When the steamship Cleveland left Seattle’s docks on March 1, 1898, William Jay Woodin was on board, traveling with his father and several others. They were chasing the nineteenth century’s last great gold rush, but instead of mining, they planned to earn their fortune by providing supplies.
Enhanced with family photographs and skillfully edited, Will’s writings—including diaries, a short story, and a delightfully candid 1910 memoir—record events, emotions, and reflections, as well as his youthful wonder at the beauty surrounding him. Unlike many stampeders, Will’s party chose to take both the White Pass Trail and the Tutshi Trail, and his story offers a rare glimpse into ordeals suffered along this less common route.
Will’s experiences also epitomize a mostly untold story of how working-class men endured a grueling Yukon journey. He was part of an emerging middle class who, with minimal formal education, left farm life to seek urban employment. Whether packing tons of goods on their own backs or building boats at the Windy Arm camp, Will brings to light the cooperation and camaraderie necessary for survival.
Editor Catherine Spude is a historian and archaeologist. Her book about the legend of Soapy Smith was a finalist for a Western Writers of America Spur Award. She has written popular history for magazines and newspapers as well as numerous journal articles.
“Will Woodin’s story is new, interesting, and well written. What the editor has given us is truly a gift.”—Charlene L. Porsild, Ph.D., President /CEO, Montana History Foundation
“A detailed and entertaining description of the ‘other route’ to the Yukon gold fields.”—Dennis Larsen, author of Slick as a Mitten
Illustrations, maps, notes, bibliography, index
6" x 9", 326 pages
For genealogists, Woodin family members, and social historians who want a research tool, visit our page with a transcription of Will Woodin's manuscript autobiography. Click here.
Coming in May 2016
All for the Greed of Gold: Will Woodin's Klondike Adventure
Catherine Holder Spude
Washington State University Press
Click here to order your copy.