Gastineau Channel Memories
Nancy von Konsky
Mary Garn?s grandfather was Edward F. Cashel. He was born July 20, 1840, in Georgetown, Maryland, and enlisted in the U.S. Artillery in May, 1861, to serve in the Civil War. In June, 1868, he was sent with his military garrison from San Francisco to Fort Kodiak, Alaska. He was honorably discharged there on July 27, 1870. On September 4, 1870, he married Mare-a Alexandrovia Ol?gin on Kodiak Island. Mare-a and Edward Cashel had five children: Mary born September 5, 1871, on Kodiak Island; Agnes born October 20, 1873, on Unga Island; Ereena born April, 1875, on Kodiak; Sarah born April 24, 1876, in Katmai; and Edward born March 18, 1881, on Unga Island. Mare-a died in April, 1884, in Unga, at the age of 36. Edward Sr. remained on Unga Island which is part of the Shumagin Islands extending south from the Alaska Peninsula. He worked as an agent for the Western Fur and Trading Company and then for the Alaska Commercial Company. He died on Simeonof Island in the Shumagins in December, 1909.
All of the Cashel children, with the possible exception of Ereena, eventually left Unga and moved to Juneau-Douglas for at least a portion of their adult life. Mary Cashel married Nihemiah Guttridge in 1888. He died in a mine accident in Unga. She later married William Homer McBlain in Douglas in 1902 or 1903. Agnes married Adolph Garn in 1894, in Unalaska and moved to Douglas in 1901; Sarah married Andrew Berg in 1891, in Unga and moved to Douglas in 1900. Edward married Jane Ann Lindsey in 1917 in Juneau. No information is available about Ereena.
Mary Garn?s parents, Adolph William Garn, born in Denmark on April 24, 1864, and Agnes Cashell were married in 1894, in Unalaska. Why Adolph moved to Alaska is unknown. He was said to have been an otter hunter and a miner in the Apollo Mine on Unga.
Mary Garn was born on August 10, 1898, in Unga Village on Unga Island. Mary?s two older brothers also were born there: William Oliver Garn, known as Bill, on January 14, 1895, and Arthur Adolph Garn, known as Joe, on February 18, 1896.
After 1898, Adolph and Agnes began their move to Douglas with a stop on Kodiak Island where they were noted in the 1900 census.
The Garn family was settled on Third Street in Douglas by May, 1901. Adolph worked as an engineer in the Treadwell Mines until the cave-in. He was a member of the Odd Fellows and Agnes was a member of the Pioneers of Alaska, the Order of Eastern Star, and Rebekahs. Adolph and Agnes had two more children, Emma Garn born December 24, 1904, and Albert Francis Garn, known as Abbie, born on October 28, 1906. Joe and Bill were baseball and basketball players in their younger years and worked in the mines. Abbie was a butcher and lived in Ketchikan. Emma married Vern Hoban who was in the armed forces and lived in Ketchikan and Nome. She died in 1946, in Nome and is buried in Ketchikan. Abbie moved to Southern California and died in Los Angeles in April, 1984. Joe died in Tenakee Springs, December 27, 1947. Bill spent his last years in a Veterans Home in Camp White, Oregon. Adolph Garn died February 12, 1922, in Douglas and Agnes Cashel Garn died in Juneau on December 26, 1936. Both are buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Douglas.
Mary Garn grew up in Douglas and attended Douglas schools. She held various jobs which included cashier in the theater, assistant in Dr. H.S. Hall?s dental office, and a clerk in the linen department at one of the Juneau department stores. She was an active member of Rebekahs and became the Noble Grand, in which capacity she traveled frequently, including trips to Washington and other locations in the Lower 48.
Some of Mary?s friends eventually left Juneau, including Trina and Agnes Museth who moved to Southern California and Alma Workman (Horack) who moved to San Francisco. In 1927, at the age of 29 years, after visiting her friends in California, Mary moved to San Francisco. She met Adolph von Konsky at a Masonic picnic. It was love at first sight for both of them. Six months later, on July 14, 1928 they were married.
Adolph was employed by Standard Oil from 1914 until he retired in 1960. With the exception of six years, they lived in San Francisco throughout their married life. Through her life, Mary kept in touch with her many Alaska friends and belonged to the San Francisco Alaska Club. She was a close friend of Bertha Goetz in Douglas and corresponded with her throughout her life. She made numerous trips to Phoenix to visit her cousin Sara Morf, the daughter of Sarah Cashel Berg.
Mary and Adolph had two children: Robert Harold born July 23, 1929, who currently resides in San Jose and Dolores Marie (Wilson) born December 11, 1932, who lives in Sparks, Nevada. The von Konskys had five grandchildren and five great grandchildren. After sixty wonderful years of married life together, Adolph died September 16, 1988, just days before his 94th birthday. Mary lived on in their home for four more years and died April 2, 1992, five months before her 94th birthday. Both are interred at Woodlawn Memorial Park, Colma, California.