August 28, 2009

The Dr. Howard Kelly diary.

(Click image to enlarge)
The dreaded White Pass trail

The following passages come from the personal diary of Dr. Howard A. Kelly who traveled into the Klondike in the spring of 1898.

March 25, 1898 — Conditions at Skagway and Dyea are similar. The most prominent feature of the landscape is the activity of the shell-game men and their cappers. How anyone can be deceived by these crooks is a mystery, but many are. They look evil, and are evil. Great numbers lose heavily and a good many have had to give up their journey and turn back, all funds being lost.

Later there is this entry—

Shell-game tables extend from Dyea to Sheep camp and one comes across them every hundred yards or so. The U.S. soldiers here do not look like soldiers. They are slovenly. Too often they are seen watching the shell-games and never once have I seen them do anything in the nature of police work.


  1. Sounds a bit like Dr Howard Kelly and the glass of milk story of recent times. He had a social conscience.

  2. Does anyone know where this diary is? Is there any more about the trip to alaska?

  3. Hi, Terry.
    I found the information on the diary in Sourdough Gold: The Log of a Yukon Adventurer by Mary Lee Davis, 1933.


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