MP-0000.103.54 | Punishing a thief, Klondike, about 1898

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Photograph, glass lantern slide
Punishing a thief, Klondike, about 1898
Edwin Tappan Adney
About 1898, 19th century or 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
8 x 10 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  event (534) , History (944) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

In the summer of 1895, the year before the great discovery of gold, a detachment of the North-West Mounted Police arrived to bring Canadian law to the Yukon. Before that, rough justice was meted out to thieves and violent men at miners' meetings. The usual punishment was banishment from the community, something that could be fatal in midwinter. As soon as the mounted police arrived, they banned the miners' meetings because they did not want a rival system of law, and thus the incident depicted here was an unusual occurrence by 1898.

Source : Off to the Klondike! The Search for Gold [Web tour], by William R. Morrison, University of Northern British Columbia (see Links)

  • What

    A thief has been sentenced to carry a sign of public shame.

  • Where

    The picture was taken somewhere along a winter trail in the Klondike, Yukon Territory.

  • When

    This incident took place in 1898, but it was a rare occurrence by that time, since the police put a stop to community-controlled justice as soon as they arrived.

  • Who

    The unnamed man with the sign has been judged a thief by a meeting of miners and is being expelled from the community.