Woody Island Orphanage photographs circa 1920's Kodiak, Alaska
(WOODY) ISLAND PHOTOGRAPHS
FROM THE ESTATE OF BEATRICE
In 1893, the Women's American Baptist Home Mission Society
(W.A.B.H.M.S) founded an orphanage/mission/school on Chiniak Bay,
2½ miles from Kodiak, Alaska. It's goal was to care for, educate
and enlighten the orphaned Native children in the Kodiak area. In 1894,
the U.S. Post Office gave the island an official name: Wood Island.
At a later date (I'm not sure exactly when) the island was renamed: Woody
Beatrice Underwood, of South Dakota, was a missionary
teacher at Woody Island Orphanage in the mid 1920's. While there,
she took wonderful photographs of the children and staff. When "Bea"
(as she was known) passed away, her photographs were preserved by relatives
and recently sent to me by Julia Williams (I can't thank you enough!!).
If you know ANYTHING
about these photographs or
if you know anyone IN these photographs,
I'd love to hear from you.
Young woman farthest left is Beatrice "Bea" Underwood,
the owner of all of these photos
Something "chewed" on this photo, but the back of it
"Johnnie Ritchie and Stanley Ward"
Back of the photo says "Nine year old girls"
Woman on right is Hilda Dorothea Krause, daughter of Jacob Michael
Krause and Mary Ann (Rohloff) Krause. Hilda was born in 1887 in Russia and
died in 1971 in Washington. I've posted a few letters
at bottom of this page that she wrote to her parents while working at the
Woody Island Orphanage
Woman in middle is Hilda Dorothea Krause
Woman with glasses is Hilda Dorothea Krause
These are the children of Nicholas and Ella (Balamatoff) Fadaoff
Baby in front row left is Marjorie Ellen born 1924. Baby, front
row right is Julia born 1924.
Back row left is Natalie Fadoff and back row right is Nastia (Nettie)
Thank you Margie Robison (daughter of Marjorie Fadaoff and granddaughter
of Nicholas and Ella Fadaoff)
Back of photo says Ivy, Monte and Dorothy
Aftermath of a fire at the Mission in 1925.
Aftermath of fire at Mission in 1925?
Beatrice "Bea" Underwood and Miss Behrns
Back of photo says: "Miss Behrns and I in back yard.
She is head nurse.
I'm her only assistant in one ward March 26th"
Back of photo says "Johnnie and little
water gun Miss Bailey sent"
Back of photo says arriving at Kodiak
Arriving at Wood Island
Far left is Beatrice "Bea" Underwood
Photo says "Neighbors"
This is the Fadaoff family. Left to right: the baby is Marjorie
Fadaoff, held by sister
Natalie Fadaoff. Next is Ella Fadaoff their mother and to her
right is Nastia (Nettie) Fadaoff.
Man on far right is the father, Nicholas Fadaoff and the little
girl in front of him is Judy Fadaoff.
Identified by Margie Robison, daughter of Marjorie Fadaoff.
ELLA FADAOFF CHABITNOY'S BIBLE
This is a photo of Ella (Ballamontoff) Fadaoff Chabitnoy's Bible,
photo shared by Ella's granddaughter, Margie Robison. At the top, it says:
Born Woody Island, Alaska
Nettie Nastia Fadaoff 4/16/1911
Natalie Fadaoff 6/29/1916
Julia Ann Fadaoff 3/23/1923
Marjorie Fadaoff 12/16/1924
Edson Nicholas Fadaoff 8/31/1927
Bud Simeon Fadaoff 2/16/1930
James Oscar Fadaoff 1/21/1932
Micheal Chabitnoy 5/6/1935
Cecil Chatherine Chabitnoy 10/17/1937
Ella Tekla Chabitnoy 5/2/1891 Sand Point, Alaska married 2/5/1936
Micheal Chabitnoy born 4/6/1935 died 4/2/1958
Dora Fadaoff born 11/11/1913 Died 9/10/1914 Father Nicholas Kasheveroff
Harold Fadaoff born 9/7/1926 Died 9/9/1926 Father Andrew Kasheveroff
Midwife when James Oscar Fadaoff was born (Marfa Chowipuk) Baptised by
Mother Ella Fadaoff Father Nicholai Fadaoff Chiniak Birthplace
Mike Chabitnoy born 4/6/1895 Sand Point Died 4/2/1958
Photo says "Unloading horses"
Photo says Mattie and Andy McKeon
A relative of these two children wrote to me and said that this
is Martha "Mattie" born 1916 and
Andrew "Andy" McKeon born 1916, both children of William J.
and Annie (Nanitak) McKeon. Other children in this family were Louise
b. 1911, William b. 1918 and Helen b. 1924.
