Delmar H. Traphagen
An interesting story could be told of a Michigan
farmer's son who, unaided, except by his own industry and zeal to obtain an
education, set out when he was a small boy to get away from the drudgery and
environment of farm life. It would be a history of a dutiful son whose father
believed that too much education was baleful instead of helpful and that the
only road to success lay along the way of work and drudging toil to which he and
his ancestors had been subjected. The boy's burning desire for an education made
him plead his case so effectively that the father's consent was obtained, upon
the condition that the boy should do his share of the farm work and the
education should be obtained without any expense to the father. The high school
which the child wanted to attend was in the village three miles and a half from
the farm, and the education it could furnish was secured by the boy without
violating the contract with his father. After graduating from the high school
the boy had the temerity to attend the examination for teachers which he
successfully passed. He succeeded in obtaining a country school, and after
teaching one year attended the University of Michigan, paying for the tuition
with the money he had earned. By teaching and selling school supplies he earned
the money with which he obtained a university education and fitted himself for
the profession of teaching. This boy was D. H. Traphagen, now principal of the
Nome public schools.
He was born near Fenton, Michigan, October 14,
1876. The foregoing is but a glimpse of his early life. He was principal in the
Owaso public schools in his native state in 1900 when he resigned to go to Nome.
Arriving in Nome he undertook the work of mining
on the beach. He had built an amalgamator to be operated by a gasoline engine,
but he soon discovered that the sluice-box method was the best way of mining. He
made some money operating on the beach, and later in the season went to Teller.
In 1901 he was interested in the mines of the Kougarok District. But these
ventures not being so successful as he anticipated, he returned to Seattle in
the fall of 1901 with the intention of taking a post graduate course. In Seattle
he organized the night school under Superintendent Cooper, and taught
mathematics in the high school during the winter. In the spring he resigned and
returned to Nome, where he spent the summer season, returning to Seattle in the
fall of 1902. During the winter of 1902-'03 he was principal of the Interbay
School, and was re-engaged to teach this school the succeeding term when he
secured the principalship of the Nome School. Thorough in his work, of which he
possesses a comprehensive knowledge, attentive to his duties, and having
splendid executive ability, D. H. Traphagen is a successful teacher. Education
has developed talent and made him a man of marked ability.
Source: Nome and Seward Peninsula by R. S.
Harrison. Seattle: The Metropolitan Press, 1905.