21 June, 2016
The Weird Coincidence Of The Yukon Gold Rush
I'm sure there were lots of tales from the Yukon territory, the gold rush and the 'trail of '98' but this is perhaps one of the weirdest - and features a remarkable coincidence
The story is of Simon and John Turner, known to thousands of old time sourdoughs as the Two Apostles and also the Gold Dust Twins.
Simon and John were twins. Everything one wanted to do, the other also wanted to do. If one had a pain, the other felt it: they had a bond that shared everything.
The twins followed the trail to Yukon gold. Eventually, in the vicinity of the Lake La Barge region they located a paying claim. John started for Skagway with a large bag of gold nuggets. Simon stayed to work the claim.
Weeks and then months passed, but there was no sign of John returning. Simon felt a strange foreboding. He decided to close his claim and set off to Skagway himself.
There was no trace of John, so in 1900 Simon took up the search for his missing twin. His search continued for 32 years travelling over all of the possible routes John may have taken.
He became a famous figure. In Skagway, at Dyea amd Lake Bennet men told of his seeking. Many thought him a little mad. Others did not accept his story of a search for a long lost twin brother, but credited his search to some hidden cache, or pay streak and regarded his story as a cunning dissimulation on his part to hide his true endeavour.
The years rolled by, Simon grew bent and developed a dry, hacking cough. Many tried to persuade him to give up his search but his reply was always the same: "Identical twins we were. Everything one did the other had to do, you can't separate that kind. I've got to find him. We came into this world together and together we gotta be when the last trumpet sounds."
When he reached 70 years of age Simon moved to a wilderness almost devoid of men.
Two prospectors working out from White Horse came upon Simon lying at the base of a precipice, about 100 yards off the old Lake La Barge trail. Though the old man's neck was broken from a fall his face wore a look of perfect serenity. He had not been dead for very long.
The two prospectors decided it best to bury him where he lay. They dug down a little way when they turned up a skeleton. Mingled with the bones was an ancient wallet and some 32 year old papers, well preserved where the frost line lies close to the surface.
The papers bore witness that the skeleton was that of John, his long sought identical twin! By grim irony Simon had located his brother too late to know it in this conscious world.
Perhaps all of this was simply a coincidence, or maybe there's something more in this sympathy existing between twins, that is more powerful than man can know.
The two men were finally buried together and over their grave stands a simple headstone which reads:
In Death They Were Not Divided.