Old Swede

Prospector Runs Afoul of New York Gold Diggers

As far as I can determine, this article is from around 1932 – a year after the start of construction of the Boulder (Hoover) Dam mentioned in the article.

1931-1935 Prospector Runs Afoul of NY Gold Diggers

Prospector, 63, Runs Afoul Of New York Gold Diggers, So He’ll Go Back To The Klondike To Dig Some More

Tired Of Movies, And Bright Lights, He’ll Try For Fortune

John Swanson, known wherever gold mining is a business, is developing a bad case of “itchy feet” and with his face turned toward the North is preparing to return soon to the land of the midnight sun.

Friend of Rex Beach and Jack London, and for many years companion of the late Tex Rickard, Swanson is now visiting at the home of Sergeant and Mrs. Walter Gallagher, Virgil Avenue, Ridgefield.  Despite his 63 years, he’s still young enough to dig another fortune out of the earth, and he is tarrying here just long enough to “rustle up” another grubstake to carry him to the north.

The “Old Prospector’s” next objective is Shandalora, Alaska, 135 miles north of the Arctic Circle and farther north than any mining camp has ever been staked out.  And in his decidedly Swedish dialect Swanson will tell you that in two years he will come out of Alaska with enough gold to keep him in comfort for the remainder of his life.  This despite the fact that he has lost more than one fortune to the “gold diggers” who make a business of relieving miners of their gold with a fountain pen and “phoney” [sic] contracts and the other variety who infest Broadway.

Starting with the Klondike rush in Dawson, Alaska in ’98 Swanson has dug and panned pay dirt in camps all through the Northland, in San Gabriel Valley, just outside of Hollywood, Arizona and Reno, Nev.

It was from Reno that he left for the East only several weeks ago.  Swanson tells stirring tales of his days in San Gabriel Valley, which he left little more than a year ago when the government ejected him and thousands of other miners to begin work on Boulder Dam.

Just about the time he was getting ready to leave, movie directors were scurrying over the countryside searching for a cast for “The Trail of ’98” and the old miner because of his intimate knowledge of the Klondike rush which the picture portrayed, was drafted to drive a dog sled.  Although having only a minor role, Swanson’s knowledge of details proved invaluable and when Russell Simpson, cast as the “Old Swede”, was taken sick, Swanson doubled for the actor at $50 a day.

Coming East, the miner lost no time in searching for his old friend William Sulzer, ex-Governor of New York, who has backed him on several expeditions.  Arriving here Swanson was keenly disappointed when he learned that he had possibly missed Sulzer by several days at Seattle, Wash., from which point the former Governor had left for his own mines in the North.

Asked whether if he made another “strike” he would return to his beloved Broadway which he left as a youth, Swanson replied: “I don’t tank so – this depression, dey don’t know nothing about sach things up North, so I guess maybe I go back and stay there.” But his friends know “Yon” and they doubt it.

 

Incidentally, I also checked the story about Swanson being in “The Trail of ’98,” and while I can’t confirm that he actually was in the movie or that he doubled for Russell Simpson, I did confirm that Russell Simpson played the “Old Swede” in the movie, but that all of his scenes were deleted.  Not sure what that says about Swanson’s acting …

Old Swede

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