Trumbull – Dear Dave (2) – Grandpa Writes to Ced – March 10, 1946

This is the second page of a letter Grandpa is writing to his children and daughter-in-law who are still away from Trumbull.


Dear Ced:

Or should I say, “Mr. Jackson”. We are certainly having a good opportunity to check up on your Alaskan life and find it quite an interesting experience as viewed through the eyes of your friends – – the Hopkins. If your ability to pick friends is revealed by the present example, you rate 100% plus. Of course they would always be most welcome as friends of yours but they have both won our hearts here and are now friends of ours in their own right. It was good of you to urge them to visit us and delightful of them to take you up. Last night we showed them some of the Alaskan Kodachrome slides which you and Dan took and looked over some photos which Leonard had brought along with him. I was quite surprised when I asked him if you had been bending his ear on the “Union Now” question that he has not been taken into camp as it were. And in this connection, along with your efforts to line up the use of the land through the schools and colleges, the thought occurred to me that your national headquarters might make a very effective flank attack, sort of a sugar-coated pill, to change the simile, if they were to inspire some well-known author who ranked in the best seller class to write an historical novel based on the dramatic period in this country’s history, based on the Federalist papers. Historical novels are quite popular, in fact they always have their strong followings, and I don’t know of any way of getting over to the public a realization of the real condition which existed in the early days of our history than through the medium of an interestingly written story of that time, and if, as you believe, the present condition of the world states, approximates that which predated our own “uniting”, it would not be a long stretch of the imagination to have the public form its own comparison between our own early conditions and present world situations. It seems from Mr. Churchill’s speech that England is nearer the Union Now idea then we are in this country. On the other hand, Russia seems to be tending rapidly in the opposite direction. Well, so much for world politics.

It just occurred to me that it might be a good stunt for me to call up the Bagshaws (Rusty’s sister and her husband), especially in view of the fact that Leonard knows Rusty, and see if it would be convenient for us to drive over and call on them this afternoon. You mentioned in your letter that Leonard and Marion might like to meet the Ives. As far as I know Agnes is still in the West Indies and Carl and Ethel have moved over to their new home in Devon. This morning Jean and Dick took them for a walk up by the reservoir. Yesterday afternoon, they drove in my Buick, up to Pinewood (Lake) and then down the Merritt Parkway to the new Saugatuck Reservoir. Today is a bright, beautiful, sunshiny day, although rather brisk and cool. It is now 12:30. I started this letter early so I could get it finished before dinner and be able to devote the afternoon to our guests. Now I shall stop to get my car which is being lubricated over at the Gas Station in case we take off for the Baghaws this afternoon. The only local news of note that occurs to me is that Mr. Kurtz has been in the hospital for a few days but I understand is coming home this afternoon – – some trouble in connection with his diabetes, which however, they think will be remedied by proper insulin dosage.

Well, that’s all, children dear, we’ll be seeing you soon, I hope,


Tomorrow, another letter to “poor dogs” and I’ll finish the week with a partial letter (pages 2 & 3) written on March 31st.

Judy Guion


Friends – Rusty Huerlin Writes to Ced – An Arctic Bum – March 25, 1944


This letter is written to Ced from Rusty Huerlin, probably received after he had returned to his job in Anchorage after his lengthy stay in Trumbull and his quick visit with Lad and Marian.

Nome, Alaska


Dear Ced,

Word by mukluk telegraph informs me that you are back in Anchorage. Fine guy you turned out to be not to write to your dear old pal. But perhaps you’ll get the pin out of your tail now and drop us a line to let me know how Al is doing and how you enjoyed your trip outside.

Since arriving here have been tied up with ATG work but going to start painting in a couple of days. The Major and I have located a cabin for ourselves. Real cold weather here and have never seen as much snow. Twill be a late break up this year in case you would like to know. I should say between the fourth and the eighth.

On visit down from Palmer I emptied your pent-up mailbox and left mail with Bob Hall. Hope I did the right thing and that he contacted you or left it where you could get it before he went outside.

If Ted Kogan got luggage left in my wake, kindly get it back from him. Hold everything for me if you are not going into service. May write for frames in a couple of weeks. Keep stretchers and jib sail bag together. If you have no room for them best place may be at George’s. Expect to be in Nome until break up time when I will go north with years supply of grub. But if you should happen to know of anyone traveling to Nome by CAA it would be all mighty swell, if no trouble to that person, to load on my frames, bag and stretchers. If Dale or Dell, the fellow who brought us out, is making the trip this way soon, I am sure he would be glad to do me this favor. You might be driving by his place sometime and can drop in to see him on this. Had I come the way planned for me, I could have handled everything.

