McCluggage, Rev. R.E. & Harriette (Jones)
by Margaret McCluggage Smith
Randolph E. McCluggage was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1905, and Harriette Jones was born in Drury, Kansas, in 1906. Their daughter Margaret was born in Nashville, Kansas, in 1936, and their son Dennis was born in Greeley, Colorado, in 1938. Daughter Mary Lynne was born in Del Norte, Colorado, in 1942, and Mary and her husband, Dr. Herbert Swick (who lived in Juneau for a time as a teenager) now live in Missoula, Montana. The McCluggage family lived in the Juneau area from 1950 to about 1958 and Dennis still lives there.
The family drove from Nancos, Colorado, to Haines over the Alaska Highway (then called the Alcan) in late August of 1950. The highway had opened to civilian travelers in 1949. We were in a 1949 Chevrolet Suburban van with a compound low gear, hauling a good sized two-wheel trailer. There were a few rough or muddy places on the highway, but the only car trouble we had was one flat tire on the trailer.
Rev. McCluggage was a Presbyterian minister who specialized in more-or-less frontier, wilderness, or sparsely settled areas. He was employed by the Board of National Missions of the Presbyterian Church to serve the Chapel-by-the-Lake. He was the congregationís organizing pastor (helped it become an ďofficialĒ Presbyterian Church) and the original log chapel was built during his ministry with a lot of work from Elwood Reddekopp and some other church members.
The McCluggage family arrived at Haines two days before the ferry was to go to Juneau on the old green Chilkat. We stayed overnight at Haines House, then a Presbyterian home for children. There we found out that the Princeton-Hall, a Presbyterian mission boat, was in Haines and was sailing for Juneau the next day. We could go to Juneau on the Princeton-Hall and the car would be sent down the following day on the ferry. We boarded the boat on a rainy and stormy Labor Day and being ďin landers,Ē thought it a very scenic and interesting trip. We were met at the Juneau dock by people from Juneau and the Chapel. They had been quite concerned about us because the weather was so stormyófive foot seas. We didnít know any better and thought it was always that way!
Rev. McCluggage was minister at Chapel-by-the-Lake when the little white chapel above the old road near the old Auke Creek Bridge by Auke Lake was still in use. Harriette was busy being Mom and ministerís wife and she sometimes was a substitute teacher at Juneau High School. In the late 1950ís, she worked at Juneau Memorial Library and became its head librarian. In the summers of 1956-58, when Margaret was a college student, she came home to Juneau to work at the Alaska Historical Library. Mary Lynne worked at ANAC clearing house. Dennis worked for Godkinís Union 76 gas station and later for many years, worked and retired from, State Highway Department in the parts section. Margaret retired after 21 years with the Cedar Rapids Public Library and her husband Paul retired after teaching physics and astronomy for 34 years at Coe College.
The Juneau area at that time had a lot less people than there are now. Original membership at Chapel-by-the-Lake was about 40 and it is now about 400. No phones out past the airport. Gravel roads beyond airport. Sometimes morning and evening bus service from town. The bus driver also delivered the newspaper by throwing it into the driveway. Dennisís dog, Kilroy, used to meet the bus and bring the paper home in his mouth, if he didnít chew it up first.
Margaret left Juneau after college graduation and wedding in 1958, and didnít get back to visit until 1990. Her parents and sister, Mary Lynne, lived in Sitka for a few years in the late 50ís and early 60ís and Dennis has been in Juneau the whole time except for a brief absence for college.
Margaret graduated from Park College in Parkville, Missouri, in 1958, and that is where she met her husband-to-be, Paul Smith. They were married at the Chapel-by-the-Lake by the Rev. Walter Soboleff on August 27, 1958. That was the day after the statehood referendum, which was the first time I ever voted. Paul was so impressed with that election to this day he remembers our anniversary as August 26! We have two daughters and two grandchildren and it is our joy to take care of them three days a week while their parents work. In Iowa since 1964, we have both been active in the Presbyterian Church, the Democratic Party and various other civic organizations. We both enjoy attending various lectures and classical music events.
Rev. McCluggage and his wife left Alaska in the early 60ís to minister to the church at Telluride, Colorado. They also lived in upstate New York and retired to New Mexico. Rev. McCluggage died in 1988, and Harriette is in an assisted living facility in Lawrence, Kansas.