(Information from Tim Taylor of Texas)
Looks like right after the fire in 1925?
Photo says "Russian Natives"
I do not know where this is. Beatrice Underwood also took
photos throughout her original
voyage to Alaska, taking photos at Ketchikan, Juneau and
Seward, so this could easily
be one of her travel photos. Does this area look familiar?
Information from Myra Scholze: Photo taken from Pillar Mountain
(you can see Kodiak
behind the childrens heads. Wood Island is the 3rd from shore.
Woman in glasses might be Hilda Dorothea Krause of Gladwin,
Possibly McKeon children?
photo was sent to me by William Hightower. He says these 2 little boys
were his great uncles and were sent to Woody Island Orphanage after
their parents died. On the left is William Anderson born about 1918 and
on the right is Paul "Boots" Anderson born about 1913. There were the youngest
children of Andrew and Anna Anderson of Unalaska. Andrew was from Norway
and Anna was Aleut from Kasheega Village on Unalaska Island.
Posted by: coleen
The following letters were written by Hilda Krause to her parents
and then published in the Gladwin County Record (Michigan newspaper) in
1924. The letters were generously shared with me by Wayne Gertz and Bruce
Guy, Director of Gladwin County District Library in Gladwin, Michigan (thank
you, very much).
Published in the Gladwin County Record Newspaper 1/31/1924
I have charge of 20 orphan boys aged from 17 to 5 years and I love them
all. They have black hair and eyes, "four cornered" copper-skinned faces
with flat noses. Clothes of iron would not last on them. My sewing room
(about as large as your kitchen) is full of mending. When will I get over
that mountain? The work is divided. The oldest boys make wood, others scrub
the floors each week. The 15-year old boys do the heavier washing on Monday.
The 12-year old washes the hand towels and the 7-year old, the handkerchiefs
on Saturday., We have one cook for the two homes (there are 28 orphan girls
in the girl's home) and the girls do the dishes. You will say I have not
much to do but children's work is children's work. Sometimes the wash
must be done over three times before it is fit to hang out. Just now the
lake in our front yard is frozen over for the first time this winter so the
boys are anxious to skate and slide. Our island is four miles long
and two miles wide and has four small fresh water lakes from one of which
we get water. We have hot and cold water in the buildings. There is on the
island a radio station, Greek Catholic church, 27 natives and our mission
station consisting of church; school and two orphanages. A 20-minute
ride in a motor boat takes us to Kodiak, the chief town of this group of
islands. It has two general stores about the size of the Hockaday store,
a church, school, etc., and a large salmon cannery. In the winter we go
in a row boat with three pairs of oars. We had Christmas exercises at our
school, also attended those at Kodiak. It seemed strange to be rowing on
the ocean in the middle of the night. The lowest temperature so far has been
6 above zero. We have had quite a bit of rain. The lowest temperature ever
recorded here was 13 below zero.
A radio message received last night says Rev. Learn (the missionary
in charge here) who was expected on the next boat has died in Portland.
Mrs. Learn will leave here on the boat tomorrow, so until another missionary
can be sent, Miss Bailey and I will be alone. Besides our home work there
are the church services, Sunday school and young people's society to look
after. I am also often called out to do nursing, as the nearest doctor
is 500 miles away.
Write often and much.
