Photo is of “Klondikers” carrying supplies ascending the Chilkoot Pass, 1900. Photo Credit: COURTESY OF GEORGE G. CANTWELL PHOTO, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON LIBRARIES, SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
Captain William Moore lived an extraordinary life, much of it centered on gold strikes in Canada. The gold strikes are only some of his incredible adventures and accomplishments, however. Moore was born in Hanover, Germany in 1822. By the time he was 24, he had moved to New Orleans after doing extensive sailing in the North Sea. He then travelled up and down the Mississippi on steamboats, became an American citizen, and served in the Mexican-American war.
Arriving in San Francisco in 1851, just after the gold rush, he moved on shortly to the first of several gold strikes in British Columbia. The first was at the Queen Charlotte Islands. Finding little gold there, he moved with his family to Peru, where he bought a schooner and traded up and down the Peruvian coast.
Following his time in Peru, Moore returned to British Columbia, where he was a part of the following gold strikes: Fraser Canyon, Stikine River, Cariboo, Big Bend, Omineca, and Cassiar. His biggest involvement, though, was with the Klondike gold strike in the Yukon.
While travelling through White Pass, Alaska, into the Yukon Valley in 1877, Moore became convinced that the area would be the site of a major gold strike! He bought 160 acres at the mouth of a river on the present-day site of Skagway, Alaska. He began constructing a lumber mill and wharf in anticipation of the gold rush he was sure would come. They made the first major discovery in 1896, and, as Moore expected, the Klondike gold rush followed.
After one more try for gold at the strike in Nome, Alaska, Moore retired later to a house he had built on Skagway Bay. He died in Victoria, British Columbia, at the ripe old age of 87.