Sorry I did not get to see you before I left. Confidentially, as I do not want it to get about, I pulled a fast one on Governor Gruening. It resulted in him commandeering an army car and paying me a visit at Palmer. But it wasn’t exactly a fast one and it took me one month of careful planning. It is too long a story to go over at this early hour of the morning. I only want you to know that it was honest. Or should I not say to a trusted and tried friend that he, the Governor, fell for my rubber salmon egg. Two days later he was in Fairbanks, then came a telephone call from Fairbamks for me to proceed to Nome on next Army transport. At Fort Rich a week later I got my traveling orders but no planes to Nome were available. To wait longer for transportation was like waiting for the invasion. I finally decided to put tongue in cheek and go by Star. That was why I had to cut down on baggage. But trip here is not known to Star officials so I am now one jump and the hop ahead of them.

Water is $.10 a gallon here. Whiskey cannot be had. When you see George again tell him I really like my scotch cut with water. I think he will understand. Ha ha!

Contact Ted Kogan through weather Bureau or Juanita at OPA. Drop out of an evening and see their nice home which they bought. Also see Maurie and Helen. Best to you and Hans and Ruth and all good Scandahoovis. Sorry I cannot or it’s sad I cannot add the name of dear old Kjosen,

Thank Ted for his trouble and will write him soon. Let’s hear from you soon Sonny boy… Till we meet again,

Yours to be an Arctic bum —– Rusty

During stop-over at Nulato I pissed in the Yukon. Did it the hard way too— if you know what I mean? Aim to do the rest the hard way to— if I can— and I have shot and killed a bear.

I believe the following is Ced’s recorded memory of this trip, although he may have incorrectly remembered the approximate dates.I don’t know if we’ll ever know the complete story.

About 1940-41, things were getting red-hot. Major Marston was up there in charge of the Alaskan defense command. He was based in Anchorage. Rusty made friends with him – he made friends with everyone he talked to. He met the Governor of Alaska through Major Marston. Rusty came home one night and he said, “Know what they’re going to do? Major Marston says that the Governor wants to go around the whole perimeter of Alaska and try to develop a reasonable defense system for Alaska. I guess it was Major Marston’s idea. Major Marston said, ’None of us know anything about Alaska, the Eskimos, the Indians. We should go around and meet these native people. They know the land and if any problems develop with the days coming, we’d be lost. We wouldn’t know what to do.’ He said, ‘We want to get an Alaskan defense going with native people.’ Governor Gruening says, ’Well you know what? I don’t know any. I’m the Governor of this territory and I’d like to go around with you and meet these people that I’m supposed to be Governor of.’ “ So, Rusty sat and listened to all this talk and he said, ”You wouldn’t want to take me along, would you? I’ve had this in the back of my mind for years, that I would like to do a series of pictures on the discovery of Alaska.” His whole goal, idea and the love of his life was Alaska. He said, ”I’d like to have a chance to go around to all those places, and make sketches.” “OK, come on along.” they said. That’s where he got this series of 18 pictures, starting with the fellow who came from Russia, sailed to Alaska and took it for the Russians. That was the first painting, he did the Gold Rush and 16 others. This was after he moved to Fairbanks.

Tomorrow, more Special Pictures of the Trumbull House – Then and Now.

On Sunday, another Guest Post by GPCox,,

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Chips From The Old Block – Huerlin and Peabody News – October 12, 1942


Lizzie Duryee, aka Aunt Betty

Trumbull, Conn., October 12, 1942

Dear “Chips from the old block”:

How disrespectful for you to refer to your father in these terms! Due to advancing years his letter is a day late this week, but most of the blame goes to Aut. M. Weather. The truth is that the combination of a beautiful fall day, changing foliage and the desire to make Aunt Betty’s birthday a pleasant one, I decided after the dishes were washed yesterday to be unpatriotic enough for the first time since gas rationing went into effect to use my car for a trip other than for business, so we all ups and with Lad at the wheel, takes a trip around the new Saugatuck Reservoir, after which, being down in the direction of Westport and not having seen the Lee’s for some months, we decided to drop in for a short visit. As usual they gave us a warm welcome, invited us to supper and then we sat around and talked a bit. They had several extra guests. Alice ((Huerlin) Lee) told me that Britta ((Huerlin) Bagshaw) and Syd had moved up into Westchester Co., that Anne (possibly their daughter) was living with them and that Mrs. Heurlin (Rusty Huerlin’s mother) had died, all of which was news to me.

