Funter Bay History: Young Man’s Draft

November 30, 2017

I’ve previously written about the Old Man’s Draft, a record set from the US Government in which a number of Funter Bay residents and Pribilof Internees are recorded. The companion set was recently published, listing younger men who registered for the draft in WWII. The following are registrations from residents of Funter Bay. As before, the name in parentheses is the person listed as “Person who will always know your address”, if there is no last name in parentheses, it is the same as the man listed in that record. For the older men this was often a spouse, for the younger men it could be a spouse or parent. Some versions of the form specify the relationship, in these cases I’ve made a note of such. Spelling and dates are mostly taken from the registration cards and may have some errors.

Bourdukofsky, Victor (Alexandra) Age 20.
Born 9/28/21, Pribilof Islands AK
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Buterin, Maxim K. (Kapetolina: Wife)
Born 1/31/13, St. Paul Island.
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Clark, David Hans (Mrs. L. E. Dodson, Bremerton WA).
Born 4/20/1925, Bellingham, WA
Employer: P.E. Harris Co, Funter AK

Dorman, Max William (G. G. Brown, Juneau AK).
Born 9/26/1902, Perry IA
Employed as Fisherman

Emanoff, Mamant (Anna: Wife)
Born 9/15/1906, St. Paul Island
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Emanoff, Maxim (Frances: Wife)
Born 11/24/1911, St. Paul Island
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Fratis, David (Alexandra: Wife)
Born 5/15/1910
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Galaktionoff, Aggey (Anfesa: Wife)
Born 11/3/1906, St. Paul Island
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Galaktionoff, Frank Gabriel (Fish & Wildlife Service)
Born 10/24/1910, Dutch Harbor, Unalaska
Employed by Jack Dunn on the cannery boat Wilson
(Likely a Pribiloff evacuee who managed to find work away from the camp)

Galanin, Gavriel (Mrs. Zoya Philemonof)
Born 4/27/1909, Pribiloff Islands, AK
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Galanin, Raphiel (Miss Angelina Merculief: Cousin)
Born 11/21/1913, Pribiloff Islands, AK
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Galanin, Moses (Mr. George Merculief)
Born 3/7/1914, Pribiloff Islands, AK
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Galanin, Laurence (Mr Alexander Galanin: Father)
Born 8/23/1918, St. George Island, AK
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Galanin, Martin (Alexander Galanin: Father)
Born 4/12/1919, St. George Island, AK
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Galanin, Ferman (Alesander Galanin)
Born 6/8/1920, Pribiloff Islands, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Gromoff, Elary S. (Elisaveta: Wife)
Born 7/24/1901, St. Paul Island, AK
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Gromoff, Smile V. (Elary S.)
Born 6/30/1924, Pribilof Islands
Employed as Fish buyer by Sandy Stevens of Juneau, AK

Hanson, Xenofont (Agraffina: Wife)
Born 2/9/1919, St. Paul Island, AK
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Hanson, John Jr. (John Hanson, Sr.)
Born 2/4/1920, St. Paul Island, AK
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Hapoff, John (Angelina: Wife)
Born 4/30/1908, Pribilof Island, Alaska.
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Hapoff, Arthur (Parascodia: Mother)
Born 7/6/1920, St. Paul Island, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Hellbaum, Richard Godlied (Mrs. Alfred Mockle Lomita of Park, CA)
Born 11/9/1898, Jekoa, WA.
Employer: US Buruea of Fish Wild Life Service (sic)

Hoverson, Carl Marcus (Edward C Johnston of Seattle)
Born 12/6/1901, Hancock Minn.
US Fish & Wildlife Service, Seattle (Funter Alaska)

Kashevarof, Laurence (Julia: Wife)
Born 7/28/1910, Pribiloff Islands, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Kashevarof, Valentine (Ludmilla: Wife)
Born 9/5/1912, Pribiloff Island, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Kochergin, Peter T. (Helen: Wife)
Born 3/24/1902, St. Paul Island, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Kochergin, Victor (Peter)
Born 9/26/1923, Pribilof Islands, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Kochutin, Innokenty (Haretina: Wife)
Born 12/7/1903, St. Paul Island, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Kochutin, Simeon (Deceased) (Maria G: Half-sister)
Born 2/13/1912, St. Paul Island, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Kochutin, Nekifer (Theodore: Father)
Born 2/22/1913, St. Paul Island, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Kochutin, Jacob (Olga: Wife)
Born 3/5/1917, St. Paul Island, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

