Parks and Recreation Image


Juneau-Douglas City Museum


Smith, Walstein Goodale

by Merion Stampe Frolich
UID=1020


My grandfather, W.D. Smith, was born in Ohio, maybe near Columbus, on a subsistence farm, which he hated. He had a cousin, George Coulton, who took him into the Cleveland Bank and Trust where he was trained in accounting and finance. When he was older, he married Alice Markley from Kentucky and with the two children, moved first to Bellingham, Washington, to a bank and later to Anacortes, Washington. Then, in 1908, he was asked to establish a bank in Katalla, Alaska - a mining camp and Indian village. The camp had a safe in the family home and conditions were to say the least, rough. The miners would come down once a week and entrust their pay to my grandfather with the stipulation that he would give them no money Saturday night while they were out drinking. Later, in the evening, when one or two or more would come around asking for their pay, he would refuse, causing a great deal of commotion. Mother said that they had to lie on the floor sometimes to get out of the way of bullets that would whiz through the windows. The next day miners would come back to collect money to send south to their families, all apologetic.

Life in Katalla wasnít all horrible it seems, as mother had fond memories of friends made there, including the author, Barrett Willoughby, who was there as a young woman. In 1910, when Alaska was organized as U.S. Territory with a Territorial government, through the Organic Act passed by the U.S. Congress, my grandfather moved to Juneau and ran for the office of Territorial Treasurer. He set up their financial system and served as Treasurer for approximately 25 years, until Franklin Roosevelt became president and Oscar Olson replaced him. Then, until he retired, he worked at the First National Bank in Juneau and died in Juneau in 1952.

My mother, Helen Smith Cass Scudder, worked for the U.S. Forest Service in Juneau as head of personnel for the Territory and later the State. She retired with her husband, Henry Clay Scudder, in the early 1960ís and moved to Santa Barbara, California. She died near me in Fairfield, Connecticut, in December 1991.

I graduated from Juneau High School in 1943; my brother John one year later. I left to go to UCLA, worked in New York and visit Juneau for high school reunions periodically. My husband, Henrik, I met in San Francisco. Our daughter, Benedicte Stampe Frolich McGrath was born in Juneau and our other daughter, Catrin Stampe Frolich was born in Copenhagen when we were living there. We traveled extensively as my husband was an engineer who we accompanied on his jobs to Korea, Japan, New York and back to Denmark, finally settling in Connecticut where Henrik died in 1983.


Back row L to R: Lee, Joe, Ted and Francis. Front row L to R: Sidney, Mr. Lee Smith, Mrs. Smith and Delores.




The Smith family home on Glacier Avenue.