Ad-loo-at 1883-1918 Eskimo from Cape Prince of Wales

Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska

Kin-ge-gan Village 1902
Cape Prince of Wales

Ad-loo-at was a Kingikmiut Eskimo from Kin-ge-gan Village (Cape Prince of Wales), which is on the Seward Peninsula, northwest of Nome. He was educated at the Jesse Lee Children's Home in Unalaska and worked as an interpreter on many occasions. He wrote this story himself:


"As I was instructed to write and tell about my life, I may tell it so now.  I will try and tell just as nearest and truly as I can  remember. It is impossible to tell it in any otherwise if you know how to tell it yourself. I am typing this on my typewriter that I bot in Nome.

My name is Ad-loo-at, and I was born at Kin-ge-gan (Cape Prince of Wales) in some part of the month of December 1883 or 1884. When I began to know and wake up like, I lived with my Uncle. When I was little boy, white man came to our place and tell us there was a God in heaven and if we call to him he will hear us. After that nobody come to tell us about God for a long time.

One time, my mother and father, brother, sister and me went to Siberia trading in skin canoe. On way back, big storm came up and we think we drown. Everybody was scared and were crying but I sit in the middle of the boat and am crying also, but suddenly I remember the words of that man, there is God in heaven and if you call he will hear you. I am poor eskimo boy - I cannot speak english - I cannot pray, but something insides of me says look up and so I looked up to those black clouds and quick as anything, all the fraid went out of my heart and I am very happy. For many hours we struggled with the wind and waves and reached the land. My people think they are very lucky but I thinks that God has saved me.

Two weeks, three weeks, long time and that same joy and peace still in my heart and then I know God speaks to me in that boat. I use tobacco from little boy. After God speaks to me in boat, you thinks I stop to use tobacco, I guess not. I likes God, I likes tobacco, I likes them both. No teacher had come to my place to teach us but one day, walking along the beach, the same voice speaks to me that speaks to me in the boat and says "What for you use that stuff?" I know what he means and I says, I don't know. I walks away and the voice speaks to me again and he says "What good is that stuff anyway?". I thinks and says, no good I guess. I walks on more far and the voice speaks to me third time and says "Why don't you quit?"----and I quit.

I must tell you how many people lived in my Uncles in-nie or house. My Uncle had two wives, their children were seven, my cousin, my grandmother, my half brother, my mother Wey-ak-k-new and myself. Only one man took cared of them. Nearly all of us were trying to help all we could. Some of the children need to get drifted wood, some of them helped in the home, some of them get water. I used to hunt and fish with the older cousins part of the time.

My Uncle was hunting sea animals all the time. He was a great hunter of all kinds of games. I was told it was just a while before I was born that he caught two bull head whales, two wild deer, two or three polar bears and great many common seals and oo-grook (big seals). You see that was a great catch for one year. It would take other men three or four years before they get one. But my Uncle was good and intelligence land animal hunter. He know just what time the animals would come around and also he knew just exactly when to hunt them. One time he came home with a large oo-grook all alone, you know it takes several men to haul one of those big oo-grook, they are probably 8 or 9 feet long and at least 2 foot broad. One time he came home with six common seals so we called these seals nek-sok. Oh my (ah-non-ka) but he was a generous man as I ever saw in my life.

Some time we had not enough to eat when spring come. In month of April and May these are the hardest months. Some time he caught a common seal and when some one saw him hauling a seal, great many old women would come and took almost every bit of that seal away, sometimes nothing left but the head and the gats. I should think there would be 30 or 40 women come. I will never forget my Uncle. His name was Ket-me-sook but I am sorry to say that he died  by shot himself by accident with a shot gun. He became an old man, still he was a good hunter, he was hunting ducks that time when he shot himself. It was in the month of Oct. 24, 1914 and he died in November.

Before we get this white food, we used to live on all kind of meat-on fish, all kind of ducks, clams, black bead berries, green leaves and certain kind of roots - this was in summer time. In winter time, seal meat, oo-grook meat, polar bears meat and stowed up berries. In spring time the same thing excepting and besides we gets these ducks, geese, cranes, big and small crab too. I used to like to hunt them.

Sometimes I would be out all day fishing tom cods with a hook. I used to hunt the flounders too. I would make a hole through the ice with a toock and an ice scoop, make the hole looks like the track of a man, only larger. Then I would lay down beside the hole on my side, just like I was going to bed and then look down into the hole where I would see tom cods and flounders come along from all directions and then I would speared them.

Ah-men-ka, some time I would be very cold, I would be shivering. I never had clothes enough. My father left my mother when I was probably two or three weeks old and I never had a brother of my own. My father never gave me any food or clothes either. I used to make queer plans that how I would treat my father when I grew to be a man, but instead of treating him bad, I tried to treated him best I could. I used to feel that I wanted to revenge but the Holy Bible tells us, Vengeance is mine, I will repay Thee. So I always try to remember that when difficulties come.

