Footnotes: By One Spirit

Part III, Chapter III

29The information in this part of the chapter is drawn largely from Leland H. Carlson’s thorough study An Alaskan Gold Mine, The Story of No. 9 Above, (Evanston, Ill., 1951), and from the personal and official correspondence of David Nyvall in the denominational archives.


That the Swedish Evangelical Covenant of America, a corporation organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the United States of America, whose principal place of business is in the City of Chicago, State of Illinois, for and in consideration of the sum of One Dollar lawful money of the United States of America, to it in hand paid by P. H. Anderson, of Alameda County, State of California, has remised, released, and forever discharged, and by these presents does for itself, its successors and assigns, remise, release and forever discharge the said P. H. Anderson, his heirs, executors and administrators, of and from all, and all manner of action and actions, cause and causes of action, suits, debts due, sums of money, accounts, reckonings, bonds, specialties, covenants, contracts, controversies, agreements, promises, variances, trespasses, damages, judgments, extents, executions, claims and demands whatsoever in law or equity which against said P. H. Anderson it ever had or now has, or which its successors or assigns hereafter can, shall or may have, for upon or by reason of any matter, cause or thing whatsoever, from the beginning of the world to the date of these presents.

In witness whereof, the said Swedish Evangelical Covenant of America has hereunto set its hand and affixed its seal by its President and Secretary, thereunto duly authorized, the 16th day of August, A.D. 1901.

By C. A. Biork, President

D. Nyvall, Secretary

Ibid., pp. 44-45.

31On February 12, 1903, he wrote to C. J. Nyvall, "Anderson has shamefully stolen the greater part of his wealth from the mission." He expressed the same sentiments in a more chastened form to N. 0. Hultberg, November 8, 1902. On May 26, 1903, Nyvall wrote to Mrs. P. H. Anderson asking her to plead with her husband to make a public confession of his error. In this letter Nyvall clearly expresses his conviction that there is something wrong about Anderson’s handling of the No. 9 deal.

32The whole affair was given a public airing by A. Mellander in the March 1903 issue of Missionären. The facts were not at issue. On November 18, 1902, P. H. Anderson had admitted to the Covenant sub-committee that he had been involved with Dora Adams. But Mellander’s handling of the matter was sharply criticized, especially by Nyvall. And it became the basis of a threatened suit by P. H. Anderson.

Mellander’s move, despite the ethical dimension, did have the desired political effect. It made Anderson so unacceptable to the majority of Covenanters that almost any countermeasure seemed justified. At the Annual Meeting in 1903 and again 1904 Mellander was clearly in the saddle.

33Presumably No. 9 Above was conveyed to Hultberg by a quit claim deed in exchange for services rendered by him to the denomination. Carlson, An Alaskan Gold Mine, pp. 57-74.

34The correction was made by drawing a pencilled line through the minutes and was dated June 2, 1903. Nyvall testified that it was not in his handwriting. Ibid., P. 65, n. 96.

Part III, Chapter V

3Negotiations between the Department of State and the Russian government were completed March 30, 1867. The acquisition was ratified by the Senate on May 28, 1867, and the territory formally turned over to the United States, October 18, 1867. For the sum of $7,200,000 the United States acquired an area of 586,400 square miles, fabulously rich in natural resources and of immense strategic importance. And yet William Henry Seward, the man responsible for this coup, was for many years the object of ridicule and vilification. Alaska was called "Seward’s folly" and "Seward’s icebox," the topography was termed impossible and the climate intolerable. Seward said at the time of the acquisition, "It must be a fastidious person who complains of a climate in which, while the eagle delights to soar, the hummingbird does not disdain to flutter." Quoted in Minar W. Bruce, Alaska, Its History and Resources, (Seattle, 1895), p. 115. He was greeted by almost universal laughter. Today, less than a century later, the new state would seem cheap at a thousand times the purchase price.

4An interesting aspect of this relationship was the appearance now and then at Annual Meetings of natives from the mission fields of the Covenant of Sweden. This seems to have been the reason for the presence at the meeting of 1887 of Knanishu Morat Khan of Persia and for a decision in 1893 to support the Persian, Joseph Shabas, at missionary school. The same year a request from three students from Tiflis (Tpilisis) for study under Covenant auspices in America was turned down because-of the lack of funds.

