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!

Advertisements

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.

SONY DSC

 

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.

SONY DSC

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

SONY DSC

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!

SONY DSC

 

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

 

 


Funter Bay History: Cannery Licenses

September 13, 2017

Earlier this summer I visited the Juneau-Douglas City Museum on a research trip. Among the many interesting pieces in their collections were a set of business license and related paperwork for the Thlinket Packing Co cannery at Funter Bay.

license_cannery_3license_cannery_1

There are separate application forms in the file for both the cannery and the saltery side of the operation, for the season starting in 1908.

license_saltery_1

There are also applications for the 1907 season:

license_saltery_2license_saltery_3

A letter from the district court in 1908 reminded the Thlinket Packing Co that they had not yet paid their taxes on the 1907 salmon pack:

license_cannery_2

These documents are all from the Juneau Douglas City Museum’s collections, Item #2008.21.073, “Application for cannery license for Thlinket Packing & Trading Co.” and 2008.21.075, “Application for saltery license for Thlinket Packing & Trading Company“. Much thanks to Jodi DeBruyne for helping me locate and view these items!

 


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

SONY DSC

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.

SONY DSCSONY DSC

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

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

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

SONY DSC

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

burford11

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

SONY DSC

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.

SONY DSC

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:

SONY DSC

Hargraves’ home at the former saltery:

SONY DSC

The Pribilof cemetery near the cannery:

SONY DSC

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: Cannery Shipping and Maintenance

June 30, 2016

I recently received a few Funter Bay images from Michael and Carolyn Nore, collectors of historic Alaska postcards and photos. These show some of the Thlinket Packing Co’s operations between about 1914 and 1920. Most are prior to 1918 (based on the cards used), but some are from the same summer as the photos seen previously in this post.

The first photo is a great shot of the Cannery wharf and main buildings, marked “Front View of Cannery”. The large “Thlinket Packing Co” sign is visible above the warehouse. The mess hall and store is barely visible in the rear right, and the Superintendent’s house with its large porch is seen on the left.

funter bay2 5-18-16 copy

Moving inland, a set of two images show the rear of the cannery buildings. The large chimneys were from the main boiler house.

funter bay6 5-18-16 copy funter bay4 back view of cannery 5-18-16 copy

The previous photo shows a number of handprints marking the foreground building. I am not sure what this building is, as it does not appear on either the 1964 or 1942 property maps.

Another set shows one of the cannery’s steam-powered pile drivers. I am not sure how many of these units the Thlinket Packing co owned, the remains of a smaller one is on the beach at Funter Bay. A large unit nearly identical to the one in these pictures appears in a 1926 photo at the mine wharf (seen on this page).

funter bay8 5-18-16 copy funter bay1 5-18-16 copy

Some scows, rowboats, and a gas boat are seen at the dock and wharf in the next photo. This is a little later than the others, dated May 21 1920:

funter bay11 6-29-16 copy

The photo below shows a gas boat or launch under the pipeline from the cannery’s oil tank, in June 1920.

funter bay9 6-29-16 copy

The next photo is labeled “One of the company tugs with a diver repairing her rudder”. It shows a sailing vessel alongside the cannery’s steam tug Anna Barron and a variety of smaller boats. Men on the sailboat are operating an air compressor and have lowered a ladder and several pipes and ropes over the side. What appears to be a diving suit is draped over the sailboat’s boom.

funter bay3 tug repair by diver 5-18-16 copy

Moving up in vessel sizes, the next photo shows the Pacific Coast Steamship Co’s City of Seattle at the cannery wharf. The appearance of the ship dates this to 1914 or later, as the City of Seattle was completely rebuilt that year and converted from coal to oil fuel. Prior to 1914 the ship had a different superstructure and the foremast was aft of the wheelhouse, as seen here. The re-built ship can also be seen here and a description of the refit is here. Like other commercial steamers, the ship would call at canneries as needed to transport supplies, products, and workers.

funter bay5 steamer city of seattle 5-18-16 copy

Next is a photo of the “Indian Village” located Northeast of the cannery. While postcards tend to call this a village, most accounts state it was not occupied year round. The area was more of a seasonal camp for native employees of the cannery who lived there in the summer.

funter bay7 indian village near cannery 5-18-16 copy

And the last photo shows an interesting gazebo on the hill behind the cannery, with some Tlingit employees relaxing on benches. What appear to be a number of halibut can be seen hanging from the boardwalk below. The date is not given but is probably between 1914-1918.

funter bay10 6-29-16 copy

Thanks again to the Nores for sharing these great images!