|Alaska, other than Sitka
Austria, Jamaica, and
Scotland contributed two each; Denmark, Holland, Martinique, Panama,
Poland, Slavonia, and Turkey, one each. There was also a scattering of
The Germans, several of
them ex-soldiers, ran heavily to saloon-keepers and butchers, and came
originally from Prussia, Bavaria, Wirtemburg, Hanover, Saxony, and
Among the states
represented were New York, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts,
Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio, Illinois,
Missouri, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, Idaho, Washington Territory,
and the District of Columbia.
California is listed
separately above, as most of those born there had Russian names and were
old enough to have been born at Fort Ross, the Russian colony, before it
was abandoned in 1841.
The following are the
occupations listed for the Sitkans of 1870, with the number of each:
|Laundress & Seamstress
Two each ship caulker,
brewer, butcher, nurse, blacksmith, knitter, tinsmith, seamstress,
deacon, engineer, tar-manufacturer, and customs officer.
One each pilot, clerk, and
porter, turner, fiddler, janitor, "lazy," upholsterer, interpreter,
tanner, bar-tender, lock maker, upholsterer and painter, coppersmith,
fireman, snuff-maker, "thief and rascal," herder, toy-manufacturer,
midwife, teacher, grocer, baker and restaurant, barber, grass widow,
cook and steward, steward, druggist and postmaster, "dealer in trash and
Indian curiosities," and trader.
There was no doctor, no
dentists, and except for the Greek Orthodox priests, no clergy. The
Army surgeons and chaplain appear to have tended the needs of the town
as well as the military post.
The number of laundresses
is astounding, as Lieutenant Lyle describe nearly half of the people on
his list, including some of the laundresses, as dirty, very dirty, or
A good many of the
buildings in the town seem to have been vacant, and others were greatly
overcrowded. Number 62, a two-story log building near the present
Service Garage, was called the "double-decker: and housed no fewer than
112 persons, according to the lieutenant's list. A much smaller
building near the site now occupied by the Pioneers' Home was called
"The Beehive," and 19 people lived there.
Of one of the residents of
"The Beehive," the lieutenant wrote, "Kept by the barber, or rather she
keeps him. She says he don't pay her a cent for value received, and
gets drunk on her daughter's wages."
At No. 33, which had been
the Lutheran Church in Russian days, lived a widow, a "grass widow," and
two children who were apparently not related to either. Of the "grass
widow" the lieutenant remarked, "Her husband is a sailor and is at sea;
very neat and well dressed."
Thomas M. Groves, from
Jamaica, and his wife, Martha, from Washington, D. C. were a "colored
couple; freshly married," and lived at No. 41, in the centre of town.
They were employed by the Cyane, he as cook and steward, she as
Some of the Aleuts had
their homes across the creek in the region for many years known as
"Russian town." A good many of the single white men, including clerks
in various stores and the collector of customs and his deputy, lived at
the Clubhouse, a two-story log building on the site of the present
One of the merchants at
Sitka in 1870 was John H. Kinkead, whose wife and brother were there
also. John Kinkead had come west from his native Pennsylvania in 1849,
lived in Utah, Nevada, and California, and was with the expedition which
sailed for Sitka on the steamer John L. Stephens a few weeks
after the purchase.
Kinkead's store and
residence were at No. 25, the long, low log building on Lincoln Street
where the Sitka Hotel now stands. This building was long known as "The
Old Trading Post: and was not torn down until about 1916.
John Kinkead left Sitka in
1871 and went back to Nevada, where he was elected governor of the state
in 1878. He returned to Sitka in 1884 as the first governor of Alaska.
Also in "The Old Trading
Post: was the establishment of Ames T. Whitford whose occupation is
given in the census list as "dealer in trash and Indian curiosities."
He continued in business at Sitka for many years and purchased the old
revenue cutter Reliance, renamed her the Leo and used her
as a freighting and trading vessel along the coast.
John A. Fuller, born in
England, was druggist and postmaster. He and his wife, Catherine, born
in New York, had their residence and place of business at No. 27. This
was the site and probably the building occupied in later years by a
store owned successively by Vanderbilt, deGroff, McGrath and Ganty.
Up the street at No. 31,
near where Ferdinand Roll's store now stands, G. K.. Brady had his
grocery store and residence. Brady had come to Sitka in 1869 as a
captain, 23rd Infantry, commanding the Sitka garrison. His wife and
three children were with him.
At No. 54, on the Sitka
Bazaar corner, was the butcher shop of Isaac Bergman. He and his wife
were from Bavaria, and Marcus Rodolphe and his wife, who lived with
them, were from Wirtemburg. The Rudolph's had a 15-month-old daughter,
Josephine, born at Sitka.
