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Gregory, Arthur & Wilma (Strom)

by Janice Gregory Taylor

Arthur Hill Gregory was born in 1917, in Harrisville, New York, and grew up in northern New York State. During his school years he developed a keen interest in geology, so began college studies in the School of Mines in New Mexico. He left school before a year was out, worked on the family chicken farm, and later in the steel mills in West Virginia.

In 1937, a fellow mining student persuaded him to go to Alaska to prospect for gold. They arrived in Juneau in 1937, on the SS Northwestern. Art spent two years in Southeastern and “just barely survived.” Art’s father had an interest in photography, which Art had picked up. So much of the time while in Juneau, Art did odd jobs for Winter and Pond Company. Art told his children later that he remembered Winter & Pond asking the Territory for assistance to preserve all their photography, which was primarily done on glass plates. When the legislature did not come up with the funding, in anger and frustration, many of the glass plates were smashed on the beach in front of their shop.

Art dabbled in prospecting whenever he could. He talked of Kowee Creek on Douglas Island. He said he walked the beach and overland to Berners Bay. Eventually, he left Juneau to join his partner in the Fairbanks area. They worked placer mines in Livengood, then went prospecting at Bristol Bay, Nushagak, and other locations, but found nothing of substance. They eventually built a boat of split planks from logs and floated back to “civilization.”

Art joined the National Guard in 1941, and went to Anchorage. After training, he served out of Seward, then went to Attu in 1944, when an invasion was feared, but never saw any combat. He was discharged after the war and homesteaded south of Anchorage. He worked for the Alaska Road Commission opening up what is now the Old Seward Highway. He sold the homestead and moved his family to Homer in 1958.

Art met Wilma Strom who had moved to Anchorage from Minnesota early in 1947. They married and had four children in Anchorage, and one after moving to Homer: Janice, Gayle, Jim, Steve and Burt. In 1974, they left Alaska for five years, then returned, living in Juneau for three years before retiring and moving back to Homer.

Daughter Janice Gregory married Jerry Taylor, great grandson of pioneer Peter Madsen. Gayle Gregory married Craig Forrest, great grandson of pioneer Henry Hendrickson. Jim Gregory married Carol Nussbaum.

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