Kochutin, Mekey (Theodore: Father)
Born 8/26/1921, St. Paul Island, Alaska
Employer: USF&WS Evacuation Camp

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Funter Bay History: Trolling in 1952

October 12, 2017

The Juneau Douglas City Museum provided this set of 1952 slides showing some commercial fishing at Funter Bay. Trolling doesn’t seem to have changed much since then! This set is from the Carl and Caroline Jensen collection, Accession # 2002.45. http://www.juneau.org/parkrec/museum/v_exhibit/exhibit4/e41293a.htm

Below we see Carl Jensen cleaning fish near the entrance of Funter Bay. A skein of salmon eggs is in his hand. The cannery and some other trollers are barely visible in the background:

These photos were taken near the end of the fish trap era. Traps competed with trollers such as the Jensens, catching fish on a much more destructive industrial scale. Below we see a cannery tender loading a scow from a floating trap:

And another view of a trap (possibly the same one) with a red watchman’s shack. A cannery employee would live at the trap to keep fish pirates from robbing it. Many commercial fishermen hated the traps and would steal fish from them if they got the chance!

Below we see the fishermen parked at the float at Funter Bay in the morning (based on the sun). Carl Jensen is seen picking herring from a net, likely set from the side of the boat overnight. These would be used as the day’s bait.

The herring threaded onto hooks can be seen a bucket below:

Whales, likely bubble-net feeding on small fish:

The lighthouse at Point Retreat, northern end of Admiralty Island:

Sunset at Funter Bay:

Thank you to the JDCM for helping me locate and scan these, and thanks to the Jensen family for donating this great documentation of fishing 60 years ago!


Funter Bay History: Burford Photos 1940s-1960s

August 31, 2017

This set of photos comes from the Jack and Mabel Burford Collection in the Alaska State Archives. The Burfords offered charter sport fishing trips to Funter Bay, Elfin Cove, and other areas from the 1940s into the 1960s.

Unfortunately the library did not have a working slide scanner, so I had to make do with a camera and light table. Any blurry slides are probably my own fault and not that of the original photographer! You can click on the photos to see larger scans.

Fish Traps and fishing boats near Funter Bay in 1945:

burford13 burford12

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A color slide from 1945 shows the Burfords’ boat Donjac tied up at the cannery dock. The cannery buildings are starting to look a little run down in this photo, with moss growing on the bath house roof. Several other boats are also at the dock, including a fish buying scow, a packer, and some commercial trollers.

A later trip in 1945 seems to have left the group stuck in Funter Bay waiting out a storm. A snowy series of photos are labeled “stormbound at Funter”.

burford15 burford14

Some photos of Gunnar and Lazzette Ohman’s log cabin at Funter Bay in 1958 (misspelled on the slide labels). Lazzette has a brief autobiographical article here and a longer published book available on Amazon.

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The Burfords later operated the vessel Katinka, seen below at Funter Bay in 1959:

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Funter Bay sunsets are a popular subject of photos! I have found quite a few in a variety of different collections.

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Below are some 1960s photos. The first is undated but shows fishing boats at the mine float as seen from a plane:

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A 1961 photo shows local fisherman “Cracker Box Mac”. This nickname could have been a reference to his boat.

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Floyd Keeler at Hawk Inlet. This may be one of the hand logger brothers attributed to “Keeler’s Cabin” at the North entrance of the bay.

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The cannery in 1962, as seen from Harold and Mary Hargraves’ house. The buildings are looking even more run down and part of the dock seems to have disappeared:

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Hargraves’ home at the former saltery:

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The Pribilof cemetery near the cannery:

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And an undated photo of a very small log cabin somewhere at Funter Bay. This is a little different design than Shorty’s Cabin, but not much bigger!

burford16

These photos are all courtesy of the Alaska State Library & Archives, Jack and Mabel Burford Collection, PCA 516.


Funter Bay History: Screaming Jack Lee

August 30, 2017

One of Funter Bay’s resident fishermen in the 1930s and ’40s was a fellow nicknamed “Screaming Jack” Lee. Apparently this colorful nickname was earned by frequent anger and a habit of yelling at whatever chore he was performing. Even “Jack” was a nickname, at the time a common informal version of the more formal “John” (something I find a bit odd). As mentioned in a previous post, Screaming Jack became so notorious that he even got a brief mention in National Geographic.

