by Jeannette Doucette McLeod
Charles Thomas Doucette was born January 13, 1902, Glouchester, Massachusetts the youngest son of Thomas and Augusta Doucette of Nova Scotia. His father was a Great Banks fisherman and later a tug boat captain. He died when Charles was quite young. Charles had four older brothers and two older sisters, all who predeceased him except James, who died at 80. At the age of 14, while working in his brother James’ garage, he and a friend decided to build their own automobile. Using discarded parts from the garage they built a very streamlined roadster. After a physical discussion with his German teacher at the beginning of World War I, Charles, being a vocal Frenchman, left school abruptly and he and his friend took the car that they had built and drove from Boston, Massachusetts, working at odd jobs along the way, to Texas where they finally went broke. His friend found work but Charles did not. He enlisted in the Marine Corps at 16 and was shipped back to Paris Island, New York for boot camp. After boot camp, the unit was sent to Haiti to quell the Haitian uprising. An undeclared war. He served under General Russell as his driver and orderly. There he met James C. Dunn, the American Ambassador to France, who was impressed with his driving skills and offered him a job as his chauffeur when his enlistment was up. After four years in Haiti, Charles decided he wanted to see the rest of the world. He contacted Ambassador Dunn and was hired and sent to Paris, France. He taught himself to read, write and speak French.
While the Embassy household was in the United States he married Marguerite Kremer from Luxembourg on August 13, 1928. A daughter Jeannette was born January 3, 1931.
Charles continued to chauffeur Ambassador Dunn and his family through many countries in Europe. When in Paris, the Ambassador greeted Charles Lindbergh when he arrived after his cross-Atlantic flight and Charles was shown as chauffeur in the official photograph. He finally left this employment to return to his wife and daughter in the United States. He hadn’t known that there was a depression in the United States and no one could afford to hire a chauffeur. He then did many jobs. Butler, garage maintenance, mechanic, handyman and whatever was available. He was recommended as a butler and chauffeur to Jewett Shoese’s family, who was a lobbyist in Washington D. C. by Ambassador Dunn. Then the Shoese’s recommended him to Ernest Gruening, a newspaper editor in New Hampshire. They in turn recommended him to the Goodwins and Cummings (Wall Street brokers). When Ernest Gruening was appointed Governor of Alaska he contacted Charles and Marguerite and employed them to come to Alaska. Charles drove his family across country from New York bringing a new 1941 Ford convertible with a rumble seat bearing the Alaska license plate “1.” This got a lot of attention in every city in every state where they stopped. It took two weeks to arrive in Seattle. Here the family boarded the steamship Denali and sailed to Alaska. It took one week to Juneau, stopping at every cannery and port along the way with freight. It was the beginning of fishing season.
Charles worked at the Governor’s Mansion as butler, gardener, chauffeur and all round handyman. He then worked at the AJ Mine in the shop and when that closed he was employed at the USED which built the Subport and Channel Apartments.
He later worked at the prisoner of war camp at Excursion Inlet. He then transferred to the company that was building the Alcan Highway and traveled throughout the interior of Alaska. Returning to Juneau, he fished and hunted with his son-in-law. He was employed by the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service as a stream guard. He was a talented musician and singer and an excellent dancer. He kept everyone entertained with stories of his adventures and escapades around the world. He enjoyed the outdoors, wildlife and being in Alaska. He and Marguerite filled in the area around their house on West Ninth Street and planted trees, shrubs, berry bushes and flowers. The area where the house and garden were is now the outside lane just before the intersection on Egan Drive and Tenth Street.
When Charles had tried to enlist in the Army at the beginning of WWII, it was discovered that he only had one lung due to malaria which he had contracted during the Haitian campaign. This led to his early retirement and demise at the age of 63. He was a member of many unions and a member of the Moose Lodge. He is buried in the Catholic section of the Evergreen Cemetery among his old friends and neighbors.
