Dr. George Herbert Huntington
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.