Gastineau Channel Memories

Berg, Andrew and Sarah (Cashel)

Patricia Fleek Varness, Robert Fleek and Ann Fleek

Andrew Berg was born October 14, 1858 in Oslo, Norway. He migrated to Unga, Alaska Territory where he married Sarah Cashel on September 7, 1891. Sarah Cashel, the daughter of Edward Cashel and Maria Aleksandrovno Ol?gin, was born April 24, 1876 at Katmai, where her father was the Station Agent for the Alaska Commercial Company.

Besides working at the Apollo Gold Mine located near the town of Unga, Andrew Berg fished for cod from an open dory and had two mining claims on Unga Island that did not ?pan? out. The Apollo Mine operation closed down in 1906. The mine was a major gold producer in 1898 employing more than 100 workers.

The Andrew Berg family, consisting of Andrew; wife, Sarah; and daughters Elizabeth and Sarah, moved to Douglas in 1900, a trip which took 21 days. Andrew?s wife, Sarah, died March 2, 1904 in Juneau and is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery at Juneau. After her death her daughters, Elizabeth and Sarah were cared for by their aunt, Mrs. Agnes Cashel Garn.

Andrew Berg worked for the Ready Bullion Mine at Treadwell until it closed in 1922. He then moved to San Francisco, California and lived with his daughter, Sarah Morf, until his death on March 26, 1940. While living in San Francisco, Andrew Berg made several trips to Inspiration, Arizona to visit his other daughter, Elizabeth Fleek and her family.


George Arthur Fleek, the son of Wilson and Eva (Strickland) Fleek, was born in Richmond Township, Pennsylvania on September 17, 1887. In 1908, he left the farm at the age of 21 and headed for Alaska. On the ay to Alaska he was pressed into service fighting a large forest fire in Montana.

Upon George?s arrival in Douglas, Alaska Territory in 1908, he went to work for the Treadwell Mining Company. At Juneau, Alaska, on February 10, 1909, he married Elizabeth Berg, the daughter of Andrew and Sarah Cashel Berg. Elizabeth was born on November 18, 1882 at Unga, Alaska, where her father worked for the Apollo Gold Mining Company. The Berg family had moved to Douglas in 1900, and Andrew worked for the Ready Bullion Mine at Treadwell. The school house that Elizabeth and her sister Sarah Berg attended was later used as a cow barn by Douglas dairyman Joe Kendler.

George Fleek was a member of the I.O.O.F. Alaska Lodge No.1 and the Auke Tribe No. 7 where he was the collector of Wampum. Elizabeth Fleek was a member of the Rebekah organization.

In October, 1913, George Arthur Fleek went to Chichagof, Alaska to take charge of a 10-stamp mill. The family as living there when Marjorie Lucille was born in August, 1915, at the St. Ann?s Hospital in Douglas. She oined a sister, Leona Elizabeth and brother, George Elroy, who went by the name of ?Sonny.?

In July, 1917, the Fleek family moved to Miami, Arizona, and George obtained employment with the nearby Inspiration Copper Company mine. They moved to the mine site where Robert Drew and Patricia Ruth were born, Robert in Incubator Row and Patricia in Cactus Garden. While at the Inspiration Copper Company, George worked in the hoist/compressor house and as an outside electrician checking power lines. Next door neighbors were members of the Arthur Osterberg family who were also neighbors in Douglas, Alaska. In 1934, when the Inspiration Copper Company closed, the Fleek family returned to Douglas without Leona and Sonny who were both married. Later, Sonny and his family did return to Douglas in June, 1936. Prior to leaving for Alaska, a group including George prospected the Gila River of Arizona but found nothing but ?flour? gold.

After arriving in Douglas, George Fleek worked with Howard Hayes at the Perseverance Mine recovering the gold that was lost during the use of older mining methods. The most difficult area to work was the ?tunnel.? While working for the Alaska Juneau Gold Mining Company as a powerhouse operator at the Nugget Creek, Salmon Creek and Alaska Juneau powerhouse sites, George continued his search for gold.

In 1946, he applied for a Territorial mining license and received License No. 46-051. He worked at the old Thane Mill using equipment Howard Hayes had left there when he was ?cleaning up.? One story is that Howard Hayes took out 2,000 in gold from a large iron pipe. In addition to the Thane Mill, George Fleek worked the Thane beach. After work at the power plant, George would go to the beach at low tide and set up his 50-gallon drums that held the sluice box, connect his water source and shovel sand into the sluice box until the tide ran him off the beach. A percentage of the money received from the gold was paid to the Alaska Gold Mining Company.

In 1955, George and Elizabeth Fleek moved to Phoenix where their son Robert and his family, daughter Leona and her husband George, and Elizabeth?s sister, Sara Morf and her husband Emil all lived. George Arthur Fleek died November 6, 1960, and Elizabeth Fleek died December 26, 1961, both in Phoenix, Arizona.


George Elroy ?Sonny? Fleek, the son of George and Elizabeth Berg Fleek was born January 6, 1913 in Douglas, Alaska. In 1917, the family moved to Miami, Arizona and later to Inspiration, Arizona. On July 22, 1933, Sonny married Sylvia Martha Johnson in Phoenix, daughter of John and Elena Kytomaki Johnson. Sonny and Sylvia had five children: William Elroy, Beth Elaine, Vadra Janis, Richard Berg and Sylvia Jean.