On the other corner of
Lincoln and American Streets, at No. 32, John Ulrich, also from
Wirtemburg, had has bakery. Peter Kashavaroff, 23 years of age and born
at Sitka, lived with Ulrich and clerked in the bakery.
Where the Sitka Mercantile
Company now stands, at No. 36, was the store owned by Samuel Goldstein,
who came from Prussia. Theodore Holten and his wife Kate, both born in
Russia, kept a store at the corner where Peschouroff Street joins
A short distance up
Peschourog Street, Abraham Cohen had his brewery, and the Sitka Brewery,
owned by Fritz Goese. Cohen was from Prussia and Goese from Bavaria.
The former remained in Sitka for many years and when a newspaper was
started there, in 1885, he advertised "Pure Beer -- Made and on Sale
Expressly and Exclusively for Medicinal, Mechanical and Scientific
Patrick Burns, a sawyer,
and his wife Eliza, both from Ireland, lived at No. 53, not far from the
Cathedral. There were three Burns children, one born at Washington,
D.C., one in Nevada, and the youngest, Charles, 16 months old, at Sitka.
There was a school at
Sitka in 1870, maintained by the Army post and contributions of the
residents, and it was open to the children of both troops and
civilians. The schoolhouse was a long building later known as the
"Governor's house," which stood where the Alaska Native Service school
The teacher was Catherine
Murphy, 31, who was born in Ireland and lived with her four children at
house No. 51, which was later for many years the residence of the
Kostrometinoffs. Two of the Murphy children were born in Maine, one in
New Mexico, and the youngest, Henry, in Sitka. Henry was two years old
in 1870 and after his name on the census list is the notation, "First
American child born in Sitka."
The next census at Sitka
was taken a little more than 10 years later, on February 1, 1881. By
that year the Army had gone and the affairs of the country were under
naval jurisdiction. The census was taken under the direction of
Commander Henry Glass, commanding the U.S. sloop-of-war, Jamestown.
The Navy's census list is
not quite as informative as the Army's. Citizenship is given rather
than birthplace, the place of business or residence in the town is not
listed, and the only comment concerns the ability of the individual to
read, write and speak English.
The census of 1881 lists
140 male adults and 89 male children, 96 female adults and 69 female
children, a total of 394 persons in the town aside from the military.
In the ranche there were 428 males and 412 females, a total of 840. No
mention is made of those who were absent and perhaps, in February, very
few were. The total population of Sitka was, 1,234.
Only a few of the people
at Sitka in 1870 who were born outside of Alaska and Russia remained
until 1881. There is a good deal of variation in the spelling of names
in the two lists, so that identification cannot always be positive, but
of the 100 "outsiders" listed in the first census, only nine are
certainly in the second, with five more possibly remaining.
Among those who stayed
were Samuel Goldstein and Laran Caplan, the merchants; Abraham Cohen,
the brewer; and A. Cazian, the trader. Ames Whitford was also present
in 1881, and was then listed as a merchant.
enumerated in 1881 were: Alaska, 235; American, 126; Russian, 15;
British, 8; Chinese, 3; French, 2; German, 1; unknown, 4.
There was some change in
occupations during the 10 years. No miners were listed in 1870; there
were 35 in 1881. Saloon keepers decreased from 12 to four, no
prostitutes are listed in 1881, and the 17 laundresses were replaced by
There was a civilian
doctor, Upton H. Dulaney, at Sitka in 1881, although he also worked as
assistant collector of customs. There were also two missionaries, the
Rev. George W. Lyons and the Rev. John Green Brady, who later became the
fifth governor of Alaska.
Sam Goldstein, listed as
single in 1870, had a wife and two children, Abraham and Josephine, by
1881. A Cohen had also acquired a wife, and three daughters, Henrietta,
Augusta, and Estelle, in the interval.
Many of the names in the
census list of 1881 are familiar to present residents of Sitka. Allard,
Alberstone, Bahrt, Bolshanin, Chrenoff, de Groff, Herman, Kaznakoff,
Larinoff, Vanderbilt, Joe Juneau and Richard Harris, the discoverers of
the gold on Gastineau Channel, lived at Sitka in 1881.
Russian names still
predominated in 1881, but Sitka had by then taken on the aspects of an
Source: De Armond, Robert
N., "The Army Takes The Sitka Census." Alaska Life: The Territorial
Magazine. Juneau, Alaska: Alaska Life Publishing Co., December,