5David Johnson Elliot went to Unalakleet as a schoolteacher. He remained there until 1898. Hanna Svenson (later Mrs. A. E. Karlsson) also went to Unalakleet, to supervise the children’s home. Agnes Wallin (later Mrs. Albin Johnson), Agnes Carlson, and Selma Peterson went to Yakutat. Miss Carlson returned ill the same year. Miss Peterson stayed with the mission until 1902, when she joined the Presbyterian mission at Sitka. Mrs. Albin Johnson left Alaska in 1906.

6At the 1891 meeting it was reported that the U. S. government was prepared to pay $90-100 annually for the support of a native child in a mission home and $30 annually for the support of a native child in a mission school. The initiative of Sheldon Jackson in this arrangement seems obvious. Yearbook, 1891, P. 25.

7Dora Adams is a case in point. In 1897 she is listed as a resident of the children’s home at Golovin. She was then seventeen. She seems to have become the special ward of P. H. Anderson and came with his party to the States in 1899. That year she had surgery at Swedish Covenant Hospital and then accompanied Andersons to California. What happened after this time is hard to determine. Anderson was accused of a series of heinous offenses against the person of Dora Adams. He admitted some of the charges but not others. In 1901 Dora returned to Golovin and in 1903 she seems to have testified against Anderson in a suit instituted against him by Hultberg in the court at Nome. Anderson eventually settled $15,000 on the girl.

8The first tentative offer of 100 reindeer was reported at the Annual Meeting in 1894. The reindeer deals were never entirely supported by Covenant missionaries in Alaska. In the first place, the government insisted that Lapp herders accompany the animals assigned to the various mission stations, and this caused endless difficulties. Not only were the Lapps not committed to the cause of the missions, they seem not to have been able to manage the leadership role in which they were cast. They became arrogant, demanding, and intractable. There is, from this period, a suggestion by David Nyvall that believing Lapps be imported for service at Covenant stations. In letters to Adolph Lydell, February 16 and 19, 1894, Nyvall suggests that his brother Johan Nyvall "who knows Lapland well" should accompany Jackson to Lapland to secure Christian Lapps for the Alaska herds. (CA)

But beyond the question of the Lapps, there was the problem of management of the reindeer herds. As the number of animals increased (e.g., in 1906 there were 289 at Unalakleet and 1,090 at Golovin) trials increased. Disease, the harrying of wolves, and the inevitable fiscal complications made the reindeer project burdensome in the extreme. By 1909, despite the existence of a large and valuable herd at Golovin, of which the Covenant owned some six hundred animals, it was decided that negotiations be started with the government for the transfer of the herds. Strongest in his opposition to the r project was A. E. Karlsson of Unalakleet. In studying the matter, however, E. G. Hjerpe, then secretary of the Covenant, became convinced that retention of the herds would be of value both to the mission and to the natives. Steps were thus taken not to sell the mission herds to the government but to take over ownership of the mission herds from the government. Yearbook, 1910, pp. 15-17; 24-25. The result was that when E. C. Hjerpe, now president of the Covenant, went to Alaska in the summer of 1913, there were 872 mission-owned reindeer valued at $17,000 at Golovin, and 211 worth $4,000 at Unalakleet. By 1915 it had become apparent that no further gain might be expected from the herds and Hjerpe was authorized to negotiate for sale. The animals were sold to the Lomen Company of Seattle. For a herd of 1,093 reindeer the company paid $19,674. The matter was reported as finalized in 1917. Of the nearly $20,000, $15,000 was loaned to North Park College for the construction of the Gymnasium building.

I am indebted to Dr. L. Arden Almquist for the following addendum on the reindeer question:

Actually, few Eskimos in Alaska changed from hunters to herders. Had private industry (Lomen, e.g.) and the missions been permitted to handle the problem, this could have become true. In government hands and with the absentee supervision government control habitually fosters, the program deteriorated. The 750,000 reindeer were reduced to 75,000 by wolves and human predators, and only in recent years has there been a slight comeback. (Note particularly the activity of Texas cattle lobbyists in Congress when reindeer meat began to get popular in the States!)

9The Golovin and Unalakleet stations were both deeded 640 acres by the government from land set aside as military reservations. In Yakutat the situation was different. Until 1908, when the government finally made 291 acres available to the mission, the Yakutat project had lived under the threat of claim jumpers and the encroachments of the Yakutat & Southern Railroad, which wanted to build a line across the land occupied by the mission.

