In the early years of the territory few women came to the Klondike. Only a very small percentage of these women were Black.

Although initially there was little work for women aside from the dance halls, Black women earned a living by baking or sewing, working as domestic servants, mining and even running their own businesses.

“I have never heard anyone talk of Mrs. Hunter without the utmost respect.”

Maribeth Mainer

Lucille Hunter

Lucille was pregnant and only 19 years old when she and her husband Charles left the United States in 1897 and made the trip to the Klondike. They travelled via the Stikine Trail, one of the most difficult routes to the Yukon. When they reached Teslin Lake, Lucille gave birth to a daughter, who they named Teslin.

The family continued on to Dawson, arriving there well before most of the stampeders. They staked a claim on Bonanza Creek in February 1898 and lived for a time at Grand Forks, at the confluence of Bonanza and Eldorado creeks.

After Charles died in 1939 Lucille continued to operate gold claims in Dawson and silver claims near Mayo.

Every year she walked more than 200 km from Mayo to Dawson and back again. In 1943 she moved to Whitehorse, where she operated a laundry. Although she was completely blind in her later years she continued to be fiercely independent.