“Jack” was the oldest son of a South Dakota farming family, born March 7 1883* as Irven Lee.  His siblings were William (b. 1885). Stella (1887), Gertrude (1889), Howard (1891), Albin (1894), and Ella (1898). Jack’s father Thomas Lee was born in Michigan in 1852 and homesteaded a farm near Claremont, SD. His mother Mary Ann (Ruddy) Lee, also from Michigan, was born in 1859.  Both parents were the children of Irish immigrants.

(*The birth date of 1883 is one of several which appears in government records, ranging from 1880-1885).

Between 1900 and 1910, young Irven Lee changed his name to the more American-sounding John Irwin Lee, and left the family farm for Seattle.

He entered the army in his 20s and re-enlisted several times. In 1910 Lee served at Fort Worden near Port Townsend, WA. He re-enlisted in 1912 at Seattle’s Fort Lawton, giving his occupation as “Engineer”. He served in the Coast Artillery on defensive gun positions in the Puget Sound area. He received an Honorable Discharge on February 9, 1915, but was back in the army by August of 1917, this time in the new Aviation Section. He rose to the rank of Corporal with the 133d Aero Squad, a supply squadron training at Kelly Field in Texas.

Lee was promoted to Sergeant in October of 1917, but his military career seems to have run into trouble soon afterward. He appears to have been busted down to Private and transferred to the new 327th Aero Squadron, also at Kelly Field. Less than a week later he was sent to the Springfield Arsenal in Massachusetts for a training class. A note from November of 1917 mentions a Private John I. Lee from Camp Kelly being sent to the Marlin-Rockwell Gun Corp in Connecticut for a 4-week instruction course.

John I Lee

From January 22 of 1918 until discharge, Lee is listed as “AS” (Air Service) with no details as to unit or location. He rose back as far as Private 1st class by November of 1918, then left the army with an Honorable Discharge in January of 1919.

12886975D68847DEE108D2C28FC4630A_1

 

In 1920, Lee was working as a mechanic in the Vallejo, CA Naval Yard (Mare Island on San Francisco Bay). His name and birth year are not fully or correctly recorded in the 1920 census, but other information (parents and birth day/month) does match. I could find no identifiable match for 1930 or 1940 census records. If he were fishing during those decades he could have easily been missed by census takers.

According to some of his acquaintances, “Jack” Lee began fishing in the Funter Bay area in 1932.  He reportedly hand trolled for salmon, likely using a small open boat that could easily be beached for the night.

hand troller

As with many hand trollers of the time, Lee seemed to have something of a nomadic lifestyle with no fixed home or base of operations. Local residents reported that he camped in a variety of locations, including a cabin in Hawk Inlet and a cabin South of Funter Bay at what later became Gunner Ohman’s fish camp. He apparently also built the “Jack Lee Trail”, perhaps from one of his camps to somewhere he could pick up mail and supplies.

Lee’s next brush with military service came in 1942, during registration for the “Old Man’s Draft”. Listing his age as 62 with an earlier birth year may have been an honest mistake, or an attempt to make himself less desirable for government service. Lee was living in Funter Bay at the time and gave his occupation as “Fisherman”. He registered with Harold Hargrave, Funter’s postmaster and draft registrar for the White population of the area. Hargrave is also listed as the “Person who will always know your address”.

John Lee Draft Card

His registration card (two-sided) gives the following details:

John Irwin Lee
Place of Residence: Funter Alaska
Mailing Address: Funter Alaska
Age: 62
Date of Birth: March 7, 1880
Place of Birth: Brown County, So. Dakota
Person who will always know your address: H.F. Hargrave, Funter Alaska (The postmaster and draft registrar)
Employer’s Name: Fisherman
Place of Employment: Funter Alaska
Race: White
Height: 5’7″
Weight: 150
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Gray
Complexion: Ruddy
Other characteristics: None

I am not sure when the “Screaming Jack” nickname came about, but neighbors reported that he could often be heard yelling at his tools or his firewood from across the bay. According to the 1947 National Geographic article, he was “Always mad”.

