Family Portrait Elsie (Johnstone) Greenewald, Harry Douglas & Mother Lucy (Williams) Johnstone Douglas


The following information recounts oral history passed down by Elsie Greenewald to Esther Greenwald.

Lucy Williams,  Daax Keil Atch

T’akdeintaan, Tsalxaan Hít (Mt. Fairweather House)

DOB around 1875 in Hoonah, Alaska

DOD 7/6/38

Lucy Williams was living in Bartlett Bay (present day “Bartlett Cove”) when she met William Johnstone who had arrived from England on a whaling ship a few years prior. Johnstone and three other men (Smith, Ford and another) started the Bartlett Bay Packing Company, a salmon saltery. Johnstone sold his share in the Bartlett Bay Packing Company to Chilkoot Packing Company.

In the early part of 1893, Lucy Williams and William Johnstone got married aboard the US Revenue Cutter Rush. Shortly thereafter, they moved to Yées Kéini (Port Althorp) and started a saltery there.

William and Lucy lived alternately in Hoonah and Yées Kéini for several years and in March of 1894, they had a daughter, Elsie Mable Johnstone, born in Hoonah. The saltery in Yées Kéini operated during the salmon season, but during the winter of 1897, the Johnstone family remained in Yées Kéini as watchman and caretakers and kept things maintained and ready for the spring salmon run. Tragedy struck during the late winter/early spring of 1897 when William died suddenly. At the time, Lucy was pregnant with their second child and she knew that she had to get help. There was no one else around, so Lucy did the best she could to wrap William’s body in a tarp as protection and decided she would take their row boat and row to Three Hill Island where some of her family had an encampment. Fearing the unpredictable weather and the ocean swells, she tied a rope tightly around young Elsie and attached it to herself so that if they were swept from the boat they would not be separated. As her boat approached Three Hill, she was spotted in the distance by her family members who waded out into the surf to keep the boat from crashing onto the rocks. Both Lucy and daughter, Elsie were safe and in the comfort of her clan. In a short time, the clan uncles left for Yées Kéini to take care of William. He was buried near the saltery he had established.

On September 1, 1897, Lucy gave birth to their son, who she named Harry William.

Three years later, while living in Douglas, Alaska, Lucy met William Douglas, an Irishman from New York who worked at one of the mines in Douglas. They were married in 1900, and because little Harry was so young, he adopted the last name of the only father he knew and went by Harry William Douglas.

William, Elsie and Harry welcomed a new baby daughter, Lilly to their family in 1901. They continued to live in Douglas where there was good work at the mine. Sadly, Lilly died at age 3 in 1904 and is buried in Douglas.

The family moved back to Hoonah in 1906 where William became a watchman for a Fish Trap owned by the Libby Company. In 1916, Lucy and William homesteaded in Spasskia. They lived in Spasskia and Hoonah for years up until Lucy’s death in July, 1938. William lived only 3 months after her death and passed away on October 8, 1938.