The Force in the North

Klondike

During the Klondike Gold Rush, from 1896, when gold was discovered, until the early 1900s, the NWMP established several small detachments in the Goldfields. The NWMP worked in many government capacities, including mining recorder, customs agent and security agent when carrying gold from the creeks and out of the territory. A number of small detachments came and went in the Goldfields during this time.

Dominion/Granville: A new detachment building was built at Dominion Creek in 1899 and new store house will be needed for the following year. (Report of the North-West Mounted Police, 1899. Sessional Paper No.15. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer. 1900:49, 50.)

Eureka Creek: The miners and others on Eureka petitioned for a police detachment and one was established in 1901 with one NCO and two men. Comfortable buildings were erected. (Report of the North-West Mounted Police, 1901. Sessional Papers, Volume 11. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer. 1902:9.)

Half Way: Inspector Harper arrived at a spot he considered about half way between Stewart River and Selwyn and picked out a place for the post and staked a quarter by a third of a mile for the reserve. Constable Jealous is in charge with three civilian axemen to assist in building a post. These posts are all 32’ x 22’ with a small separate store-room about 10’ x 12’. (Report of the North-West Mounted Police, 1898. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer. 1899:70.)

The Indian River post was established by Inspector Harper in 1898 but the NWMP turned it over to the Department of the Interior in 1909.

Glacier Creek (Klondike Goldfields): It was here that the Mounties first established law and order in the mining camps. By 1909 the police building was occupied by the mining recorder. (Report of the North-West Mounted Police, 1909. Sessional Paper No. 28. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer. 1909:212.)

Grand Forks (Bonanza): Dawson now provides men for four detachments between Dawson and Selkirk. Detachments will also be needed at the Forks [Bonanza.] before long. (North-West Mounted Police: Yukon Territory. Yukon Archives  351.74062  No 1898:23.)

The Grand Forks detachment buildings were destroyed by fire in 1911. (Report of the North-West Mounted Police, 1911. Sessional Paper No. 28. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer. 1911:214.)

Mollie Smith owned a house at Grand Forks that the NWMP raided on March 3, 1903. The NWMP suspected that it was an opium joint and they seized opium, pipes and other material. Mollie's live-in partner was arrested and charged with keeping a disorderly house. He was fined $25 plus costs and given 24 hours to leave Grand Forks. (Jim Wallace, Forty Mile to Bonanza: The North-West Mounted Police in the Klondike Gold Rush. Calgary: Bunker to Bunker Publishing. 2000: 220.)

Inspector Cartwright took over the Grand Fork detachment from Inspector Belcher in mid August, 1899 and then did an inspection of all the up-river detachments. He then took charge of all the creek detachments. (Report of the North-West Mounted Police, 1899. Sessional Paper No.15. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer. 1900:47.)

Sulphur Creek 1899: Closed in 1909 due to reduced number of Mounties. Patrolled by Granville (Dominion). (Report of the North-West Mounted Police, 1899. Sessional Paper No.15. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer. 1900:5.)

The Selwyn post was established by Inspector Harper in 1898.

The Bonanza, Hunker Creek, Ogilvie (Sixty Mile) and Dominion detachments were operational in 1898 and patrolled local creeks.

Stewart River: Supt. S. B. Steele reports that Inspector Harper left in Sept. 1898 to establish various new detachments including Stewart River. The census for the Stewart River mining district was given as 3,500 people. (NWMP Annual Report for 1899). By 1907 Stewart River, Gold Bottom and Quartz were abandoned.

Quartz: established in the spring past at the earnest request of 300 residents on the creek but the post had to be withdrawn as the RNWMP is so shorthanded. (Royal Northwest Mounted Police Annual Report. Sessional Paper No. 28. 1908:11.)

In 1908, the RNWMP were relieved of their mining recorder's work at Sulphur and Dominion. They remain as agents at Grand Forks, Forty Mile and Dominion [sic] in the Dawson district and Livingstone in the Whitehorse district. (Royal Northwest Mounted Police Annual Report. Sessional Paper No. 28. 1909:199)

In 1909, the Hunker and Dominion detachments were rented to residents of those localities at $2.50 and $12.50 per month respectively. The Sulphur detachment was rented to the Department of the Interior officials at $25 per month and a portion of the Granville Building to the same department for $12.50 per month. The police hoped to rent the house at McQuesten shortly. The Yukon Gold Company wanted to rent the large building at Grand Forks but there was no suitable cabin to move the constable into so the police retain it. (Royal Northwest Mounted Police Annual Report. Sessional Paper No. 28. 1910:212. )

The Gold Rush descended on the Yukon so quickly beginning in 1896 that the Mounties could hardly keep up with the demand for more detachments. But as the rush came to a close near 1910, the size of the force was rapidly reduced and most of the detachments were dissolved, their structures turned over to other government agencies or rented to miners.