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THE HANSON FAMILY
OF
PILOT POINT

(UGASHIK)

by Coleen Mielke

Pilot Point (formerly Ugashik) is on the eastern shore of Ugashik Bay on the Alaska Peninsula. Today, the tiny village, of 75 Eskimo and Aleut people, is mainly a fishing village.

In 1929, Samuel Clarence and Florence May (Watts) Hanson, came to Alaska to teach school at Ugashik. Samuel taught 5th through 8th grade and Florence taught 1st grade through 4th grade.

In 1930, Florence's wages were terminated due to the Great Depression, so she taught for 15 years in Alaska with no pay. She also started the first post office at Ugashik, (which is when the village changed its name to Pilot Point). She was also the only nurse for the village and treated gun shot wounds, frost bite, pneumonia, scarlet fever, tuberculosis, etc., (she and her husband even had to do some amputations).

The Hanson's organized the first Seventh Day Adventist Eskimo Church at Pilot Point and organized the construction of roads (which doubled as airstrips) through the government W.P.A. program. For the full story, see the bottom of this page.

Samuel and Florence's son, Virgil Hanson, worked in the earliest years of Alaska aviation. He was responsible for installing navigation stations for McGee Airways and Star Air Service (which evolved into Alaska Airlines). He married Josephine "Lila" Hugh who was one of the first caucasian babies born at Knik (1914). Josephine's mother was from the Alaska pioneering Edlund family.

The Hanson's were quite a family. A special thank you to their children and grandchildren who have generously shared the following photographs of the children of Ugashik/Pilot Point School 1929-1945.



Pilot Point Class room  1937
 Adults standing in the background are Samuel and Florence Hanson

Do you know the names of any of these children?
Teachers: Samuel Hanson(tall man with glasses) and Florence Hanson(woman with fur hat)


Do you know who this child is?




 
FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL AT PILOT POINT 9/30/1929
LEFT TO RIGHT:
SAMUEL CLARENCE HANSON Government teacher
ANNE GRIECHEN 15
VIRGINIA HANSON 9
AGLAPHENA HANS 14
NENA HANSEN 9  (Olga Hansen's sister)
ALICE GRIECHEN 8
ALECK GRIECHEN 7
OLGAPHINA "Olga" HANSEN 5
FLORENCE MAY HANSON (teacher) standing in back

(*see note at bottom about Hansen children)
 
 

On the back of the above photo, it says 1932 Ugashik School
This photo was published in a book titled: "The Alaska Native" by
Professor Anderson  Stanford Press
Teachers in photo (center) are S. C. Hanson and wife Florence


 
DO YOU KNOW ANYONE IN THIS PHOTO?
The back of this photo says "OUR SMALL SCHOOL"
SAMUEL CLARENCE HANSON and FLORENCE MAY HANSON TEACHERS
(back row far left and far right)
3/12/1937   Pilot Point, Alaska
 
Second Row, 4th from right: Olga Hansen
Second Row, 2nd from right: Billy Orock (identified by Meribeth Orock-Hasty)

 Second Row, 2nd from left: Sassa (married name Matsuno) (identified by Meribeth Orock-Hasty)
First row, 4th girl from left: Clara Orock? (identified by Meribeth Orock-Hasty)


 
Students of the Pilot Point School (in the garden)
early 1930's
Do you recognize anyone?

(woman with fur hat is Florence Hanson) 

 
 

 
In front of Landing Lake (taken in the early 1930's)
Mrs. Florence Hanson is on the far right,
do you recognize anyone else?

Left to right: Olga Hansen and sister Nena Hansen (see note below)

 



 
Do you recognize these children?
Second Girl from Mrs. Hanson on Left is Olga Hansen
 

Thank you to Ingrid Hansen, daughter of Olga Hansen Reamy (not related to the Hanson's) for helping with identification in these photos.

Shirley Zimin, who lives near Pilot Point, wrote and told me that Olga and Nene Hanson
who are in several of these photos, were the children of Bertel P.A. Hansen b. 1895 Denmark and his Native wife Salipena. Their children were: Nena b. 1920, Olga b. 1924, Peter born 1927 and Walter b. 1932 (Walter died young).

These photographs are privately owned by the
Virgil and Josephine Hanson Family and their children.

