On the Porch

The Klondike Gold Rush was an event of migration by an estimated 100,000 people prospecting to the Klondike region of north-western Canada in the Yukon region between 1896 and 1899. It’s also called the Yukon Gold Rush, the Last Great Gold Rush and the Alaska Gold Rush. An estimated 100,000 people tried to reach the Klondike goldfields, of whom only around 30,000 to 40,000 eventually did. Around 4,000 found gold.

Because of the harsh terrain and even harsher weather, it took gold rushers a year to reach the Klondike. The long climb over mountainous terrain and frozen rivers, coupled with the intense cold and frequent snowstorms, made for a long and arduous journey. Many gave up to due to the difficulties of the journey and returned home; some were not able to survive the extreme temperatures and died.

The gold rush fever hit Marshall and Lyon County. John Hollo, a land owner and general store merchant in Marshall, was one of the men who headed to the Klondike in January of 1898 at the height of the gold rush. According to the 1912 “History of Lyon County” book by Arthur P. Rose, Hollo made it to the Copper River area in Alaska by Cook’s inlet and remained there that summer.

Here are a couple of notices in the home gossip section of The News-Messenger of Lyon County on Jan. 21, 1898, related to Hollo and others leaving for the Klondike:

“It is rather heart rending for a man of family to leave wife and children to go on a perilous voyage to an unknown country, to be absent ‘it may be for years Annie, and it may be forever’ after gold, but there might be worse partings, and of two evils choose the least. This Mrs. Hollo did. Asked by her husband if she objected to his leaving for the Klondike, she told him she would rather he went to Klondike than to St. Peter; and it was either the asylum or the Klondike for John.”

“The Marshall Klondikers, headed by John Hollo, five in number, including Arthur Freeze and three boys from the county, were given a good send off on the Great Northern road last Monday, and were escorted as far as St. Paul by J.G. Schultz. The boys had good luck at St. Paul to fall in with a party of eighteen Wisconsin gold seekers, all from one neighborhood, and all more or less related, who were under the guidance of one of their number who had returned from the Alaskan gold fields after finding good claims for all the rest, so the party augmented by the Marshallites will not be lonesome on the way out. Their destination is Copper River, and the boys are now well on their way across the continent.”

The photograph this week shows the general store John Hollo operated along with his partner John Schneider on the north side of Main Street by 3rd Street in Marshall. In the photograph, the store is between the two automobiles.

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