The Boundary Hunters: Surveying the 141st Meridian and the Alaska Panhandle

By Lewis Green | Go to book overview

2
Canada and United States Mark the 141st Meridian
(1869-96)

THE UNITED STATES EVICTS THE HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY FROM FORT YUKON, 1869

It was almost two years before the United States government dealt with the trespass across the Alaska boundary at Fort Yukon. The Hudson's Bay post had been built by Alexander Murray in 1847, and even at that date, the company must have known it lay west of the 141st meridian, in flagrant violation of the 1825 Treaty. 1 Any doubts, genuine or feigned, vanished with Robert Campbell's explorations in the summer of 1851. 2 Setting out by boat from his post at Fort Selkirk, Campbell travelled downstream to Fort Yukon, proving that his Pelly River and the Yukon River were one and the same. From Fort Yukon, Campbell followed the supply route to Fort Simpson, depot of the Mackenzie River District, by way of the Porcupine River and over the divide to the Mackenzie drainage. Later that season, he retraced his route to Fort Selkirk. Results of his explorations were incorporated in Arrowsmith's map "British North America 1854" published in London. 3 The map shows the junction of the Porcupine and Yukon Rivers far to the west of the boundary but tactfully omits Fort Yukon itself. With the nearest Russian post about four hundred miles to the southwest, there seemed no reason for serious concern. In the summer of 1863, Ivan Simonsen Lukeen, in the employ of the Russian-American Company at St. Michael, reached Fort Yukon, but this does not appear to have been widely known and there was no official protest. 4

In the spring of 1868, there was a confrontation between American traders and Hudson's Bay men at the trading ground at the mouth of the Tanana River,

-7-

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The Boundary Hunters: Surveying the 141st Meridian and the Alaska Panhandle
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Photographic Credits viii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Preliminary Note xiii
  • Foreword xv
  • 1 - Britain and Russia Establish Their Boundary (1825-67) 1
  • 2 - Canada and United States Mark the 141st Meridian (1869-96) 7
  • 3 - Staking a Claim to the Panhandle (1876-96) 46
  • 4 - The Klondike Rush and Temporary Boundaries (1896-1903) 65
  • 5 - Forced Settlement: The Alaska Boundary Tribunal (1903) 79
  • 6 - Marking the Panhandle Boundary (1904-1920) 95
  • 7 - The 141st Meridian: A Single Straight Line (1906-13) 143
  • Afterword 177
  • Appendix 179
  • Notes 185
  • Bibliographical Note 199
  • Selected Bibliography 201
  • Abbreviations 206
  • Index 207
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