Funter Bay History: Pulling the Trap

June 28, 2018

Fish Traps were a major part of Southeast Alaska industry in the first half of the 20th century. I’ve mentioned the traps around Funter Bay in many previous entries, including some photos of trap operations here and some of the designs and technology here.

As noted on many of the Thlinket Packing Co’s labels, they claimed to be “The only cannery in Alaska fishing with traps exclusively”. This was said to make for “fresh, wholesome, and delicious” canned salmon. Collector George Freddora was kind enough to share a label for “Tepee Brand” Coho salmon that I had not seen before:

Tepee Brand Salmon Label, courtesy of George Freddora.

 

Below are a few photos of trap operations, including “pulling” or “brailing” the fish out of the trap. This was a popular scene to photograph, as the wriggling, splashing fish made for an exciting display. As such, there are a lot of duplicates and variants of these photos for Funter Bay! My apologies if I have posted some of these particular images before.

“Brailing Salmon into Scow”, Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Case & Draper Photograph Collection, PCA 39

 

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Case & Draper Photograph Collection, PCA 39

 

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Case & Draper Photograph Collection, PCA 39

 

“T.P. Co Salmon Trap”, Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Case & Draper Photograph Collection, PCA 39

The next image and variants of it became a popular Alaska postcard, both in original and colorized versions:

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Case & Draper Photograph Collection, PCA 39

Photographer William Case took a number of back-to-back exposures  of the brailing process seen above. So far I’ve found 5 of these, and stacked them together into a quick animation:

(Various sources including Alaska State Library and University of Washington Digital Archives).

And finally, a look back at the trap (center-right) and the Kitten Islands, on the way back to the cannery.

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Case & Draper Photograph Collection, PCA 39

 


Funter Bay History: An-Dis-Cla

June 15, 2018

While searching through the Alaska State Library’s collection, I found a portrait of an elderly Tlingit woman photographed in 1908 at Funter Bay. The photo is labeled “An-Dis-Cla”, presumably the woman’s name. I am assuming she worked at the cannery or was part of the seasonal Tlingit community nearby, as most of the photos from this collection are related to the cannery.

This photo is notable for a few reasons. The photographers Case and Draper took a number of photos at Funter Bay, but rarely if ever included the names of their subjects. They also photographed most of the cannery workers in groups rather than individually, the expense of glass negatives would make a personal portrait somewhat special. The other Tlingit women Case & Draper photographed also had a tendency to avoid eye contact with the camera, as mentioned here and in this book.

I have not been able to find anything about the woman shown in this photo. If any readers know more, I would be interested to hear it!


Funter Bay History: The Expanded Misadventures of Fred Patrick

May 9, 2018

After writing about Funter Bay resident Fred Patrick and his accident-prone life, I dug a little deeper into the original news articles. My prior information all came from summaries written by historian “Kinky” Bayers. The articles he references are mostly available in the Alaska State Library on microfilm.

An article from October of 1931 gives more detail of Fred Patrick’s shooting of Harold Tipton. Apparently Patrick was a “fox rancher” at the time, and Tipton was the cannery watchman at Funter Bay. Both were partaking in moonshine at a “small gathering” when Patrick decided to air some sort of grievance with a gun.

Fred Patrick 2

I was not able to find a follow-up article with the results of this matter. Whether Fred Patrick spent any time in jail for the incident is uncertain.

Fred shows up again in the news in 1938, when fellow fisherman George Ford sank his boat, and the two went missing briefly.

And Fred again ran into trouble with guns in 1939, this time in Elfin Cove.

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That’s all I’ve found so far on fisherman, fox rancher, careless gun owner, and all-around unlucky fellow Fred Patrick. If I encounter him again in newspaper archives I will continue posting his exploits!


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


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: A Commemorative Plate

September 15, 2017

This somewhat mysterious artifact rests in the Juneau-Douglas City Museum’s collections. A fancy gold-edged plate or dish with a portrait of five Native Alaskan women from Funter Bay.

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The plate has no indication of when or why it was made, the only marks other than Museum collection numbers being a “Made in Germany” stamp on the bottom.

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The artwork is not attributed on the plate itself, but is clearly based on a 1907 Case & Draper photo from Funter Bay.

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plate5

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Case & Draper Photograph Collection, PCA 39

Whether the plate was commissioned by the Thlinket Packing Co, or by Case & Draper studios, or by someone else, I don’t know. I’m also not sure if it were a one-off product for a company executive or family member, or some mass-produced item sold as a souvenir or offered as advertising material. Such plates with Alaska scenes were sometimes commissioned by companies as advertising, but there is no company name on it.

The JDCM catalog notes that this was donated by Mamie and Marcus Jensen, and used by the Feusi family of Douglas.

I would love to find more information on this curious Funter Bay plate, if anyone knows more they are encouraged to contact me!

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Thanks again to the Juneau-Douglas City Museum for letting me see and photograph this artifact!

 

 


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.