My mother was married three times. Last man was pretty good hunter. It may be I was six or seven years old. This man helped me very much and he lived with my mother till he died. Sometimes he would come home with 4 or 5 seals. He caught 3 whales while I lived with him.

I used to go when he go hunting walrus in the spring. He was great for story teller, but now I forgotten pretty nearly all of them. My step father was an old timer I-pa-ney man, but he was pretty good and smart all the same. That was in his canoe hunting. He caught these three whales with I-pa-ney outfit. He was not believing in these white mens outfit of shoulder guns, spears and bombs.

One time he was out hunting seals and we come to a big crack in the ice, probably it was 2 miles to the ends. I left them on walk, when I got to the middle of the ice, I found a big oo-grook laying on the ice by his hole and then I crept on the ice silently to him and when I got close enough, I shot him but I did not kill him dead. He went down under the water and there I found him suffering and dying from his wounds. I shot him again on the head and that time killed him. Before I shot him I was pitying him because he was suffering so much. I didn't have any rope with me and so I took off my belt and tied his lips to hold on with. Then I began to called but no answer came. Then I called still more louder and at last there came a man named Ah-pos-uk and another man named Ta-touk and another man named Ig-hun-ga. I was very glad they came and help me. Then we dragged it to the canoe where we could put it in and take it home. Dont you know that in olden time the young man only got the head. They were glad to get the skin and they divided the oo-grook up into several parts for their shares. You dont know how much I was glad and proud of it when I came home that day because that was the first one I killed.

I must tell you about the friends who come to help us, this was in 1900. I was just big enough to walk about the village and saw them bringing long things, that must be lumber and made big piles of them. Then afterwards I saw them way up in the air -- that must be them build the house and set up frame work. I thought that was great work when they finished that house. They called it La-la-ka-yoke-tut-han.

They put up the se-le-ya-kie, that must be they called the school and put up the seal skin banner. The first English word I learned was harpoon, snow and ah-kra stove. I never forget those kind faces, I can seem to look at them now. These were To-mo-rok and At-es-uk, those were meant Mr. Lopp and and Mr. Thornton. I want to tell you reader that those men had very hard time. Lots of trouble.

They the ones, first white men to live in this place. Lot of drunkards, lot of quarrels in village then. Some people killed each other just be revenging each other. So me, time when we were in school room, bad drunkards come in, just break through door. One time an old drunkard women was kicking the door and pounding it with a big stick because they wont let her in. My dear reader, think you would stay another year if folks treat you like that? I guess not. I think you would be anxious for summer to come so that you would get out of it and leave that miserable place Kin-ge-gan. You think they left that summer? I guess not. I think they anxious for us to learn fast as we can to learn . I know they staid another year and another nearest as I could remember.

Dont you know when you are young a year seems a very long time, so it was with me that time. The good SS Bear brot them.
The kind looking faces I could remembered them. We called them na-loo-wok-mo-ut-ok-nod which was meant white ladies. That na-loo-wok-mo-ut meant, those who lived in white tanned seal skin because they are white like a white tanned seal skin. I can remembered now how those ladies use to teach us how to read and write. These were Mrs. Lopp and Mrs. Thornton. Another thing they taught us about was God and His only Son Jesus.

One time, my step father caught a whale. Dont you know the old custom when they caught a whale they never do anything. They claim when any one does anything, he would probably affect himself from making or sewing, maybe he would get sick or die. So that time I want to see whether it be true if a harm will come to any one who does a thing. My parka was torn on the side and I thought to myself, I will see if it is true and I sowed my parka right before them all. Of course they were excited and told me to stop sewing if I don't want to get sick, but I kept right on, only I turned toward them and smiled. Of course it was not nice for me to acted that way but I wanted to see whether it was true. My step father was very mad to me and scolded me but I was just smiling again at him and that made him more mad. Probably he thought I laughed at him. And my mother told me I better stop if I did not want to get sick and die. I said to her, "Mother I was to try if this was true I will be sick by morning. That night I was not sick at all and that was only a story they tells, then I said to my mother, "Mother didn't you see me sick this morning?" "You might get sick some time" she said, but I was never get sick on that account.

I used to like to visit Mr. Lopp and I would stay for hours because it was just a place I like to stay. Sometimes it would be midnight before I would come home and they would simply tell me kindly, "I think you had better go now for it is time for you to be home because your mother will be worrying about you." They would tell me in eskimo and I used to keep thinking, I hope they will not tell me to go home, Ah-non-ka I used to like to stay at their house just because I like it very much. When they lived in that old school house, I used to come around their house and look at the window and look in and then I would think, I wish I could get in. I wish I could live in a house like this.

