McConahay
ARTHUR RANSOME "Long Shorty" McCONAHAY
1858 - 1918

ALASKA PIONEER

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Arthur Ransom McConahay (nicknamed “Long Shorty” because he was 6' tall) came to Sitka, Alaska in June of
1886 as a Private in Company K, U.S. Army 21st Infantry from Vancouver.

In 1893, after he left the military, he moved to the Cook Inlet area where he married a young Copper River
woman (living in  Knik) named Maypoy (the church later changed her name to Martha). Martha died before 1902,
leaving “Long Shorty” with 4 small children: Mary, born about 1893, James born about 1895, Martha born about
1897 and Katherine (“Katie” or “Kate”) born about 1899.

McConahay was a very well respected man and it is said that his "integrity won the confidence of all who
met him". Knik merchants hired him to transport large sums of cash (by foot) from Knik to Tyonek with no
problems ever reported.

In 1902, McConahay (a Protestant) was largely responsible for the construction of a new Russian Orthodox
 Chapel at Susitna Station. Father Ioann Bortnovskii said that McConahay donated his expertise, building
materials and food for the village laborers that built the Chapel.

That same year McConahay married  Stefanida Istutulianshin at Tyonek, she died before 1910 and the children
were then sent to the Woody Island Orphanage in Kodiak.

By 1910, McConahay  had a commercial salmon drying business at Three Mile Creek on the western shore of
Cook Inlet, selling three tons of dried salmon per season.  By 1912, he was appointed as Postmaster of Beluga.

In the fall of 1917,  McConahay’s health started to fail and he moved from Tyonek to the Pioneers Home
in Sitka, where he died in the spring of 1918, at the age of 60.

Arthur Ransome “Long Shorty” McConahay wrote the following poem:


“To me there’s nothing half so fine,
  as baked or roasted porcupine.
  Give fools their silk and knaves their wine,
  But give me lots of  porcupine”.





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