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Harry Turner, Part 1
Harry Turner

Harry Turner was interviewed on May 14, 2003 by his niece, Debbie Turner, and Karen Brewster at his home in Holy Cross, Alaska. Harry and Debbie sat talking on the large couch in the living room in front of the picture window with a view of the village and river below. Harry's wife, Lucy, sat at the kitchen table in the next room, carefully listening to the stories and memories Harry retold. In this first part of a two part interview, Harry talks about his childhood memories of living in a mining town, going to school, holiday celebrations, and traveling by dogteam and steamship. He discusses his work history and military service in the Aleutian Islands, tells the story of how he and Lucy met and were married, and describes his years of running the Turner Store in Holy Cross. At the time of the interview, Harry had not been feeling well so was not of full strength, but agreed to tell his stories anyway.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2002-10-07_PT.1

Project: Holy Cross Community Project
Date of Interview: May 14, 2003
Narrator(s): Harry Turner
Interviewer(s): Debbie Turner, Karen Brewster
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
Holy Cross Tribal Council
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.

After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.


1) His personal and family background and his first airplane ride.

2) His father's stores in Flat and Anvik, and his childhood memory of a steamboat that brought tourists and supplies.

3) Schooling in Flat, his first job in his father's store at the age of 15 years old and other summer work he did with mining companies.

4) First trip to Anchorage and different jobs he held there.

5) Joining the Army Corps of Engineers at the age of 21 and being stationed on the Aleutian Islands.

6) Returning home from the war and a fall moose hunting trip.

7) His marriage, the potlatch after the wedding, and he tells a trapping story.

8) His first trapping trip after his marriage.

9) Flying into Paimiut after trapping, and a cold spell during Christmas.

10) Trapping for beaver, the fire that burned his trapping camp, and eating frozen raw fish and moose.

11) Managing stores in various villages and his family life.

12) Becoming business partner with his father at his store, and his father getting sick.

13) He and his brother taking over their father's stores.

14) His father's family background.

15) Bank loans for managing stores in villages, and building a new store.

16) Remembering when President Kennedy was shot, trying commercial fishing and selling salmon strips through the store, and selling the store.

17) Various jobs he worked in his lifetime.

18) His children and grandchildren and what they are doing.

19) Closing of his store.

20) Moose hunting and store chores.

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


Section 1: birthday\ Shageluk\ father -- Turner, George\ mother -- Dutchman, Elia\ maiden name\ mother -- death\ Flat\ spring\ teacher -- Washington\ sister -- Turner, Connie\ sister -- Turner, Irene\ Anvik Mission\ Turner, Frank\ Turner, Pete\ memory\ airplane -- first ride\ church\ flights -- no scheduled\ Iditarod|

Section 2: Flat -- teachers\ Ebrights -- teachers\ Shageluk\ Shageluk -- father's store\ Flat\ school -- left\ spring\ 5th grade\ mother -- death\ Turner, Frank\ river -- break up\ boat\ Richardson, Alex\ father -- store partner\ Ghost Creek\ Flat -- father's store\ father\ travel dog team\ summer\ camp\ fall\ mining camp\ father's store -- Turner and Richardson\ Anvik -- store\ store -- Turner and Lawrence\ Lawrence, Harry\ Holikachuk -- store\ store -- Turner and Wood\ Wood, Ira\ boat -- Nancy Bell\ barge\ Iditarod\ steamboat -- St. Joseph\ tourism\ memory\ oranges\ apples\ salesman\ Seattle\ Tacoma\ blueberries -- sale\ blueberries -- price\ water -- hauling\ money -- earned|

Section 3: education\ school\ Flat\ 8th grade\ work\ father's store\ freight -- hauling\ work -- pay\ driving\ Iditarod\ summer\ boat\ supplies\ dog\ fish\ lumber\ groceries\ Seattle\ Tacoma\ father -- left for Seattle\ payment -- car\ summer -- work\ Alaska Road Commission\ truck -- driving\ car -- wrecked\ father\ work -- mining camp\ job -- wages\ tractor\ miners -- Russian\ Fairbanks\ ACR\ drive -- learning to\ father -- mining company\ gold\ work -- cat operator\ Newman, Maurice\ work -- end\ WWII\ wireless station -- guard|

