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Naugatuck Daily News / August 27, 1897

A Lumberman Comes Back From Alaska With $150,000


When Nearly Out of Food and About Ready to Give Up, His Party Struck a Valuable Vein by Chance.

Chicago, Aug. 27 -- One year ago Fred [Frank] Phiscator was a poor man, engaged in the lumber business at Barodo [Baroda], Mich. Saturday night he arrived in Chicago on his way home from Alaska. In a big red pocketbook which he carried in the inside pocket of his vest there reposed a certificate of deposit for $120,000, besides which Mr. Phiscator had sufficient loose change to keep him from borrowing whatever he wanted a cigar. And just as though he had been used to counting his money in six figures all his life he remarked that he had refused $200,000 for the claim he left behind and thought it was worth $1,000,000.

Mr. Phiscator dropped his traveling bag before the clerk’s desk in the Great Northern hotel and said that nothing was too good for him. It is his intention to spend the winter with his family and friends, and in the spring he will lead a party of friends to the scene of his fortune making.

Mr. Phiscator was one of a party of four that followed the discoveries on Bonanza creek, and he and another man located the claims that have been reported as being so rich on El Dorado creek. Mr. Phiscator said that the party was nearly out of food and was about ready to turn back to the nearest trading post when it met another party that had more flour than it needed and sold his party some.

Struck It Rich.

That evening, while the cook was preparing supper, Phiscator suggested to an old man named Whipple that they go a mile up the Klondike and wash a pan of El Dorado creek dirt. They did so and were amazed when they found between $6 and $7 in yellow metal in the bottom of the pan. They immediately staked claims and went back and told what they had found. The others in the party then staked claims, and all have become rich.

“This was a little over a year ago,” said Mr. Phiscator, “and in that time I have taken out more than $150,000 and have hardly made a hole in my claim. In one hole 35 by 50 feet I took out $49,000. Most people I meet have a wrong impression of what the claims are, and the reports of fabulous wealth being taken out of them are exaggerated.

“To work a claim a hole about 6 by 3½ feet, or about the size of an ordinary mining shaft, is started down. As the ground never thaws out to a depth of more than two feet, this is not easy work. As it is not brittle it cannot be shot out, so it is necessary to use a pick until a certain depth is reached. Then fires are built and the ground thawed out. A fire over night will soften about three feet of earth. This is taken out the next day and another fire built.

“The rich dirt is at bedrock, and after this is reached, the fire process is continued, and the excavation is carried on laterally, the dirt being taken out to about the height of a man. All the earth taken out in the winter is piled up, and when summer comes, it is panned for the gold.”

Galveston Daily News / November 8, 1897

THREE CLAIMS FOR $1,000,000.

A Michigan Man Sells His Alaska Gold Mines to an English Syndicate.

Benton Harbor, Mich., Nov. 2 -- An English syndicate has purchased Frank Phiscator’s gold mines in Alaska, paying $1,000,000 for three claims -- No. 21 on Bear creek and two rich claims on Eldorado. The syndicate pays $20,000 down and the balance, $980,000, at the end of one year.

Phiscator went to Alaska in February, 1896, and cleaned up $96,000 in seventy days from claim No. 3 on Eldorado creek. Since his return to his home near this city he has purchased homes for all his relatives and paid off mortgages for others, spending about $15,000 in this way. He does not like the climate of Alaska, and therefore concluded to sell.

Phiscator secured $1500 additional from the syndicate in the way of an option on his claims before he decided to sell.

Dubuque Daily Herald / December 1, 1898


Frank Phiscator, a millionaire Klondiker, was married to Nellie Boyd at St. Joseph, Mich.



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