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The Naming of Alaska

Explorers: "D"


These biographies are from Marcus Baker's monumental Geographic Dictionary of Alaska, published in 1902 by the United States Geological Survey. It detailed the origin of thousands of geographical place names in the Territory of Alaska, and provided brief biographies of about 120 of the people who had given the names described.
Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I-J | K | L | M | N | P | R | S | T | V | W | Z

Dall, 1865-1895

    Dr. William Healey Dall first went to Alaska in 1865, in the employment of the Western Union Telegraph Company, and from that beginning has become one of the foremost students, explorers, writers, and authorities on Alaskan matters. His book Alaska and Its Resources, published in 1870, remains to this day the most useful handy reference book on Alaska. He came back to San Francisco in the autumn of 1865, returned to Alaska in the spring of 1866, and remained in the Yukon country till 1868, when he came back and published Alaska and Its Resources. In 1871 he entered the Coast Survey and from August, 1871, to the end of 1874 was engaged in reconnaissance surveys along the coast from Sitka westward to the end of the Aleutian chain and northward in Bering sea as far as Nunivak and the Pribilof islands. With him, as assistant, in 1871-72 was Mark Walrod Harrington. Dall returned to Washington at the end of 1874 and was employed in the Coast Survey Office on Alaskan matters from 1875 to 1880; in this interval was written the Alaska Coast Pilot and its Appendix. The present writer was associated with him in this and other Alaskan Work as an assistant from March, 1873, till July, 1882. In 1880 another season of Alaska field work was had, the cruise extending along the coast from Sitka to Unalaska and northward nearly to Point Barrow. The principal sources of geographic information as to all this is a series of some fifty charts and plans issued by the Coast Survey and the Alaska Coast Pilot with its Appendix.
    In 1884 Mr. Dall resigned from the Coast Survey and entered the Geological Survey, with which organization he has been connected ever since. In the summer of 1895 in company with Mr. G. F. Becker he revisited Alaska for the purpose of studying and reporting on its coal resources. The cruise made was coastwise from Sitka to Unalaska. The results are published in the Seventeenth Annual Report of the United States Geological Survey, 1896, Part I, pp. 763-908.


Davidson, 1867-1869

    George Davidson, assistant in the Coast Survey, accompanied by Alonzo Tyler Mosman, G. Farquhar, and Stehman Forney, made a cruise in the waters of Russian America just prior to its purchase and change of name to Alaska in 1867. They sailed on the revenue cutter Lincoln, from Victoria on July 29 and returned there October 27, 1867, having visited and made observations at Sitka, Chilkat, Kodiak, and Unalaska. Davidson wrote a voluminous report on this work, including a description of the southeast coast of Alaska from Dixon entrance to Cook inlet. This report was published in Coast Survey Report, 1867, Appendix 18, pp. 187-329. This description was afterwards revised and published by the Coast Survey under the title Coast Pilot of Alaska (First Part) from Southern Boundary to Cook's Inlet.
    Charts were made of Sitka, of St. Paul harbor, Kadiak, and of Cap- tains bay, Unalaska, and published by the Coast Survey. These are in a small atlas issued by the Coast Survey in 1869 and entitled Harbor Charts of Alaska. Davidson visited Alaska again in 1869 and observed the total solar eclipse of August 7 of that year at Kohklux on the Chilkat river. On his journey thither and back he did a little reconnaissance surveying in Alexander archipelago. For an account of this see Coast Survey Report, 1869, pp. 177-181.


Davidson and Blakeslee, 1900

    Messrs. J. M. Davidson and B. D. Blakeslee, civil engineers and United States deputy surveyors, issued in 1900 a map of the Nome gold region containing many names not previously published, most of them doubtless given by the prospectors. This map is folded and in a cover bearing the title Map of the Nome Peninsula showing new Gold Fields of Cape Nome, Golovin Bay and Cape York, Alaska. Compiled from Actual Surveys and Explorations on the Ground by J. M. Davidson and B. D. Blakeslee, Civil Engineers and United States Deputy Surveyors, Nome, Alaska, 1900. The map, which is colored, was printed by the Mutual Label and Lithographic Company of San Francisco, Cal.


Dease and Simpson, 1837

    Peter Warren Dease and Thomas Simpson, factors of the Hudson Bay Company. in the summer of 1837 made an exploring journey along the Arctic coast from the mouth of the Mackenzie river to Point Barrow. Prior to their journey the coast line from Return reef to Point Barrow was a blank on the maps. They left the Mackenzie mouth on July 9 in two open boats and arrived at Point Barrow on August 4, the last part of the journey being overland. For an account of their work see Simpson (Thomas), Narrative of Discoveries on the North Coast of America, 8°, London, 1843; also Journal Royal Geog. Soc., 8°, London, 1838, Vol. VIII, pp. 213-225.


Dixon, 1785-1788

    Capt. George Dixon, commanding the ship Queen Charlotte, made a trading voyage from England to northwest America and round the world in 1785-1788 in company with Portlock. (See Portlock.) Dixon published an account of this voyage entitled A Voyage Round the World, etc. 4°, London, 1789.


Doroshin, 1849

    Peter P. Doroshin, a mining engineer, was sent out from Russia in 1847 by the Russian American Company to their American possessions with Captain Riedell in the ship Atka, to examine and report on the gold resources of the colony. He visited Baranof island and Cook inlet and examined these places, and also visited California. His results were published in the Russian Mining Journal for 1866, No. 1 (Part V), p. 136; No. 2 (Part VI), pp. 277-282; also No. 3 (Part 111), pp. 365-401. The last contains descriptions of Prince William sound and Copper river.


Douglas, 1788-1789. See Meares