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Sitka, Alaska, June 30, 1889.


SIRS: I have the honor of submitting the following report of the schools of Alaska for the year ending June 30, 1889:

There are in the district of Alaska fourteen day schools supported wholly by the Government, four boarding schools aided by the Government, and a number of mission schools carried on by different religious organizations.

From one of the public schools (Unga) no report has been received. The other thirteen report a total enrollment of 1,040 pupils.

From two of the contract schools no reports have been received. The other two report a total enrollment of 195.

No reports have been received from the mission schools.

It is estimated that there are 1,500 children in the schools of Alaska. ulation under twenty-one years of age is estimated at 12,000.


In the Unalaska district there is but one public school, that of Unga.
This promising school has been without a teacher for the past year.

The total pop

On the 26th of May, 1838, Mr. W. A. Baker, of New Bethlehem, Pa., was appointed teacher at Unga. On the 30th of June, 1833, Mr. Baker having declined to accept, Mr. John A. Tuck, of Middleton, Conn., was appointed in his place. By the time Professor Tuck received notice of his appointment it was too late to reach San Francisco in time to take the last boat of the season for Unga.

Kodiak district.

In the Kodiak district are situated the two schools of Kodiak and A fognak. Kodiak.-W. E. Roscoe, teacher. Total enrollment, sixty-eight. The average attendance is much larger than the preceding year and with the more regular attendance has come an increased interest in their studies on the part of the pupils. The school is graded in accordance with the California system.

Professor Roscoe has availed himself of the preference of the children for the study of geography to combine with it lessons in language, writing, and spelling.

Frequent talks are had concerning different countries, their natural phenomena, products, people, customs, etc.

Sentence building is carefully taught from the first to the fourth reader, and the improvement in language is very rapid.

Object and picture lessons are in daily use. Spelling down and recitations are occasional amusements.

This school, like all the others, greatly needs a set of good wall maps.

It also needs a suitable school building, the erection of which has been recommended by the Territorial board of education.

Afognak.-James A. Wirth, teacher. This school has doubled, and during some months trebled the average attendance of the corresponding months of last year.

The total enrollment has increased from twenty-four to fifty-five. If the schoolroom had been larger and more comfortable there would have been a much larger increase. Some of the boys have made such progress that they can carry on any ordinary conversation in English. This obviates the further use of the Russian and Aleut languages by the teacher.

The great drawback to the school has been the want of a comfortable room for school purposes. During the coming year I trust this difficulty may be obviated, as steps are being taken for the erection of a school building.

We greatly regret to announce that, owing to the state of his wife's health, Professor Wirth has felt compelled to tender his resignation.

By his ability as a teacher, his knowledge of the languages of the people, his tact and patience, he has overcome many of the difficulties incident to the establishment of a school in a region so remote that it has but two or three chance mails during the year, and among a people who have not yet learned to appreciate the advantages of an education. With absolutely no help from the parents, he has created such an interest among the pupils that they have attended school from the love of it.

Sitka district.

Haines.-F.F. White, teacher. Total enrollment, 128. An unusual number of heathen feasts during the winter greatly interfered with the regularity of the attendance.

It is to be hoped that the Missionary Society of the Presbyterian Church, which has good buildings at Haines, will send a missionary there at an early date. A Government teacher and a missionary working together in the large Chilkat tribe would be of great assistance to one another. The Presbyterian Board of Home Missions has given the Government the free use of their school building.

Juneau No. 1.-Miss Rhoda A. Lee, teacher. The present has been the most successful year in the history of the school. The total enrollment increased from twenty-five to thirty-six, and the average attendance from nineteen to twenty-three.

Juneau No. 2.-Miss Alice R. Hill, teacher. The total enrollment of the school decreased from sixty-seven last year to fifty-eight this. The average attendance, however, increased from twenty-seven to thirty-three. The pupils that were the most regular in their attendance and made the greatest advancement in their studies were those connected with the excellent mission home conducted by Rev. E. S. Willard and helpers. Juneau will soon need an additional building.

Douglass City.-Mrs. Anna Moore, teacher. The enrollment numbers ninety-four as against sixty-seven for 1887-88.

The progress of the school has been more or less hindered by race prejudices.

As by far the largest attendance was by native children, the whites petitioned for a separate school for their own children. As the appropriation was too small and the number of white children too few to justify the expense of an additional teacher, an arrangement was effected and instructions issued for the white children to attend school in the forenoon and the native children in the afternoon, thus having two separate schools with but one teacher.

This did not prove a very great success (the average attendance of white children being six and a fraction), and the Territorial board of education has recommended for the coming year two teachers.

During the summer of 1888 the Society of Friends erected a good school building, the use of which has been kindly furnished the Government without cost.