Your loving daughter,
GLADWIN GIRL IN FAR NORTH CARES FOR ORPHAN BOYS IN KODIAK, ALASKA
Gladwin County Record published 1/31/1924
Wood Island, Alaska, Nov. 28, 1923
Just a little note today to let you know I'm still alive and floating;
I wanted to write and leave a little message at each port at which we stopped,
but I've been awfully sick since Sunday. Today is the first I can be up
again. The oldest sailors aboard ship say they never have gone through such
a storm as we did, the last few days. There wasn't anybody who was
not sick, I was too sick to put my things in a more secure place, so they
rolled around on the floor—clock, hairpins, Kodak, shoes and suitcase went
from one side to the other end of the room, and I had a hard time to stay
in bed too. I felt so sick already that to have to turn all kinds of summersaults
was about too much for me. A Japanese liner went down on the rocks near a
small island three hours distance from Cordova. Their wireless worked until
the last minute. Our ship picked their S. O. S. (Save O Save), but we were
drifting too, something had happened in the engine room, I haven't found
out what, and we could not make much progress. Anyway we drifted into Yakatat,
a small Indian village with a harbor, and lay in port for 12 hours. Towards
evening we ventured out to sea again, because Gov. and Mrs. Bone of Alaska,
who were aboard the ship, wanted to make the train in Seward on Thursday,
so Captain Anderson decided to try the weather again. It was terribly dangerous.
We were passing through icy straits, a narrow pass with great icebergs floating
all around, but I'm thankful to say we reached Cordova last night about 8:15
which was 1:15 a. m. Gladwin time. Since then we are in more quiet waters
and I can raise my head again. In Cordova I went ashore for half an hour—we
were in port only one hour—and there we heard that the sunken Jap. steamer
had been drifting for several days without a rudder. Cordova had picked up
their S.O.S. at the same time we received it, and sent a tug - to tow her'
into Cordova, but she was too far gone. The tug had to cut her loose and
let her go. When we were still in the open we passed her, the top of her
masts and smokestack showing above the water and we thought everyone on
board had perished, but were told that they floated around in lifeboats
until daybreak, and then were rescued, all but one. There were supposed to
have been about 50 on board. I want to get a newspaper when we get to Seward
that may tell something about it. Yesterday I didn't care whether I died,
but today I'm thankful that God has kept me during this perilous week. We
are supposed to reach Seward tonight, and the captain says it is an 18 hour
run from there to Kodiak in fair weather so we may get there tomorrow sometime.
Oh, how thankful I'll be to be on land again. We just passed Columbia Glacier
and I took a picture of it. I hope it will be good. More news later.
At last I have arrived. I wish you could see my 20 boys, I love
them all. They resemble the American Indian with their black hair and eyes,
"four cornered" copper skinned faces, with flat noses like the negroes.
Saturday it will be one whole month since I'm in the land of ice and
snow. "Admiral Watson," the ship I came on, is expected to arrive tomorrow,
so I will hurry and send you a letter on its return trip, for during the
winter months we hear from the outside world just once a month, I have had
no time to get lonesome. If there were 48 hours in a day it would not be
too long for me to get all the necessary work done. I have charge of 20
orphan boys, aged from 5 to 17 years. Another 5-year old and two girls are
expected on the Watson boat tomorrow. Miss Bailey has 25 girls, so you
see what a great work we have, to raise 48 children. All are very
lively, always hungry children, whose clothes would not last one day even
if they were of iron—just like the children in the states. My sewing room
(about the size of your kitchen at home) is nearly piled to the ceiling with
mending. Here are no Ladies' Aid societies to help me, when will I get over
that mountain? The work here is divided: The four oldest boys, 14 to 17
years, care for the cattle—six cows, calves, two horses, chickens, one pig
(one we had for dinner yesterday), and make enough firewood for both homes,
church and school, in the woods; the next oldest, 11 to 14 years, saw and.
chop wood in the woodshed, scrub their playroom, diningroom, four halls
and three steps and their sleeping rooms; Mondays, three boys, 12 to 14
years, wash sleeping garments, underwear and overalls; Saturdays two boys,
12 to 14 years, wash school clothes and towels (each child has its own),
the seven-year old washes handkerchiefs. We have one cook for the two'homes.
The girls help with other - work—dishes, sweeping, etc. You will say I have
not much to do, but children's work is children's work. The. clothes would
look a sight if I did not see that things were done right.
We had snow all this month and for two days it has been storming like
in Michigan. The lowest temperature recorded here for several years was
13 below zero. So far it has gone to 7° above zero. It rains a great
deal and very seldom that there is much snow. Our front yard is a lake about
the size of the one on Ewald's farm, which has been frozen all month. That
is why the children are so anxious to get out sleighing and skating on the
ice. The ocean is full of small islands here. Wood Island is about
four miles long and two miles wide, and has only 10 fresh water lakes, from
one of which we get our water. We have hot and cold water in the buildings.
