Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Grandmother's Adventures: A Summer Sailing Trip Along the Alaska Peninsula, and a Shipboard Romance

Sloop Gladys at Unga Island, 1913

In the summer of 1913, after their trip to the Grand Canyon, my grandmother RUBY BOLTON BROWN accompanied her father FRANK R BROWN  back to her childhood home on Unga Island, Alaska. This trip would become a turning point in both their lives.

FRANK R BROWN returned that year to Unga Island to discover that his friend Capt OTTO CARLSON, and another man Mr PARR were trying to establish a new mining venture, called the Delaroff Development Company, which would re-work tailings of the Apollo Gold & Silver Mine on Unga.  FRANK apparently was very interested in this venture, and became partners with Capt OTTO CARLSON.

In 1888, my great grandfather FRANK R BROWN had established, then managed the original Apollo Mine, which was owned by the Alaska Commercial Company, from 1888 until 1904. He had built the large frame mine manager's house at Unga where grandmother RUBY & her sisters grew up.

Employees of the Delaroff Development Co, Unga Island Alaska, 1914. Frank R Brown is at far right, others not identified

The Delaroff Development Company was unfortunately a flop (WWI put a stop to it--it became difficult to obtain the raw materials necessary for the operation, and labor became scarce).  In 1916, a prospector named GEORGE CUSHING claimed to have found a "new Apollo lead", and the mine and all interests were sold to E. B. DEMING, a wealthy businessman from Bellingham, Washington (interesting coincidence:  when I attended Western Washington University in Bellingham in the 1970s, I actually lived in the old Deming mansion, which had been converted to a rooming house).

So when my grandmother RUBY accompanied her father in 1913,  he was exploring the possibility of a new mining venture. According to the article she wrote about the Apollo mine, written in 1967 for the Alaska Sportsman magazine, this was the last  time she visited her childhood home.  Most of the people she had known from her childhood were gone, except for a few.

One of these few was Capt ZIMRO "ZIM" MOORE, a well-known sea captain, who had temporarily retired from the sea to act as deputy to the US Marshall on Unga Island.

Captain Zimro "Zim" Moore, who died when the Admiral Sampson sank in Juan de Fuca Strait in 1914

Here is what my grandmother RUBY wrote in her article:

"A small sloop, the Gladys, had been built at Apollo and I shall never forget a trip four of us made on her that summer. Capt MOORE at first would not hear of my being a member of the crew; I would just be "excess baggage" in his eye. He finally consented, and the  four of us--father and I, Mr. PARR and Captain ZIM--set out in the little vessel. We slept in hammocks which were hooked up against the cabin walls during the day, and our stove was tiny, like a toy stove, although it served us well.  We anchored each night in some small harbor along the Alaska Peninsula, and I remember one day climbing a hill and looking down at the Bering Sea on the other side.

"Captain ZIM MOORE was a wonderful storyteller, and kept us in laughter as he sat at the tiller and steered the little boat.  Not long after that he returned to sea as master of the Admiral Sampson and it was a great shock to all of us when he drowned after his ship was rammed and sunk on Puget Sound the following year." 

SOURCE: "Apollo" by Mrs. R. B. Martine, Alaska Sportsman Magazine, May 1968, pp 8-13. (Published post-humously). 

The Admiral Sampson, before 1914, location unknown, photographer unknown, possibly Thwaites?

Later that summer of 1913, as RUBY and her father FRANK returned south on the steamship Dora, she met her future husband, R. B. "Rolla" MARTINE, who was traveling the Alaskan coast, appraising canneries for the General Appraisal Company of Seattle & San Francisco.  A lively & affectionate correspondence developed between them,  and on April 6, 1915, they were married in Seattle, thus beginning an adventure of a different kind.

Steamship Dora, photo by Thwaites, Alaska State Library Historical Collection

There is a wonderful book about the photographer John E. Thwaites, and the Steamship Dora's route in the Aleutiansincluding info on Capt ZIMRO MOORE, Unga Island, the Apollo mine & much more,   called  "Sailing the Mail in Alaska: The Maritime Years of Alaska Photographer John E Thwaites 1905-1912" by J. Pennelope Goforth.

I am certain both my grandparents & great grandparents were well acquainted with Thwaites, as they all travelled frequently on the Dora, and many of his photographic postcards have been passed down to me from my grandmother RUBY.

My grandparents lived in Seattle, where both their children were born, until 1921, when they moved to Oakland, then San Francisco, California. There they lived until 1956, when they again returned to the Seattle area. They are both buried at the Mt Pleasant Cemetery in Seattle.

Wedding photos: My grandparents R B "Rolla" Martine & Ruby Bolton Brown 1915

My great grandfather, FRANK R BROWN, continued to return to Unga Island every summer, until it became physically impossible. He died June 18, 1939 at my grandmother RUBY's home in San Francisco, and is buried at Cypress Lawn Cemetery, Colma, California.

Most photos from my personal collection.

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2015

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day! My Patrilineal Line HUBER


ALONZO COX HUBER  Dec 25, 1871 Thornton, Boone Co Indiana --1951 Marshalltown, Iowa

PHILLIP LUTHER HUBER Oct 31, 1844 Circleville, Ohio--Jan 5, 1915 Nashville, Tennessee

ELIJAH HUBER 1808 Ohio--June 7, 1857 Darlington, Montgomery Co Indiana
(sadly, no photos)

WILLIAM/WILHELM HUBER  June 22, 1776 Berlin, Somerset Co Pennsylvania--Sept 17, 1835 Hocking Co Ohio
(notice the curious 'H's shaped like '8's in his signature!)

