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 Ada Blackjack Johnson

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Ada Blackjack Johnson

  • Birth 10 May 1898 Solomon, Nome Census Area, Alaska, USA
  • Death 29 May 1983 Anchorage, Anchorage Borough, Alaska, USA
  • Burial Anchorage, Anchorage Borough, Alaska, USA
  • Memorial ID 16799126

American Explorer. The press dubbed her "the Heroine of Wrangel Island," after her rescue from the desolate artic island on August 23, 1923. An Inuit woman from the village of Solomon, just outside of Nome, Alaska, Ada was a widow with a small child and in desperate need of money when she agreed to be the seamstress for an expedition of four explorers to Wrangel Island, located 87 miles off the coast of Siberia. The island is so far north that it only receives sunlight during the months of July and August, and only then for a few hours a day. She and the men, Americans E. Lorne Knight, Frederick Maurer, and Milton Galle, and Canadian Allan R. Crawford landed on the island on September 16, 1921, with a six month supply of food for the five of them. Vilhjalmur Stefansson, a well known author and Arctic explorer, had promised them that another ship would be back from Nome before the end of the summer of 1922. That ship never arrived and this left the five of them stranded on Wrangel Island, in a very dangerous and potentially fatal situation. On January 8, 1923, Knight and Crawford set out in their dog sleds towards Siberia for help, but were forced to return to the island after Knight became gravely ill. On January 28, Crawford, Maurer and Galle set out with the remaining supplies and the dogs for Siberia leaving Ada to care for the dying Knight. The three men were never seen again and were presumed lost in the harsh Artic winter. Never trained to hunt or even to fire a gun, she learned both skills in order to survive. When Knight finally died on June 22, 1923, she buried him on the island and found herself totally alone. By August 1923, she found herself becoming weaker and realized she might die herself on the island. But on August 23, 1923, a relief ship finally showed up on the island and took Ada back to Alaska. Eventually, she remarried another Inuit and had another son.

Bio by: Lisa

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Lisa
  • Added: 26 Nov 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 16799126
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ada Blackjack Johnson (10 May 1898–29 May 1983), Find A Grave Memorial no. 16799126, citing Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery, Anchorage, Anchorage Borough, Alaska, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .