Murder of George Holt in Knik, Alaska 1885
George Holt
Murdered at Knik, Alaska in 1885

His Background – The Murder Itself – The Aftermath

A True and Documented Account
written by Coleen Mielke 2014
with a special thank you  to Andrei Znamenski and James Kari
for their help and encouragement

You are welcome to link back to the following article, however, do not re-post
or re-publish it without the written permission of the author, Coleen Mielke

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This is the story of C. G. “George” Holt, an Ohio born Quaker who came to Alaska in the 1870’s seeking adventure and fortune. During his (roughly) 13 years in Alaska, Holt excelled at adventure, but never quite found his fortune and eventually was murdered in 1885; this is his story:

It is widely accepted that George Holt was the first white man to safely cross the Chilkoot Pass in 1875. It was big news at the time, because this route, which dramatically shortened the travel distance into the gold rich Yukon region, was heavily guarded by the fierce/territorial Chilkat Indians. How Holt managed to avoid being killed has been the subject of many debates, however, in 1897, a Sitka newspaper suggested that he was successful because he was accompanied by a well known Chilkoot Indian guide named "Chilkoot Jack" (Jack Benson); Benson later confirmed the story on his deathbed in 1914, and added that it happened in 1873.
After Holt’s historic ascent, he spent the winter in Sitka, sharing the details of his adventure with Lieutenant W. R. Quinan of the Fourth U. S. Artillery. Quinan published Holt’s story in 1897 and described him as a "...raw-boned, hard featured, red-headed, horny handed, son of toil and adventure, but plain and modest withal and every word he had to say bore the impress of truth, so that no one questioned his story in the smallest detail.”

From Sitka, Holt sailed to Kodiak aboard the schooner Nellie Edes. From Kodiak, he made his way to the Susitna River area and tried his hand at prospecting with minimal luck. In the spring of 1882, he tempted the fates and followed a band of Copper River Indians to the confluence of the Copper and Chitina Rivers and into the village of Taral. Few white men had ever ventured into this part of the country (and lived to tell about it) because the Copper River Indians were fiercely territorial. Once again (just like his “lucky” trek over the Chilkoot Pass) Holt beat the odds and managed to survive an entire summer at Taral. However, in doing so, a mutual hatred developed between Holt and the Indians. These hard feelings would play a large part in his murder in 1885.

Holt was a stern man with little respect and NO tact when it came to dealing with the Copper River Ahtna. He used every opportunity to impugn their character by calling them "treacherous and thievish". This so angered the Ahtna that they were still raging about him when Lieutenant Henry T. Allen explored the Copper River area three years later.        

By 1885, Holt was an agent for the Alaska Commercial Company (ACC) at Nuchek in Prince William Sound; later that same year he was transferred to the Knik ACC where he worked with a Dena’ina interpreter named Afanasii.

Afanasii was an opportunist in every sense of the word. In 1883, he was working as an interpreter for the Knik ACC store when the trade agent, a Russian named G. Chechenov, caught him stealing. In an effort to divert attention from his thievery, Afanasii told the villagers that Chechenov had put a curse on them. Language barriers prevented the agent from defending himself, so the superstitious villagers threatened to kill him. Luckily, the Chief of Knik called a halt to the plan which gave Chechenov time to escape to Tyonek. With Chechenov out of Knik, Afanasii was free to help himself to store goods.

Afanasii's plan worked so well, that he tried it again a year later, when the ACC sent a Russian named Malakhov to replace Chechenov at Knik. When the new agent caught Afanasii stealing from the store, Afanasii once again diverted attention from his crime by telling the villagers that Malakhov was a dishonest man; an incendiary character flaw that the villagers could not tolerate. Once again, language barriers and the lack of law enforcement forced the ACC agent to run for his life, and once again Afanasii had full access to a store  full of free merchandise.

A year later, in 1885, George Holt was sent from the ACC store at Nuchek to replace Agent Malakhov at the ACC store in Knik. Unfortunately for Holt, the company retained Afanasii to act as Holt's interpreter. All Afanasii had to do, to repeat his larcenous plan, was to promote a confrontation between the hot tempered Holt and one of his customers.

That opportunity presented itself just a few months later, when two Copper River Indians arrived at Knik to trade. Right away, Holt argued with one of them and kicked him out of the store. Afanasii saw his chance, and wasted no time in convincing the banished customer that the only way to "reclaim his honor" was to kill Holt. On 12/19/1885, four days after the original confrontation, the Indian returned to the store and did just that.