When the school time come, we would go into the school room and set down and they would look downward and say something that sounded like this, "Cut padder oo wot een habben". We would be very puzzled about it but that must be when they was say the Lord's prayer.

When I was a small boy, I used to  have some sleeping visions and it was about some big red things and a fine place and beautiful things. When I saw pictures of big red houses, then I would remember my dreams. Then, somehow rather I want to learn very much. I tried to go to school as I got chance but don't you know anybody cannot learn much just by going to school part of the time.

Another thing that bothered me when I tried to read, my step father said things that were not suitable to me--when I heard there were fine schools outside, there was one in the state of Pennsylvania and another at a place called Unalaska and at that place was a home for children and one can learn all he wants to. I felt I want to go and of course I said I would. Then he asked the Captain of the Revenue Cutter Bear and after a while he told me that Captain Jarvis would take me to Unalaska. I was very glad and may be you don't know how glad I was and how much I thank Mr.Lopp but I didn't say anything because I was bashful.

Before my parents go away I told my mother that I will go to Unalaska, "Oh dear, don't go", she said and she cried and begged me not to go but I said to her, "Mother, I will go whether you want me to go or not because I can't learn here at all." She said, "probably you will never come back." I told her I will come back in a few years. That summer they went on some trading expedition and while they were gone, I went. I left Kin-ge-gan in October 10, 1899. I must be about 16 then. Before I went, I told my cousin Ki-uz-ruk, "I am going outside to learn more about the Bible and God and after I have learned, I will come back and help you.

When I got to Unalaska, one of the SS Bear sailors took me to the Jesse Lee home, a large two and a half story building at the end of the village. There, I met Dr. Newhall first time and also Mrs. Newhall. I will never forget what he said to me when I reached that home, "You are welcome to this house. I will try to take care of you best I can." He and his loving wife did take cared of me all through while I was with them. It was the 7th of October 1899. There doctor Newhall was very busy on the sick folks that time, seven or eight patience. Only one or two died. I tried very hard to learn. When I began to school, you think I was in the class with bigger boys? I guess not. I was with the little bits of children in the chart class. Oh my, I was very much ashamed of myself and so I was trying to learn fast as ever I can.

Finely in a few weeks I was in third reader. Then I thought I would be better to study alone, so I asked Dr. Newhall to teach me at home and so he did. Dr. Newhall and his wife are very kind when I was with them. They had a child who was born on Nov. 6, 1899 and I took cared of her but she died and you do not know how much I missed her. After two years, my teacher took me outside when they went there. It was in July 1901 when we reached Seattle and when I saw all those big houses I remembered my dreams. Those trees and big ships I thought very grand. I saw the car going back and forth and I thought everything was wonderful.

I stayed in Seattle a few days. Then we started to go eastward and we took the Northern Pacific Railroad. When we was on the state of Montana, it was so hot it nearly make me sick. I put my hand out of the car window and it was so very hot, I felt to like I'm into a very hot oven. It was 109 above zero.

In July 25, we reached the city of Chicago at 9:30 A.M. I thought that was big city everything was supernatural sight. We went from there to the city of Philadelphia and there I saw many animals in the zoological garden. I saw 142 different kinds animals in the zoo and heard some fine music, all kinds of them.  We stayed there several days. Oh my, I would be uncomfortable from the heat. In the daytime I would just be setting down and sweating and in the nights it would be comfortable. Sometime in daytime, I would go to bathroom and pour some cold water in the tub and lay in the cold water for hours and be comfortable.

When we left there, we arrived at New York City in July 31 and there I met a very good man named Capt. H.L. Meeker. I was told once he was a drunkard man but some years past he was converted and he was working for his Lord and I saw his chapel. He had make an old boat into a chapel. But he was a very good man, I might say for changed.

I saw those great many buildings just like a visson. We left there in August one and took a fine steamer up the Hudson and arrived at Hagandan, N.Y. and the next day went to a fine Methodist Church. Here I took the name Warren Ad-loo-at Sowle. I stayed most at Stoneham, Mass. and went to Boston many times. When I went to Lynn Beach that seemed like my own home. I talked in a great many places and used to put my furs on to show them. Another thing I used to interest them was how we first used the flour and we made just soup. We got it from the whalers when they come to trade. One time I visited Mrs. Thornton in Auburn Maine (Mr. thornton was killed by some eskimos soon after they took up the work at Wales). I surprised Mrs. Thornton very much but she was glad to see me. She was so glad that the tears were just running down, saddened  by the death of her husband and felt, perhaps all their sacrifices and hard labor of love had been in vain but some seeds that were sown had fallen on good ground. It reminded me of her being in my place with her beloved husband. Myself, I was glad to see her then. I had very nice visited her.

When I was leaving there, Mrs. Thornton was seeming to be sad--she was saying she would miss me very much. There were no doubt that I missed her presence but I had to go back to my place for I was not forgetting my people.

