According to Klondiker Emos Ball, who arrived in Dawson in September of 1900:
“We had a good laugh and continued on her claim on Gold Hill, where she asked me to eat dinner with them. She had been to Dawson to see a lawyer about one of her claims, of which a man was trying to claim ownership. She had four men working for her and was making good. She had been left with her four children when her husband, Mr. Purdy, had died suddenly with pneumonia. When I had enjoyed her good dinner and was starting, she would not let me go until I had accepted one dollar for carrying her across the creek.
I later learned that the Dawson lawyer, George Black, was settling Mrs. Purdy’s late husband’s estate, and this began their friendship.” — Amos Ball, 1900
As many will know, Martha and Will parted ways just before Martha came up to the Klondike with her brother. Mr. Purdy didn’t die for many years, though by all accounts they never saw each other again. (And Martha had three boys, not four.)
A great video about Martha Black and all she did for the Yukon.
“I have not written in here for some time. I get negligent. Typhoid fever is an epidemic. The hospitals are crowded and almost every day we hear of people being found dead in their tents alone and friendless. I never felt better physically in my life and but for the awful suspense and anxiety of the war I would be one of the few exceedingly well people. As it is, I sleep very little and spend the long night staring at the ceiling of my little tent, sighing, thinking, wondering, praying that the life of one gallant young hero may be spared, when that one is all that makes life bright to me and he is facing the Spanish bullet in Santiago. If I could only hear from him and know that he is safe.
We are beginning to have twilight now and I am thankful for that. The ever lasting glare of that light is tiresome to the eyes and brain. The weather is simply lovely. The air is balmy and the evenings are cool. I am having a cabin built near my tent. Almost everyone is getting ready for winter building cabins. I went for moss today and cranberries. the woods are simply lovely and the view down the Yukon River with its pretty little islands is very picturesque. the leaves are crimson and gold and the large flocks of wild geese and ducks, cranes and other wild birds that are flying over the city continually warn us that the long winter will soon be upon us. Steamers are coming in unloading quickly and hurrying back to their different ports or going up along some of the lakes to freeze in for the winter.”
– From the diary of Clare M. Stroud Boyntan Phillips.