Sunday, March 24, 2019

Who was Peter Pemberton of Seldovia, Alaska?





Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels






























Are you missing a Great Uncle named 'Dirty' Pete?

I was contacted by a genealogy researcher in the tiny town of Seldovia, Alaska, pop. about 260 or so. The town is located on the coast but is accessible only by boat or plane. Seldovia resident Ginny Moore and her husband are working to repair the long neglected local cemetery. Ginny, who has traced her own ancestors, is attempting to trace some of the people buried there, including Peter Pemberton.

Here is what Ginny has found on Peter:

Alaska, Vital Records, 1818 -1963

Name:     Pete Pemberton

Gender:   Male

Death Age:              81

Record Type:          Death

Birth Date:               1859

Death Date:             26 Dec 1940

Death Place:           Seldovia, Alaska, USA

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1910 United States Federal Census

Name:     Peter Pemberton

Age in 1910:            55

Birth Year:               abt 1855

[abt 1854]

Birthplace:              Massachusetts

Home in 1910:        Fort Gibbon, Division 2, Alaska Territory

Race:      White

Gender:   Male

Relation to Head of House:    Head

Marital Status:        Single

Father's Birthplace:                Massachusetts

Mother's Birthplace:               Canada

Neighbors:           

Household Members:           

Name      Age

Peter Pemberton     55

John E Pinkham     50



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1920 United States Federal Census

Name:     Peter Pemberton

Age:         61

Birth Year:               abt 1859

Birthplace:              Massachusetts

Home in 1920:        Nenana, Fourth Judicial District, Alaska Territory

Residence Date:     1920

Race:      White

Gender:   Male

Relation to Head of House:    Head

Marital Status:        Single

Father's Birthplace:                Massachusetts

Mother's Birthplace:               USA

Home Owned or Rented:        Rent

Able to Read:          Yes

Able to Write:          Yes

Neighbors:           

Household Members:           

Name      Age

Peter Pemberton     61

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1930 United States Federal Census

Name:     Peter Pemberton

Birth Year:               abt 1862

Gender:   Male

Race:      White

Birthplace:              Massachusetts

Marital Status:        Single

Relation to Head of House:    Head

Home in 1930:        Anchorage, Third Judicial District, Alaska Territory, USA

Map of Home:         View Map

Radio Set:               No

Able to Read and Write:         No

Father's Birthplace:                Massachusetts

Mother's Birthplace:               Massachusetts

Household Members:           

Name      Age

Peter Pemberton     68

*************************************************************************



Peter's birth year varies from 1854 to 1862. Ginny cannot find him in Massachusetts or anywhere else prior to the 1910 census. According to the three census he was single, no family is mentioned.  In 1910, aged 55-60, he was prospecting for gold. This makes me think he might have been in Alaska for some time. I can't see many 60 year old men moving to the wilderness to look for gold. 

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to trace Peter? His death certificate lists no known relatives.

I found a Peter Pemberton in the Iditarod newspaper in 1910, he had letters at the post office, but that was it. In a Bureau of Land Management booklet I found the following reference:

Skookum Creek is a tributary of Rosy Creek. Pete Pemberton held claim No.2 above as of 17 February 1909. (Fort Gibbon, Mining Locations, 1: 34.)

In this History of Denali he is call "Dirty" Pete Pemberton. (Maybe that explains the lack of wife).


If you have any ideas on finding Peter Pemberton's orgins and family please pass them on. You can either comment on this article or email me through the contact section. I'll pass any hints or info onto Ginny. Thanks everyone!

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