Parkersburg’s gold rush

Want to go to Alaska: Senator Camden deluged with applications

Senator Camden is not going to Alaska to dig gold.

He has no intention of becoming a placer digger and never has had since the Klondike excitement was started. Yet, notwithstanding this he has been deluged with letters from all parts of the country from persons asking permission to join his party.

This business is getting to be a serious joke with the Senator, and he is at a loss to know who sent out such a report to outside newspapers – that he was organizing a party. The extent of his efforts looking towards any Alaska expedition was to telegraph President J.J. Hill, of the Great Northern railroad to ask about rates for Rolla and Ritchie Camden, who are preparing to leave for Yukon river.

The Parkersburg Daily State Journal

July 30, 1897


Strickly for gold

The Parkersburg party of Klondike gold hunters, of which mention has previously been made, will leave Monday for Seattle, Washington and will sail from there to Dawson City. The trip will consume about two month’s time. The party could have been doubled in numbers had they been able to get transportation from Seattle. Those who will leave Monday are Dr. Rolla and Ritchie Camden, Chas. A. Swearingen, and Clarence Brown.

The Parkersburg Daily State Journal

July 31, 1897


Leaving for the Klondike: Their journey will take five weeks and they will travel about 7,000 Miles

Much interest has centered in the long voyage these enterprising and gritty young men are embarking on, and everybody hopes they will overcome the hardships that they may be met with and that their courageous efforts may be crowned with success.

By going this summer these explorers are running into the face of many hardships in the way of bitter cold weather, etc., but they are preparing for this. At Seattle they equip themselves for a year’s stay. Their equipment will be something novel. Each passenger on the ship is allowed but 1,200 pounds of freight and baggage. In that 1,200 pounds must be included everything they will require, even to all their food and clothing.

The Parkersburg Weekly State Journal

Aug. 5, 1897


In a quandry are the Parkersburg gold seekers; to go on or turn back is the question that is worrying them considerably

Thus read a headline in the Parkersburg Sentinel, Oct. 8, 1897. The gold seekers from Parkersburg were definitely having an adventure! No gold, but their entire adventure was written about in the April-May-June 2010 issue of History and Preservation, the newsletter of the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society.


The Wood County Historical Society works to preserve yesterday for tomorrow. For more information, contact P.O. Box 565, Parkersburg, WV 26102