Alaska SAR History



In 1952, there were five or so Compatriots residing in the Alaska Territory; members from State Societies of New Jersey, California and Washington. These Compatriots in this large land lived in the scattered communities of Ketchikan, Juneau, Anchorage Palmer and Fairbanks. An attempt had been made in the past to form a Society for Alaska but these had failed, no doubt because of the Compatriots were located at such distant places from one another. So it was about 1952 that a New Jersey, William W. Elliott of Palmer, Alaska ran a notice in an Anchorage newspaper to the effect asking that those eligible for SAR and interested in establishing a Society in Alaska should get in touch with him. A. Letcher Seamands of the California Society, living in Anchorage, answered the notice and offered to assist Bill Elliott in forming the Alaska Society. Letch got in touch with H. Lewis Matthenson, Secretary of the California Society in San Francisco, and made arrangements to have new recruits from Alaska made members of the California Society until at least fifteen members in good standing in state societies could charter and form an Alaskan Society. Lewis Addington Smith of the Washington State Society, then Vice President of the Pacific Coast District, also did much to encourage and help with the formation of the Alaska Society. The Alaska Society was chartered in 1954 with about twenty Compatriots and then their memberships in various state societies were transferred to the Alaska Society. Since Bill Elliott sparked the formation of the Alaska Society, he was elected its first President and Letch Seamonds was elected Secretary. The first ten years saw the Alaska Society expand to a membership of over fifty, scattered over Alaska, but many concentrated in the Anchorage area. An Anchorage Chapter of the Alaska Society was formed in about 1955. The Alaska Society made early arrangements with the University of Alaska at Fairbanks to award annually an SAR–ROTC Honor Medal to each outstanding Cadet of the four military classes at the University. A very fine plaque was given to the institution so that the names of the honored cadets could be inscribed thereon through the years. Together with the Anchorage DAR and CAR, the Alaska Society in the early 1960’s furnished the Alaska Methodist University at Anchorage (renamed 1978 as Alaska Pacific University) with a beautiful fifty foot flag pool and lovely United States flag to fly over and inspire this new seat of learning in Alaska. For this brief history, these were a few of the projects initiated by the Alaska Society. It should be noted, as well, that the Alaska Society and its Anchorage Chapter flew their flags and banners along with “Old Glory” on their automobiles in patriotic parades in Anchorage. Editor’s note:   This composition was hand written by Compatriot A. Letcher Seamonds, date unknown. A couple minor grammatical edits were made to the original draft. Feb. 2015 Wade W. Wahrenbrock Alaska Society SAR Secretary/Treasurer