Jack Lee passed away in February of 1950 at Funter Bay. He was found by Gunner Ohman, who stated for the death certificate:

“I found Mr. Jack Irwin Lee dead in bed in his cabin at Funter Bay on Feb. 20, 1950 apparently died on Feb. 19 from causes unknown to me”.

“Other conditions” of the deceased are given as “Probably Tuberculosis & Senility”. His occupation is given as Fisherman and Fur Trapper, and he is listed as a WWI Veteran. He was buried in Juneau on Feb 28, 1950.

Sources:

Database: Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans’ Bonus Records, World War I Service Statement Cards. ONLINE 2009, Washington State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State. http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/Record/View/103CB75A9AE0089E7B451453B4DB8D63

https://books.google.com/books?id=NvZYAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA144&dq=%22aero+squadron%22+%22in+the+World+War%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwihuYb0_dHJAhVDQCYKHcDdDXAQ6AEIHDAA#v=snippet&q=327&f=false

US Census records, various years. National Archives.

WWII “Old Man’s Draft” Registration Cards, Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration Fold3 / National Archives.

Jack Irwin Lee, “Standard Certificate of Death”, Territory of Alaska, recorded March 6, 1950.

 

 


Funter Bay History: A 1919 Honeymoon Trip

July 20, 2017

One fascinating source of historic Alaska photos are the vacation albums created by past visitors. The Alaska State Library & Archives has several such albums donated by collectors and families of the original photographers. These provide a great cross section of historic Alaskan tourism, as well as a glimpse into the interests of the tourists (some photographed glaciers while others focused on wildlife and still others on industry).

An album from July of 1919 follows the journey of some newlyweds from Seattle to Southeast Alaska. Unfortunately the names of the couple is not known. They sailed on the steamship Admiral Evans, which made stops at the canneries in Funter Bay and nearby Hawk Inlet.

1919 Album 1

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Alaska Travel Photograph Album,1919, PCA 425-09

It’s not clear if the following photo of salmon on a cannery floor was taken at Funter or Hawk Inlet. Both canneries would have looked similar inside.

1919 Album 2

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Alaska Travel Photograph Album,1919, PCA 425-09

 

1919 Album 3

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Alaska Travel Photograph Album,1919, PCA 425-09

The next photo of the USS Marblehead is quite interesting. I mentioned the Marblehead’s anti-piracy visit and showed a postcard photo from a different angle in this post.

1919 Album 4

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Alaska Travel Photograph Album,1919, PCA 425-09

A newspaper article from Juneau mentioned the Marblehead that same month:

Marblehead article

Getting back to the photo album, a wider view shows the cannery with native worker village on the right, and a denuded small island in the foreground (probably Gauge Is.)

1919 Album 5

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Alaska Travel Photograph Album,1919, PCA 425-09

A pair of photos show the young couple taking turns posing in the woods at Funter Bay:

1919 Album 6

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Alaska Travel Photograph Album,1919, PCA 425-09

 

1919 Album 7

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Alaska Travel Photograph Album,1919, PCA 425-09

And finally, a shipboard photo as the steamer left Funter Bay:

1919 Album 8

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Alaska Travel Photograph Album,1919, PCA 425-09

If anyone happens to recognize these people, I would love to hear about it!


Funter Bay History: Special Agent Harold Merrin

February 16, 2016

In the 1930s Funter Bay was home to one Harold Merrin, a “Special Agent” with the “U.S. Division of Investigation”. While the title might suggest an affiliation with the FBI (which held that name prior to 1935), there was also such a division under the General Land Office. This was part of the Department of the Interior, and conducted investigations into all sorts of mineral and property rights for the US Government. Special Agents of the Land Office worked with everything from logging and grazing licenses to oil and gas surveys to mineral claims and property rights.

Harold Woodworth “Hal” Merrin was born in Ohio in 1893, to parents Ernest and Lenna. The family moved to Spokane by 1910. He grew up with a background in mining, as his father worked at various mines and was later director of the American-Scotia Mine in Orient, WA. Harold served as secretary-treasurer of this company while in college.

Merrin1

Harold attended North Central High School in Spokane, but WWI pulled him and many of his classmates away before graduation. Harold joined a trial officer’s training camp in 1918 and briefly served as a Corporal with the American Expeditionary Force in France (source). After returning to the US, Harold enrolled at the State College of Washington and received his Bachelors Degree in Mining Engineering in 1921.