Word of the murder quickly reached the ACC headquarters at Tyonek. The agent there, a Russian named Vladimir Vasilii Stafeev (who had worked for the RAC and ACC since 1864) appointed himself to investigate the shooting. His journal (written in Russian) includes notes and testimony from five eye witnesses, as well as two confessions from the shooter himself. They were translated for me by Andrea Znamenski in 2008 and are used extensively in this account.


Stafeev instantly suspected that Afanasii was involved in the murder because he was familiar with his previous double dealings. Stafeev tried to get someone from Tyonek to go to Knik and gather more information but everyone was afraid to go.

One week after the murder, Afanasii's brother (unnamed) went to Tyonek to tell Vladimir Stafeev his account of the crime. He said that two Copper River Indians were in the Knik store and one of them argued with Holt about some tobacco. The argument escalated and Holt ended up shoving the man, hurting his leg as he fell against a barrel. The Indian immediately wanted to shoot Holt, but the rest of the people in the store stopped him. Four days later, just before the Copper River men left Knik, the one that was injured went back to the store and shot Holt as he was urinating outside. Afanasii's brother (who was inside of the store), said that after he heard the shot, he rushed outside and saw the murderer standing over Holt who was lying in a pool of bloody snow. He begged the shooter not to harm anyone else in the village and the shooter assured him that he was only after Holt.

The day after Afanasii's brothers testimony was given in Tyonek, Stafeev asked him to repeat the story. The second time the story was told, there were far too many inconsistencies which made Stafeev suspicious that the mans testimony might be an effort to conceal Afanasii's involvement.

When Stafeev told the people of Tyonek that he was going to go to Knik to investigate the murder in person, Afanasii's brother tried to frighten him off by saying the shooter might still be at  Knik and that Stafeev could get killed as well. When the warning did not dissuade Stafeev from going to Knik, Afanasii's brother asked him for the exact route he planned to take, which deepened Stafeev's suspicions.

Stafeev was concerned that there could be further violence with the Copper River Indians if they came back to Knik to trade, so, in an effort to calm the situation, he told Afanasii's brother to assure future Copper River customers that no one at Knik was mad at them and that it was Holt's own fault that he was killed. He also told Afanasii to give the Copper River traders food treats (to win favor with them) when they came into the store. Stafeev was hoping that time would defuse the situation and give him time to travel to Knik to interview people.

Stafeev was not the only one who was suspicious of Afanasii's involvement in the murder; Tyonek Chief Nikolai confided in Stafeev that he felt the murder would not have taken place without Afanasii's goading.

Two weeks after the murder, Afanasii's wife went to Tyonek to talk to Stafeev. She told him that the Indian who killed Holt was acting crazy and that Afanasii had to give him $124 dollars worth of store goods so that he wouldn't go to Tyonek and kill Stafeev. Stafeev recognized this as yet another of Afanasii's attempts to confuse the investigation.

Three weeks after the murder, a group of men from Knik brought some pelts and furs to Stafeev in Tyonek because George Holt had paid for them before he died. When Stafeev checked the paperwork, he noticed that the original sale was for 78 sable pelts, however, the men only delivered 58 pelts. He felt certain that Afanasii had helped himself to the other 20 pelts.

Stafeev eventually went to Knik and interviewed  the following witnesses:

1. He talked to a woman who carried water for George Holt every day. She said that she saw Holt lying in the bloody snow in front of the store and turned him over to check his heart; he was dead, so she went to get Afanasii to help her carry Holt's body back into the store.

2. Another witness (unnamed person) described the Ahtna customer shaking the lock on the trading post door, as if to signal Holt to come outside and then he hid out of sight. When Holt came out to check the lock, the Indian shot him.
3. Another witness (unnamed person) said the Ahtna customer hung around outside the store pretending to look for something. Holt watched him for a while then turned to go back into the store and the Indian shot him.
4. Another witness was a boy (unnamed) who said that after Holt was killed, Afanasii began to cry. The shooter asked Afanasii why he was crying since he had hired him to kill Holt. Afanasii then gave the shooter $124 worth of store goods to keep him quiet.