At Southport Conn. I met a man named Mr. Holman and he was fine man and he showed me many interesting things and he bought for me a little organ, which I have it now.

Then I was bounding to my home. I left Stoneham, Mass., on April 10, 1903. All of my met friends said farewell to me. I must tell about my teachers family. They were very good people and were very good to me when I was with them. Specially Chester Newhall, I used to sleep with him and he was like my own brother. I miss them that time very  much. I will never forget them, especially Dr. Newhall. He treated me just like his own child - gave me nice home with them and his wife took cared of me like her own child. I will never blot them out of mine, always will remember them, they have done so much good to me.

I was on my way five days without stopping. One time in the train a man came to me an asked me if I would like to have some tea as I was eating my dinner.  He pleased me very  much for he was the only one who spoke kindly to me.

When I reached Seattle I stayed with some people named "Gauntlett" and the boys were very kind to me while I was waiting for the good old Bear to come. I attended some churches and visited some people. Almost every place I went they seem to want to help out some. I received a letter from Mr. Lopp which made me feel more to go home. It was very encouraging letter. Finely the Revenue Cutter came and I was glad to see her come. Left Seattle at 5:10 P.M. on April 26, 1903. What you think happen. You think I went right straight to Kin-ge-gan. I guess not. When we reached See More Narrows, we ran against a rock wall and we had to go back to Seattle to get fixed.

I was very disappointed but we were lucky not to get wreck. You see that shows the ship are a strong boat. While they were fixing that boat, I used to go to Seattle to buy some things and when I came back the old "bosun" would growled and said, "Are you buying the whole Seattle?" You will run away with it some time. Before I started, I received another letter from Mr. Lopp saying they were anxious for me to come back home but when I got home they were gone outside and I was very disappointed. I reached home July 1903.

Just a little while after I came, Mr. Lee and his family came. Since then I have been trying to help in mission work. Since that summer I have began that interpretation work for the missionaries at this place of Kin-ge-gan (Wales).

After while, Mr. Cross came and I worked with him and he was very nice man. He was the man who wants to help the people and had done much good. Of course, others came too and they had done some good even when they had been talked about bad.

Of course, some are working just for the money they gets. Some are working just because they wants to help the people. They have the right spirit in them, as Mr. Lopp did and his wife. We assistance eskimo are the same way. Some works just because they wants to get some money. They have no right spirits in them.. I was trying very hard to bring my people into new life. Of course some of them didn't like at all, they always trying the other way.

You don't know how much I was trying to help and lead my people to be good village homes, although they did not like to be lead or told. Some time they made it so difference and difficulty I used to be near discouragement. But I always tried to remember some words that I used to hear from my loving friend Chester Newhall, "You can do more good by being good than any other say."

Mr. Shields have sent us a nurse, being Mrs. E.W.Tashner, who left the Methodist hospital in Nome for care of us. We hear her in church speak very good words on watch and pray. She say many good things to us. We will help her all we can in the work of religion. She is very fine lady as was Mrs. Lopp and Mrs. Thornton. I am waiting to move my religion work to Shish-ma-reff and anyone who feels like to help this work may do so. How can I get to Shishmareff? The weather is uncertain, blow and blow almost every day and big surf. Some say "Wait till when you can go on dog team." I guess so.

Now I want to thank those who had helped me in past years. I want to remember and thank the Methodist Mission in Unalaska, Alaska because they help me very much. Now I want to thank doctor Newhall for he had done more good to me than any other man will ever do to me. Another one I will remember, Mr. Lopp, because he was the one who have done more good in my place than any other man will ever do to us. If it were not for Mr. Lopp we would have nothing to say about.

I used to remember what he say to me just before I left Wales. That time, when I was going outside, "They will like you better in Unalaska if you do not do bad things."

The End

In the winter of 1918, Ad-loo-at was working as an interpreter for a mission school in the village of Shishmareff (60 miles from Kin-ge-gan). His wife Stella, who was expecting their 6th child, chose to stay behind with their 5 other children: Agnes b.1906, Helen b.1908, Chester b.1912, Winfred b.1914 and Warren b.1916.

Early that winter, the Spanish Influenza Epidemic reached Kin-ge-gan and quickly killed almost half of the village, including Ad-loo-at's mother. When word reached Shishmareff, Ad-loo-at made preparations to return home. His Shishmareff friends tried to stop him by telling him that he would surely catch the sickness, but he felt he had no choice but to return to his family.
He found Kin-ge-gan besieged with illness, including his family. Shortly after he got home, his wife gave birth, but the baby didn't live long.

Word of the tragic conditions in Kin-ge-gan reached Nome and the Superintendent of Schools there, sent a nurse to help the village. She went to Ad-loo-at's home to care for the family, however by that time, he was very ill and soon passed away. The rest of his family survived.