Newspaper Clipping

John Pappe's Death in Alaska

John Hermann Pappe (1854-1903) went to Alaska sometime between 1897 and 1903 in search of gold. With a partner named Dan Headman he filed a claim and with also purchased a steam boat with another partner, George Krasting. This letter from Krasting describes the death of John Pappe, who froze to death on March 5th, 1903 while hiking overland to his camp. (See letter.)

The Alaska newspapers recorded the facts of John's death as they unfolded, including the suspicious behavior of his partners with regard to his gold claim and the North Star steamboat, of which he was 2/3 owner.


The Douglas Island News (Douglas City and Treadwell Alaska), May 13 1903

The body of John Pape, who was frozen to death near Rampart, has been found.  It was discovered by a searching party near the city. 


Alaska Forum (Rampart, Alaska), 1903


George Krasting, who with Nick Nelson has been accused of diverting a good claim from the estate of J. H. Pappe, came in from Thanksgiving creek (see Note 1) last Sunday.  Krasting’s statement to the administrator of the estate puts a different light on the matter and places the onus of the deal on Nelson.  Krasting made the following statement:

I staked the claim 2b on Thanksgiving [creek] and still another for a member of our party, Dan Headman.  After staking I went to Baker [Creek] and told Pappe to come up and prospect his ground, which he agreed to do, but first said he would go up Baker creek and get his tent, stove, etc.  Pappe started to get his outfit, but froze to death on the way, as everybody knows. 

I had recorded my claim, but Pappe had not yet recorded his.  Nelson came over and said he was going to relocate 2b, as it was against the law to record a claim for a dead man.  I then said that I thought it the best claim of the two.  Nelson thought this a foolish thing, as it would cost me $2.15 to abandon 2b and another $2.15 to record 2b, and made this proposition” That I hold 5ab and he would stake 2b, he giving me half on 2b and I to give him half of 5ab.  This was agreed to, but Nelson now refuses to do anything.

Nelson took advantage of my ignorance of law and is trying to defraud.  If the claim belongs to Pappe I don’t want any part of it and his estate will get it all.  To show you how foxy Nelson was:  He relocated the claim within 30 days after I located it, but when the 90 days elapsed he made an amended location— telling me his first location was not good.  I know now why he did this.  I am going out this summer and will be back this fall.  I will bring suit against Nelson and Mr. Allen will bring suit against us both. 


Alaska Forum (Rampart, Alaska), 1903


Another Tangle-up on Thanksgiving — Nelson and Krasting Frame up To Walk off With Claim of Dead Man.

George Krasting and Nick Nelson on Thanksgiving creek, are no longer the bosom friends they were.  The reasons just came in from Glen by a late arrival.  It is all over claim No. 2 above.  The claim is proving a good producer.

Krasting staked the claim by power of attorney for his partner J. H. Pappe, since deceased.  After the creek began to show up, Krasting, so it is said, went to Nick Nelson and told him to restake the claim; he (Krasting) would say nothing — but Nick Nelson could cut it in two with him.  Nelson agreed and went to work crosscutting the claim.  He located pay and all things looked most favorable for the two conspirators. 

At this juncture Krasting got suspicious of the good faith of Nelson and went to M. S. Gill, who at his request draw up a bill of sale for Krasting’s half as agreed on.  When Krasting asked Nelson to execute the deed, the latter refused point blank, saying he owned the claim and was going to keep it.

The two men during all this time had entirely overlooked the fact that the Pappe estate was being administered upon and now it is reported the administrator, C. B. Allen is looking into the matter with a view to carrying off the bone of contention as property of the estate, which may put both Krasting and Nelson in an embarrassing position. 


Alaska Forum (Rampart, Alaska), 1903-1905

The following clippings are from the family files. The date of the clippings was not recorded.

Generous Paystreak Opened on No. 3 Thanksgiving Creek

It has often been said that mining is an uncertain vocation, and that gold is where you find it.  The truth of these two propositions is generally recognized.  It is indeed rare that mining is uncertain when the claim worked contains a paystreak.  This, however, is the experience of R. H. Wright on his claim 3 Thanksgiving [creek] last winter. 

With one of the most complete steam plants in the district Wright took out a large dump that barely broke even.  As soon as he got to that time of the year when the lengthening days permitted greater rapidity of work, a glacier in the drift met bedrock and the pay was cut off so effectually that the consensus of opinion was that the limit of the pay had been bound.

This year, within one hundred feet above where the pay cut off with Mr. Wright, the latter’s laymen, Schribner, Hall & Henderson have bedrocked three shafts, and each shaft cuts a paystreak 6-feet thick, of unknown width, but of known richness.  The laymen are will satisfied and will take out many thousands this season.  Wright is also well pleased, but is at a loss to account fro afflictions of last winter and believes his luck has turned. 


No title

Krasting & Carlson, laymen on R. H. Wright’s Thanksgiving claim, had the first cleanup on the creek a few days ago.  The two days run, with two men shoveling in, netted 49 ½ ounces.  The other men on the creek are doing equally as well:  Anderson & Olson, Wagner & Hederstrom, Fisher, Meston, and Nick Nelson are all busy shoveling in. 



C. B. Allen, administrator of the estate of John Pappe, has filed a petition in the probate court asking a citation to issue against N.C. Agent Turner of Fairbanks.  Attorney J.W. Dillon made a sale of the little steamer North Star, belonging to the estate, for $2000 at Fairbanks, this money to be paid over to the administrator when the bill of sale reached that city.  Allen has deposited the bill of sale at the store of the company, but Turner will not forward the cash.  The administrator claims that Dillon wants to hold the money at Fairbanks in order to collect a big fee.


River Notes:

The North Star arrived from the lower river last night.
The Hannah passed Nulato yesterday morning.  She is due here Monday.
The Jeff Davis with Inspector Tutherly aboard passed down river Thursday.  She was on a bar for three days near Ft. Yukon and was pulled off by the Leah.
The Isom will be the next boat behind the Hannah.  The Rock Island will leave St. Michael Sept. 4th and will be the last upriver boat this season.  The Hannah leaves Dawson Sept 20th.  This will be the last down river boat. 
The following passengers left on the Seattle No. 3...




(1) Thanksgiving creek -
Location: The Thanksgiving Creek placer mine is marked by about 0.4 mile of tailings along a tractor trail in the northeast quarter of section 15, T. 4 N., R. 14 W., of the Fairbanks Meridian. The site is at the midpoint of the tailings. The location is accurate. The site is included in location 38 of Cobb (1972), and roughly corresponds with the site for Thanksgiving Creek, U.S. Bureau of Land Management MAS number 0020480038.
Workings: Gold was discovered on Thanksgiving Creek in 1903 (Prindle and Hess, 1905), and sporadic mining was reported until 1936, apparently by ground sluicing and other surface methods.
Production: Separate production figures have not been published for Thanksgiving Creek. According to Hess (1908), combined mining of Thanksgiving and Omega creeks had produced $18,200 worth of gold by the fall of 1904.


Clippings provided by Sharan Pappe Carman


return to History Page


Terms of use: The content of this website is presented here for use by the Pappe family. It shall not be copied, displayed on any external website, published, printed or used in any way without written permission from the Pappe family.

Copyright © 2009, All rights reserved