5. Stafeev’s journal also recorded a confession from the shooter himself. One of the confessions was made to a Knik medicine man named Konstantin, in the summer of 1886; Konstantin's niece was the shooters wife. The murderer said that after Holt threw him out of the store, 
Afanasii repeatedly put him to shame by asking “Why did you let Holt get away with that?” The taunting so enraged the Indian that he shot George Holt.

6. The villagers at Knik told Stafeev that if Holt's murderer was arrested, that Afanasii should also be arrested since all of the evidence was pointing to him. They also told him that Afanasii's brother lied about the murderer when he said that the shooter was going to Tyonek to kill Stafeev. The truth was, that the murderer wanted to go to Tyonek to tell Stafeev about Afanasii hiring him to kill Holt and that he wanted to go to Kenai so he could confess to his godfather, Father Nikita Marchenkov. 

Stafeev’s journal does not mention the name of the man who killed Holt; however, in 1917, a Ketchikan newspaper gave the murderer's name as "Nicolai, the son of a powerful Copper River medicine man", and described Nicolai as "a tall strapping man, who would make a match for any good size white man”.
In exchange for the right to resume trade at Knik, Nicolai remained peaceful for the next year.
The Copper River Indians sent word that they were grateful that Stafeev was not angry with them because they valued being able to purchase tea, gun powder and tobacco at Knik. As a show of good faith, the Ahtna were willing to pay “redemption money” for the murder and as a gesture of penance, Afanasii was forced to return his trading post keys. In yet another token of peace, the murderer went back to his camp and told everyone they should not argue with the ACC store managers, using his own experience as an example of what could happen to them if they did.

An example of this new civility came when a new Knik ACC agent named McFord bought a black fox pelt from two Ahtna trappers in the fall of 1886; he paid them $13. A few months later, the same men returned with a second pelt but this time, McFord paid them $15 for it. As the trappers saw it, McFord must have shorted them $2 on that first pelt and they wanted the money. When McFord refused, the trappers threatened to kill him (Stafeev suspected that Afanasii, again, had a hand in this tension). However, it was Nicolai (the man who killed Holt), who came to McFord's defense this time and sent word that he would kill anyone that harmed him.

When Holt's murderer was not arrested,
three ACC store agents (Alec Ryan, George Shell and J. B. Ballow) wrote to Alaska Governor Swineford, offering to apprehend the murderer and turn him over if the Governor would send an authority (almost 600 miles) to receive the prisoner at Knik, but the Governor never replied. A scathing news article (Sitka 1886) titled “Our Crippled Judiciary”, condemned the authorities in Sitka for ignoring the Knik murder and reported that the Copper River Indians were bragging about the government being afraid of them. In turn, the Governors only response was that he “did not have time” to deal with the case.

Nine months after Holt’s murder, another ACC agent named J. B. Ballow was stationed at Knik. By December of 1886, the Ahtna’s, emboldened by the lack of government action for Holt's death, were issuing death threats to the people of Knik in earnest; locals were afraid to live anywhere near Knik and temporarily moved to the safety of Susitna Station or Tyonek.
In 1887, a New York Times article reported that Governor Swineford accused the U.S. Government of protecting the ACC by allowing them a monopoly on the fur trade in Alaska. He said the "ACC, by the power of its great wealth, had driven away all competition and reduced the Native populations to a condition of helpless dependence, if not absolute slavery,  wherever the ACC was not supervised by government agents". He felt that an absence of healthy competition had allowed the ACC to force the Natives to accept “such beggarly prices for their peltry, that it manages invariably to keep them in its debt and at its mercy. In order to more effectually monopolize the trade, the ACC has marked and mutilated the coin of the United States and refuses to receive any other from the Natives in payment of goods sold to them.”

I believe this New York Times article exposes Governor Swineford’s true reason for not responding to George Holt’s murder; he was angry with the ACC and had no intention of coming to their aid.
In spite of constant verbal threats, the Copper River traders avoided Knik for the next three months. Ballow assumed they were trading with the “Three Brothers” or at Cape Martin, but in the spring of 1887, a group of Copper River people, accompanied by their Chief, returned to Knik to trade. They told Ballow that they had stayed away because the people of Nuchek told them Ballow was killing many men and would kill them too if they returned to Knik. Ballow assured them that he had no intentions of killing anyone and trade resumed. In 1887, the Knik Indians even built a church with hopes of converting the Copper River Ahtna while they were in Knik (that church was later moved to Eklutna).

