by Shiela (Godkin) Wilcox
Our grandfather, Jerry Cashen came to Douglas, Alaska from Michigan in the late 1890ís. Isabelle Moody, our grandmother, arrived in Douglas on the SS Topeka with one of her brothers to marry Jerry Cashen. They were married in Douglas on July 14, 1897.
Jerry Cashen worked in the Stamp Mill at the Ready Bullion Mine in Treadwell for many years and at the Foundry making gold bricks. Our grandparents were very active in different organizations in the city of Douglas.
They raised five children in Douglas. Laurence, born in 1900, twins Mae and Esther, born in 1902, and believed to be the first white twins born there, Leslie, born in 1906, and Isabelle, born in 1913.
They survived the two Douglas fires. They had many blankets that were burned by cinders when the blankets were used to cover their belongings that they had removed from their house in case it should catch on fire during the big fires. Their residence was at the corner of Fifth and E Street in Douglas.
Growing up, the children enjoyed swimming in the Natatorium which in later years caved in during the big Treadwell cave-in. They also enjoyed playing and watching baseball games.
Our mother, Mae, used to talk of different days being able to take hot pasties and walk to the Foundry to have lunch with her dad. When she was a teenager she went to work at the hospital with the nuns during the big influenza breakout and that was one of the things that made her interested in becoming a nurse. She took her nurseís training in Victoria, B.C., and graduated in 1923. At the completion of her courses, she returned to Douglas and worked at St. Annís Hospital in Juneau as a registered nurse. In the early days she used to take the ferry from Douglas to Juneau to work. She worked as a nurse for many, many years at St. Annís.
Our motherís twin sister, Esther Jockola, used to play the piano accompaniment for the silent movies at the theaters. Later, she worked as cashier at Bavardís Grocery, Case Lot Grocery, Erwinís Grocery and at the Juneau Drug Store.
In 1929, our mother Mae Cashen married our father Miles Godkin. He came over from Ireland as a young adult and finally settled in Juneau. He worked for the U.S. Military in Whitehorse, YT, and out on the Aleutian Chain, and also in Skagway for a short time, as a mechanic. He had the first ambulance service in Juneau. Later he owned the Packard Taxi and Royal Blue Taxi Company. For many years he worked as mechanic at Juneau Motor Company.
They had three children, Arleen born in 1931, Jerry born in 1932 and Sheila born in 1940. All three still live in Juneau with their families. There are 13 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren.
Our grandfather died in Juneau in 1935, at the age of 64. Our grandmother died at the Sitka Pioneer Home in 1968, at the age of 91. Our father died in Juneau in 1976, at the age of 85. Our mother died at the Juneau Pioneer Home in 1992, at the age of 90.