There is on this island a radio station, our mission station consisting of
school, church and two
orphanages, Greek Catholic church and 27 natives. The people are very
poor. They understand very little English. The Russian language is mostly
used. A 20-minute ride in a motor boat takes us to Kodiak, the chief town
of this group of islands, with a population of 400. We go the water way
to do our shopping at Kodiak. It has two general stores about the size of
the Hockaday store, one hotel, Catholic church, school, one fire department,
as large as the granary at home, hall where moving pictures show and other
entertainments are held, a government experiment farm, also a large salmon
cannery, where a million dollars worth of salmon are canned. Kodiak is
also a great whaling station, where moristrous whales are speared in summer.
Twice I saw from my window dreadful large animals swim by as swift as
the fastest automobile. Our farm foreman says probably they were seals,
for whales seldom come up in winter. Last month the boys pulled our launch
in for the winter. Instead a rowboat with three pair of oars is used. We
had Christmas exercises at our school, also attended those at Kodiak. It
seemed strange to be rowing on the ocean at midnight.
Dec. 27, 2:30 p. m.
The "Ad. Watson" is just passing by to the landing at Kodiak. My, what
a welcome! Everyone who can is outside shouting for joy. Now, I must
hurry for our foreman will be going over to meet the three new children that
were expected on this boat and bring what mail there is. I hope there Will
be some news for me.
A radio message received last night says Rev. Learn (the missionary
in charge here) who was expected on this boat has died in Portland, Ore.
Mrs. Learn will leave on the boat tonight. So until another missionary
can be sent, Miss Bailey and I will be alone. Besides our homework there
are the church services, Sunday school and young people's society to look
after. My head swims if I think of the future. I am also often called
out to do nursing, as the nearest doctor is 500 miles away in Seward. Write
often and much.
Your Joying daughter,
WOOD ISLAND, ALASKA AS SEEN IN WINTER
Gladwin County Record publishe 4/17/1924
Kodiak Baptist Orphanage, Wood Island, Alaska, 8:00 A. M., March 19,
I was pleased to receive your letter which arrived on my birthday, Feb.
26. Although it was sad news it seemed good to hear something from home
again. Our monthly steamer, "Admiral Watson," just arrived and my letters
are still unfinished. Seeing it will not leave until this afternoon I shall
hurry and get them ready to send out.
My box arrived here in January in good condition. Am sorry you had so
much trouble with it. It seems strange the R.R. people would not send it
on. We get boxes, barrels and all sorts of packages from all over the world—only
from home it seems impossible. Kodiak is not large with only a population
of 400, but it is an important seaport, with its location and industries.
The steamers that go west and north stop here. Kodiak is noted for its great
whaling station, clam and salmon canneries, halibut and herring fisheries.
The government also has large fish hatcheries in the vicinity. When
the canneries open in the summer time the people seem to swarm around like
bees, and they come from all parts of the country to find work here.
The coldest weather we had was in January. One day the thermometer went
to 7 above zero, not below. Not many miles away it has been and is
yet very cold. The steamship "Star" going farther west was icebound several
times and had to be cut loose. Even if we are near the North Pole, it is
not so cold as was expected. We are in line with the Japanese current. When
the tidal wave came last summer after the earthquake in Japan, everything
along the shore here was torn away. Our docks and Mission warehouses
went with it. Now we use the radio station docks.
Following is one of my lessons in Aleut, as I am trying to learn the
language so I can speak with those who do not understand English.
The ch is pronounced like the German as in (mache and sache) only in the
word which means nose, the first ch is pronounced like in chair in English:
Blaktuk—handkerchief; gex'manuk—pocket; iachak—hand; mushachik—shoe; chukik—stocking;
itchuk—foot; ingalaks—eyes; tudik ears; batchechwak—nose; hinuk—face; ganuk—mouth;
iachuk—finger; ooluk—pants; goyanna—thank you.
Everything is arousing in the green woods on our islands, the spring
flowers will be in bloom by April; Forgetmenot Island near here they say
is all blue with the forgetmenots in the spring. Christmas I was very much
surprised to see a robin near the Mission. Spring is here and it will soon
be time to plant and sow, and no one is here to do the work. I had/to send
the two oldest boys away last month to support themselves, because they would
not obey and were not a good influence for the other children. The next oldest
still goes to school and must help with the work which they were doing, and
that makes it harder yet for us, since the two boys have left. I bought new
suits for them from Sears & Roebuck. The mission board has no one in view
so far to take Rev. Searn's place.