In the fall of 1890, George Shell, another new ACC agent for Knik arrived on the schooner Kodiak. Also on that schooner were two white men, Al Creason and C. Wise, who were scheduled to spend the winter at Knik with George Shell. It only took two weeks for Shell to encounter his first conflict with the Indian who killed George Holt. Shell wrote in his journal, "I may have to kill the Indian in self defense".

In January of 1891, word arrived that the Copper River people were on their way to Knik to kill everyone.
In self defense, villagers built a 25’ watchtower on top of the trading post and manned it 24 hours a day, hoping it would give them an advantage over approaching attackers.

Word reached Knik in February of that year, that Nicolai and his followers had gathered six miles away at "Upper Kennick" and were planning an attack. Alec Ryan, who had a store at Knik, closed his shop and left for Tyonek. George Shell, the Knik ACC agent closed the trading post and left for the safety of Kenai. Keep in mind that ACC agents were totally without backup or legal recourse at that time. The closest authorities were hundreds of miles away and a Revenue Cutter had not been seen in Cook Inlet in four years. With that in mind, it is no wonder that the remaining white men at Knik (Alec Ryan, Charles Miller and Al Creason), took it upon themselves to act as judge, jury and executioners on April 22, 1891 when they hung Nicolai for his constant threats to the people of Knik and for killing George Holt.
n Ahtna man named Chashga was in Knik the day of the execution (Chashga would later become the
father of Nickafor Alexan of Tyonek). Chashga told the story of Nicolai's execution to Dena’ina Elder Shem Pete. In 1985, Shem Pete repeated the story to Dena'ina historian James Kari who was kind enough to share Pete's unpublished version with me in 2010.

Shem Pete could not remember the Ahtna name of the man who killed George Holt, but he did remember that the shooters fathers name was
Benast’a Gga
. So, in Shem Pete’s retelling of Chashga’s account of the murder, he calls the shooter: “Son of Benast’a Gga” or “Little Benast’a Gga” which can get confusing.

Below you will find my abridged version of Shem Pete's story about the capture and execution of George Holt's murderer. I have not changed his story at all, except that I have used the murderers Orthodox name [Nicolai] in an effort to make the story easier to follow.

Below is my My Abridged Version of Chashga's Story about the
Capture and Execution of Nicolai (George Holt's Murderer) as He Told
It to Shem Pete. Recorded and transcribed by James Kari 1985.

By Coleen Mielke

The Copper River Indians came down to Knik to trade, among them was Benast'a Gga's son [Nicolai]. They were all complaining about the price of goods at the store. The storekeeper grabbed [Nicolai] from the back, kicked him in the behind and threw him out of the store; the Indians gathered their goods and left Knik.

At their camp on the  Chickaloon River, [Nicolai] told his father that he was going back to Knik. His father, Benast'a Gga, a big medicine man, assumed that his son was going back to Knik to see a woman, so he said OK.

[Nicolai] left Chickaloon and went directly to his friends house at Eklutna. He showed his friend a muzzle loader hand gun and told him he was going to kill the storekeeper at Knik with it. After a short conversation, his friend decided there was nothing he could to to deter [Nicolai], so he let him go.

Shem Pete's story does not include the actual murder...
it jumps from [Nicolai] heading to Knik to kill George Holt
in [Nicolai's] execution in 1891.

Shem Pete's story jumps ahead here (to 1891):

The next day, [Nicolai] went to Knik to visit a "woman that he loved". This woman had children, but no one in Knik would marry her because of her relationship with [Nicolai].

While he was there, three white men, wearing ankle length navy blue coats, with revolvers hidden inside, went inside the woman's house and found [Nicolai] sitting, barefoot, at a table, drinking tea. The white men overpowered him and drug him out of the house and down a trail that led toward the Inlet. Along the way, they passed [Nicolai's] best friend, Chashga, who was taking a steam bath; the white men told Chashga to "have a good steam bath". He knew what they said because he was an interpreter and understood Russian and English. 

When the white men got to their house, they took [Nicolai] inside and someone threw them a rope from upstairs. They tied it around [Nicolai's] neck and legs so he couldn't move around, then they tied the rope to a flag pole outside. [Nicolai] was heard saying "Bashidil, take me up to heaven and help me" just before "they hoisted him up and choked his throat".