The only other item of news is a letter from Grandma. “Kemper and Ethel (Peabody) have bought a large dairy farm about 1 mile from St. Albens, Vt., 465 acres of ground and nearly 200 cattle, of which 107 cows are being milked. The milk is pasteurized and bottled right on the farm and taken by trucks to St. Albans for distribution. The main building is a farmhouse with 10 rooms and two bats. They are thinking of moving up there this fall and are taking me along. The whole family is crazy about the place. You probably know that Franklin (Peabody) is more interested in farming than anything else. Anne ((Pebody) Stanley) is working in a gift shop and Donald (Stanley) has been busboy in the Howard Johnson restaurant for some time but they are closing the place for the duration. Donald has joined the Merchant Marine and is hoping every day that his call will come. It makes it hard for him because jobs are not plentiful for a young man expecting to go into the service. Gwyneth (Stanley) has been staying here since she came back from St. Albans just before Labor Day. She is going to school taking a secretarial course. Dorothy (Peabody) has taken a small apartment as she prefers to be alone. She is still with the Traphagan School and enjoys the work. She is fine and very happy being independent. Helen ((Peabody) Human) and Ted (Human) are in Miami but do not like it there. Helen wrote she couldn’t buy a decent piece of meat anywhere until one day she saw a small sign and went in and tried it. ‘At last, I am getting good meat’. Burton (Peabody) is in Washington as a liaison air service officer and has a lot of work to do. He has to fly many hours each week looking over airfields to find what kinds of bombers and planes may be able to land.”

The furnace got plastered this week — with asbestos cement — Dick, wielding the trowel. A second coat will be applied later. So far we have not started a fire yet, Aunt Betty spending most of her days in the kitchen. On occasion, like Sunday when we had dinner in the dining room, we boosted up the temperature with the aid of the fireplace.

With some of the funds the boys gave me for my birthday I had a miniature made of Mother and also had a physical checkup by Dr. Laszlo. He recommended a gallbladder x-ray which I am glad to say showed nothing wrong there. I have to cut out fats, however.                  DAD

Tomorrow, more Special Pictures.

On Sunday, another Guest Post from GPCox,   telling the story of the Big Band Era. Fascinating reading. Enjoy.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 302 – Rusty Huerlin – End of the Trail – Tribute to A Pioneer – February, 1960

The following piece was printed in the column, On The Inside”, printed in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (Fairbanks, Alaska) on February 3, 1960.

TRIBUTE TO A PIONEER – Rusty Heurlin of Berry, Alaska, has written an open letter to the citizens of Valdez, proposing that Mt. Sugar Loaf be named after the late Anthony J. Dimond.

He suggests this mountain for its gentle slopes and balance in simple contour, which made it one of the most photographed peaks of the early days and perhaps even yet.

Also, he says, if a play on words would not be objectionable, this mountain is quite similar in shape to that of a diamond when reflected into the Bay of Valdez.

“As there are many other such named mountains (as Sugar Loaf) the world over, little controversy should arise from the change …” Rusty says.

“At any rate we trust that the last request of Art Lutro’s will be honored to help perpetuate for all time the name of Anthony Dimond.”

Lutro, the late Grand President of the Grand Igloo of the Pioneers of Alaska, proposed recently that an “unnamed peak” be honored with Dimond’s name. His request has been presented to the Board of Geographic Names of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Heurlin, who was an early resident of Valdez and next-door neighbor of Dimond, recalls his qualities of greatness and what he meant to fellow Alaskans. “Towering above all was a simplicity that was greatness in itself.”

Dimond was long a territorial delegate in Congress and later a federal judge.


END OF THE TRAIL – Rusty has also written this tribute to an old friend:

The going had been rough in places and the pack heavy but the uncomplaining Sourdough stuck to his lonely trail. At times the sleet pained his eyes, and it was hard to see when friends passed him as they hurried on their way. At the end of the day a light appeared around the bend of a river. Was it home, he wondered, or was he lost? He wasn’t sure until he arrived there, and not even then until the cabin door opened. He got out of his snowshoes. Old friends helped him with his pack. They called him into the cabin fragrant with wood smoke,,, happy with light and laughter and the warmth of those companions of old who had passed him on the way.

It was the End of the Trail for another sourdough. This time a man known throughout Alaska and Yukon Territory,  – big, good-natured, helpful and friendly Art Lutro, Grand President of the Alaska Pioneers.

Check out this video :

I appears that the request of Art Lutro and Rusty Heurlin was honored as there is a Mt. Dimond near Valdez, Alaska.

