Fonds yuk-632 - Paul Nieman fonds

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Paul Nieman fonds

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on provenance of the fonds.

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yuk yuk-632

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  • 1979-1980 (Creation)
    Creator
    Nieman, Paul, 1902-1983

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.05 m of textual records

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Biographical history

Paul Nieman was born in Hamburg in 1902 and around 1912 he immigrated to Canada with his family. The Nieman family homesteaded in Pocahasset near Edmonton, Alberta. Around 1926, after a short time in Edmonton where he took up boxing and worked as a detective, Nieman began to head north, travelling via the Athabasca and Mackenzie rivers. He eventually spent time in Fort Chipewyan, Fort Smith, Arctic Red River, Fort McPherson, and Aklavik in the Northwest Territories and travelled over to Old Crow and down to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory. In 1929 he was living in Fort McPherson and helped nurse the native community through a flu epidemic. Nieman moved to Old Crow in June 1930 and lived there for ten years, making his living from trapping. In the early 1940s he moved to Dawson City and worked at a placer operation on Bonanza Creek. Nieman moved on to Snag in 1942 and ran a trading post for the next 5 years. While in Snag he met and married Agnes, a daughter of Copper Jack. The Niemans moved to Whitehorse in 1954 where they raised eight children. For many years he was a camp cook for mining companies making expeditions into the bush. Paul Nieman died in Whitehorse at the age of 81 in May, 1983.

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The fonds is a draft copy, approximately 200 pages, of Paul Nieman's memoirs entitled, "Pioneering in the Canadian North in the Land of the Midnight Sun". He began writing it in 1979 when he was 77 years old. Nieman describes his life and activities from his early years in Germany, homesteading in Alberta, and travelling north as a young man. He writes about the communities he visited and stayed in, including Fort Chipewyan, Fort Smith, Arctic Red River, Fort McPherson, Aklavik, Old Crow and Whitehorse. Mr. Nieman spent time with John Firth, the old Hudson's Bay Company trader at Fort McPherson, and his family. He relates Mr. Firth's account of the 1911 Lost Patrol tragedy. He also describes the hunt for Albert Johnson, the "Mad Trapper", in 1931/32. He writes about a potlatch in Old Crow in 1938, botanist Bob Porsild, First Nations people he met along the way, running sled dogs, fishing and lists the names of some people from the area of the Bell and Porcupine rivers. Over the years Mr. Nieman was involved in a number of activities including the making and selling of moonshine, prospecting around Quiet Lake, running a trading post at Snag in 1942, surveying the Canol Road, and cooking for a mining camp. Parts I to III are edited by Jim Nixon. Parts IV and V are incomplete but organized by Jim Nixon. He worked on Paul Nieman's manuscript as part of the Yukon Lifestyles Project sponsored by the Yukon Historical and Museums Association.

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