Chashga had one short leg and had to walk with a stick, so by the time he got dressed and reached his best friend (who was also his Uncle), it was too late; [Nicolai] was dead and the three white men had gone back inside their house. Chashga followed them in with intentions of shooting them, but once he got inside, he realized there were more people upstairs that he was not prepared to kill, so he decided against it.

The people of Knik were afraid that the Copper River clan would come back and burn down Knik when they heard about the hanging, so the three white men sent a man named Paul (the younger brother of Knik's Chief Nikolai) to talk to Benast'a Gga who was camped at Chickaloon. They armed Paul with two hand guns, hidden in his clothes, and gave him a new rifle before sending him off on foot to deliver the message to [Nicolai's] father.

Just outside of Benast'a Gga's Chickaloon camp, Paul hid the new rifle under some spruce boughs and entered the camp. Once inside, he nervously broke small branches as he spoke to [Nicolai's] father; he knew Benast'a Gga was a tough man. Paul told him that the white men had warned [Nicolai] not to come back to Knik many times; they gave him good advise but [Nicolai] kept returning, so they hung him.

Upon hearing this, the entire camp started to "cry and holler" in grief. Paul knew his life was in danger, but he respectfully waited "until the sun was setting in the down-river direction before leaving camp". As he walked away, he told [Nicolai's] younger sister "I'm going to go back now"; "yes," she said, "take care of yourself"; she thought the Copper River people might kill him.

Paul wore a red wool coat and when he lifted the tail of the coat, his gun handles stuck out of his pockets. "He began to run, stopping only to retrieve his rifle from the spruce boughs outside of Benast'a Gga's camp. "He ran as if he was flying and imagined hot pain in his back until he ran beyond the distance that Copper River bullets could travel."

Paul's older sister watched and waited for him to come back at the place they called "point extends" (Jim Kari says this is the overflow marsh at Knik); she was worried about him. She thought the Copper River people might have "killed him and thrown him in the water", but he "ran like a champion". It was a long distance from Chickaloon to Knik, so he didn't get back to Knik until early in the morning.

Fear of retribution, for hanging Benast'a Gga's son, consumed Knik for the next month. The white men in the village armed the Dena’ina, that stayed behind, with rifles. They also drilled holes in the walls of their buildings and hung muskrat skins over the holes, so they could watch for any approaching attackers if Benast'a Gga's people declared war on Knik.

When the Copper River people eventually came back to Knik to trade, the white men watched them very carefully and they were allowed to go back and forth into the store only in pairs.

End of Shem Pete's Story

I've never found record of any retribution by Benast'a Gga's people for the death of [Nicolai].
According to the ACC records, George Holt’s body was exhumed from Knik in 1890 and was re-buried in the Old American Cemetery on Mill Bay Road in Kodiak. A large headstone is engraved (with the wrong date of death), it says “C. G. Holt Killed by Indians December 24, 1884 Age 48”.

Holt's estate was valued at $1,829, in cash, when probate papers were filed in Sitka, by Major M. P. Berry, on July 24, 1892. With no apparent heirs, the value of Holt’s estate was quickly consumed, by a variety of lawyers, over the following year.

George Holt grave in Kodiak, Alaska  

Photo taken by Sashinka & Diana Keplinger, Kodiak, Alaska

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The Man Who Instigated Holt's Murder

I found record of at least two different Afanasii's living in the immediate Knik area the year after Holt's murder. The first one was mentioned in the ACC journal of J.B. Ballow who took over Holt's job nine months after the murder. Ballow said a man named Afanasii worked at a small trading post owned by _____ Bowen (6 miles from Knik); Ballow called him "Bowen's Afanasii". Ballow also mentions a man named Afanasii, that was his interpreter at the ACC store at Knik, Ballow called him "Interpreter Afanasii".  

To complicate things further, I found two MORE Afanasii's of the right age and close proximity to Knik; one living at Hope on the 1900 US Census (age 50), with a wife named Mary (age 30), son William (age 18), adopted son Stephan (age 28) and an adopted son Pedro (age 19). Another Afanasii was mentioned in the Herning diaries as owning a sloop at Knik in 1904. I'm not sure if there were FOUR men named Afanassi in the area, or if the man in Hope and the man with the sloop, were the SAME men as mentioned in Ballow's 1886 journal.

