Each episode, we dive into the history of Wrangell, Alaska. One of Alaska's earliest settlements, Wrangell plays an important role in Alaska Native history and the development of the state of Alaska. Drawing on information from the historical record, we piece together long-lost stories from Wrangell's past.
John Muir and the Fire on the Mountain
On a stormy night in 1879, John Muir climbed the mountain behind Fort Wrangel, Alaska and built a fire so large it lit up the sky. The reaction of the surprised Tlingit villagers below has gone down in legend, misunderstood and maligned for over a century.
In today’s episode, we’ll look at the conflicts at play in John Muir‘s life to understand why he built the fire. We’ll dive into the people and places mentioned in the story. And, for the first time ever, we’ll offer a date for the night of John Muir’s fire: September 15, 1879.
The Trial of John Boyd for the Murder of Thomas O'Brien
In December 1878, Fort Wrangel, Alaska is a lawless place. No one is in charge. Chaos reigns.
When a gold miner is shot dead inside a saloon, the people in Fort Wrangel are forced to bring the murderer to justice.
Reading Wrangell Historians
This week, we recognize some of the outstanding authors in Wrangell history. Authors featured include: Patricia A. Neal, Bonnie Demerjian, Pat Roppel, Frances Lackey Paul, Debra Komar, and Dr. Emily L. Moore.
Reverend Corser's Rebellion
In 1899, amidst the chaos of the Klondike Gold Rush, a new minister arrived in Fort Wrangel to serve to a congregation split along racial lines. The Reverend H.P. Corser became an advocate for his Alaska Native congregation and challenged his superiors in the church. The conflict set Reverend Corser, and his congregation, on a path of exodus.
The Christmas Bombardment: Part II
After Christmas Day 1869 turned into a bloody mess, the United States Army opened fire on the Tlingit village of Ḵaachx̱ an.áakʼw. The bombardment lasted two days, and ended with the first murder trial held by the United States in Alaska.
In Part II of The Christmas Bombardment, we'll look at the days, months, and years that followed.
The Christmas Bombardment: Part I
When William Tamaree was six years old, the US Army fired cannons on his village, Ḵaachx̱ an.áakʼw, kicked off by a drunken party on Christmas Day 1869. He revealed a new version of the story, that unraveled a massive coverup and days of violence. Tamaree’s story forces us to rethink what we know about the event known as The Bombardment of Wrangel.
In Part I, we’ll set the stage, by looking at the events leading up to Christmas Day, 1869. We’ll shine a light on the key players, who become the important figures in the story.
Well done Ronan! I’m very much enjoying hearing history of Wrangell that I previously knew very little about. Top notch production, intriguing topics, and authoritative narration.