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North to Alaska (1897)

In 1897, Addison and Wilson Mizner hied northward to Alaska gold fields. (Two other non-larcenous Mizner brothers, William and Edgar, also went to Alaska in 1897 while, Lansing, the fifth brother, remained behind.)

Wilson Mizner's scams included working as a gold weigher in a dance hall. While balancing the scales, Wilson would spill gold dust onto a carpet. At the end of the week Wilson burned the carpet then extracted the gold from the ashes. In a 1905 interview, Wilson claimed that this trick resulted in a weekly yield of a couple of thousand dollars.

In "Schemers, Scalawags and Scoundrels", author Stuart B. McIver relates one quasi-comic episode in the Yukon: "In the gold rush days in Nome, Alaska, [Wilson Mizner] put on a black mask, armed himself with a revolver and entered a candy store, shouting, "Your chocolates or your life!" Though the local sheriff knew Wilson was the culprit, there was no arrest. Later he was named as a deputy sheriff! Such episodes undoubtedly contributed to the Mizner brothers' irresponsibility.

Addison spent much of his time working for his other brothers in the gold fields. Actually, Addison's larcenous instincts flowered in tropical climates. During his 1904 journey to Guatemala, Addison bilked valuable antiques and furnishings from the country's churches. Still later, during the Florida land boom, Addison practiced his schemes on a much grander scale. Wilson's duplicitous doings in Alaska more made up for Addison's comparative good behavior and by the start of the 20th century, both brothers bailed out of Alaska.

Broadway Bound (1904)

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