Section 4: Anchorage -- first time\ airplane -- charter\ Flat\ McGrath\ flight -- overnight\ flight -- price\ job\ CAA\ FAA\ job -- building airports\ Farewell Field\ freight -- oil\ freight -- housing material\ logging\ Turner, Frank\ work -- hard\ log cabin\ airplane -- DC-3\ car -- repair|

Section 5: Anchorage\ Army\ Eagle River -- basic camp\ Army Corps of Engineers\ Whittier\ transfer\ Aleutian Islands\ memory -- breakfast on the ship\ Million Dollar Hill\ hunger\ sponge bath\ Attu Island\ burial\ Japanese soldiers\ service -- length of\ Holy Cross\ home|

Section 6: priest -- Father McIntyre\ Flat\ father\ store\ Holy Cross\ Shepard family\ Mountain Village\ Peters, George\ house\ father's store -- Holy Cross\ store -- location\ army -- out of\ Flat\ work -- mining camp\ fall -- flew home\ airplane -- Alaska Airlines\ father -- Lucy's\ Paimiut\ hunting -- moose\ wife -- Lena\ girls\ dance\ singing\ music\ brother -- Lucy's (Alec)\ violin\ Demientieff, Gerald\ breakfast\ pancakes -- sourdough\ Paimiut Slough\ moose -- shot|

Section 7: Paimiut\ hunting -- return from\ marriage -- father's permission\ marriage -- proposal\ storm\ waves\ boat -- gas\ Newman, Maurice\ boat -- engine trouble\ arrival\ priest -- Father Spills\ marriage -- waiting\ marriage -- paper work\ wedding\ witnesses\ Demientieff, Gerald\ ?, Marie (Lucy's sister)\ father\ dinner\ Newman, Willie\ potlatch\ food\ gifts\ parka -- seal skin\ parka -- rabbit fur\ Flat\ Hatten, Frankie\ Bulkay, Johnny\ Whitlie, Walter\ house -- nice|

Section 8: house -- nice\ store\ wood -- purchase\ wood -- price of\ Demientieff, Gerald\ Flat\ trapping -- marten\ brother -- Turner, Fred\ Demientieff, Rudy\ dog team\ snow -- deep\ food\ cabin\ snowshoes\ trail -- breaking\ sled -- pulling\ hunger\ Camel Back Hill\ trip -- length of\ dream -- smell food\ food -- ham\ fish -- for dogs\ food -- left behind\ dog team -- encounter on trail\ newlyweds\ cabin\ food -- meat\ wood -- cut\ cabin -- leave prepared\ airplane -- mail\ McGrath\ Paimiut\ wife\ pilot\ lodge\ house -- Anthony, John\ Demientieff, Evan\ accommodations -- cost of\ Winchell, Oscar\ flight -- cost of|

Section 9: Paimiut\ arrival\ airplane -- meet\ wife\ cold spell\ wood -- cutting\ house -- father's\ stoves -- number of\ family -- large\ Christmas\ travel -- not able to\ stuck\ Bethel\ airplane\ home|

Section 10: wife's brother -- Alec\ trapping -- beaver\ boots -- mukluk\ grandmother-in-law\ rain\ mountain\ smoke\ boots -- shoe-pac\ camp\ creek\ fire\ tent\ tent -- burned\ gear -- loss of\ sleeping bag\ travel -- home\ travel -- too dark\ camp -- overnight\ tundra\ hunting -- ptarmigan\ hunger\ food -- sharing\ Pike Lake\ fishing -- pike\ food\ pike -- raw intestines\ Paimiut Slough\ Paimiut\ cache\ meat -- moose\ meat -- raw\ whitefish -- frozen|

Section 11: Flat\ work -- mining camp\ summer\ Kalskag\ store -- managed\ son -- Turner, George\ son -- Turner, Billy\ Paimiut -- house\ baby\ aunt -- ?, Margaret\ ?, Lena\ grandmother -- Lucy's\ Turner, Mary\ Kalskag -- went back to\ dog team\ father -- closed store\ boom town|

