First off, it's important to note that today, October 18th is Alaska Day... not just a day off from work, it marks the day that Alaska went from Russian hands to American. KTNA in Talkeetna explains the difference between Alaska Day and Seward Day.
It's fitting to begin this blog on Alaska Day, because the day that the United States took control of Alaska is, essentially, the first in many steps toward the Arctic Brotherhood's inception. In an abstract and removed way, that makes October 18 of 1867 a very important day in the AB's history.
There are a few other dates from October 1st through the 18th that are directly significant to the Arctic Brotherhood:
October 9, 1901: Camp Dawson, #4
Work on Dawson's AB hall began today, according to Ken Spotswood. The Daily Nugget, newspaper in Dawson, reported on the new construction. According to the paper, the building was slated to be 50 feet by 100 feet, and to stand at a story and a half high. The construction took only three weeks and $16,000.
October 10, 1907: Camp Skagway, #1
One of Skagway's newspapers reports that on this date new officers were elected to Arctic Brotherhood camp #1. Among them were Arctic Chief Edward Rasmusson, who at the time was US Commissioner; and Vincent Dortero and his father Tony.
October 15, 1908: Camp Hot Springs, #24
Deputy Grand Arctic Chief C. A. Davidson on this date established an AB camp at the town of Hot Springs, 100 miles west of Fairbanks in the Tanana Valley. According to the Arctic Brotherhood's book, published 1909, "the camp has such a position in the Tanan valley that it is sure of acquiring a goodly membership, and at present shows a healthy growth." 21 charter members were present at the first meeting.
October 16, 1917: Camp Juneau, #32
Juneau, one of the most short-lived camps in the rolls of the Arctic Brotherhood, began in January of 1916 with 130 members at its first meeting. Its last recorded entry in the attendance roster book at the Alaska state archives in Juneau is on this date, with only one member present. What happened to Juneau's camp? Your guess is as good as mine... but there were many factors involved.
October was a busy month for the AB's! In the next posting, a few more camps will be established, and the AB blog will pay tribute to some fallen ABs. One was killed at the young age of 22, and at least six more perished during one of the North's most sensational (and oft-forgotten) disasters.