The Shem Pete book says that Afanasii was the Russian name for Dusgeda Tukda who eventually became a qeshqa ("rich man" or Chief) of Knik village. Qeshqa's were responsible for the social and economic well being of the village. Besides settling disputes and allocating hunting and fishing destinations, the qeshqa was expected to maintain a reputation as a wealthy, influential leader who was generous with his own good fortune. If a qeshqa was miserly, or if he did not work for the betterment of the village, the village medicine man "broke him with bad luck" and all of the qeshqa's power would be lost.

THAT is exactly what happened to Afanasii, the man who instigated the murder of George Holt. Afanasii became a middle man between the commercial fur traders and the Native people who harvested the furs. His wealth was said to be so great that he had eight caches full of possessions, yet he shared little with his people, which angered the Dena'ina greatly, causing the village medicine man to wish Afanasii much bad luck. Over time, Afanasii lost most of his wealth, his power and the respect of his people. Stories about his final years, described him as a man so poor that he lived on what other people threw away and the villagers hated him.

In the end, Shem Pete said that Afanasii (Dusgeda Tukda) was captured about 2 miles from the mouth of the Little Susitna River. They forced him into a small bath house, which was on the east bank of the river, and nailed the door and window shut; he was left there to die. In the spring, his body was removed from the bath house and buried at that spot.

If the above legend is accurate, how does that coincide with the following newspaper obituary?

Seward Weekly Gateway 7/24/1909
"Chief Affanacy, the hiyu big Chief of the Cook Inlet region, has been gathered to his fathers. His end, unlike his career, was peaceful.
Time was when Chief Affanacy was a power, a veritable absolute monarch among his people.  All paid tribute to him and he thus amassed considerable wealth.  He was a natural leader, firm and unyielding. His personality was strong and magnetic and when in his presence the other natives recognized in him one who must be obeyed.
Affanacy once had his headquarters at Old Knik
. Years ago, when the region was chiefly inhabited by natives, an agent of the ACC at that place was murdered.  The crime was laid at the door of the native chief; not the actual commission, but the instigation. The law's delay and the lack of testimony permitted this foul crime to go unpunished. But the finger of suspicion pointed incessantly at Affanacy. 
The whites began to invade the land in a mad gold rush. With their advent, the chief's power began gradually to wane. When he died a few days ago, at Kenai, he was living in poverty, shorn of his power and but a relic of former greatness."

End of Obituary

In Afanasii/Dusgeda Tukda the man who died on the Little
Susitna River or is he the man who died in Kenai?

There is much more research to be done, many records to glean and
many historical puzzle pieces yet to fit together.

NOTE: Some maps (circa  1900) commonly (but incorrectly) referred to the present day Eklutna area as Old Knik. Chief Afanasii's headquarters was always near Knik Station on the west side of Knik Arm. It is well established that George Holt's murder took place at present day Knik (not the Eklutna side).

Since most records spelled the original Dena'ina names phonetically, you will find Afanasii spelled a variety of ways: Affanassia, Afinassi, Affanassa, Affinassi, Affinassia, etc. The correct Russian spelling is Afanasii (according to Andrei Znamenski).


1. One of the men that hung [Nicolai] was Alec Ryan, who later became an ACC agent at Kenai. Records show that Ryan was a tyrant when it came to dealing with the Native population of Kenai. A petition, written by 23 Kenai Indians (with the help of their priest), was submitted to District Judge Warren Truitt in 1895. The Natives asked Judge Truitt to remove Ryan from the Kenai ACC because he tormented them, beat them, threatened them with guns, made alcohol in his store, drank constantly and broke into their houses and drug them out in the middle of the night.  They wrote, "neither cries of women or weeping children stopped this scoundrel."  Further evidence that Alec Ryan was out of control came from a report, written in 1895, by Father Vladimir Donskoi to the Alaska Ecclesiastical Consistory in Kodiak.  He said the 1895 population of Kenai was 1,022 and yet the government did not have a single official or representative in Kenai.  In addition, he said the Kodiak Justice of the Peace paid no attention to complaints about the men named Ryan, Parmer (Palmer) and Krisson (Creason) who were causing disorder at the Kenai church.

2. As for actual names of the three white men than hung [Nicolai] for the murder of George Holt:
Alec Ryan
, Charles Miller, Al Creason; I found their names on two different documents. The names Alec Ryan and Al Creason were found in part two of the previously mentioned 1895 petition. In part the petition read: and "...five years ago, he (Alec Ryan) together with Knik storekeeper Krisson, illegally hanged an Orthodox Copper River Indian at Knik".