Section 12: work -- father's store\ wages\ Turner, Frank\ store -- partner\ store -- name change\ store -- Turner and Sons\ house -- built\ father -- illness\ Mission -- doctor\ cancer\ Seattle\ father -- sent away\ father -- health care\ Portland\ Catholic hospital\ sisters\ brother-in-laws -- Bernard, Alan, Jerry\ priest -- knew\ Holy Cross\ mail delivery\ prayer\ father -- not Catholic\ priest -- last rites\ priest -- green car\ Superior -- mean\ priest -- visitation\ father -- happy\ wine|

Section 13: store -- management\ Shageluk\ Turner, Frank\ store -- partner\ business -- liked\ work\ busy\ supplies -- haul\ warehouse|

Section 14: father -- background\ London, England\ Alaska -- arrival\ arrival -- age\ brother -- Bill\ brother -- Paul\ Prince Rupert, Canada\ ship\ walk\ Whitehorse\ Dawson\ boat -- poleing\ Fairbanks\ Yukon River -- mouth of \ work -- steamboat\ summer\ boat -- landing\ warehouse\ Turner, Frank\ job -- PHS\ job -- school\ Kwethluk|

Section 15: money -- shortage\ Bethel\ bank -- loan\ loan -- refused\ Kwethluk\ Turner, Frank\ business -- get out of\ airplane\ mining equipment\ Flat\ Shageluk\ Holikatchuk\ business -- settlement\ deal -- handshake\ bank loan -- approved\ grocery -- order\ Tacoma\ loan -- payment\ store -- new\ money -- lost\ store -- construction\ basement -- cement\ construction -- cost\ Nenana\ logs\ saw mill\ Holikachuk\ materials -- hauling\ barge\ Yukon\ Grayling\ Anvik\ construction -- crew|

Section 16: lake -- work\ Wien Airline\ Turner, Frank\ radio\ John F. Kennedy -- assassination\ church service\ store -- closure\ store operation -- 17 years\ fishing\ summer\ fishing -- income\ fishing -- commercial \ fish -- processing\ processing -- license\ fish -- salmon strips\ salmon -- selling\ Bethel\ Swanson's Store\ fish -- king salmon\ store -- sold\ Johnson, Jim\ ANICA -- bought store\ Seattle\ bookkeeper\ scale\ father\ safe\ Paimiut\ Turner, Fred\ safe -- took from store\ safe -- gave to oil company\ safe -- opening\ warehouse|

Section 17: job\ PHS -- water and sewer\ work -- winter\ water house\ wages\ fishing -- commercial\ fishing -- income\ work -- hard\ salmon -- cutting|

Section 18: children -- number of\ son -- oldest\ Turner, George\ Turner, Joe\ son -- death\ Turner, Bill\ boys -- number of\ girls -- number of\ Bethel\ Unalakleet\ ATC Airlines\ pilot\ Army\ Korea\ Wien Airlines\ cargo\ Turner, George Jr.\ Frontier Airlines\ grandchildren -- number of\ great-grandchildren -- number of\ airplane -- buzzed\ Turner, Ronnie\ Turner, Ray\ Aniak\ Turner, George Jr. -- job|

Section 19: store -- closure\ store -- new owners\ store -- not last\ groceries\ store -- Johnson\ store -- amount of business|

Section 20: hunting -- moose\ moose -- finding\ Gregory, Ignacious\ lake\ shooting\ moose -- killed\ moose -- butchering\ meat -- hauling\ warehouse\ work -- hard\ boat\ meat -- give away\ meat -- not wanted\ laziness\ rifle\ shells\ axe\ bear\ shells -- wrong kind\ meat -- gone\ wolf\ brown bear\ wolverine\ camp\ hunting -- extra days\ father -- angry\ store -- work\ basement\ groceries -- storage\ groceries -- hauled\ milk\ coffee\ flour\ sugar\ groceries -- amount of\ potatoes\ oranges\ apples\ groceries -- delivery|