MARGUERITE KREMER DOUCETTE
Marguerite Kremer Doucette was born January 1, 1909 to John and Katherine Kremer in Bettendorf, Luxembourg. (Luxembourg is a 999 square mile Grand Duchy governed by either a Duke or Duchess. It is located at the corner intersection of France, Belgium and German). Marguerite was the eldest of six girls and two boys. Her parents had their own home and farm. Each child was expected to work on the farm, help in the house and care for the younger children. She attended a two-room school house (one side for girls, the other for boys) where they learned French and German as well as the basic subjects. The girls were also taught the many types of knitting, crocheting, tatting and sewing. Graduating from the eighth grade (equivalent of American high school) she began domestic service in a neighboring town as housekeeper and governess to a Belgian general’s family. If she missed the train at night after work, she would walk the miles to home along the railroad tracks because she did not like being away from home, mother and siblings. After two years in service, the general was transferred and Marguerite traveled with them to Belgium and then to Paris. After a brief time, she and a cousin were employed by the American Ambassador to France, James C. Dunn. (Mrs. Dunn was the oldest daughter of the Armour family of the Armour Meat Packing Co.) It was while in France, that Marguerite was trained as a Cordon Bleu chef. The domestic staff traveled with the ambassador’s family to Europe as well as the United States. It was while employed at the American Embassy that she met Charles Doucette. After a time in the U.S., Charles and Marguerite were married in Ellsworth, New Hampshire, August 13, 1928.
Charles continued to travel with the ambassador’s family and Marguerite remained in the United States. Their daughter Jeannette was born in Washington D.C. January 3, 1931. Charles and Marguerite then were employed by the Jewett Shoese family. Mr. Shoese was a lobbyist and Mrs. Shoese was the daughter and later inherited the Feline and Marshall Field Department Stores. Here they met Ernest and Dorothy Gruening. Ernest Gruening was then editor of a New Hampshire paper and looking for domestics. Charles and Marguerite were employed by the Gruenings until they moved to New York. They then were employed by the Goodwin family of Boston. They were then recommended to the Francis Cummings family at Prides Crossing, Massachusetts.
The Depression over, Marguerite decided to take her daughter to Europe to meet her grandparents. In May 1939, they sailed on the Laconia to Liverpool, England where they boarded the night train to Belgium and then on to Luxembourg. While in Luxembourg, WWII began with the invasion of Poland. Luxembourg was a neutral country. American passports were no longer valid for travel in several countries as the citizen’s safety could not be assured. After six months of correspondence with the American Embassy in Luxembourg and through intercession of the legislature of Massachusetts, several prominent statesmen such as Cordell Hull and lobbyist Jewett Shoese, and over the objections of the ambassador, they were given clearance to change their ship tickets from return on the Queen Mary in Liverpool to the Count de Savoy at Naples, Italy. They traveled from Luxembourg, Switzerland, Belgium, France and finally to Italy. After two weeks in Italy, they were allowed to board the Count de Savoy, the last ship to leave Italy for America. All the passengers aboard were family members of government personnel, wives and children. There were three male passengers other than crew; a boxer, his manager and his doctor. They arrived in New York on Christmas Eve, 1939.
At this time, Ernest Gruening was appointed Governor of Alaska and Dorothy Gruening was looking for staff at the Governor’s Mansion. Marguerite and family arrived in Juneau on May 26, 1941, for one year employment and remained. Marguerite maintained and supervised the running of the Mansion until 1966. She was known for her culinary cooking and hospitality during the terms of Governors Gruening, Stepovich, Heintzleman, Hendrickson, Egan, and Hickel.
She was remembered by many prominent celebrities who entertained the service men during the war years and visited the Mansion—Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Berggen, Ingrid Bergen, and Edna Ferber are among a few. Marguerite was the basis for Edna Ferber’s French cook in her book “Ice Palace” and was lauded in Ernest Gruening’s book “Many Challenges.” Many foreign dignitaries also complimented her on her expert culinary art and her ability to speak their language fluently. She also was called upon to translate at times of emergency. One time a crew man from a tour ship needed to have a tooth pulled and no one could speak either French or German. She translated for the doctor and held the man’s hand until the operation was completed and he was returned to the ship. Many a delivery person remembered that there was always a tray of cookies on the table when they made their rounds. Many Juneau boys were employed at the Mansion to do odd jobs and also enjoyed the cookies, cakes, and pies.
Marguerite is remembered for her Sarah Coventry at-home parties, and as an Avon sales lady. She was an active member and officer in many organizations; Women of the Moose, Better Business Professional Women, Perseverance Rebekah Lodge, Catholic Daughters of America and Pioneers Auxiliary #6.
