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Dr. George Herbert Huntington Redding

In the spring of 1850 B. B. Redding arrived in San Francisco. He was one of a company of young men that brought a schooner and a cargo of lumber around the Horn to California. When they got into port they found the market well stocked with lumber, and prices of this commodity comparatively low, but a small invoice of canned lobsters which they had, sold readily at the rate of $5.00 a can. If they had brought canned lobsters instead of lumber they would have made a fortune. Mr. Redding was the son of the American consul at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, at which place he was born. He was a man of native intelligence, good education and strong character; and he has left an interesting and conspicuous record in the early history of the state of California. He was successful in mining ventures and business enterprises, followed journalism for a time, was in the legislature when the capital was in Benecia, filled the position of the first secretary of state, and in later years took a great interest in horticulture, the preservation of game and the propagation of fish. He was the first president of the Fish Commission of California, and to him is due the credit of the formation of this commission.

Half a century after the arrival of B. B. Redding in San Francisco, his son. Dr. G. H. H. Redding, came to Nome, and brought a cargo of lumber, and found the market in a condition similar to the market his father found fifty years before in California. When the news of the wonderful gold fields of the Nome region was authenticated in 1899, Dr. Redding and Count Jacques des Carets chartered the schooner Annie M. Campbell. She was loaded with 750,000 feet of lumber, and despatched [sic] at a date in the spring of 1900 that would enable her to reach the northern mining camp as early as it was practicable for vessels to arrive. The owners of the cargo sailed later on the steamer San Jose, and got into Nome on the flood tide of the human sea that poured upon these shores in that memorable year. When the Doctor arrived he found a city of white tents, the beach piled and strewn with freight, disorder and confusion everywhere, prices of town real estate sailing upward like rockets, (to come down later like sticks), and charges for primitive hotel accommodations at the rate of $1.00 an hour. They finally succeeded in leasing three lots on the Sandspit at a monthly rental of $750. The sum of $12,000 was paid for lighterage to the S. Y. T. Co. After the lumber was dumped on the beach, the labor required to haul it and pile it in the yards cost $1 a day for 'each man employed. This is a glimpse of the conditions in the spring of 1900.

While this venture was not the financial success anticipated at the beginning, Dr. Redding remained in Nome for two seasons, and wound up the affairs of the business so that a balance has been shown on the profit side of the ledger. Their company, the Riverside Lumber Yard, furnished most of the lumber for planking the streets of Nome, and at this writing holds city warrants bearing interest for lumber furnished in the spring of 1901. During the winter of 1900-'01 he took an active interest in theatricals and amusement features for the public, and did a great deal toward making the long tedious winters something more than just endurable. In 1 903 he and A. H. Dunham purchased the Geiger toll bridge, which has since been acquired by the city. He is interested in mining property in the peninsula, and is vice president of the Alaska Placer Mining Company, with holdings on Flambeau River. This is the first Nome company organized under the laws of Alaska.

Dr. Redding was born in Sacramento, Cal., Dec. 16, 1860. He is descended from the early Massachusetts Colonists, who came to America in 1634 during the regime of Governor Winthrop. He traces his lineage through his mother's family to Israel Putnam. Dr. Redding was educated in the schools of Sacramento, the California Military Academy of Oakland and the Urban Academy of San Francisco. He received his degree in medicine from the Cooper Medical College, and was graduated from Bellevue Medical College, New York. He spent three years walking the hospitals of Europe, during which time he visited nearly all the notable cities of the Continent and of England. Returning to California in 1889 he practiced medicine for eight years in San Francisco. He was the first house surgeon of the San Francisco Polyclinic. He was police surgeon of San Francisco in 1 894, and was also the surgeon of the Midwinter Fair. He relinquished his practice to engage in mining on the Mother Lode in California. After selling the famous Tarantula Mine he went to Karluk, Kodiak Island, in 1898, and relieved his cousin, J. A. Richardson, superintendent of the fish hatchery of the Alaska Packers Association. He was in Karluk a year, in charge of this extensive industry. Dr. Redding has made five trips to Alaska, three to Nome, one to Karluk and one to Sitka.

He has two brothers, Albert Putnam, secretary Pacific Surety Co., and J. D. Redding, the latter one of the leading members of the bar of California and New York, and a prominent club man, who attended Harvard at the time Theodore Roosevelt was a student in that college. Dr. Redding is a man possessed of a broad education and a liberal mind. Extensive travel and association with the better class of people in foreign lands have given him a wide view of life, and furnished him with an interesting fund of anecdote and incident. He has a predilection for art and natural history, and studied painting several years. He takes great pleasure in collecting things that are rare, odd and unique. An interior view of a room in his Nome residence is shown in an engraving in this volume. It is filled with Alaskan curios.  

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

 

 



 


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