A neighbor called last week and begged me to come and see Mrs. Kashuk,
who was very sick. I went several times and found her illness to be the
results of the life she was living and tried to explain to her, which was
hard, for she could not understand much English, only Aleut. She was often
intoxicated and living with another man, a white man named Winter. Her husband
was away most of the time. They got into a fight when intoxicated at the
Greek church. She bit a man's ear off, and Winter was stabbed in the hand.
Deputy Marshal Scott from Kodiak came over Saturday and begged us to take
the children to raise. A girl nine years and two boys four and six years
who have been living like their mother, smoked and drank. So you see what
sort of material we get to form into moral Christian characters. The other
children here, were in just such circumstances. Winter brought the keys over
from his home yesterday and begged us to sell his things, for he was told
to leave the Island. I gave him a good lecture and he promised to be
a better man. Mrs. Kashuk must remain in jail at Kodiak three months and
then will be taken to Valdez, so the children don't get in her hands again.
When Winter was here, he hardly knew the children with their trimmed hair,
clean faces and clean clothes. They told him, "Home mamka go, me mamka here,"
which means their mamma at home has gone away, I am their mamma now. They
came here with just a pair of thin overalls on, which I had sent over a
few weeks since, no stockings or underclothes. All winter they had
been going barefoot and nearly naked. When they saw the bathtub they
screamed, thinking it was a coffin in which I wanted to bury them by the
seashore, where the other dead are. But I finally succeeded in removing their
crtists and scales.
The steamer "Star" is just blowing its whistle, to announce its arrival
from Seward, and then leaves farther for the west. Such excitement, everyone
is shouting for joy to see a sign of life from the outside world. The children
could hardly sit still during the services when the "Watson" came this morning.
Just as soon as they could be outside, they climbed on roofs and trees,
waving and shouting. Maybe you heard the noise in Michigan.
Best regards to all, write often.
LETTER FROM ALASKAN ISLAND GLADWIN GIRL WRITES MUCH OF INTEREST FROM
"LAND OF MIDNIGHT SUN"
Gladwin County Record published 9/25/1924
Farming There Successful—Delicious Wild Berries Grow—Fish in Abundance
Kodiak Baptist Orphanage, Wood Island, Alaska, Aug. 10, 1924
Greetings to All
The boat goes out today so will write a few lines in a hurry and send
you some flowers, to show how they grew from some of your seed which I
brought with me and planted. I am well, but feel like having a whole
week to sleep, in order to make up for what I have not been able to get.
We have so much work we hardly have time to sleep. It was after 2 last night,
the usual time I get to bed. One of our little boys fell off a very high
cliff about 100 ft. high on Forgetmenot Island near here, where we had gone
for flowers. He escaped alive, but he is much battered up. I've been
up day and night with him.
Our superintendent Rev. Rickman, came the first of June. He is not very
well though and must go to Anchorage to the hospital on this boat., I had
hoped it would be easier for me when he came, but not just yet. I
don't even have all our housecleaning done, and here it is almost time for
school to start, and then I can't have the boys to help. I still have
the big boys' dormitory to clean and paper, the second and first floor halls
to clean and matron's dinning room. Besides that I have all the boys' school
clothes to get ready. When I think of all the work I get faint, so I'm going
11:30 p. m.
The "Watson"—-the boat on which I came did not go out today, but went
to call at Uyak, Alitak, Kanatuk and Ouzinsky, where there are large clam
and salmon canneries, to load the fish for the folks in the states. Last
month when red salmon was running our boys seined and caught 1,182 large
fish, mostly red salmon and halibut. The salmon we canned for our
winter supply and some we are smoking and drying—the natives call it "Baleek."
I like it very much. Sorry I did not get the boat load of fish in the
picture. I wish the people in the states could get a taste of halibut, just
out of the ocean. It tastes much different from that which they get in the
cities. We have fish about four times a week. Just now there are so
many that it takes no time at all to get a boat full—not little ones but
fish 2 to 3 ft. long and many longer ones. The boys working in the hayfields
wanted some fish for their dinner, so they took a stick and speared some without
a hook, enough for their meal. They come so near the beach that one
could almost catch them with the hands.
