A while back, WC posted an experimental test using WordPress’s polling feature. There was a lot more enthusiasm for finding a nickname for the Quitter than there was for taking a pop quiz, even one relating to WC’s borrowed namesake, the late Judge James Wickersham.
But WC has finally gotten around to writing up the results.
In what year did the first recorded attempt to climb Denali occur?
The first recorded attempt to climb Denali (f/k/a Mt. McKinley) occurred in 1903, under the leadership of Judge James Wickersham. They attempted the north face – now known as the Wickersham Wall – but only made it to about 8,000 feet. The attempt is recounted in his excerpted diary, Old Yukon (Amazon link).
Who was Alaska’s first non-voting delegate to Congress?
Much better results on this one. Wickersham was indeed the first non-voting delegate to the U.S. Congress from Alaska. Howard Pollock was the first voting representative from Alaska; Alexander Baranof was the last Russian governor.
When did Alaska first become a territory?
This one was a bit tricky. Alaska was purchased in 1867, but no one was certain what to do with it so it was made a department of the U.S. Army. It wasn’t made a territory until 1912, and a state in 1959. In 1906, the capital was moved from Sitka to Juneau. WC asked tricky questions when he was a business law professor, too.
WC is afraid that most of you failed. But Alaska history is obscure even to Alaskans. Wickersham, for all his accomplishments, is nearly forgotten. Except around here.
Thanks to all who participated.