Camp

After graduating, he worked as an assayer with the Santa Rita mining co, then as a land appraiser for the government land office in Portland and Santa Fe. By 1923 he was working as a government mineral examiner in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. One of his jobs included investigating a “Mystery Metal” found in Oregon. In 1926 Harold married Bertha Thompson of Everett, WA.

In 1933 Congress authorized payments in the amounts of $124.35 and $35.90 to Harold Merrin for travel expenses to and from Alaska while under official orders. In 1935 he was reportedly working as a special agent for the U.S. Division of Investigation. In 1936 the Division of Investigations had him stationed at Funter. The WSU Alumni paper reported the birth of Harold and Bertha’s daughter Evelyn that year.

WU Alumni 2

I have not found the exact nature of Harold’s government work at Funter, but property and mineral issues would likely have kept him busy. Several mines were active at Funter, which would fall under Harold’s area of expertise as a mineral surveyor. Other activities could have included homestead claims, fish trap locations, hand logging, and cannery land use. Some of these industries had overlapping property claims and some were known to use mining claims for other purposes. Juggling the competing interests of Alaskan industries with each other and with the federal government was likely a full time job.

Harold’s government work appears to have led him into the private sector after a few years. In 1937 he was superintendent of the Alaska Empire Mine at Hawk Inlet, across the mountain from Funter (source). In 1938 he was back at Funter Bay, after “exposing his family to six months in the civilization of the outside world”.

In 1939 the WSU Alumni update described Harold as having a “Leasing and private practice at Funter”.

Merrin 3

By late 1939 the Merrin family had moved to the Flagstaff Mine in Kasaan Bay, near Ketchikan. They soon moved back to Washington, and Harold passed away in Yakima in 1940 at age 47.

 


Funter Bay History: Helen Antonova, Mining Engineer

May 28, 2015

One of the first women to graduate with a degree in Mine Engineering, Helen Anatolievna Antonova arrived at Funter Bay in the fall of 1929. Born in Russia in 1904, Antonova traveled through China and Japan with her mother before moving to the United States. Her early life was spent in Siberian mining towns, and despite early work in theater, she always dreamed of becoming a mining engineer. She enrolled in the University of Washington’s College of Mines, the only woman to do so at the time (though not the first in the US).

Antonova3

University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, Tyee 1928, pg 57. Courtesy UW Digital Archives.

As a female student in a traditionally male field, Antonova encountered much skepticism from officials and unfriendliness from classmates. She would later experience mistrust from coworkers (and their wives). Despite being told by the dean that no one would hire a woman for mine work, she led a successful career as a mine engineer, working throughout the US. On several occasions she was offered roles in theater and in Hollywood, but preferred surveying and assay work over acting.

After finishing her thesis and graduating in 1928, Antonova found a job with a mining company in Funter Bay. She recalled that the owner initially assumed her to be male, writing that he was surprised an engineer would have a woman’s name. Helen described Funter Bay as a small mining town, but noted that nothing could be purchased there. Despite its small size and remote location, Funter was home to a fellow female UW alumni. May Sophia Otteson (Tubbs) was a graduate of the class of 1916 and daughter of Charles and Mary Otteson, who ran another mine close to the one which employed Helen.

Conditions at Funter were spartan, a house was provided for Helen and her mother but was poorly insulated and had almost no supplies. The mine owner’s wife suggested they bring their own wood-burning stove with them. Groceries and goods were brought out on the weekly steamer from Juneau. Some medical care was available from a nurse living at the nearby cannery. Running water and electricity came from a waterfall, and stopped working during the winter. Helen took these conditions in stride, sometimes standing in icy water while surveying. The mine was reportedly very happy with Antonova’s work, and begged her to return after she moved back to Washington state.

Helen eventually married a Russian miner from Juneau (She mentioned that many Russian miners worked in Alaska, some sneaking over from Siberia illegally in rowboats). Her new husband became jealous of Helen’s superior position and income, and demanded they move back to Washington so he could pursue a degree of his own. She divorced him after his attitude and anger grew worse.

After moving back to the Lower 48, Helen held various jobs at mining and refining companies. She later married Nicholas All from New York (Her last name is sometimes listed as Antonovall). Helen Antonova All was interviewd in 1978 by author Joan Dufault, whose book Vintage: The Bold Survivors! contains more details of her life and experiences.