Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Heritage Sites

Welcome to Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Heritage Sites, an online resource dedicated to exploring our history and culture.

Forty Mile: Percy DeWolfe

This portrait of the “Iron Man of the North” was taken at Forty Mile in 1938.

This portrait of the “Iron Man of the North” was taken at Forty Mile in 1938.

Yukon Archives #7099, Claude and Mary Tidd fonds.
Percy DeWolfe delivering the mail to RCMP Constable Kessler at Forty Mile, 1938.

Percy DeWolfe delivering the mail to RCMP Constable Kessler at Forty Mile, 1938.

Yukon Archives #7101, Claude and Mary Tidd fonds.
Scene from the start of the “Percy” in 2008.

Scene from the start of the “Percy” in 2008.

While Percy DeWolfe had a variety of occupations including freighting gear to Fortymile miners and running a roadhouse at his base at Halfway, he is best known for his exploits on the winter mail run between Dawson City, Yukon and Eagle, Alaska. By horse, dog team and boat, Percy delivered mail to the remote Alaska community year round for nearly 40 years. He earned the nickname “Iron Man of the North” for his perseverance in the most severe weather and no matter the road or river conditions. On one harrowing occasion, while his horses and wagon were breaking through the river ice, Percy risked his life to throw 20 bags of mail to the shore. In 1935, Percy received a silver medal from King George in recognition of his achievements.

Percy and his family lived at Halfway, about 20 miles downriver from Dawson City. Percy and his sons, William and Walter, operated a fish camp here every summer.

To celebrate Percy DeWolfe and his achievements, every year mushers and their dog teams head to Dawson City to run “The Percy”. The Percy DeWolfe Memorial Race follows the Yukon River ice from Dawson City to Eagle, Alaska and back.

To learn more about this race, visit the official website.