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Historic Klondike gold nuggets return to Yukon

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Paul Tukker
Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Toronto
Thursday, August 24, 2017

Evan Nelson's arrival in Yukon this week couldn't have been better timed.

It was Monday -- Discovery Day, the annual holiday in Yukon that commemorates the 1896 discovery of gold in the Klondike. And Nelson, a doctor from Minnesota, had brought with him some small and shiny rocks, direct links to one of the central characters in that well-told story.

They were gold nuggets, once owned by "Skookum Jim" Mason. Nelson even has the papers to prove it.

"It's just been something that we've kept, and I thought always should come back to Whitehorse," Nelson said. "Because of the history."

Nelson said his father was in Yukon for a brief spell in 1944 and was given the gold, along with a letter and other papers to prove its authenticity, by his friend Willard "Deacon" Phelps, a lawyer and businessman who had been in Yukon since the gold rush.

Phelps, the story goes, got it directly from Skookum Jim some 40 years earlier, as payment for legal services.

Nelson then inherited it after his father died.

"I just kept it in good condition," Nelson said.

Eventually, he decided to donate it to the MacBride Museum of History in Whitehorse, and he recently sent an email telling the story. ...

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