Parks and Recreation Image


Juneau-Douglas City Museum


Swineford/Shattuck

by Curt Shattuck
UID=807


The first of our family to become residents of Alaska was May Agnes Swineford who, in 1887, at the age of 7, moved to Sitka when her step-father, A.P. Swineford, a former newspaper publisher in the midwest, moved his family to Sitka when he was appointed governor of the Territory of Alaska.

Allen Shattuck came to Juneau from his home in Oregon, in 1897, at the age of 25, following his brother Henry who had come north earlier the same year, and became an employee of the C.W. Young Hardware Co. where Henry was also employed. Lured by gold, he and three other local men staked claims on Goat Creek in the Mendenhall Valley, but shortly after sold his claim for $20.

In 1900, he joined his brother Henry in Shattuck & Co. a fire insurance and steamship company agency. Six years later he disposed of his interest in Shattuck & Co. and opened the Purity Pharmacy, and also acted as a steamship company agent.

The Swineford family, toward the end of the century, moved to Ketchikan where Swineford published the Ketchikan Mining Journal. Before the end of the century, Agnes, visiting in Juneau, had met Allen on several social occasions, and they were married in Ketchikan in 1902. Their first child, Allen Jr. was born in Juneau in 1903, followed by Virginia in 1905, and Curtis in 1907.

Before the beginning of World War I, Allen, who was raised on a farm, acquired two cows and developed a chicken ranch and for many years sold milk and eggs to his neighbors to augment his small income. At one time he had over 100 birds. The family also enjoyed the benefits of these activities.

Other Shattuck brothers who came to Juneau early in the century were Dudley and Bates who came north in 1904, but returned to Oregon that year; and John who came to Juneau in 1912, at the age of 21 to spend the summer. On September 5, 1912, John and two companions, while hunting on a mountain behind Sheep Creek, became lost when the fog shut down. They obviously panicked; their bodies were found a week later after a search by an estimated 500 men.

Henry Shattuck died in 1925, after which his widow, Marie, and their children Margaret and Henry Jr. moved to Seattle.

Allen was always interested in public service. In 1903, he served on the City Council, and on the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce. In 1916, he was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Pioneers Home; in 1971 he served another term on the City Council; in the early 1920ís, he served as president of the Chamber of Commerce; in 1928, he was elected to his first term in the Territorial Legislature, where he eventually would serve for ten years between 1928 and 1946. He died in 1960, at the age of 88.

Agnes was noted for her gourmet cooking as well as her professional quality candy making. At home in Christmas season, her kitchen table and shelf space were often covered by various candies on which both she and Virginia worked.

Allen Shattuck Jr.ís life was cut short when he died in 1921, at the age of 17 from spinal meningitis. He was a brilliant student and interested in printing. He worked for more than a year in the Empire shop.

Virginia and Curtis graduated from the Juneau High School in 1924. She then attended the University of Washington for two years and graduated from Oregon State College. Having majored in home economics she decided not to return to Juneau. After teaching high school in Washington, she became a home economist on the Seattle P.I., later moving to San Rafael, California, where she spent the remainder of her career as a traveling demonstrator for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. She died in 1993.

Curtis graduated from the University of Washington School of Journalism, dropping out of school for one year to become a reporter on the Juneau Empire. After graduation, he edited a small weekly newspaper in Seattle for three months, returning then to rejoin the Empire. In 1930, he joined his father in the insurance business. Throughout his several decades in the insurance business he was very active in both the Juneau Chamber of Commerce and local, state and national insurance agents associations.

In 1971, he became the first president of Shattuck & Grummett, Inc. when the Grummett Insurance Agency merged with Shattuck Agency, the oldest agency in Alaska, having been in business since 1898.

Louise Patterson graduated from Roosevelt High School in Seattle in 1931. She worked four years in Frederick & Nelsonís department store and in 1934, decided she wanted to learn to fly so she got an office position in a flying school and traded her time for flying lessons. After she secured her private flying license she was well known in Seattle as the only co-ed at the University of Washington who had a license.

Louise came to Juneau in 1939, to serve in the Pan American Airways office at the time that PAA was establishing a route from Seattle to Juneau using Boeing seaplanes, which they landed and docked in Auke Bay. In 1940, Louise and Curtis were married in Seattle, after which they returned to Juneau. They have three children, Allen born in 1941, Roger born in 1944 and Sally born in 1947.

Our son Allen graduated from J-D High School in 1959, and the University of Denver in 1964. After graduating from college, Allen returned to Juneau and became a partner in the Shattuck Agency which was the long-time family business. Allen married Janice Flyr of Basin, Wyoming, in 1963. They have two sons, Rob born in 1965 and now living in California, and Rick born in 1968. Rick, and his wife Kelly both work for Shattuck & Grummet Inc.

Our son Roger graduated from high school in Seattle, Washington, in 1962, and from the University of Washington in 1966. After graduation, Roger married Terry Ray, a Juneau-born girl in 1947, who graduated from J-D High School in 1965; they lived in Seattle for a year, returning to Juneau in 1967, where Roger went to work for the Shattuck Agency. Roger and Terry have a daughter Lynn born in Juneau in 1974 and son Will born in Juneau in 1977. Will died in Seattle in 1999.

Our daughter Sally attended primary school in Juneau but went to Helen Bush private girls school in Seattle for her high school years, graduating in 1965. After an unfortunate first marriage, and following the untimely death of her second husband, Charles Van Slyke, she is now married to Michael Slate, a long time Alaskan resident. Since 1984, they have lived at Mosquito Lake, north of Haines, Alaska.