They may not be used without the Hanson Family Permission

IF YOU RECOGNIZE ANYONE IN THE ABOVE PHOTOS, PLEASE CONTACT ME
coleen_mielke@hotmail.com


Here are some excerpts from a letter written by Virginia Hanson
who lived in Pilot Point with her school teacher parents
for 16 years.

"We went to Alaska in 1929, just before the depression in the States. We never realized there was a depression up there except after the first year of my mother's being on her government assistant teacher salary, they cut her off, but she went on teaching all the rest of the time we were there without a salary.....Dad taught grades 5-8 and mother taught grades 1-4.....Mother ordered a post office unit from Washington D.C. so we could have a post office in the village.  Our village was called Ugashik when we first went there.  An old village up the Ugashik River from us was called Old Ugashik.  Well, the bag of post office equipment happened to get routed through Old Ugashik and the old German cannery watchman stole it and set himself up a post office.  We kept wondering why the equipment never arrived, but finally found out why.  So, Washington D.C. told us to send in three suggestions to rename the village (to get a post office they would have to give up the name Ugashik). Washington D. C. chose the name Pilot Point from the three submitted names. The post office kit finally arrived and mother was the postmistress.

Mother took a six week practical nursing course from our church in 1929 and was the nurse and doctor for the village. The government kept her supplied with basic medicines to dispense to the villagers free of charge. My father even had to enter into doctoring one time. One of the villagers froze his foot and dad had to amputate some toes to save the foot. He went to the cannery winter watchman for the village and asked if they had any instruments. Dad sterilized the instruments and did the dreaded job. Mother treated accidental gun shot wounds, frost bitten or frozen feet, pneumonia, scarlet fever, TB, pediculosis, ring worm, impetigo and so forth. Dad saved the village from scarlet fever by radioing the government to send in a doctor and nurse to vaccinate the villagers, as they were exposed to it by sailors off of the government teacher supply boat called "Boxer" in 1931 (when the boat delivered supplies all up the coast as far as Nome).  Other villages were hit hard.

My folks organized the first S.D.A. Eskimo church. John Spoon, the Eskimo Chief of our village used to attend and many other Eskimo's did. The Aleut did not, as they had the Russian Greek Catholic Church in the village.

Dad also handled the W.P.A. jobs for the villagers when Roosevelt authorized them to give the poor jobs. He and the villagers built three miles of road from the village to the lake that the planes landed on, and some other roads throughout the village and down to the beach. Our village had three cars and later a fourth one.

In 16 years that my folks lived there, we observed a volcano blow up (Aniakchak) to the south of us near Chignik. The ashes caused hardship on the wild birds such as ducks, geese and on the deer because they would eat the reindeer moss and take in ashes as well. We had no wild berries for a couple of years after that. It ruined our water supply as well because we got our water from the lakes.

We also encountered being flooded twice by tidal waves. The school house was located on the "flat". Our front yard was the beach. It was on the terrifying side to find ourselves completely surrounded by water and waves breaking and lapping at our porches by several feet. That evening, the cannery winter watchman managed to get to a boat at the cannery dock and rowed to us in the dark and pulled up to our front porch. He asked us if we would like to be rescued and taken to the hill and stay at their place for a night or two or until it was safe to come back...you bet we did!  The next fall, another tidal wave surrounded us. This time it was in November and icebergs were all over the "flat" when the water receded.

We were there to witness the first landing of an airplane in our village. The whole village turned out. It was Father Hubbard, called the "Glacier Priest". He was headed for Aniakchak to camp and study it. He is supposed to have predicted that it would blow up before it did. Soon after that, air plane mail service came to the village, once a month at first, then twice a month. It was a lot better than once a month  by boat and a couple times a winter by dog sled.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The following is the 1920 US Census for Ugashik. Keep in mind that the census takers spelled the villagers names phonetically and you will have to use your imagination to decipher some of these names. I have copied them here, just as they appear on the census charts...no corrections.