Killisnoo.-Miss May Ransom, teacher. This school has moved along quietly during the year. Owing to the financial difficulties of the Fish Oil Works fewer families have remained in the place, and the consequent attendance at school has decreased.

Sitka No. 1.-Miss Mary Desha, Mr. Andrew Kashevarof, and Miss Cassia Patton, teachers. Miss Desha taught from September to January, when, receiving an appointment in the Pension Office, she resigned and removed to Washington.

Miss Cassia Patton, of Cochranton, Pa., was appointed to succeed her. Mr. Andrew Kashevarof was employed from the middle of January until Miss Patton's arrival, the middle of February. Total enrollment for the year, sixty-seven. The success of the school during the year has been most gratifying to the parents of the pupils and to the friends of education generally.

Sitka No. 2.-Miss Virginia Pakle, teacher. Total enrollment, fifty-one. With an obligatory-attendance law properly enforced the enrollment ought to be 100 or more. During the year a plain but substantial and pleasant school building has been erected at an expense of $1,400.

Wrangel.-Miss Lyda McAvoy Thomas, teacher. Total enrollment, ninety. This model school continues to improve year by year.

Klawack.-Rev. L. W. Currie and Mrs. M. V. Currie, teachers,

The school year opened with sorrow in the death of Mr. Currie, who was the first and only teacher the school had ever had.

Mr. Currie was a native of North Carolina, a graduate of Hampden-Sidney College and Union Theological Seminary, Virginia. He gave his life to Indian education.

He did valuable work as teacher among the Choctaw Indians, and when a call came for some one to go to a remnant of Indians in Southeastern Texas that were in danger of extinction he went to them. While there his schoolhouse was burned and his life threatened. To escape the malaria incident to a long continued residence in that section he came to Alaska and took charge of the newly opened school at Klawack under circumstances of great heroism. Far away from any officer of the law he battled alone against intemperance and witchcraft. Upon one occasion four men attempted to carry away one of his pupils (a girl) on the charge of witchcraft. Mr. Currie rescued her, keeping her at his house. A few days afterwards they returned, reënforced by a party of Hydahs, on another attempt to get possession of her. While some of them vehemently claimed her, others stood near the missionary with open knives. Finally the brother of the girl was intimidated into paying a ransom for her. This Mr. Currie could not prevent, but the girl at least was saved.

Mrs. Currie, being herself a teacher of long experience, was appointed to her husband's place. Her isolation from all companionship (she was the only white woman in the place, and for eleven months looked into the faces of but two white women), the absence of any officer to enforce law or look after the peace of the community, the prevalence of drunkenness, witchcraft, and other heathen practices, greatly interfered with the efficiency of the school. This is one of the most difficult places to conduct a school in all Southeastern Alaska, and needs a strong, self-reliant, energetic man for teacher. Such a one the board of education hope to secure.

Mrs. Currie, with true Christian heroism, unflinchingly remained at her post until the close of the school year, when she resigned to return to her friends in the east. Howkan.-Miss Clara A. Gould, teacher. This excellent school, with an enrollment of 105, continues to maintain its reputation for efficiency.

Metlakahtlu.-Teachers, William Duncan, with a corps of native assistants. Total enrollment, 172. This coming year Mr. Duncan confidently expects to have a boarding school for boys and another for girls under way.


During the year a school building was erected for the use of Sitka School No. 2. Buildings have also been voted for Douglas City, Kodiak, Afognak, and Karluk.


Anvik, on the Yukon River, 580 miles from St. Michael. A mission station and school supported by the Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Teachers, Rev. Octavius Parker and Rev. John W. Chapman.

The school being 3,844 miles from San Francisco, its post-office, and receiving but one mail a year, our latest report is dated June 1, 1888, and the statistics embodied in this report are those for 1887-88.

School opened August 1, 1887, with an average daily attendance of eight. Two boys have had sixty lessons in the first reader. Four or five other boys have broken the back of reading, and there is an army of stragglers who come in more or less frequently, and out of whom perhaps half a dozen could be drawn, boys and girls, who have a genuine and growing interest in the work of the school, and whose attendance is growing more regular. Several boys are writing in a fair, legible hand, and three can now write out their reading lessons in script without referring to a script alphabet. Two, the most advanced, aged about eleven years, can write from dictation several of the first lessons with perfect accuracy, and can now understand the meaning of the greater part of what they read, and are talking English a little. They have been taught to analyze words phonetically, and when the teacher wants native words he can get them pronounced in a scientific manner.

