Thanksgiving Day: Rev. L. H. Pedersen Tells of Its Significance and Duties

Happy Thanksgiving from the AKDNP!  We’re thankful for the opportunity to make 100,000 pages of our historical newspapers accessible through the National Digital Newspaper Program and Chronicling America.

The following article titled “Thanksgiving Day, Rev. L.H. Pedersen Tells of Its Significance and Duties” was printed in the December 2, 1905 issue of the Seward Weekly Gateway.  In it Rev. Pedersen writes, “The best thing that hearts that are thankful can do Is this – to make thankful some other heart too.”  Here’s hoping our participation in NDNP is making all you researchers’ hearts thankful too!


“Thanksgiving Day, Rev. L. H. Pedersen Tells of Its Significance and Duties.”, The Seward weekly Gateway, December 2, 1905.



Opening Statements: The Daily Alaskan

The Opening Statement series features the foreword or introduction given by  editors or publishers in the first issue of the paper addressing its readers. 


The Morning Alaskan, February 1, 1898, Vol. 1, No. 1

Editor: O.W. Dunbar

“With this issue THE MORNING ALASKAN makes its debut before the citizens of Skaguay and the countless hordes of people who eagerly await any news pertaining to this city and the country beyond. But a few days a resident of Skaguay, and that time busily occupied, I have been unable to make the acquaintance of as many of the citizens as I would have wished, but through the MORNING ALASKAN I hope to become personally acquainted with all.  THE MORNING ALASKAN shall always be maintained as a bright, newsy sheet, with the interests of Skaguay and its enterprising citizens always uppermost in the editor’s mind.

O.W. Dunbar”

New Content: Batch II Live on ChronAm

The Alaska State Library is please to announce that the next batch of digitized historical Alaskan newspapers is now available online at!


New additions include:

Need some help finding what you want?  Check out our blog post Searching Chronicling America for tips!

Featured Content: Batch II: What to Expect

The second batch of Alaskan historical newspaper pages has been accepted for ingest in Chronicling America!  Batch II will include two titles, the remainder of Douglas Island News and the beginning of The Daily Alaskan.  These titles will be available on Chronicling America in December.  Currently available titles for searching are the Alaska Daily Empire (1912-1917), Douglas Island News (1898-1907), and The Thlinget (full run, 1908-1912).

Batch II Details:

  1. Douglas Island news, Douglas City, AK, 1907-1922
  2. The daily Alaskan, Skagway, AK, 1898-1905

For more information on these and other titles visit the Alaska State Library’s page on Alaska Historical Newspapers.


Alaskan Roughnecks

What separates Alaskan roughnecks from their counterparts in the lower 48?

The following blurb from the November 18, 1916 issue of the Iditarod Pioneer has this to say about the men and women of the frontier:


“The following paragraph in answer to a query was published in the Literary Digest recently:

Roughneck is a slang term for a tough or a rowdy, such as a member of one of those gangs that at one time terrorized the people of the slums of New York of Chicago.  The term is also used to denote a person who lacks manners or refinement, in contrast to one who has a good address and the appearance of culture, as “Oh! he’s a roughneck!”  In the Evening Post (New York) of August 17, 1903, we find the following: “His (Sam Parks) stated income amounts to union wages from his union of roughnecks, as the ironworkers call themselves, as walking delegate.”  Also in “Colonel Crockett in Texas,” published in 1836, we read: “You may be called a drunken dog by some of the clean-shirt and silk-stocking gentry; but the real roughnecks will style you a jovial fellow.”

In Alaska the term “roughneck” has an appropriate meaning distinct from any of the above definitions.  Far from being a term of reproach, it is in large measure complimentary.  It refers to that large class of Alaskans who, meeting and combating natural obstacles in an untamed wilderness, overcomes them and glories in the task.  The Alaskan roughneck may have been reared amid the refinement or luxury, or he may have been a product of the slums; but the trials and difficulties met with the Northland lend that touch of nature which makes them all kin.  The roughneck of today is apt to be the capitalist of tomorrow, and even then he is not ashamed of being designated as a 
“roughneck” [emphasis added].


ARTICLES OF INTEREST: “Find Bones of ’98er on Glacier– Diary and Letters Near the Body”

Prospecting on the Alaskan frontier was perhaps the most dangerous for those early treasure seekers.  Extreme temperatures and unpredictable weather patterns coupled with the desolate and unforgiving terrain spelled disaster for many mining parties trying to make their way toward the promises of valuable ore.

The article below from The Valdez Daily Prospector, published July 2, 1913, reveals one such story of a miner who disaster befell and whose bones were later discovered in a small crevice of the Valdez glacier.


Front page of the July 2, 1913 issue of The Valdez Daily Prospector.



Mrs. Rose Johnson, who owns and is opening up a quartz property located on the mountains rising from the Valdez glacier, last Friday night found the bones of a prospector who had been frozen to death years ago, and upon further search found old clothes letters and the watch of the unfortunate man, who evidently had died in 1898 or early in 1899.

The watch, the works of which had completely rusted, bore the name William Ellery and was a common silver case.  The diary was so matted from moisture and exposure that but little could be made out, although in places the print was wonderfully clear.

Letters written in 1898 and bearing the postmark San Francisco, 1898, were found in the pockets of old clothes.

The skull and most of the bones were in one place in a small crevice of the glacier, where they had remained since the death of the pioneer in his efforts to come to Valdez from the interior.

Many believe Mrs. Johnson has found the remains of Dr. Logan, lost in 1899 while coming to Valdez with a party of six, all of whom perished, and all of the party were found but Logan.

In the fall of 1898 and the winter of 1899 the miners who had rushed into the Copper river country via the Valdez glacier, started on their return to Valdez en route to the states to take up anew the work they had abandoned to make a rush for Alaska, and fill their pockets with gold and return to the states to cut a swath like Coal Oil Johnny.  They quickly realized that gold was hard to find and that many of them were totally unfit for the work in Alaska.

The stream of men then started back to the coast and among them were a party of New Yorkers, who started for the coast in charge of Dr. Logan.

The party left timber on the Klutina side of the glacier, hauling Maximillian Miller, Adolph Ebehardt, two men sick with the scurvey.  The party were caught in a snow and wind storm and all perished.  The bodies of Miller, Ebehardt, August Schultz, Rudolph Ellerkamp, Alfred Ellimar, were found by a searching party headed by Dempsey and Jackson and brought back to Valdez and buried at the little graveyard in the western part of town.

Dr. Logan, the head of the party, was not found, although a diligent search for the body was made for days.  He was known to have had several thousand dollars on his person when he left the lake.

The bodies of all the other men were found to have sums ranging from $50 to several hundred dollars on them, and but few men in those days were broke.

The party had become scattered when the storm broke and the two sick men were found tied on the sled, but frozen stiff, while the others were found a short distance away, where they had tried to seek shelter in a crevice only to die.

The men were all found near the fourth bench, while the bones found my Mrs. Johnson are on the right had side of the glacier, where the old trail used in 98 was located, but near the third bench a few miles from the Valdez end of the ice.

Logan may have reached this  point on his way to Valdez for help when he perished.

It is expected that the federal authorities will have the bones cared for and buried.

Mrs. Johnson made temporary burial of the bones on the side hill, near where they were found and the personal effects have been turned over to the commissioner.”