by Karl Hahn
John Fraser (Jack) Pugh was born in Port Townsend, Jefferson County, Washington, on December 25, 1877, to John E. and Cassie Grant Pugh. He spent his early boyhood days in Port Townsend and graduated from Willamette University at Salem, Oregon.
John Pugh married Venetia Lauretta Fehr in Oakland, California, on December 20, 1900, and they moved to Skagway. Venetia arrived in Skagway on March 18, 1900, on the steamer Seattle, having stayed in Port Townsend for three months due to the shortage of housing in Skagway. Mr. Pugh was appointed to the U.S. Customs Service in June, 1902, and was then stationed at Ketchikan. Their daughter, Venetia Elizabeth, was born at the Customs’ House there in 1904.
After a promotion, the Pughs were transferred to Skagway in 1905. In May 1908, he was placed in charge of the Port of Sulzer on Prince of Wales Island, and in 1909, he was again transferred, to the headquarters at Juneau where he was placed in charge of the navigation department. On December 2, 1913, he was appointed Collector of Customs, head of the Customs Service for the District of Alaska, by President Woodrow Wilson, and was reappointed for another four year term in 1918.
Jack Pugh lost his life at age 41, in the wreck of the Princess Sophia on October 24, 1918, his daughter’s fourteenth birthday. He was buried at Evergreen Cemetery. Three hundred fifty-three people were lost on the Sophia, over one hundred twenty-five from Dawson City.
In 1924, Mrs. Pugh married Judge T.M. Reed of Juneau. Daughter Venetia Elizabeth graduated from Juneau High in 1922, and from the University of Washington in 1927. She then began her thirty year career with the U.S. District Court. In 1935, she married Karl A. Hahn and moved to Skagway where Mr. Hahn had grown up and was employed by the White Pass and Yukon Railway as Chief Engineer. Karl’s father, V.I. Hahn had gone to Skagway in 1898, and was a surveyor during the building of the railroad. He later was the Superintendent of Rails until his retirement in 1947, when he moved to California. Karl A. and Venetia Hahn’s son Karl was born in 1939, in Juneau as Venetia’s mother lived there and felt it had a better hospital.
In 1947, the Hahn family and Venetia’s mother, Mrs. Reed, moved to Anchorage where he worked for the Alaska Railroad for over twenty years and then ten years as an engineer for the Alaska District Corps of Engineers. Venetia retired from the Clerk of Court office in 1969, and in 1987, she and Karl moved into the Pioneer Home. Karl died in 1992 at age 91, and Venetia in 1999. Their son Karl, and his wife Connie, live in Anchorage. Venetia’s mother, Mrs. Reed, died in Anchorage in November, 1967.