Tomorrow, I will begin a week of letters written in July, 1942. Both Lad and Dan are serving Uncle Sam and receiving training.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 298 – Rusty Huerlin – ‘Lady Known as Lou’ Comes to Town – 1960

This picture and the story appeared in the Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News – Miner on Friday, November 4, 1960. I found it in a pile of newspaper clippings Grandpa saved. Across the top, Rusty added a note: “a very poor representation, am sitting some 25 feet in front of it.Will send you a color shot of it _____.

‘Lady known as Lou’ Comes to Town

by Kay J. Kennedy, News-Miner Staff Writer

“Lou” and her crew of fascinating,fictional characters out of Robert W. Service’s “Shooting of Dan McGrew” came to town the other day.

They stayed at the Travelers Inn where they were seen by visitors to the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce convention. This week they all moved out again, but they’ll always be together.

Lou (“That lady that’s known as Lou”) is the central figure in a love (and art composition) triangle in a 5-by-9-foot oil painting by C. (Rusty) Heurlin, one of Alaska’s best known artists.

He re-created the tense, dramatic moment in the poem when the “kid from the creeks” is playing the piano. Seated in the card game is McGrew studying the kid. Lou stands between them. An overhead lamp, which is not shown, throws a circle of light which encompasses the figure at the piano and casts interesting shadows. Subtle cigar smoke drifts across the canvas until you can almost smell it.

You have a feeling that the clicking of glasses and chips suddenly stopped as the music rose.The red velvet of Lou’s dress is vivid, encasing an uncensored womanly shape.

This painting, which is different from anything Heurlin has done previously, has been a gestating in his subconscious creative mind for many years. It may be his silent answer to those who have pegged him strictly an ice and snow artist, a master of hollow Arctic light, a painter of Eskimos, Arctic seas and whale hunts.

There are three parts in the painting – any one of them could stand alone as a complete composition. One is the “kid from the creeks” at the piano. Lou herself, is a splendid portrait. McGrew and the men around the green felt gaming table are done in a dark and sinister pallet.

Authentic Touches

Subdued nudes on the walls, the old Dawson City piano, a potted palm popular in that day, together with other authentic touches make you feel you could walk into the picture.

It may be that “Lou” will take her place in Alaska art history as Heurlin’s masterpiece.

Current comment indicates that the painting will pick up a following – even more than the infamous Lady Lou  herself.


Friends – Rusty Writes to Ced – Pictures From Their Trek Around Alaska – Dec., 1943


Palmer, Alaska

Dec. 21, 1943

Dear Ced,

The enclosed line will perhaps make you feel more welcome at the lovely home of the Stoll’s in Seattle and you will see there the beautiful Sylvia. – No kidd’n now – be sure to make it so you can spend three or four days with her. If you do I’ll wager you will never get over it. She is a knock out — brilliant, tall and queenly and nothing that I could say in her favor would be flattering. This I clipped from a letter from Walter whose business address is 609 Coleman Bldg., — Alaska Pacific Mining Co. — home address is Larkhurst, 4204 or something like that. Get in touch with him as soon as you arrive in Seattle.

Hear that Walt Gronhert (?) Is trying to get helicopter agency in Alaska when, or to be set for such business, when war is over. Why don’t you look into that for yourself? Perhaps after the next war the Zep (Zeppelin?) will come out in gala colors and competition for our outdated mode of air travel — Sikorsky’s Helicopter. (Ced actually went to work for Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford after he returned from Alaska in late 1946.)

Eggs in the valley are now $1.50 per doz.

Saw Bob Schottler (?) on street enroute to Barrow – again to follow info — one of Governor’s (Alaska’s Governor Ernest Gruening) eskimos discovered while on our trip. Bob said Governor was anxious to get name of my Eskimo sketch. When he showed pictures to President Roos- (President Roosevelt) in Washington President asked what was her name. He could only say Lottie, said one in his party fell for her and he could find out easily enough. Bob said pictures Governor took of her were knockouts. One that I took of the governor with Bob’s camera and which I had some job of posing G.G. (Governor Gruening) also was shown to President Roosevelt and G.G. is very proud of it. I had him clamber into a hunk of preserved ice about 5 miles out of Pt. Hope. He, as I remember, is looking out over the pack ice and pictures looked swell in Bob’s Graflex finder. Will be anxious to see it.

Guess I’ll stay here over the holidays and skip all the excitement down there. Hogans and Danford’s and _______’s  have invited me for Xmas dinner. Schafer has made two trips to town with his small truck and sold 24 small Xmas trees cut from my rabbit patch. He got $121.00 for the two loads and will make two more trips. That boy is smart.

We are over the hump tonight.

Love to all and don’t forget Seattle — Rusty