She traveled to Europe to visit her family every two years and entertained her visiting sisters at her home in Juneau several times. She was employed by the Department of Revenue until her retirement in 1973. She moved to the Pioneers Home in 1998, and celebrated her 90th birthday on January 1, 1999.
JEANNETTE DOUCETTE McLEOD
Jeannette Maria Anna Doucette McLeod was born January 3, 1931, at the Roosevelt Hospital in Washington, D.C. She was the only child of Charles T. and Marguerite K. Doucette. She lived in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Her parents were employed at the time by the Jewett Shoese family who had homes in each area as well as being the owners of what is now an art center, Wolf Trap Farm. At that time, it was a working farm and well known for its race horses. Later, the family moved to Massachusetts and traveled in the northern states. In May 1939, Jeannette and her mother traveled to Europe to visit her grandparents and were detained due to the outbreak of WWII. Jeannette attended first, second, third and fourth grades while in a two-room school (one side for girls and the other for boys - no mixing at recess.) She had to attend all four grades as she was learning the local language of Luxembourg and the third and fourth grades were taught in French and German. The upper classes were taught English. On Fridays, Jeannette would read from American authors and answer questions about English grammar, language and proper pronunciation. After a six month delay, Jeannette and her mother were permitted to leave and obtained passage on the last ship leaving Italy before war was declared by Italy. Seeing that all but three of the passengers were women and children being evacuated from various European countries and the stormy time of year, everyone was seasick. The children recovered first and had a marvelous time and probably drove the crew wild!
After returning to Massachusetts, her family was hired to work for Governor Gruening in Alaska. They took three weeks to drive across the United States bringing the governor’s new car with Alaska “1” plates. They sailed from Seattle aboard the Denali stopping at all ports to unload cargo, as it was the beginning of the fishing season.
They arrived in Juneau in May 1941, and lived in the third floor servants quarters at the Governor’s Mansion until Charles and Marguerite bought a house on Ninth Street. Jeannette attended St. Ann’s School and the Catholic Church of the Nativity. She graduated from Juneau High School in 1949.
Jeannette married Charles E. McLeod Sr. in June 1949. They fished a 38-foot troller for five years and purchased a larger vessel Andrea. Jeannette was employed in 1950, by the Fish and Wildlife Service and then by other Federal Agencies in various locations around Juneau. She was with NOAA Commercial Fisheries, one of the first agencies to move into the Federal Building in 1965. She retired in 1988, from the Department of Energy when the agencies were being moved out for the remodel of the building. She also was employed for one year by the State of Alaska.
Jeannette has two children and five grandchildren. She is an active member and officer of Emblem Club, Business and Professional Women, Salvation Army, the Hospital Guild and Pioneers Auxiliary #6. She has been a salesperson for Avon, Stanly, Amway, Fuller and Watkins.
CHARLES ERNEST McLEOD SR.
Charles Ernest McLeod was born in Glasgow, Scotland, September 19, 1925, to Charles E. (Schultz) McLeod and Mary (Molly) Hartley. His father was at that time a lighthouse keeper in the Lighthouse Service. His mother had been a clerk in a tobacco shop before her marriage. Charles’ father returned to Alaska in 1925. In May, 1926, nine months after his birth, Charles and his mother traveled by steamship to Canada, crossing by train to Vancouver and by steamship to Ketchikan. They then took a small boat to Point Retreat Lighthouse where his father was stationed at the time. The family lived at Point Retreat Lighthouse until his father’s death in 1929.
The family moved to Juneau where his mother married Edward Maki, a miner and later fisherman in 1930. The family then moved to Chichagoff Mining camp in 1932, and then back to Juneau, relocating to Fish Creek at the north end of Douglas Island. Charles, his family and other families living in the area built their own school house and attended school there until 1940, as at that time there was not a road to this community. Access was by hiking the trail and crossing the bar of Gastineau Channel at mean low tide or by boat around Douglas Island and then up the channel. Charles was employed as a fisherman by his stepfather. In the off season, he was known for his merchandising of fresh clams, fish and kippered salmon.