The total enrollment of pupils was fifty. A steam saw-mill is now en route for the mission and will be the first of the industries established in connection with the school. Bethel, on the Kuskokwim River, 150 miles from its mouth. Teachers, Rev. John H. Killbuck and wife and Rev. E. Weber. This season Mrs. Sarah Bachman and Miss Carrie Detterer have been sent out to the same station. Mrs. Bachman is the wife of one of the bishops of the Moravian Church and goes out to spend a year in the work. Bethel is 3,029 miles from San Francisco, its post office, and has but one mail a year. The latest statistics received are those for 1887-88 and September, 1888. Total enrollment for 1887-88, seventeen. Largest monthly average, fifteen. Enrollment for September, 1888, nineteen boarding pupils.

This school is under the care of the Moravian Church of the United States.

The teachers experience a threefold difficulty in teaching English. First, their own limited knowledge of the native tongue, making it difficult to convey their meaning to the children; second, the absence of English-speaking people in that section; and third, the native disinclination to speak a foreign tongue.

However, the teachers are encouraged at the perceptible improvement of their pupils over last year.

Carmel, at the mouth of the Nushagak River. This school is also under the care of the Moravian Church.

Teachers, Rev. and Mrs. F. E. Wolff and Miss Mary Huber. To these has recently been added the Rev. John Herman Schoechert, of Watertown, Wis.

Although Carmel is 2,902 miles from San Francisco, its post-office, the location of several salmon canneries in the neighborhood, with the consequent arrival and departure of schooners carrying supplies, gives it several mails during the summer. Hence the school statistics of the present year have been received. Total enrollment twenty-five.

School opened on the 27th of August, 1888, with an increased attendance over last year. In order to give the children from Nushagak, Togiak, and other neighboring villages an opportunity of attending school a large barabara has been built. (This is a native sod house partly underground.) In this house the children from a distance are lodged and fed. They are allowed to go home each Friday night, returning to school on the following Monday raorning.

Sitka Industrial Training School.-Under the care of the Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church. Teachers and employés, Prof. Wm. A. Kelly, superintendent; Rev. Alonzo E. Austin, chaplain; Mr. H. H. Lake, boot and shoe shop, also teacher of cornet band; -, carpenter shop; Donald Austin (native), assistant carpenter; R. E. Henning, M. D., physician; Miss Anna R. Helsey, matron of the girls; Mrs. A. E. Austin, matron of the boys; Mrs. J. G. Overend, matron of the hospital; Miss Kate Rankin, kitchen, dining room, and bakery; Miss Grace Ashby, teachers' messenger; Mrs. S. S. Winans, sewing room; Mrs. Tillie Paul (native), assistant in sewing steam laundry; Miss Ida M. Rogers, schoolroom; Miss Carrie Delph, schoolroom; William Wells (native), interpreter; Kate, Jennie, Lottie, Ruth Albany, native assistants; Josephine, Russian interpreter. During the year the school enrolled 170 pupils, of whom 64 were girls and 106 boys.


Of the boys 17 received instruction and practice in the shoe shop, 20 in the carpenter shop, 4 in the blacksmith shop, 6 in the bakery, and several in the stean laundry.

From 25 to 30 boys have had instruction and practice in the cornet band. Two boys have been sent east to Captain Pratt's Indian School at Carlisle, Pa., one to learn the printers' trade and the other tinsmithing, and 4 of the girls of the school have been sent to Northfield, Mass., to be trained as teachers. The girls are at the expense of Mrs. Elliott F. Shepard, of New York City.

The boys in the shoeshop have made 117 pairs of boys' nailed shoes, 93 pairs of sewed shoes, 27 pairs of girls' sewed shoes, 9 pairs of fine sewed shoes for teachers and others; they also have half-soled 718 pairs of shoes, and put on 327 heels and 515 patches.

The carpenter boys have erected 4 houses, besides repairing buildings and furniture. The boys in the steam laundry have averaged 1,000 pieces of clothing a week, and the boys in the bakery have made into good bread 900 pounds of flour per week

Three of the boys during the winter netted a large fishing seine, and one has done some good coopering.

Arrangements are under way for the establishment of a steam sawmill and planer as one of the regular industries of the school.

Last summer visitors presented the school with 21 brass instruments, and a band was organized among the pupils.

The North Star, a small illustrated monthly paper, has been regularly published in connection with the school.

Recently, in the absence of any Government reformatory, the United States district court of Alaska, Judge Keatly presiding, placed a boy and girl in the school.

Extensive improvements have been made this summer by the boys on the grounds of the institution.

The mission board and their employés, in connection with the school, are sparing no pains or labor to increase the efficiency and usefulness of the institution, and are encouraged by a manifest advance from year to year.

The school is not only molding and lifting up the pupils directly under its care, but also their parents and friends.

It is also forming a public sentiment which indirectly helps every school in the Territory. During June, July, and August, when the steamers come crowded with tourists, all the other schools are closed for vacation, and until the visitors reach Sitka they see the native children only in their dirt and filth, so that the impressson is formed that nothing can be done with them.

