Juneau, Alaska: 11 January 1899.
Juneau, Alaska: 11 January 1899. Quarto (ca. 27,5x21 cm or 10 ¾ x 8 ¼ in). Two leaves of watermarked lined paper with the printed letterheads of the “Circle City Hotel, Juneau.” 3 pp. Text in black ink, written in a legible hand. Fold marks, the lower right blank corner of the second leaf is torn off (not affecting any text); overall a very good letter.
Interesting Klondike Gold Rush-era private letter. The author, one “W.W. Kennedy,” wrote to his “Dear Old Mother” (“Mrs. William Kennedy, Whippleville, New York”) on the stationery of Juneau’s well-known “Circle City Hotel” (built by Lockie MacKinnon and George Miller on Third Street in 1895-96, demolished in 1924). Originally from New York state, Kennedy compared New York State's winter conditions to those in Juneau, talked about his wages, plans for the future and overall challenging situation with gold mining with too many prospectors. He also wrote a lot about his family back in the east. Overall a nice early Alaska letter.
Excerpts from the letter: “I have been putting off writing to you as I have not known what I was going to do from one day to another. I am still at work here but was cut down to 8 hours a day the middle of last month so that only leaves me $3.20 a day, but as this country is full of idle men and no work for them to do, I consider myself quite lucky to get work at all and if I was not a good workman I could not get a job at all. I am going to hold this job if nothing happens till spring opens and then I can do better. I am working now for a stake so that we can go home next year <…> It is very lonesome up here for me but when I came up here I expected to get $5.00 a day but everything is at a stand still at this season of the year and every boat that comes brings a load of men and some of them are dead broke and can’t get back if they wanted to. <…> It is 14 years this winter since I was at home, it don’t see, that long, does it? The weather is not as cold up here as it is in York state but it is cold enough the last few days. It is 8 degrees above zero today but you know Juneau is on the sea coast and the air is damp and we feel the cold more on that account…”.