James Climie joined the Yukon gold rush in 1898, starting out at Dawson, before heading further west to Nome in Alaska. In 1906 he came home to Scotland for a while before heading back across the Atlantic on the SS Furnessia. His postcard which I have, above, to his younger brother Charlie reads "We are leaving the Irish coast now and we will soon have our last look of  Bonnie Scotland. How sorry I was to leave you all today without me staying here to explain. Goodbye, your brother, Jim"


He was still digging for gold in 1908 when Agnes Fraser, whom he had known back in Scotland, came from South Africa to be his wife and they settled in Rampart, Alaska. For another 14 years they stayed in Rampart whilst he was engaged in placer mining, which meant sifting through the silt from the bottom of the riverbeds for gold dust. He sent home a nugget of gold as a souvenir and it was made into a tie clip. He seems to have been happily making a living at it for many years, without ever getting rich. This post card on the left he sent to his brother Robert in 1910 from Rampart, Alaska. It reads "This is the way they do things on a rich claim. We have to be content with smaller ways, although none the less sure, Jim".


By 1926 he had moved with his family to Anchorage in Alaska where he lived out his days. He was employed by the Alaska Railroad, starting as a labourer, became a blacksmith's assistant and then, until his death in 1940, a carpenter with the railway company. Throughout his railway career he was active in the trade union, becoming president of the American Federation of Government Employees in Anchorage. His obituary in a local newspaper states that "his death took one of the leaders of the labor movement in Alaska. He was known from Fairbanks to Seward among railwaymen". Remembering the his connection with the Kilmarnock masonic lodge, his Alaskan obituary also notes that "he was a member of the Anchorage Igloo of the Pioneers of Alaska, the Alaska Yukon Pioneers and continued his membership of the St. Marnock Masonic Lodge number 109 in Scotland."

A postcard to home from James Climie in 1906.

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 James Climie

A postcard from James in 1910.


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