Anna DeGraf was originally from Germany. When she and her husband arrived in America he went out West in search of gold. While he was gone he died. When she found out that he was dead Anna moved to Seattle with her five children.
She was 55 years old when she first climbed over Chilkoot Pass in 1894. She took with her, her sewing machine and a feather bed. She wore a heavy skirt, a blouse, warm jacket, cap, and heavy shoes.
She came to the Klondike to search for her youngest son, George. He had gone to Alaska 6 years before as a miner. When Anna heard that a man with the last name of DeGraf had passed through the Interior, she went to join her son.
On the way to the Yukon she asked everyone she found for news of her son. When she arrived in Circle City she was forced by the weather to wait out the winter. That winter she worked for Jack McQuesten and his wife Katherine, sewing tents.
In 1896 she decided to give up her search for her son. She sold her sewing machine and moved to San Francisco. When she exchanged her dust for money, she had over $1,200 dollars. Though that might not sound like a lot of money by today's standards, during that time of depression it was a considerable sum.
She returned to the Klondike again in 1897. Again in search of her son. By this time she was 60 years old. She bought another sewing machine and bolts of fabric, and headed North once more. She left Alaska for good in 1917, never knowing what happened to her son. She died at the age of 91 in San Fransisco.
|"I was so impressed I felt I could never go on. Some of the party were impatient and wanted to push ahead. 'Oh, come on,' they said. 'We don't care about scenery, we want to find gold.' I exclaimed aloud, 'My God, how beautiful you have made the world!' We camped there overnight and the next morning started over the deep crevasses in the ice. One misstep might have sent us to oblivion."|
© Copyright 1997 Elizabeth Beckett and Sarah Teel
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