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Albert J. Cody

Success is the result of ability, aptitude and work. Failure, when it is not due to indolence, most often comes from inaptitude. Men try to do something for which they are not qualified either by nature or education and training, and they fail. Square pegs do not fit in round holes. Success waits on genius, but a musical genius might waste his life behind the plow, in the factory or the counting room. The Maker of man in His omniscience has fitted some for one kind of work, and equipped others for another kind of work, so that by natural selection and the exercise of our dominant faculties we should be doing that which we are best qualified to do. A. J. Cody was made to order for a detective and an executive officer of the law. Possessing great physical strength, although a man of not extraordinary size, agile and alert, with a mind quick of perception and an intuitive grasp of human motive, devoid of fear, yet cautious, and having withal a keen analytical mind, Mr. Cody has the traits of character that Conan Doyle has given to the hero of his great detective stories.

Mr. Cody is a native of Auburn, Oregon, and was forty-two years old November 10, 1904. He is a member of an old English family that came to America about 200 years ago. His father was a pioneer of California who emigrated from Indiana in 1849. A. J. Cody was educated in the public schools of Oregon, and began the serious work of life riding the range on a cattle ranch in Big Lake County, Oregon. At a later period he was engaged in the fish cannery business on Columbia River. From 1883 to 1889 he was in the hotel business in Portland. In all of these lines of business he achieved ordinary success, but it was not until he became an officer of Multnomah County, by appointment as deputy sheriff, that he found a vocation in which he excelled, and in which progress and promotion followed in the natural order of events. Subsequently he was appointed to a position on the police and detective force of Portland, Oregon. In 1896 when the patrol wagon was called out almost every hour of the day to what was known as the North End, Mr. Cody was assigned at the request of Mayor Pennoyer to duty in this tough part of the city. He remained on duty in this part of the city until June, 1 898, and did his work so well that for three days covering the first Fourth of July after his assignment there was not a single call for the patrol wagon. He told the tough element that if there was any fighting to be done he would take a hand in it; and a few illustrations of what he could do in this line awakened a wholesome respect for him, which deterred the bad men from violating the law. During his connection with the police department of Portland he did a lot of clever detective work, embracing cases covering a wide range of crimes, from the discovery of stolen goods and arrest of the thieves to the capture of desperadoes who had sent word that they would never be taken alive.

In 1898 Mr. Cody was appointed deputy collector of customs for Alaska. He came to St. Michael and ascended the Yukon to the boundary line, establishing customs houses at Rampart, Fort Yukon and Eagle. He resigned this position the following year and came to Nome, engaging in mining. In the fall of 1 900 he was appointed to the position of deputy marshal by U. S. Marshal Vawter. Mr. Cody is the man who broke up the worst gang of malefactors that ever infested Nome. Sixty men of criminal instincts had formed a compact to swear alibis and thereby keep each other out of the penitentiary for their misdeeds. Judge Noyes, Marshal Vawter, District Attorney Wood and U. S. Commissioner Stevens had a joint interview with Mr. Cody, and requested him to break up the ring. He agreed to undertake the work upon the condition that warrants should be issued at his request and the arrested men confined in jail without the privilege of any one visiting them, and that there should be no writs of habeas corpus. By pursuing this method an opportunity was given to obtain testimony, and fourteen convicts were deported to McNeil's Island the following spring. The gang was effectually broken up, and since then Nome has been comparatively free from the depredations of criminals.

Being a field deputy in the office of the U. S. Marshal Mr. Cody had the privilege of conducting a detective agency, and was employed by all the big companies to protect their interests. He resigned when Marshal Vawter went out of office, and devoted his time to the work of his detective bureau and to his mining interests. In 1903 Marshal Richards tendered him the position of office deputy, which he accepted, and filled until the close of navigation, 1904, when he resigned to return to the states, the main object of his going being to give his son a collegiate education.

Mr. Cody owns extensive and valuable mining interests in the Nome District. He owns all of Extra Dry Creek, comprising fourteen claims, and owns property on Anvil Creek. He and Miss Alice V. Campbell were married in Portland, Oregon, in June, 1884. They have one son, Albert R., a bright young man twenty years old. Mr. Cody has had an eventful career, filled with thrilling experiences, but there is another phase of his character of which the world knows less than it does of his public career. He is an affectionate and devoted husband and father, a loyal friend, and he has a soul that feels keenly and suffers from the sorrow and misery of the world with which he is inevitably brought in contact.  

Source: Nome and Seward Peninsula by R. S. Harrison. Seattle: The Metropolitan Press, 1905.




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