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R.H.S. and Fred S. Cresswell fonds (P240)

1898-1961. - 7 cm of textual records. - 6 photographs. - 1 cartographic document.

Administrative History - Biographical Sketch:

R.H.S. Creswell was born in Staffordshire, England, on 30 September 1869. He emigrated to Canada in 1889, working in the oilfields near Sarnia, Ontario, and for a railway before setting up his own business in Hamilton. After a trip back to Europe he returned to Canada in 1895 and once again set himself up in business in Hamilton.

Creswell and six companions left that city on 14 April 1898 to go search for gold in Dawson City, Yukon. After travelling to Edmonton by train, the team bought provisions and started its epic northern march, which ended on 7 October 1899 after perilous boat journeys on the Athabaska, Mackenzie and Peel rivers and the death of one team member from scurvy during the winter. There is no indication that Creswell found gold in the Yukon, but he did launch a profitable business selling alcohol and cigars. Around 1904 he left the Yukon for Vancouver, where he lived for the next 52 years.

Creswell married Minnie Sorensen, originally from Everett, Washington. He had met her in 1906 in Dawson City where she and her four sisters ran a women's wear store that was very profitable during the Gold Rush. After the couple enjoyed a long honeymoon in the Orient, Creswell purchased a real estate firm in Vancouver and operated a mercantile business in the Fraser Valley. He died in February 1958 in Vancouver at the age of 89, leaving behind his wife, two sons and a daughter.

Scope and Content:

The R.H.S. and Fred S. Cresswell fonds covers R.H.S. Creswell's expedition from Hamilton, Ontario, to Dawson City, Yukon. The fonds contains R.H.S. Creswell's daily journal, documenting his Klondike adventure (notes on climate, terrain, transportation, food, hunting, fishing, his travel companions...).

Also in the fonds is a transcription of his journals, with a preface by his son, Fred S. Creswell. This (bound) transcription has a pocket in which is found a recent (1961) map of R.H.S. Creswell's itinerary as well as six photographs of him in Dawson City, his store, and scenes taken in studio and during his expedition in the Far North. The fonds also contains two lists of provisions for his travels in 1898 and 1899 and a record of his meteorological observations.