1920 UGASHIK            (Pilot Point)
Aloklok, McCallie 37
Aloklok, Nina  34

Oguska, Avon 38
Oguska, Anuska 31
Oguska, Avon 8

Appalepen, Gusta 48
Appalepen, Sofia 42
Appalepan, Wascelie 22
Appalepan, Samels 14

Anders, John 47 born Sweden immigrated 1897
Johansen, John F. 29 born Norway immigrated 1912

Bartman, William 34 born Holland immigrated 1906
Bartman, Amalia 25 born Alaska
Bartman, Pavalof 8
Bartman, Lyman 4  stepson

Yukluk, Simeon 18
Yukluk, Walla Walla 17
Yukluk, Bellekia 2 months
Yukluk, Wascelie 12 brother

Matfe, Miska 45
Matfe, Nina 25 wife
Matfe, Bellekia 4
Matfe, Kartonah 2
Matfe, Massa 21 servant

Latapukstok, "Un" 37
Latapukstok, Sophia 32
Latapukstok, Nek__tia 15
Latapukstok, pavalof 8

Oknok, Hotwoover 35
Oknok, Annie 25
Oknok, Sofia 3

Evolok, Avon 48
Evolok, Natalia 45
Evolok, Petia 7
Evolok, Atmathok 4
Evolok, Fuekta 2

1930 UGASHIK         (Pilot Point)
Hanson, Samuel C. 50 born Iowa   school teacher
Hanson, Florence M. 41 born Washington school teacher
Hanson, Virgil F. 17
Hanson, Virginia R. 10

Newport, Charlie 52  Eskimo
Newport, Augusta 35 Eskimo
Newport, Mary 19 Eskimo
Newport, Pauline 16 Eskimo
Newport, Effy 12 Eskimo
Newport, Oscar 10 Eskimo
Newport, Thomas 8 Eskimo
Newport, Alice 7 Eskimo
Newport, Jessie 5 Eskimo
Newport, Florence 3 Eskimo
Newport, Berther 1 Eskimo

Mitigoruck, Joe 55 Eskimo (widower)
Mitigoruck, Frank 24 son Eskimo
Mitigoruck, Murphy 17 son Eskimo

Johansen, Fred 63 born Norway
Johansen, Caterina 26 wife Aleut
Johansen, Lafela 11

Nichelson, John 48 Aleut
Nichelson, Annie 24 wife  Aleut
Nichelson, Evan 9

Sonota, Annie 24 (widow) Aleut
Sonota, Mary 7

Kighlgnak, John 45 Eskimo
Akaiak, Chas 20 Eskimo

Hansen, Bertel P. A. 35
Hansen, Salipena 35 Aleut
Hansen, Nina 10
Hansen, Olga 6
Hansen, Peter 3

Dunkel, John 63 born Russia

Blandow, Fred 48 Aleut
Blandow, Walla Walla 38 Aleut
Blandow, Elmer 11
Blandow, Sasa 9
Blandow, Evan 7

Analguck, Evan 45 (widower) Aleut

Alutak, Jim 50 Aleut
Alutak, Mala 35 wife Aleut
Alutak, Morpy 16 son
Alutak, Simon 13
Alutak, Tutsey 9 daughter
Alutak, Sam 7
Alutak, Lena 4
Alutak, Annie 6 months
Alberts, Yelman 18 boarder Aleut
Yelman, Nipnty 21 boarder Aleut

Dahl, Alisema 40 Aleut
Dahl, Evan 2

Spoon, John 50 (widower) Eskimo
Spoon, Frank 21 son  Eskimo

Orock, Henry 40 Eskimo
Orock, Rosie 30 Eskimo
Orock, Billy 8
Orock, James 6
Orock, Flora 2

Metigoruck, Nick 28 Eskimo
Metigoruck, Annie 20 Eskimo

Hoir, Alfred 50 born Norway
Amundsen, Olaf 47 born Norway

Schneider, Frank 59 born France
Schneider, Fatiana 24 wife  Aleut
Schneider, Frank B. 10
Schneider, William 6

Struck, John 38 born Germany
Struck, Sasa 35 wife  Aleut

Griechen, Gus 47 born Germany
Griechen, Olga 25 wife  Aleut
Griechen, Anna 15
Griechen, Alice 9
Griechen, Aleck 8
Griechen, Mary 6
Griechen, Sophia 4
Griechen, Eli 2

Ada, Joe 57 Aleut
Ada, Sophia 45 wife
Nislon, Olga 14 adopted daughter

Enginak, Yaku 30 Aleut
Enginak, Anna 22 Aleut
Naketa, Niluty 15 nephew  Aleut
Morfe, Scotty 45 boarder  Aleut

IF YOU RECOGNIZE ANYONE IN THE ABOVE PHOTOS, PLEASE CONTACT ME

coleen_mielke@hotmail.com

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