Charles was employed at a young age by the AJ Mine. Later he was employed by CCC to build and maintain trails and paths in the Juneau-Douglas area, particularly the Thane to Point Bishop area where they had uncovered several burial grounds. He also towed log rafts for the logging companies and local sawmills. As there was not a local ice packing company, Charles would tow in small icebergs to the local bars and restaurants for their refrigeration and ice for cold drinks. He also was a construction pile buck and boat hand on mail boats for J.V. Cole, John Willis and Dave Rieschl. He worked the herring pot at Indian Cove for many years.
In 1949, he married Jeannette Doucette. They had two children, Charlene McLeod Stanley and Charles E. McLeod Jr., both born and raised in Juneau. He then fished for salmon and halibut for 15 years. He was hired during off fishing season by the Pilots Association to transport pilots to vessels entering the inside waters, in all types of weather, year around. He was a relief captain for the Fish and Wildlife Vessels Department for two years and then a permanent captain transferring from one vessel to another as needed. He ran all of the Fish and Game boats from 1966 until his retirement 19 years later. He was known for his expert handling of all vessels in all weather. He traveled an area from Seattle to the Bering Sea. He participated in the Aleutian Sea Otter harvest and was lauded by the Sea Otter workers for developing a more advanced skinning process. He was noted for his rescue efforts and saving of many lives on the water when running his own fishing vessels and while employed by Fish and Wildlife. Charles was an avid hunter and fisherman. He kept the freezer stocked with deer, goat, rabbit, ptarmigan, grouse, salmon, halibut and much more. He enjoyed all aspects of the outdoors. He also enjoyed entertaining his friends with stories of his adventures.
CHARLES E. McLEOD JR.
Charles E. McLeod Jr. was born at St. Ann’s Hospital September 28, 1952, the son of Charles E. McLeod Sr. and Jeannette Doucette McLeod. His maternal grandparents were Charles T. Doucette and Marguerite Kremer Doucette. His paternal grandparents were Charles E. (Schultz) McLeod and Mary (Molly) Anderson Hartley McLeod Maki. Charles attended St. Ann’s Parochial School and Harborview Elementary. He attended Juneau-Douglas High School. After school he was employed by Kenny Thibodeau at Thibodeau’s Market and then by West Coast Grocery Wholesale where he made deliveries by helicopter to Snettisham Dam facilities and more conventional deliveries to other stores and to the Lemon Creek Jail kitchen.
He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served aboard the USS America in the Mediterranean and traveled throughout Europe during his tour and was able to visit his Grandmother Doucette’s family in Luxembourg. Upon discharge from the Navy, he lived in Pennsylvania for four years and traveled through the southern and eastern parts of the U.S. He drove cross country and down the Alaskan Highway to Juneau several times. He returned to Juneau and was employed by the State Department of Transportation and served aboard several of the ferries including the LeConte and Aurora.
In 1981, he married Maryann Calgaliano from Pennsylvania. They lived in Juneau for eight years until they were divorced. Charles then moved to Thorne Bay, Prince of Wales Island and continued working for DOT. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and cars. He was an independent salesman for home products and enjoyed hobbies as well as hunting and fishing.
CHARLENE ANN McLEOD STANLEY
Charlene Ann McLeod Stanley was born at St. Ann’s Hospital July 6, 1951, to Charles E. McLeod Sr. and Jeannette Doucette McLeod. She is the granddaughter of Charles T. Doucette and Marguerite Kremer Doucette on the maternal side of the family and Charles E. (Schultz) McLeod and Mary (Molly) Anderson Hartley McLeod Maki on the paternal side. She attended St. Ann’s Parochial School and Juneau Elementary School. She graduated from Juneau- Douglas High School in May 1969. During her high school years she was employed at the City Clerk’s office and 20th Century Gross Theater.
She attended beautician-cosmetology school in Klamath Falls, Oregon, received her certification and returned to Juneau to practice in a local shop.
She was a long distance operator for RCA and later Alascom. She was noted for her ability to handle crisis and emergency calls calmly and to give proper assistance.
On December 31, 1973, she married Daniel C. Stanley of Sitka. She has two daughters, Coriann and Jennifer Stanley. She has been employed by the State of Alaska in various positions in several departments. She has lived in the Juneau area all of her life and is a third generation Juneauite.