Aunt Olga was a gold miner?

Olga Eufemia Källman, my grandfather Richard's older sister was born in Sweden in 1885 and came to the US in 1902.  Census records showed me that she worked as a domestic in Chicago until her marriage to Uncle Uno Markus Palm in 1911. They lived also in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, and eventually they ended up in California where both of her sisters, Tekla and Sarona, with their families, also lived. She died in 1984 in California. They did not to my knowledge have any children.

I was however missing the 1920 census record. And then I found it. It had to be them. How many Olga and Uno Palms, both born in Sweden, both the exact right age, with no children, could there be?

They were in Wiseman, Keokuk, Alaska! And the occupation? "Mining for placer gold on their own account". Get out of here!

1920 US Census Wiseman, Keokuk Alaska

I know virtually nothing about gold mining in Alaska and what I do know is only what I overhear my husband listening to on the Discovery channel "Gold Rush" show. I HATE that show. It's a guy thing I guess, but I digress (again). If you are a guy, or if you really care, here is a great website describing placer gold and how it is mined.

Basically it is panning for gold in streams. It seems that Wiseman, Alaska is pretty remote, in the Arctic Yukon. The town was founded in 1919 by miners who had abandoned the Coldfoot mine. It was called the Coldfoot because seeing how rough, cold and difficult it was to live and mine there, most people got "cold feet" and went home. The town is three miles from the Dalton highway (Iditarod fame) but no connecting road until 1990. You walked. In the cold, carrying your tools and provisions. Well I guess it was not too profitable because in the 2010 census the population had shrunk to 14. It seems Olga and Uno never struck it rich. Maybe they got "cold feet" themselves. In the 1930 census they were back in the Chicago area.

But what an adventure! Why not? You only live once.

My grand aunt and uncle:

Olga Eufemia Källman
b. 3 Nov 1885 Grytgòl, Hällestad, Östergötland, Sweden
d. 23 Sep 1984 Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California, USA

Uno Markus Palm
b. 4 Sep 1883 Hammar, Örebro, Sweden
d. Nov 1962 California, USA

*click on documents to enlarge for easier viewing*