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The Naming of Alaska

Explorers: "S"

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

Sarichef, 1790-1792

    Lieut. (afterwards Vice-Admiral and Hydrographer) Gavrila Andreevich Sarichef, of the Russian navy, made explorations in the Arctic in 1787, and later was an officer under Commodore Joseph Billings during the latter's explorations of Bering sea and Alaska (1790-1792). He appears to have been an excellent sailor and geographer. No satisfactory account of his life or works has been found by the writer. Sarichef published in Russian in 1802 an account of the Billings expedition, in 2 volumes, accompanied by a folio atlas of 50 sheets. This work the writer has never seen. In 1826 the Russian Hydrographic Office published a large folio atlas, comprising 33 double page sheets, of which 26 are charts and 7 are views, entitled Atlas of the Northern Part of the Pacific Ocean, Compiled in Sheets by the Imperial Navy Department from the Latest Reports and Maps, 1826, under the Direction of Vice-Admiral and Hydrographer Sarichef first. As indicated in the title, this appears to be a collection of separate sheets issued from time to time and first collected into an atlas in 1826. Sheet 3 contains corrections obtained in 1829. Several of Sarichef's surveys in 1792 appear in this atlas, notably those of the Aleutian islands, Unalaska, etc. Separate charts from this atlas are to be found in the Coast Survey Office and the Hydrographic Office in Washington.
    The only copy of this atlas known to the writer is owned by Prof. George Davidson, of San Francisco, who has most kindly placed it at the writer's disposal during the preparation of this dictionary. References to Sarichef refer mainly to this atlas.

Sauer, 1790-1792

    The publication in 1784 of Cook's explorations of northwest America made in 1778 stimulated other nations to like work. La Perouse was despatched by France in 1785; and the same year, by order of the Empress of Russia, was organized "A secret astronomical and geographical expedition for navigating the frozen sea, describing its coasts and ascertaining the situation of the islands in the seas between Asia and America." This was placed under the command of Commodore Joseph Billings, who, according to Sauer, "said he had been astronomer's assistant in Captain Cook's last voyage." Martin Sauer accompanied this expedition as its secretary and translator, and in 1802 published an account of it, entitled Account of a Geographical and Astronomical Expedition, etc., performed by Commodore Joseph Billings in 1785-1794, 4°, London, 1802.
    Leaving St. Petersburg in the autumn of 1785, the party went overland to Okhotsk and there built two vessels, the Slava Rossie (Glory of Russia) and the Dobraia Namerenia (Good Intent), which were launched in August,1789. The latter vessel was wrecked on the bar at 0khotsk, and another vessel, the Chornie Orel (Black Eagle), was built to take its place. This vessel was under the command of Captain Hall, while Billings commanded the Slava Rossie. The party wintered at Petropavlovsk and in May, 1790, sailed eastward somewhere near the Aleutian islands, saw Amchitka, landed at Unalaska, and thence continued on past Sannak and the Shumagins to Kodiak and Afognak, visiting Cook inlet and Prince William sound and then returning and wintering at Petropavlovsk. On May 19 of the following year (1791) the ships again set sail to the eastward, passed Bering island, touched at Tanaga, and went thence to Unalaska. From here they went northward in Bering sea, passed near the Pribilof islands and St. Matthew island, landed on St. Lawrence island and later at Point Rodney, Seward peninsula, and on August 3 anchored in St. Lawrence bay, Bering strait. Here Billings left the party for an overland journey in the Chukchi country, and Sarichef on August 14 set out to return to Iliuliuk, Unalaska, arriving August 28, 1791. Here Sarichef wintered (1791-1792). In May, 1792, the party left Unalaska and went back to Petropavlovsk and thence to St. Petersburg.

Schrader, 1898-1900

    Mr. Frank Charles Schrader, geologist of the United States Geological Survey, was attached to a military exploring expedition under the command of Capt. W. R. Abercrombie, known as Military Expedition No. 2, which in the summer of 1898 made explorations from Valdes northeastward to and along the Copper river. For an account of this see Twentieth Annual Report of the United States Geological Survey, Part VII, pp. 341-423.
    In 1899 Schrader, in charge of a party, made similar explorations along the Chandlar and Koyukuk rivers. His results are published in the Twenty-first Annual Report of the United States Geological Survey, Part II, pp. 441-486.
    Again in 1900, in the latter part of the summer and in the fall, Schrader, assisted bv Mr. Arthur Coe Spencer, geologist, and T. G. Gerdine and D. C. Witherspoon, topographers, investigated the geology and mineral resources of the Copper River district. The results are now in proof and will soon appear as a special publication of the United States Geological Survey.

