Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The King of the Klondike

Alexander "Big Alex" McDonald (1859–1909) was a Canadian gold prospector who made (and lost) a fortune in the Klondike Gold Rush, earning himself the title "King of the Klondike".

The son of Scottish immigrants, McDonald was born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He was in the Yukon, employed by the Alaska Commercial Company at Forty-Mile to buy mining properties when Gold was discovered in the region in 1897.
One of the early arrivals in the Klondike, he purchased Claim 30 on Eldorado Creek for a sack of flour and a side of bacon. That claim proved to be one of the richest of the Klondike and made a fortune.

Rather than work claims, he leased them to others, who did the actual work for half of the proceeds. He soon acquired 28 claims and by 1898, he had interests in 75 mines, making him the largest landowner and employer.

"Scraping Bedrock 2 Above Bonanza, 1899, 2 Pans of Dirt Yielded $2,000.00, Alex McDonald Co. Ltd."
Unfortunately the Klondike Gold Rush didn't last and neither did McDonald's money. He died alone in a cabin on Clearwater Creek of a heart attack in 1909 virtually penniless.