The pioneer Carmacks-area prospector was Fred Guder
Thank you to John Witham, of the Yukon Chamber of Mines, for the following information:
The photo in January 15th’s column is of Fritz “Fred” Guder.
Guder was born in Silesia in 1895.
After making his way to the Yukon via Panama, San Francisco and Seatle, he made a lifetime out of prospecting and trapping in the Yukon and western Northwest Territories.
His mineral discoveries include Revenue Creek, Seymour Creek, Mount Freegold as well as discovering the silver float that led to the discovery of the Ketza Mine.
In the 1920s, a group of people from the Ross River area stopped at Guder’s cabin at the head of the Pelly River on their way to Norman Wells to stake claims during the oil rush along the Mackenzie and Keele Rivers. The group included Frank Etzel (who had the trading post in Ross) and Joe Ladue (a famous prospector from the area).
Guder immediately packed up his furs, made his way to Carmacks Post to sell them and resupply, turned around and travelled to the head of the Nahanni River and down the Keele to Norman Wells to stake his claim.
This incredible 2,500-kilometre journey ended back in Carmacks after stops in Fort Vermillian and northern BC.
He spent the rest of his life trapping and looking for silver and gold in the Dawson Range and the Pelly Mountains.
The cover of the 2007 Yukon Chamber of Mines Miners’ Directory is adorned by a Jim Robb painting of Guder’s cabin on Seymour Creek near Carmacks.
There is a short history of Guder’s life on the overleaf and it is an exciting glimpse into post-gold-rush Yukon history.
Guder died on June 20th, 1981, in Whitehorse.
With his passing, an entire chapter of the lifeblood of the Yukon territory went with him.
I would encourage your readers to investigate Guder’s life.
They will surely find a story that challenges the wildest imaginations of the best Hollywood writers.
John Witham, president, Yukon Chamber of Mines, Whitehorse