Frederick Wilhelm August Poppe Materials

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SIE 4-61

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Frederick Wilhelm August Poppe Materials


  • 1986 (Creation)


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Consists of photocopied articles from the Milbank Herald Advance and We Alaskans, including eleven photographic reprints. The articles, written by Frederick's grandson, describe Frederick’s adventures in Alaska’s gold fields as well as biographical information. The photographs include a portrait of Frederick Wilhelm August Poppe and various scenes from his time in Alaska.

Article citation: Walter Poppe, “Journey to Alaska,” We Alaskans, June 15, 1986, 06-07.

Article citation: Walter H. Poppe, “Milbank men tried their luck in Alaskan gold fields,” Milbank Herald Advance, April 1, 1986.

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Biographical Note

Frederick Wilhelm August Poppe was born in Kragerø, Norway in 1851. He immigrated with his father, Arendt, to America at age 18 and settled in Prior, Minnesota in the late 1870s. In 1897, Frederick organized a group of thirty-three men bound for the gold mines in Alaska. They set sail in 1898 for Alaska on the steamer Valencia, which carried 590 passengers, 23 horses, and 28 dogs. As was the case for the vast majority of gold prospectors, the journey was dangerous, met with many adversities (including a near mutiny), and relatively unsuccessful. Arriving in Valdez, they had to move their goods over a glacier, which took about thirty days, to get to Copper River. They prospected along the Copper River and then on the Tunana River. Frederick returned from Alaska a year later in 1899 after a very rough experience and little gold. Six of those with Frederick died.

Prior to his Alaskan adventure days, Frederick was a self-declared druggist in South Dakota and owned the Milbank Drug Store and later another drug store in Aberdeen. He also went in to the insurance business in 1897. Frederick married Henrietta and they had four sons. After Henrietta’s unexpected death in 1887, Frederick remarried in 1890 to Martha Brockmann. They had a daughter, Eleanora Martha.

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6.7 MiB


February 14, 2022 11:36 AM

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