JACOB HUBER Sr 1750 unknown--Oct 8, 1803 Berlin, Somerset Co Pennsylvania
 (again with the curious 'H's shaped like '8's)

JACOB HUBER Sr's brick house in Berlin, Somerset Co Pennsylvania, built circa 1793. 

JACOB has been very difficult to trace.  I believe he was in Hagerstown, Maryland in 1776, but his whereabouts  between 1776-1793 are unknown--although I suspect in may have been in Virginia.

This HUBER Y-DNA line belongs to the haplogroup i2b1 (recently renamed i2a2a )

Happy Father's Day!


© Betty Tartas  2015

Saturday, June 20, 2015

My Grandmother's Adventures: A Trip to the Grand Canyon 1913

When I was young, my grandmother RUBY BOLTON BROWN told us many wonderful stories about her Alaskan childhood on Unga Island.

It wasn't until many, many years later that my mother, then in her eighties, shared with me a wonderful photo of RUBY riding down into the Grand Canyon on a mule!  And it wasn't until after my mother passed away when I inherited a small photo album full of very small photos, some marked with the year "1913",  that I realized that RUBY made with trip with her father FRANK R BROWN.

My grandmother RUBY BOLTON BROWN & her father FRANK R BROWN on the Colorado River , 1913

Here are the rest of the photos from the album, documenting RUBY & her father FRANK's Grand Canyon adventure. Unfortunately, no other items were saved, such as a diary, tickets or brochures, to complete the archive. 

My best guess is that RUBY & FRANK took the train from San Francisco to the Grand Canyon. They probably stayed at El Tovar, the lodge designed by Chicago architect Charles Whittlesey for the Aitchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, and later owned by Fred Harvey.

 All photos are originals from my collection.

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2015

Monday, June 15, 2015

My Grandmother's Adventures: A Summer Trip to Tilton, New Hampshire in 1912

Grandmother RUBY BOLTON BROWN with unknown cousin or beau, 1912 New Hampshire (?)

No doubt about it, my grandmother RUBY BOLTON BROWN led quite an adventurous life, at least during her childhood and young adult years before marriage.  She was born July 17, 1893 in Alameda, California, but her family had lived on Unga Island in Alaska since 1888, when her father FRANK R BROWN built & managed the Apollo gold & silver mine for the Alaska Commercial Company.  The family sailed on schooners between Unga and San Francisco numerous times during RUBY's childhood, and later on travelled via the mail steamers "Dora" and "Admiral Sampson" when that mode of transport became more prevalent.

In 1904, when the Apollo mine closed, RUBY and her family returned to San Francisco.  But FRANK R BROWN continued to travel back to his house on Unga Island every summer until his death in 1933, and his daughter RUBY accompanied him many times.

A few years ago, after my mother died,  I found in her things a small, old photo album.  Some of the photos were of RUBY's 1913 trip to the Grand Canyon, which was already a well-loved part of our family lexicon. But the other photos were of a very large house, and a group of young people at a 4th of July picnic. Only one of the photos was marked: "Tilton, New Hampshire".

Just recently I discovered that the large house in the photos was the summer home of GEORGE GALE BROWN of Bristol & Tilton New Hampshire.  GEORGE was born Oct 20, 1837 Northfield, Rockingham Co New Hampshire, and died May 19, 1919 Tilton, Belknap Co New Hampshire, the son of BENJAMIN BUTLER BROWN & PHEBE GALE of Sanbornton.  GEORGE GALE BROWN was the uncle of my great grandfather FRANK R BROWN, and thus the great uncle of my grandmother RUBY BOLTON BROWN.

Unidentified woman on porch of GEORGE GALE BROWN summer house, 1912 Tilton, New Hampshire

These photos of RUBY's visit to Tilton are the only indication we have that FRANK R BROWN ever corresponded with the New England family of his father HENRY "New Hampshire" BROWN (H.N.H. BROWN b 1825 Sanbornton New Hampshire, died 1894 Sacramento, California).  FRANK was not in any of the photos of the Tilton trip, so one must surmise that RUBY travelled there by herself!

Unidentified woman, Tilton, New Hampshire 1912

4th of July picnic, unidentified group, Tilton, New Hampshire 1912.  Two of the women might be either of RUBY's 2nd cousins:  MYLA BROWN CAVIS who married WILBUR KIRKLAND DORAN, or  MARY ELIZABETH DAVIS who married ABBOTT ALFRED CLARK.

Unidentified group, Tilton, New Hampshire 1912

Tilton, New Hampshire 1912 (?)

Unidentified women, Tilton, New Hampshire 1912

Unidentified house, Tilton, New Hampshire 1912

Unidentified school or camp group, summer 1912, Tilton, New Hampshire. My grandmother RUBY BOLTON BROWN, is on far right, back row, wearing a white hat and dark coat. 

If anyone can identify any of the individuals or locations in these photos, please contact me.  All photos are originals from my collection.  I have several more which I have not posted & would be willing to share.

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2015