The third man, Charles Miller, was mentioned in a certificate issued by Justice of the Peace James Wilson of Kenai, which said: "I, Justice of the Peace, appointed by American Government for the enforcement of law and order, here, issue this paper to the Russian Orthodox Church to certify that Mr. A. K. Ryan and Mr. Charles Miller, acted in compliance with the rules of the American Government when they  hanged a Copper River savage in Knik Village on April 22, 1891."

3. Vladimir Vasilii Stafeev, the man who investigated the George Holt murder, had been an agent for the Russian Commercial Company, a small trading post inside of the Russian fort at St. Nicholas Redoubt (Kenai), since 1864.  A year after Alaska was purchased in 1867, the Russian Commercial Company became the ACC and Stafeev continued working for them as a trading post agent; he eventually transferred to Tyonek. His personal journals (translated from Russian) were used extensively in this report.

Sources - Endnotes

  The Alaskan, "Alaska History", October 2, 1897

  Alaska Commercial Company, Knik Station Log Book, 1883-1903. Knik Box 24, folder 305. Alaska
  Polar Regions Collections, Elmer Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Hereafter
  referred to as ACC Knik Log Books.  Note: ACC log book is labeled "1 year anniversary of Holt
  assassination 12/19/1886"

 Overland Monthly and Out West  W.R. Quinan "The Discovery of the Yukon Gold Fields", October
  1897, pages 340-342.

  The Alaskan, "Alaska History", October 2, 1897.
  The Alaskan, "From Kodiak's Special Correspondent, July 17, 1886, page 1.

  Henry T. Allen, Report of an Expedition to the Copper, Tanana and Koyukuk Rivers in the Territory
  of Alaska in the year 1885", Washington: GPO, 1887) page 23.

 Stafeev Papers, translated by Andrei Znamenski 2007, hereafter called Stafeev Papers.

 Andrei Znamenski correspondence to Coleen Mielke, September 29, 2008.

 Stafeev Papers, December 31, 1885.

 Stafeev Papers, January 4, 1886.

 Alaska Commercial Company, Knik Station Log Book, 1883-1903. Knik Box 24, folder 305, December
 12, 1886.

 Stafeev Papers, December 29, 1885.

 Andrei Znamenski,  "Through Orthodox Eyes, Russian Missionary Narratives of Travels to the
 Dena'ina and Ahtna"
, 1850's-1930's", page 112.

 Unpublished Shem Pete interview done by James Kari June 16, 1985.

 Stafeev Papers, December 26, 1885.

 Stafeev Papers, January 5, 1886.

 Stafeev Papers, December 29, 1885.

 Stafeev Papers, January 4, 1886.

 Stafeev Papers, January 13, 1886.

 Stafeev Papers, July 12, 1886.

 Stafeev Papers, January 13, 1886.

 Stafeev Papers, January 25, 1886.

 Fairbanks Daily News Miner, January 23, 1917, page 2.

 ACC Knik Log Books, March 19, 1887.

 Andrei Znamenski, "Through Orthodox Eyes", page 12.

 Stafeev Papers, February 6, 1887.

 The Alaskan, "The Knik Murder", November 6, 1886, page 4.

 Andrei Znamenski, "Through Orthodox Eyes", page 12.

 ACC Knik Log Books, December 5, 1886.

 ACC Knik Log Books, February 9, 1887.

 ACC Knik Log Books, February 17, 1887.

 ACC Knik Log Books, February 13, 1887.

 ACC Knik Log Books, March 17,1887.

 ACC Knik Log Books, 12/21/1890.

 The Alaskan, "Our Crippled Judiciary", November 6, 1886, page 2.

 ACC Knik Log Books, February 27, 1891.

 Fairbanks Daily News Miner, January 23, 1917, page 2.

 ACC Knik Log Books, March 13, 1891.

 ACC Knik Log Books, March 24, 1891.

 ACC Knik Log Books, April 7, 1891.

 The Alaskan, "From Kodiak's Special Correspondent", July 17, 1886, page 1.

 Unpublished Shem Pete interview done by James Kari, June 16, 1985.

 "Shem Pete's Alaska", by James Kari and James Fall, page 349.

 Seward Weekly Gateway, July 24, 1909.

 ACC Knik Log Books, December 7, 1886.

 Alaska State Library Archives, Probate Files, Sitka, File 14711.



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