, where they bade good-bye to Schanz, when they declared their intention of pushing south down Forty Mile Creek, thence across Dividing Mountains and down Copper river canyon to the coast, a distance of about 800 miles.
They took a guide, who, after conducting them down that creek to the mountains that form the waters’ head between Yukon and Copper rivers, returned to Yukon. He reported they had set out boldly to pass through the almost unknown Copper river country, which is infested with hostile Indians, with few provisions and no winter clothing. Nothing has been heard of them since, and their relatives in Oakland and Kentucky are anxious regarding their safety.
New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Jan 7, 1891
Above image also from Univ. of WA Digital Collection
THE FATE OF WELLS AND PRICE.
The Frank Leslie Arctic Explorers in All Probability Lost.
SAN FRANCISCO, Cal. Jan. 11. — [Special] — News received by Professor George Davidson of the United States coast and geostation survey, stationed in this city, settles beyond doubt the fate of the two explorers, Wells and Price of the Frank Leslie Alaskan expedition.
Professor Davidson declares that there is only a ghost of a chance of their safety. The two men left Forty Mile creek for the unknown Copper river country last August at the same time that Schanz started for the coast with Greenfield, the Alaska census agent.
Schanz and Greenfield got through all right, though they made a thousand miles’ journey in the native canoes. Price and Wells were dissuaded from attempting to cross the divide and explore the Copper river country, as the season was far gone and the chances were that they would be caught by early snows. When they left the last outpost at Forty Mile creek they had only twenty pounds of rice and twenty pounds of flour and no fur clothes for winter. Price, however, who had spent two years in the arctic regions, said that they could easily buy supplies from the natives.
Since then absolutely nothing has been heard from them. The chief of the Copper river Indians, who left his home in October, reached the Alaskan Commercial company’s station at Alganic in November. He reported that nothing had been heard by his people of any white men up to October 20. The supposition from this is that Wells and Price have either perished or wandered from the regular trail and taken refuge in one of the widely separated Indian villages. If they were lucky enough to find an Indian village nothing will be heard from them till next month, when the natives come down to Alganic or Port Etches with skins to trade.
The chances, however, are greatly against their safety, as any news of white men is carried from one village to another over great distance in Alaska in a wonderfully short space of time.
Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Jan 12, 1891
Frank Leslie’s Alaskan expedition, sent out last year, has arrived at Port Townsend, after suffering great hardships. Claim they discovered the source of the Yukon river.
Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) May 4, 1891
Image from Univ. of WA digital collection (C. Hart Merriam’s Expedition Description)
A Member of the Alaska Exploring Party Returns.
Special to the Journal.
SAN FRANCISCO, May 6. — A.B. Schanz [Alfred B. Schanz], a member of the Wells-Price Alaska Exploring Expedition arrived here to-day. He was taken sick at Camp Davidson and left behind. He descended the Yukon river in a boat. He made his Winter quarters at an Esquimaux village and in company with John Clark, a trader, made a forty days’ trip north on sleds. On this trip Clark lake and Nogbelin river were discovered.
Daily Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) May 7, 1891
FRANK LESLIE’S Alaskan expedition is back, claiming to have discovered the source of the Yukon river in the Chilcot mountains a lake they were pleased to call Arkell. As nearly all the recent maps show this lake to be the source of the Yukon, it is not quite clear where the value of Arkell & Harrison’s discovery comes in.
Bismarck Daily Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota) May 8, 1891
SEVERAL members of the Alaskan exploring expedition sent out a year ago from New York under the guidance of Hazard Wells have arrived at Port Townsend, Wash. thus contradicting the report that the party had perished.
Stevens Point Journal, The (Stevens Point, Wisconsin) May 9, 1891
Above image also from the U of WA Digital Collection
Those of our people who knew E. Hazard Wells, at one time with E.T. Cressey on the Daily Leader, and at the same time a special correspondent for the Cincinnati Gazette, will be glad to know that he and his party have returned safely from their exploring expedition into the wilds of Alaska. About a year and a half since Mr. Wells and party were sent to Alaska by the Frank Leslie publishing company.
For 13 months they were lost in the wilds of the northern portion of that country, and suffered privations and hardships almost innumerable. Their escape from starvation was really miraculous. Mr. Wells says the swamps in Alaska are worse than the glaciers, and the mosquitos are more ferocious than the bears. He also says the geography of the country as represented by publishers, is very inaccurate. The experience of the explorers, together with a complete write-up of Alaska, will soon be published.
Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) May 20, 1891
From: Gold at Fortymile Creek: early days in the Yukon
By Michael Gates, 1994 (pages 58-59) Preview only on Google Books:
In 1890, three hundred miners were located in the Yukon basin. The Arctic was refloated and began to make more regular trips into the interior. Being newer and larger than the previous river vessels, it represented the gradual change which was taking place in the country as the population and gold production increased.
Eighteen ninety was also the first year in which a new route to the interior was opened up. The Chilkat Pass was jealously guarded by the coastal Tlingit, who denied White people access; but in the spring, a party of White men changed all that. Working for an American newspaper, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Magazine, E.J. Glave, E. Hazard Wells, and A.B. Schanz crossed the Chilkat Pass under the guidance of Jack Dalton, a seasoned northern veteran. The party arrived at Lake Arkell (which is now called Kusawa Lake) and divided into two groups. The first, consisting of Glave and Dalton, struck out overland to the west; the latter, including Wells and Schanz, continued to the mouth of Lake Arkell and into the Takhini River, from which they entered the Yukon just above Lake Laberge.
Glave and Dalton had an exciting journey overland along the Alsek River (now known as the Tatshenshini River), down which they travelled, stopping at Native encampments and chronicling the countryside as they went. They eventually arrived at the mouth of the Alsek River.
Wells and Schanz travelled down the Yukon River, arriving at Harper’s new post at Fort Selkirk on 18 June 1890, and encountering Al Mayo on the New Racket (which was carrying a few prospectors to the Pelly River) two days later. They arrived at Forty Mile on 22 June, where, due to Schanz’s ill health, Wells continued on alone. Departing Forty Mile on 3 July, Wells started upriver and arrived, a week later, at Franklin Gulch, near the upper limit of the gold-bearing creeks on the Fortymile River. Here he found forty miners, each working placer claims of 150 feet. The miners, usually working in partnerships of two or more men, were mining a zigzag paystreak some six feet below the surface and were making from six to seventeen dollars per day each. Those who were being paid a wage were receiving eight dollars per day; everyone was making money, but few were doing much better than that.
Wells continued his trek overland from the upper reaches of the Fortymile River until he reached the Tanana River, down which he travelled, arriving at St. Michael in September. He spent the winter travelling overland through Alaska and eventually arrived back in Washington state in early spring. This expedition was the first of a succession of journeys, made by gentleman travellers’ through the Yukon over the next few years. These observers left their mark on the history of the region in the written accounts of their travels. Glave and Dalton returned the following year to further explore the southwest Yukon. As a result of their discoveries, a new route into the interior was established. The famed Dalton Trail was used by Jack Dalton to transport horses and cattle north to the Yukon River and then downstream to Forty Mile. The trail became one of the minor routes of access to the Klondike River during the gold rush.
The Deseret Weekly: Stories of the Klondike Aug 21, 1897
A Chat with W.J. Arkell in which he talks about the Alaskan expedition.