10After 1909 no missionaries could be used as teachers in the government schools of Alaska. The missions, however, were permitted to make recommendations of likely candidates. Ibid., 1909, pp. 23-24.

11Ibid., 1899, pp. 35-37.

12Ibid., 1900, p. 63.

13On their return from Alaska in the fall of 1899 not only P. H. Anderson but A. E. Karlsson and John Hagelin, a Covenant layman, gave substantial gifts to the mission. Ibid.

14We are fortunate in having the diaries of Amanda Johnson and 0. P. Anderson for the period 1901-4. (They were married March 7, 1903.) Written in Swedish, they have been translated by I. W. Jacobson. They constitute a spare, unvarnished record of the Arctic struggle. (CA)

Dr. Almquist points out the interesting fact that whereas many of the missionaries became miners, 0. P. Anderson "left mining to become a missionary [and] -saw the biggest harvest, over 300 souls, at Golovin. Those who left the mission to mine reaped disillusionment." (Note to writer.)

15Albin Johnson tells of his first contact with the Indians. His boat landed at Yakutat May 11, 1889. He was tired and sleepy and wanted to rest, but the natives spied the vessel and swarmed over it calling out, "Haite nowu, haite nowu; haite kunse, haite kunse." (Give us whiskey, give us whiskey; give us tobacco, give us tobacco.) Covenant Frontiers, (Chicago, 1940), pp. 179-80.

16Part IV, chapter 2.

17Yearbook, 1915, pp. 92-95.

18Quoted in Covenant Frontiers, p. 214.

190. P. Anderson, Diary, January, 1904.

20Hjerpe’s administrative efficiency and fine churchmanship are everywhere evident. Without any loss of essential fervor he managed to see deeply into problems and to find adequate solutions. His analysis of - the Alaska situation in 1913 is very acute. He writes:

In Alaska among Eskimos and Indians the church has to contend with great difficulties which are impossible to conceive of until one sees them near at hand. Among these difficulties the primary one is the gap between missionaries and people because the missionary must communicate in sermon, instruction, and private conversation by means of an interpreter. The great ignorance of the people and their lack of ability to read any kind of literature, as well as the limited possibilities of any sort of profitable industry, are great hindrances. Despite this the mission has taken great strides in which we rejoice. Nevertheless one is tempted to ask: has the work made no more progress than this? Yearbook, 1914, p. 23.

21Dr. C. 0. Lind and his wife were sent to northern Alaska in 1901 after Lind had completed studies at Rush Medical College in Chicago. The action was poorly conceived. It was no doubt prompted by the terrible need for medical assistance in 1899-1900. Lind stayed at Chinik in order to be of assistance to the whites in that area, but moved to Unalakleet in 1903. He seems not to have worked at the Golovin home, probably because of differences with the staff there, and he did not find his services at Unalakleet satisfactory. There was little medical work and Lind found himself teaching school and managing the reindeer herds. He left Alaska in 1905.

The work among the Alaska missionaries during the gold period was hampered by unfortunate feuding. Hendrikson and 0. P. Anderson did not agree, and there was enough tension between Lind and the north Alaska staff to cause serious concern. In a letter from Nyvall to 0. P. Anderson, dated April 30, 1903, the former deplores the friction among the missionaries which prevented the formation of the North Alaska conference. (CA)

In commenting on my phrase "holding action," Dr. Almquist writes a note which deserves to be published:

While from 1910 to 1930 it may be said that "the Alaska mission was largely a holding action," it should be pointed out that in this statistically poor period (less missionaries, less baptisms, etc.), the church was more truly "indigenous" in some ways than before or since: Wilson Gonongnon was ordained and worked in the Yukon in a missionary effort supported fully at times by the native church; annual conferences were held and run by native leaders; there were four or five Eskimo pastors constantly at work in numerous villages, and several churches were built in bush villages (unfortunately, largely at mission expense). And Ernst Larsson introduced intensive truck farming at Unalakleet which greatly improved the Eskimo way of life. (Uncle Sam in the person of the Air Force subsequently destroyed the gardens with high salaries and today there are few good gardens in Unalakleet. Once 700 tons went annually to Nome from that little spot of land!)


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