George V. Borchsenius
The official acts and the character of the first federal officials in Nome, who were appointed after the enactment of the Alaska Code, have been discussed and criticized by
newspapers, investigated by special agents of the Government; have been a bone of
contention between politicians in Washington, and the subject of inquiry by the Federal
Court of Appeals in San Francisco, where the final record is written, until what is
generally known as the Nome scandals have become a part of the history of the United
States. It is a noteworthy fact that George V. Borchsenius was the first clerk of the
court of this judicial division of Alaska, and although he was retired by Judge Noyes
after one year of service he was reappointed by Judge Noyes' successor to the position
he formerly held, and in 1904 was the only one of the first federal appointees in Nome who
filled the office to which he was first appointed. This is due to the fact that while he
was one of the officials of the old regime he was not a part of that regime or a party
to it His official acts have borne the closest scrutiny without revealing aught that was
wrong or discreditable. In short he has done well and faithfully the work the
Government required of him, and has not sought to gain prestige or profit by dishonest or
questionable methods. .
Mr. Borchsenius, who is of Scandinavian ancestry, was born in Madison, Wis.
July 15, 1865. When he was twelve years old he moved with his parents to Baldwin.
He attended the public schools of Wisconsin and subsequently was graduated from the law
department of the State University. While a resident of Baldwin he learned the printers
trade. At a later period he engaged in the hardware and general mercantile business,
and subsequently, with his father and brother, conducted a real estate and loan agency
under the firm name of H. Borchsenius & Sons. In 1885 he returned to Madison
and assisted in the compilation of the state census. Following the completion of this
work he was employed in the executive office by Governor Rusk, and at a later date
was connected with the land office.
In 1891 he returned to Baldwin, and for a period of four years was in the real
estate and loan business. In 1895 he went back to the capital as assistant to the state
treasurer. He was here in 1899 when the reports of the wonderful Eldorado at Nome
reached the states, and he determined to try his fortune in the new gold
fields. In the spring of 1900 he received the appointment of Clerk of the U. S. District
Court, and arrived in Nome and entered upon the discharge of his duties July 19.
July 15. 1901 he was retired by Judge Noyes. and it is a singular and notable
coincidence that just one year from that date, July 15, 1902, he was reappointed to
the office by Judge Moore; these dates being the anniversary of his birthday.
Mr. Borchsenius has acquired by purchase considerable mining property in the
vicinity of Nome, and has expended near $25,000 in its development. He is the
owner of No. 12 Anvil Creek and three benches adjoining and near the famous and
very rich Mattie claim. He owns or has a controlling interest in Specimen Gulch
property from Anvil Creek to Summit Bench. His persistence and stick-to-it-iveness
is shown by the fact that with all the work he has caused to be done pay was not struck
until 1904. Both the character and location of the Specimen Gulch property indicate that it is valuable, and recent prospects confirm these indications. It requires
courage, hope and application in this country to thoroughly prospect a mining claim.
Twenty holes to bedrock in a claim may not uncover gold, and the next shaft may
strike an old channel of rich gravel. Besides these properties Mr. Borchsenius owns
some quartz claims between Rock and Lindblom Creeks. Only a little development has
been done, but the prospects are favorable that exploration of the ledge will develop a
September 14, 1887, Mr. Borchsenius and Miss Lula M. Bockus were married
in Baldwin, Wis. Harold, their only child, was born December 4, 1891. The
father, mother and sister of Mr. Borchsenius reside at Madison, Wis. His father has
retired from active business. His brother resides in Baldwin and is engaged in the
real estate and loan business.
A man of strong character, resourceful and tactful, Mr. Borchsenius is well and
favorably known in (he political field of his native state. He is a staunch Republican,
a man who is loyal to his friends, and above all other things a man who tries to do his
duty and discharge the obligations devolving upon him conscientiously, and without fear
of the adverse and frequently unjust criticism that comes to men in public life.
Source: Nome and Seward Peninsula by
R. S. Harrison. Seattle: The Metropolitan Press, 1905.