The Force in the North



The Hootalinqua detachment buildings are at the mouth of the Lewes, or Thirty Mile River. There is a men’s quarters and a store-house. (Report of the North-West Mounted Police, 1898. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer. 1899:36.) The detachment is used to check boats coming off the Teslin River.

After the Klondike Gold Rush, the NWMP had intended to close the Hootalinqua detachment for good. It was forced to re-open when another staking rush occurred around Hootalinqua and Livingstone Creek.

The detachment at Hootalinqua was temporarily withdrawn for the winter in 1905/06, as all the traffic from White Horse to Livingstone Creek now goes by Upper Laberge and there are not more than three or four wood-choppers now living in the vicinity of Hootalinqua. There was a reduction of the numbers of RNWMP in the Yukon in 1905. The mail is carried by the police from Hootalinqua to Livingstone in the summer and from White Horse to Livingstone in the winter. The detachment at Hootalinqua was closed in October when traffic on the river ended for the season. (Royal North-West Mounted Police Annual Report. Sessional Paper No. 28. 1906:8, 40, 46.)

In 1909, there were so many men (over 800) coming down the river in small boats from the middle of May to the end of June, that constables were stationed at Hootalinqua, Tantalus and Stewart. (Royal North-West Mounted Police Annual Report. Sessional Paper No. 28. 1910:212.)

Hootalinqua had a town, a shipyard, a telegraph office and a police post. It probably died out in the 1920s. Once the shipyard closed, there was no reason to keep it open. Some of the ships wintered there and crews would come down in the spring to recondition the boats. There were maybe 200 people in the town during the spring repairs. (G. I. Cameron interviewed by Cal Waddington in 1978, Yukon River Aural History Project, Tape 8. YA 81/32.)

The Hootalinqua detachment closed in 1909.

Livingstone Creek

A staking rush in 1900 created the need for a detachment at Livingstone Creek to monitor the mining district around Big Salmon.

In 1903, the Livingstone Creek NWMP detachment had 1 corporal, 2 constables and there were 2 horses. The horses remained at the site year-round. Livingstone was part of H Division out of Whitehorse. Superintendent Snyder reported an estimated $100,000 worth of gold taken out in the 1903 season and expected the introduction of more machinery there in the 1903/04 winter would double the amount for the next year. (North-West Mounted Police Annual Report. Sessional Paper No. 28. 1904:17, 19, 28, 32.)

In 1902, the police reported that  there were two licensed and two unlicensed roadhouses within 15 miles of the Livingstone detachment. There was one general store and a police detachment of 4 men. There were 40 to 100 inhabitants, depending on the season. The principal industry was mining and most of the people were miners or prospectors. The community was connected to the steamers at Mason's Landing by a wagon road in the summer. There was a winter road to Whitehorse. A new wagon road was constructed in 1902 from Mason's Landing to Livingstone and after the completion, freight rates dropped by more than half. ("Report of patrol made by Corporal Acland from Livingstone Creek to Teslin Lake." Annual Report of the NWMP, 1902.)

In the summer of 1907 the NWMP helped the telegraph service to install a telephone line from Hootalinqua to Livingstone Creek. This connects with the telegraph line at the former place and is of great benefit to the miners on the creek. The police no longer assist the Post Office Department except to carry mail when the patrols happen to visit outlying posts. The non-commissioned officer here acts as an agent for the mining recorder and as an agent for the Crown Timber and Land agent. (Royal Northwest Mounted Police Annual Report. Sessional Paper No. 28. 1908:14, 17.)

By 1910, the Livingstone detachment was closed and the area was served by patrol only from then on.