Schwatka, 1883--1886

    Lieut. Frederick Schwatka, U. S. A., made a military reconnaissance in 1883 along the Yukon river from source to mouth on a raft. He made an official report on this military reconnaissance in Alaska, in 1883, which was printed in 1885 as Senate Ex. Doc. No. 2, Forty-eighth Congress, second session. A fuller account of the same journey, in popular form, was published by Cassel & Co., in 1885, under the title Along Alaska's Great River. This has an index. He made a second trip to Alaska in 1886 under the auspices of the Now York Times and explored in the St. Elias region. Schwatka was born on September 29, 1849, in Galena, Ill., and died in Portland, Oreg., on November 2, 1892.

Shishmaref, 1816-1821

    Capt.-Lieut. Glieb Semenovich Shishmaref accompanied Kotzebue on his voyage to Alaska and round the world in 1815-1818, and in 1817 made surveys in Kotzebue sound and on the east and south coast of St. Lawrence island.
    In 1821 he again returned to the colonies, this time in command of the ship Blagonamierennie (Good Intent), and in company with Vasilief on the Otkrietie (Discovery). Sailing from Cronstadt on July 3, 1819, and rounding Cape Horn, he arrived at Unalaska on June 4, 1820. With him went Dr. Stein and astronomer Tarkanof. Afterwards he cruised through the Aleutian islands, to Amchitka, Semisopochnoi, Gareloi, and Bogoslof. He also entered the Arctic, went as far as Icy cape, visited St. Lawrence bay, and completed in 1821 the survey of the shore line of St. Lawrence island, partially surveyed by the Kotzebue expedition in 1817. (See Grewingk, p. 413; Krusenstern Mémoires hydrographiques, Vol. II, p. 36; Journal of the Russian Hydrographic Office, 1849, Vol. VII, pp. 106-116).

Snow and Helm, 1886

    Lieut. Commander Albert S. Snow, U. S. N., relieved Lieut. Commander Richardson Clover of the command of the Coast and Geodetic Survey steamer Patterson in February, 1886, and made surveys in southeastern Alaska during the summer of 1886, beginning the season early in May in the vicinity of Wrangell, and ending it on September 15 at Port Simpson. Snow was succeeded in the command of the Patterson by Lieut. Commander Charles M. Thomas on April 30, 1887. Associated with Snow was Lieut. James M. Helm, U. S. N., in command of the McArthur. Snow and Helm surveved and charted part of Clarence strait, Sumner strait, Wrangell strait, St. John harbor, Dewey anchorage, Ratz harbor, Coffman cove, Wrangell harbor, Steamer bay, Red bay, Shakan strait, Port Protection, and Port McArthur. Charts of these places, issued by the Coast Survev, have been used in the preparation of this dictionary.

Spurr and Goodrich, 1896

    Mr. Josiah Edward Spurr, geologist of the United States Geological Survey, assisted by Messrs. Harold B. Goodrich and F. C. Schrader, in the summer of 1896 made a geologic reconnaissance from the head of Lynn canal over Chilkoot pass to the Yukon and thence down that river to St. Michael. For report on this work see Eighteenth Annual Report of the Geological Survey for 1896-97, Part III, pp. 87-392.

Spurr and Post, 1898

    Mr. Josiah Edward Spurr, geologist, accompanied by Mr. William Schuyler Post, topographer, both of the United States Geological Survey, in the summer of 1898 made a reconnaissance in southwestern Alaska. They began at the head of Cook inlet, went northwest across the Tordrillo range, descended the Kuskokwim, crossed from its mouth to Nushagak, and thence crossed Alaska peninsula to Katmai. The party landed at Tyonek on April 26 and arrived at Katmai on October 17, 1898, whence they sailed (October 31) on the Alaska Commercial Company's steamer Dora for San Francisco. For an account of this expedition see Twentieth Annual Report of the Geological Survey, Part VII, pp. 31-264.

Staniukovich, 1827-28

    Capt. Mikhail Nikolaievich Staniukovich, commanding the sloop Moller, accompanied Lutke on his voyage round the world. He made a survey of the north shore of Alaska peninsula in the summer of 1828. The geographic results of this voyage were incorporated by Lutke in the Partie nautique of his voyage round the world. For an account in Russian of Staniukovich's voyage see Journal of the Russian Hydrographic Department, 1850, Vol. VIII, pp. 63-75.

Stockton, 1889

    Lieut. Commander Charles Herbert Stockton, U. S. N., commanding the U. S. S. Thetis, cruised in Alaskan waters in the summer of 1889. This cruise covered the whole coast from Dixon entrance to Unalaska and thence through Bering sea to the Arctic and eastward to Mackenzie river. Stockton published an account of this voyage in 1890 in the National Geographic Magazine, Vol. II, pp. 171-198. His geographic results are shown on United States Hydrographic Office chart 1189, edition of 1890.

Symonds, 1879-1881. See Beardslee and Glass