Bill and Lill Fickus


Go to Tape 1, 3, 4, 5

Dan O'Neill and Steve Ulvi collaborated in interviewing Bill and Lill Fickus at their home on Crevice Creek, John Rivers, about 40 miles north of Bettles, Alaska on September 26, 1994. Dan was a research associate at the Oral History Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and conducted some of the interviews funded by the National Park Service in the Yukon-Charley Rivers Preserve areas. Steve was a subsistence specialist at Gates of the Arctic National Park. The interview with the Fickuses was funded by the National Park Service as part of a project documenting the lives of people living and working in or near Gates of the Arctic. Dan and Steve conducted the interview around the kitchen table with the Fickuses for several hours, ate dinner, spent the night, then resumed the interview after breakfast for a few more hours. The time of year had been selected as a time when there were few pressing chores such as garden harvesting and hunting. Bill Fickus passed away on October 17, 2007.

Click on a section below to hear audio.

Bill and Lill Fickus talk to Dan O'Neill and Steve Ulvi about...

1) ...when the Fickus' began living at Crevice Creek year round continued.

Barkly, Pat\ Barkly, Emily\ Barkly, Pat--heart attack\ Fickus'--help out the Barkly's\ mining claims\ Fairbanks\ mail\ Bettles|

2) ...Crevice Creek claims.

cabins\ Crevice Creek\ McCanick Creek\ Midus Creek\ Sixtymile Creek\ Nome\ tent frames\ claims\ Curtis Creek\ nugget gold\ prospecting\ Morris, Ryan\ Elliott, Tim\ dredging\ bedrock|

3) ...Bill's involvement in mining.

Fickus, Bill\ road--repair\ mining\ shovel\ ground sluicing\ Crevice Creek--not a winter mining creek\ marriage\ mining--1994 first year not doing it\ Fickus, Debbie|

4) ...schooling at Crevice Creek.

correspondence school\ Fickus, Debbie--help out younger kids\ Fickus, Matt\ reading\ Fickus'--take turn teaching\ mail\ teacher--flew in\ tests--Juneau sent to\ Fickus, Linda\ Fickus, Debbie--8th grade graduation\ Bettles\ Fickus, Bill--airport maintenance\ Holly, Tom\ Fairbanks--high school\ Brice, Al\ apartment living\ summer--spent at Crevice Creek\ Fickus, Debbie--paralegal secretary\ Fickus, Tim--shot\ bunkhouse\ Fickus, Bill and Matt--getting supplies\ Fairbanks--flew to\ hospital\ Casey\ Grizzly Adams\ Dillion, John\ Fickus, Tim--recovery\ horse--stepped on Tim|

5) ...guiding with horses.

hay\ hay--30 acres\ wheat\ barley\ oats\ harvest\ tracker\ hay--mow\ chap--getting it out\ horses--7 to 9\ wheat--not imported\ wheat--cut once a year|

6) ...the involvement the girls had in beauty pageants and the challenges of raising children in the bush.

Fickus, Debbie--Miss Alaska\ Fickus, Linda--Miss Teen Alaska\ Miss USA Pageant\ Miss Anchorage\ Miss Southcentral\ Miss North Pole\ girls--honor their state\ Crevice Creek\ Fickus, Lill--proud of kids\ time zones\ Fickus, Matt--pilot\ Fickus, Matt--flying\ Fickus, Tim--not a pilot\ Fickus, Bill--doesn't have a drivers license anymore\ Fickus, Lill--giving birth\ Fickus, Bill--never been in hospital\ Fickus, Lill--no washing machine\ washing clothes\ cloth diapers\ clothes--sewing\ Fickus, Lill--beadwork|

7) ...why the Fickus' never left Crevice Creek and how they get food.

mining\ Crevice Creek--like it there\ children--grown up in bush\ Fickus, Lill--friends in Fairbanks\ Scranton, Pennslyvania\ horses\ Fickus, Tim and Linda--went to Pennsylvania\ horses--one for everyone\ Fickus, Debbie--move to Fairbanks\ Fickus, Debbie--move to Anchorage\ horses--boarding\ children--no boredom\ Fickus, Debbie--read a lot\ groceries\ food--grow a lot\ garden\ potatoes\ celery\ cabbage\ Tanana Valley Fair\ Anaktuvuk Pass\ Bettles\ eggs\ chicken\ squash\ canning|

8) ...celebrations they have had at Crevice Creek.

Fickus, Bill--won't leave\ vacation--Hawaii\ Fickus, Lill--like to visit Lower 48\ grandchildren\ Fourth of July\ children--visits\ weddings\ Tay, Roger\ Musser, John\ geological crews\ lamb\ Cleanmiller, Lotta--Australian\ horses\ wolves\ moose\ horses--kick with back feet\ horses--chase grizzly bears\ grizzly bear--story\ bears--run into on horseback|

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