To correct this unfavorable judgment and demonstrate that the natives are capable of civilization and education, the superintendent of the school, upon the arrival of each steamer, sends the tourists an invitation to visit the institution. The pupils are called together for recitations, singing, and other exercises. The strangers are shown over the buildings and taken into the workrooms, etc. The result is that these visitors from every section of the land carry to their homes and tell to their friends what their eyes have seen of the progress of Alaskan children in the schools.

These testimonies create a favorable and growing public sentiment, that finds expression in the annual Congressional appropriation for education in Alaska.


The Alaska Commercial Company, in accordance with its lease of the seal islands, maintains schools upon the islands of St. Paul and St. George. As their report is made directly to the Secretary of the Treasury, no statistics are received at this office.

The Russian Government, through the medium of the Russo-Greek Church, is reported as having seventeen parochial schools. These have largely been taught in the Russian language. It is said that their bishop has issued instructions to all the priests and teachers to use the English language. While for the first few years the teaching in English by teachers themselves learning the language will not be very efficient, it yet marks a step forward, and gives the promise of better things in the future.

In the annual report of the governor for 1888 it is stated that the Greek churches and parochial schools in Alaska cost the Russian Government $60,000 annually.

The Roman Catholic Church, with headquarters and bishop's residence at Victoria, British Columbia, have a school at Juneau, and claim two in process of establishment upon the Yukon River, one at Kozyrof, near Leatherville; and the other between Auvik and Nulato, and one at St. Michael, on Bering Sea. These are in charge of Jesuit priests.

The Church of England is reported to have a school at Nuklukahyet, on the Yukon River.

The Free Mission Society of Sweden has schools at Unalaklik, on Bering Sea, and Yakutat, at the base of Mount St. Elias. Owing to the inaccessibleness of these schools and the absence of mail communications but little is known concerning them.

The Presbyterian Church of the United States, through its Board of Home Missions, has a flourishing day school, with a total enrollment of 155 pupils at, Hoonah.

This school is taught by Rev. and Mrs. John W. McFarland. It has also an excellent "home," with twenty-five boys and girls, at Juneau, under the admirable management of Rev. and Mrs. Eugene S. Willard, assisted by Miss Bessie Matthews and Miss Jennie Dunbar. This school is a feeder for the Industrial Training School at Sitka.

It has a second "home" at Howkan, with about twenty-five girls, in charge of Mrs. A. R. McFarland, so well and favorably known in the Church. At both of these "homes" the children are fed, clothed, cared for, and trained in household duties. For their literary training the children attend the Government day schools.


August 15, 1888.-The governor of the Territory, the judge of the United States court, and the general agent of education in Alaska for the time being, with two other persons, to be appointed by the Secretary upon the nomination of the Commissioner of Education, shall constitute the board of education and the general agent of education shall be the secretary of said board, and shall keep the record of its proceedings. Three members shall constitute a quorum of said board.

August 15, 1883.-All missionary, boarding, or other schools conducted by private persons, or under the supervision of any of the Christian Churches, which shall receive aid and assistance from the Government, shall be subject to the visitation and inspection of the board of education, who shall have power to see that proper discipline is maintained and instruction given, and wholesome food and proper clothing and comfortable lodging furnished to the inmates of such schools.

August 15, 1838.-The board of education shall have power, and it shall be its duty, to prescribe courses of study for the several schools under its jurisdiction, and particularly to prescribe what shall be the extent and character of the industrial instruction to be given in any or all of said schools, and the teachers of said schools shall comform as nearly as practicable to the courses of study prescribed by the board. This rule shall include such schools as receive aid from the Government.

August 15, 1838.-Corporal punishment shall not be excessive, and shall be inflicted upon the pupils in attendance upon the public and other schools only in extreme cases, and then in moderation. Any teacher who shall violate this rule shall be subject to removal and loss of pay. The board of education will enforce this rule rigidly, and report all violations to the Commissioner of Education.

August 15, 1883.-Any action taken by the Territorial board of education under the preceding rules shall be subject to revision and approval of the Commissioner of Education. July 12, 1889.-The term of the Government schools in the District of Alaska shall begin on the first school day in September and continue for the period of nine calendar months, ending on the last school day in May in each and every year, except when special provision is otherwise made.

July 12, 1839.-All schools supported by the Government shall be kept open each and every day during said period, except Saturday, Sunday, and the national holidays, which are Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, 22d February, and Decoration Day. July 12, 1889.-The teachers in the Government schools will be elected for the nine calendar months of the school year, but may be suspended or removed before the expiration of said term, at the pleasure of the Territorial board of education, subject to the approval of the Commissioner of Education. Their salaries will be paid at the end of each month or every three months, as they may elect.

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