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Rev. Charles Elliott Ryberg

The REV. C. E. RYBERG is the pastor of the Congregational Church at Nome. He is a native of Chicago, Illinois, and was educated at Carleton College, Northfield, Minn., and was graduated with the degree of A.B. in 1 898. He began preaching when he was a student at college, and modestly claims to be nothing more than a "lay preacher" now. Before coming to Alaska he was pastor of one of the oldest churches in Minnesota, at Cannon Falls, and was engaged in pioneer religious work.

A chum of his boyhood days, who had struck it rich at Nome, wrote him and urged him to come to Alaska. He accordingly left his work in Minnesota and started for Nome. Arriving here in the summer of 1900, he secured a situation as foreman on No. 9 Anvil Creek. After he had worked long enough to secure a "grub-stake" and horse, he went to the Kougarok District on a prospecting trip. During this trip he located a claim on Garfield Creek. After returning to Nome he had an offer of $ 15,000 for this property. But the prospects he had obtained from the property ide this offer look like a bagatelle. He went to the states that fall, and came back the following spring with a big outfit to work the Garfield claim. But the prospects he had obtained were deceptive and what had appeared to be a very rich claim proved to be valueless.

Mr. Ryberg returned to Nome late in the season without a dollar. He walked the streets of the town discouraged and hungry. He had seen the seductive glamour of prospective wealth; now he fully realized the dejection caused by failure, intensified by poverty. He was endeavoring to arrange to return to the states when Missionary Karlson wrote him from Unalakleet asking him to come to the mission and help with the work. This letter caused him to change his plans. He went to Unalakleet and lent his services to the missionary work, assisting in many ways from postoffice clerk to general chore boy.

Returning to Nome in the spring of 1902, the Rev. M. Fowler, who was pastor of the Congregational Church, urged him to stay and assist in the church work. He staid and thus became pastor of the Congregational Church, as Mr. Fowler returned to the states during the summer season of 1902. Mr. Ryberg is an aggressive minister. He believes in fighting sin. He is a man with a strong individuality and is an earnest and effective worker. During his ministerial career in Nome he has been the agent for the establishment of the Quartz Creek Mission for natives. This work was begun under his supervision in the fall erf 1903, and at the close of last season 100 Eskimo or more had been gathered at this mission. It is not generally known that N. O. Hultberg, a layman, who was sent by the Swedish Missionary Society to establish an industrial school among the natives at Golovin Bay, and who subsequently became a mine operator in the Nome country, furnished the funds with which to establish trie Quartz Creek Mission.  

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




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