I wish I could also share the Malina berries we have with you. Malina
is the native name for Salmon berries. They are about the size of large
strawberries, but belong to the raspberry family and are salmon colored.
They are delicious, and the woods are full of them. The children have picked
a lot and we often have Malina shortcake. We've also canned and preserved
some. On our Sunday afternoon walks I've eaten so many I could hardly walk
home. Blueberries which seem related to the huckleberry are also quite abundant;
but they grow on higher bushes than huckleberries and we don't have to sit
on the ground to pick them. Calinaberries or high bush cranberries are getting
big and will soon begin to ripen, but they won't really be good until after
a frost. Our strawberry patch is doing quite well in spite of the weeds.
We have not had time to take care of them. We've eaten lettuce growing in
our garden for a long time and our second crop of radishes is ready for the
table. We planted turnips, beets and cabbage, too, but the weeds almost choked
them until last week, when they finally got cleaned up. I don't know how
our* potato fields look. The boys have been trying to take care of them in
between times while making hay, but they really have not received the attention
they need, so I don't know how many we will get.
Our big boys have been away for over two weeks making hay and silage
at English bay about 15 miles away from here on Kodiak Island. I took
some pictures of them when they left, with two big skiffs, our gas boat,
the K. B. 0., which pulls them and a large rowboat. The horses, mowing machine,
hayrake, tents, stove and other outfit were all packed into the skiffs.
They must bring 20 skiff loads of grass for silage; so far they have brought
four and two loads of dry hay. They have several stacks of hay cut though
and when the weather allows they'll bring it home. The boys work almost day
and night now, in order to get through before a long rainy spell comes. Our
days until now have been almost all day. The sun sets at about 10 o'clock
and it would get dusk, but not really dark. It seemed so strange to
me to be able to read or write around midnight without a light.
This is "The land of the Midnight Sun," and one may be sightseeing nearly
the clock around. The man whose boast is "up at sunrise in the morning,"
finds he must needs arise at 1 or 2 a. m. Everything grows faster here because
of more daylights The days now are becoming much shorter and soon we will
have just as much night as we had daylight. But I like it here very much
and I know you all would. The temperature has been very mild. I think it has
been up to 80 and maybe over. The boys come in wet with perspiration, but
I don't get outside very much and it always is cool in the house.
On the enclosed picture you can see Long lake in which eight of our
girls were baptized. Some more girls and one of my boys are ready and will
be baptized soon. While coming from the lake some of the children seated
themselves on a fallen tree and just as I got ready to snap the picture
Jip, our dog, came along and bounded up to Betty Rickman. He looks like
an angry wolf on the picture, but is really very gentle. See the long spikes
of purple kukerikus and Russian rice some of the girls are holding. They
are beautiful and the Island is full of them. Sarah and Perry Nelson are
eating putchkeys—which resembles rhubarb. If they eat it in the sunshine
they get sores over their faces, but as you see they are eating it just
the same. Do you see the patch I put on Stephan's face? It was broken
out with boils from eating "putchkeys." Notice the large spruce trees in
the woods with which our Island is covered. You can see how large and close
together they are. Some of the trees are 3 feet and more in diameter and
high —my, one can hardly see the top. Just now they have beautiful
pink cones on them. The children don't know what cones are, they call them
"Sheeshkas." Billy and Georgy look like two little Africans in the background.
Tuesday, 10:45 a. m.
The "Watson" comes back from Alitak in about 15 minutes, the radio message
said just now, so I must hurry this off.
Billy Robertson came back from the hayfield with two skiff loads of
silage, and said he would have to shoot Marcie, that's one of our horses,
before he finishes with the hay. She limps badly and the other horse only
drags herself along, too. They are both 20 years old and can't do very
much any more. What we are going to do without horses just now, I don't know.
We were eagerly waiting for them to get back in order to haul cord wood.
Since last week the little fellows must carry big cord sticks from the woods
about two miles, so we have something to burn. I wish we had a couple of Michigan
horses. I know the people in Gladwin would send us a couple of good ones
if transportation were not so high.
We had a good Easter program and all were dressed in light clothes.
It sure was good news for me to hear that papa is on the way to recovery.
Hope all is well.
With much love yours,