In June 1936, the family moved to Douglas, Alaska. The Douglas fire of 1937 destroyed their rented home. Sonny built three homes on Fifth Street in Douglas, and later contracted for a triplex at Third and G in Douglas where Sylvia still lives.

At one time, Sonny co-owned and operated the Alaskan Cab Company and the Trailways Bus Line between Douglas and Juneau. He also served as Maintenance Chief for the City of Douglas from 1956 to the time of his death in 1974. A Resolution (No. 321) Dedicating the Robert Savikko Park and Recreation Area Flag Pole Installation as a Memorial to Elroy ?Sonny? Fleek was adopted June 19, 1975.

Sonny died August 16, 1974 in Seattle, Washington. He is buried in the Douglas Eagles Cemetery.


Although born in Arizona and presently living in Arizona, Robert has close ties with Alaska. His mother, Elizabeth Berg, was born at Unga in 1892. His grandmother, Sarah Cashel, the daughter of Edward and Maria Ol?gin Cashel, was born at Katmai in 1848 where her father was a station agent for the Alaska Commercial Company.

Elizabeth Berg and George Fleek were married February 10, 1909 in Juneau, Alaska. George worked for the Treadwell Mines and the Chichagof Gold Mining Company at Chichagof. Three children were born in Douglas: Leona, Sonny and Marjorie.

In 1917, because of the Treadwell Mine cave-in the family moved to Inspiration, Arizona where George worked for the Inspiration Copper Mine. It was at Inspiration where Robert and Patricia were born. In 1934, when the Inspiration Mine closed, the family moved back to Douglas.

Robert and Patricia went to the Douglas School until it burned in 1937, then to temporary school buildings until the new school was built. The favorite teacher of Robert and Patricia, as well as many others, was Grace Naghel.

Robert was a member of the Douglas Boy Scouts and the high point in his scouting experience was going to Young Lake via a Lockheed Vega. It took six trips for the Vega to transport all the scouts and equipment to the lake. After the camp-out the scouts walked to the beach where the Mary Ann was waiting to take them back to Douglas.

Robert enjoyed all school activities as well as hunting, fishing and climbing Mount Jumbo. He made one trip with the Douglas basketball team to Haines and Skagway. The trip to Haines was by the SS Baranof in steerage, then to Skagway in a smaller boat. The return trip to Juneau was by a Ford Tri-motor airplane. On the flight, Glen Kronquist got sick and ?threw up? on the back of Coach and Principal Martin Peterson. Glen did not make any points that day.

Robert worked at the Douglas Cannery during summer vacations. His first job was making cardboard boxes for 40 cents an hour. Later he operated the ?iron chink? and the ?header? getting slightly more per hour.

Robert graduated from the Douglas High School in 1941. Members of the graduating class were Robert Fleek, Glen Kronquist, Gordon Wahto, Francis Doogan and Dan Krsul. Frank and Dan are now deceased. Following graduation Robert attended the Frank Wiggins Trade School in Los Angeles, studying radio.

Returning to Juneau, Robert worked on the Juneau Highway installing culverts, making one dollar per hour, but he first went to Fred Henning?s Clothing Store to buy work clothes: wool work socks, $0.85 per pair; work trousers, $3.00; work shirt, $2.25; shoe pacs, $5.50; ?tin pants,? $4.50; suspenders, $0.85; work gloves, $0.50.

Robert finished up the culvert job in October, 1942, and started working for the Civil Aeronautics Administration in November, 1942, driving a dump truck hauling gravel for the building of a 300- foot tower near the Auke Bay and Glacier Road ?Y.?

Robert received his 1A classification in January, 1943, so resigned from the CAA job and volunteered for induction. He was inducted February 6, 1943, and after spending seven days in processing at Duck Creek, he was sent to Montana Creek for basic training. On February 12, 1943, he was transferred to the Detachment, 399th Base HQ and Air Base Squadron with station at the Juneau Airport where he remained for 18 months, then transferred to the Naknek Airbase.

On April 1, 1945, he left Naknek headed for the States and ended up at Williams Air Corps Base at Chandler, Arizona, 60 miles from Inspiration, Arizona. A mistake was made as to his home of record. While stationed at WAFB Robert went to Phoenix to attend dances held at the Odd Fellows Hall. Those dances reminded him so much of the Eagles Hall dances in Douglas. There he met Georgia Lee Wilky.

Robert was discharged from the US Army Air Corps on November 22, 1945, Thanksgiving Day. He returned to Juneau to work at the post office and then returned to Phoenix where he married Georgia Wilky in September, 1946. Their children are Ann, David, Sharon and Janet.

Andrew Berg Andrew Berg
George and Elizabeth (Berg) Fleek. George and Elizabeth (Berg) Fleek.
George Fleek, 1945-46, clean-up at Thane Mill. George Fleek, 1945-46, clean-up at Thane Mill.
George Elroy \"Sonny\" Fleek, Douglas, Alaska. George Elroy \"Sonny\" Fleek, Douglas, Alaska.
George Elroy Fleek, Douglas, Alaska. George Elroy Fleek, Douglas, Alaska.