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The Naming of Alaska

Explorers: "W"


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

Western Union Telegraph Exploration, 1865-1867

    After the failure of the second Atlantic telegraphic cable, the Western Union Telegraph Company, believing that an ocean cable could not succeed, undertook to construct an overland telegraph to Asia and Europe via Bering strait. For this purpose preparations were made on a large scale and parties worked, explored, and built some line in British Columbia, Alaska, and Siberia in 1865 and 1866. When the third Atlantic cable proved, in 1866, to be a success the whole enterprise was abandoned and the geographic information collected by it was scattered. No satisfactory general account of this venture has been published. Several manuscript maps were made but not published. A photograph of one of these is the authority chiefly used and cited in this dictionary.


Woronkofski, 1836

    Lieutenant Woronkofski, of the pilot corps, by direction of the Russian American Company, surveyed in 1836 the southern shore of Alaska peninsula from the vicinity of Chignik bay, where Vasilief's work ended in 1832, westward to Unimak pass, connecting with Staniukovich's survey of the north shore in 1828. He sailed from Sitka on this errand on March 6, 1836, in command of the company's transport Kadiak. The survey was carried on in bidarkas and his assistants were Aleuts. He returned to Sitka on August 30. Baer and Helmersen speak in high praise of this work in the brief account given of it in their Beiträge zur Kentniss des Russischen Reiches, 8°, St. Petersburg, 1839, Vol. I, pp. 323-325. He also surveyed about Unga and Popof islands in the Shumagins in 1837. See Russian Hydrographic chart 1379 for his map.


Wosnesenski, 1842-43

    Ilia G. Wosnesenski was sent in 1839 to Alaska, by and at the cost of the Imperial Academy of Sciences of St. Petersburg, to make collections. He sailed with Etolin, who was succeeded in command by Kadnikof, on the Russian American Company's ship Nikolai, from Cronstadt on August l9, 1839, and reached Sitka on May l, 1840. In 1840-41 he was on the coast of lower and upper California, in 1842-43 in the Aleutian islands, in Bering sea and Kotzebue sound, in 1844 in the Kurile islands, and in 1845-1848 about the Okhotsk sea and in Kamchatka. He returned to Sitka at the end of July, 1849, and sailed thence for St. Petersburg with Captain Riedell on the ship Atka. Mining engineer Doroshin returned on the same voyage. (Grewingk, pp. 419-420.)