Paris, Missouri, Friday, October 15, 1897
A. S. Holmes on the Yukon
Hannibal Journal

St. Michael, Alaska, Sep. 16 -- Dear Folks: I wrote you when I first reached here, but as I only had a few minutes, did not have time to write much. We have been here sixteen days and just launched our boat this morning. We leave here about Friday. I wrote you about our boat, how it was built in San Francisco, and put aboard the ship and brought here. It was put together by twenty ship carpenters with the assistance of all the passengers. All of us had to work.

In regard to our prospects, will say they are very bright. We will not reach Dawson City this winter, in fact, we do not wish to.

Now in regard to this country: It is the most barren place on earth, even worse than the Klondike district. There isn't a sign of a tree. The ground is wet on top; you strike ice 18 inches from the surface. We have been sleeping on the ground and are all well, in fact, I never felt better. Am getting used to it and gaining in weight every day.  We are camped 50 yards from the sea where we can catch all the fish we want, in fact, we are sick of them.

There are two companies which have stores here with a world of supplies, but they ask enormous prices. $15 a hundred for flour, 85c a pound for bacon and other things equally high. Fortunately for us we have plenty of everything.

Provisions up the river are very scarce. People are starving at Dawson City, with no prospect of the situation improving this winter. It would not be wise to go there if we desired.  Since we have been here it snowed two days, but we did not notice the cold. Tis nice and pleasant now.

There are a number of Masons here in our party. The other night we held a meeting in Mr. Shepard's office, the manager of the North American Trading Co., who is a Mason. There were 17 States, Canada, England and the Sandwich Islands, represented. You can see it was a great gathering. I never spent a more enjoyable evening in my life. There were about forty Masons present. We organized, and I think we will enjoy the lodge.

We entertained the correspondent of one of the San Francisco Papers yesterday in our tent for dinner. We had a large goose, and he enjoyed it very much. He took our pictures and wrote it up for his paper.

Remember me to all my friends. With my present good health, I think I shall return well paid for my trip. I am writing this letter on a rough boot jack ready made by myself.

I cannot advise anybody to make this trip. It is a matter about which they should decide for themselves. The opportunities for making money are great, but the hardships are also great. I am glad I came, and would not sell out my chances for a good deal. You can tell the boys who are thinking of making the trip that the hardships are great, but they are no worse than we expected. I must close now as I want to get the letter off. Will write again before leaving. Hoping all are well, I am, yours,
Albert Holmes.
P.S. -- We leave here on the 24th. Will go up the Yukon 1000 miles to Minook. Address all letters to Mysook, Alaska, until you hear from me.