Yukon Nuggets

1911 Yukon Nuggets

Judas Creek

You can have a lot of fun with Yukon place names and learn some interesting history of the places along the way. Take Judas Creek. It’s a small stream that flows into Marsh Lake and is also the name of a sub-division of the unincorporated community of Marsh Lake.

But why on earth is it called Judas Creek. Wasn’t he the guy whom christianity says betrayed his divine master Jesus leading to his capture and crucifixion. According to the King James version of the bible, Judas received 30 pieces of silver for betraying Christ and then he died soon after. On the other hand, the Gospel of Judas, not a biblical book, supposedly documents a conversation between Judas and Jesus which shows that Judas did not betray Jesus, but rather carried out his wishes.

Well, what’s all this got to do with Judas Creek? The Creek was named in 1911 by some disgruntled miners who were unhappy because they had worked very hard for nothing. The creek, they said, betrayed them. Well, not really, rather they were fooled by fool's gold.

Back in 1911, only about 8500 people lived in the entire Yukon. The Whitehorse area was about 600, mostly involved in transportation and mining. Mining was the key and prospectors were a lot like cattle prone to a good stampede. Thus, it was in August of 1911 that a miner came to town bosting about a big goldstrike on Judas Creek. That was enough to set the man on a poling expedition up the Yukon River from Whitehorse and into Marsh Lake. It’s said that quite a few made it to the diggings of Judas Creek and were fighting over the right to stake the best ground. The trouble was there was no best ground. It didn’t take the miners long to figure out that all that glittered in Judas Creek was not gold. It was iron pyrite a rock that looks like gold to the untrained eye. No sir, the unnamed creek that flowed into Marsh Lake was not the next Bonanza or Eldorado. The miners had been fooled by fool's gold. Thus they felt deceived and grumpely named the creek after the man who betrayed Jesus.


A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin.

Les McLaughlin

Les McLaughlin

As storyteller, radio man, and music producer, Les proved a passionate preserver of Yukon heritage throughout his life — nowhere more evident than as the author and voice of CKRW’s “Yukon Nuggets,” from its inception until his passing in 2011.