Gold Prospecting and Mining


plus one with relationship to

Beginning of The Pre-Cold War with Russia

Please click Under-Lined items to select:

(Stories with some connection to my great Grandparents Stephen and Eliza Picton)

Divided into four sections

1 Mining Gold in Wales

2 Prospecting Gold in Alaska

3 Legend of Lewis Picton

4 Mining Gold in Siberia

Mining Gold in Wales

This gold mine is located about a two hour drive from two farms near St.Clear, Carmarthenshire, Wales that were farmed by Stephen and Eliza Picton before they came to America in 1870. Their ancestors all came Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire in Wales. One would think that some involvement with our ancestors had to have happen with this gold mine and the Demetae Tribe over the last three thousand year history. Myself, my son David Picton and my Granddaughters Martha and Kathryn Picton visited these two farms and then the next day drove to the gold mine in Carmarthenshire.

Demetae Tribe Ancestors

Long ago tribal ancestors of the people in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire were the Demetae (They were Celtic). A major business enterprise of the Demetae tribe is believed to be the Dolaucothi Gold Mines near Carmarthen at Pumsaint, Carmarthenshire maybe as long ago as 3,000 years ago. These gold mines are one of the reasons why the Romans conquered Briton. There was also a lead mine about 10 miles away.

The Romans conquered these gold mines 2,000 years ago, employed better mining methods and were there for five hundred years. The Romans built several waters aqueducts with the longest one being 7 miles (11 Km) in length to use in mining gold. They likely worked the mines with slave labor. The gold mining was restarted in the 19th century and continued up to the first part of the 20th century. Dolaucothi Gold Mine Tours are now available.

Stephen Picton farmed the Gorsgandrill Farm and the Troedyrhiw Farm during the time he lived in the St Clear area. Below are the signs that appear on the road for the two farms.

Gorsgandrill Farm (near St Clear, Carmarthenshire, Wales)


Gorsgandrill Farm


Gorsgandrill Farm


Troedyrhiw Farm (near St Clear, Carmarthenshire, Wales)


Troedyrhiw Farm


There gold mine has been here for an estimated 3,000 years. First the native Welsh people mined gold, then the Romans came 2,000 years ago and mined gold for 500 years, and finally in the 1800's and early 1900's gold was mined. To travel to the old Roman gold mine, we took the highway from St. Clear to Carmarthen, then North to Plumsaint. The Dolaucothi Gold Mine is near the town of Plumsaint and has Roman Gold Mine Tours.

Dolaucothi Gold Mine


Dolaucothi Gold Mine


Dolaucothi Gold Mine


Dolaucothi Gold Mine


Paning gold at the Dolaucothi Gold Mine

My family David, Kathryn and Martha Picton


Wearing hard hats in the Dolaucothi Gold Mine

BK. LT: Owen and David Picton

FT. LT: Kathryn and Martha Picton


Dolaucothi Gold Mine

Kathryn and Martha Picton


Dolaucothi Gold Mine


Opening to a Roman Gold Mine


Kathryn in a Roman Gold Mine


Roman Gold Mine


Stone head of a hammermill used by the Romans

Kathryn Picton


Prospecting Gold in Alaska

Mary (Picton) Hatch

(Daughter of Stephen Picton) (This story was mentioned on the top of page 51 of the green book “Mr & Mrs Stephen Picton, their family, and descendants, 1825 – 1976” by myself Owen Picton)

Dick Bowen remembers the following: The William D. and Mary (Picton) Hatch famly left Hiawatha, Kansas for Alaska on February 18, 1898 to look for gold. They left during a blizzard. William D. Hatch returned when he sold his share of a gold claim for $10,000 to Mr. Balbry. Then the William D. Hatch's went back up to Alaska again.

There daughter Emma (Hatch) Herbert said that one time on there way to Alaska, they stopped at Seattle, Washington. Her Mother Mary (Picton) Hatch then visited with her first cousin Lewis Picton who worked for the railroad at that time.

A folklore rumor is that the gold claim they sold was worth over a million dollars in value at prices at that time. They did not realize that it would turn out to be so valuable and sold it for $10,000.

William D. Hatch was a stone mason and did the stone mason work on this Clock Tower Building at Hiawatha, Kansas before he went prospecting for gold in Alaska. I know he left his name somewhere on the building but do not know where.

Legend of Lewis Picton

(Nephew of Stephen Picton)

(Lewis Picton was mentioned by Emma Herbert as Louis Picton on the bottom of page 54, Item 9 of the green book “Mr & Mrs Stephen Picton, their family, and descendants, 1825 – 1976” by myself Owen Picton)

The Alaska Adventure part

by his Grandson Lewis Picton

This chapter of Lewis’ life probably started well after 1900. After more than a decade in the Merchant Navy, Lewis may have been ready for a new adventure. The Alaska/Yukon gold rush started in 1897. It attracted people from every corner of the British Empire and the world. Lewis Rees had the most detailed version of this period. Lewis sailed into Seattle, went ashore with his mates and got into some altercation in a saloon resulting in considerable property damage. With the law waiting at his ship, he decided to jump ship (deserted) and stowed aboard a ship bound for the frozen North. After sailing, Lewis joined the crew and worked his way north. He may have made the trip on more than one ship, stopping off in places to investigate the opportunities. He tried his hand at gold prospecting, but like most he was not successful. Eventually he ended up in Cordova, Alaska. Betty thinks that Lewis arrived in Cordova on his own ship and deserted there. However he did it, it was a real gamble, as many gold rush ships foundered. The waters of Alaska were not well surveyed, the weather is awful, and there were few aids to navigation.Unscrupulous persons were operating ships that were un-seaworthy or inappropriate. It is no exaggeration to say this voyage may have been truly ‘death defying’.

Cordova is at the southeast corner of Prince William Sound, which was one of the gateways to the interior where the gold strikes were. Lewis probably arrived in late 1904 or 1905. The ‘rush’ to the gold fields had waned and the new focus was the big copper deposit at Kennecott, 194 miles east of Cordova. The railroad from Cordova to Kennecott was constructed from 1905 to 1911. Lewis was certainly there during the days leading up to the building of the railroad and some time after construction started. There was a fish cannery and he may have worked in the salmon or herring fishery. Work could have been had to the east, at the Katalla oil field or the coal mines where a Welshman would have been welcome. He even delivered mail to out lying areas with his dog Bill. Because there was so much development activity, he probably tried his hand at a number of jobs and may have been involved in the activities as the railroad was surveyed into the Copper River Delta and up the canyon toward Chitina. In any event, prosperity eluded him as he nearly starved during one winter.

Lewis’ time in Cordova must have been a true frontier adventure. The mountains there seem to scrape the sky, the rivers are untamed and man has left few marks on the land. I’ve explored some of that area in a car and I shudder to think what it must have been like to do it on foot or by dog sled in winter. Like so many who sought their fortune in Alaska, Lewis probably tired of the cold climate and decided to make his way south for his next adventure.

Lewis Rees used to tell us that Lewis met a railroad conductor in Alaska who had a relative working for the Great Northern Railway at Leavenworth, Washington. If so, this probably occurred at Skagway, from where the White Pass; Yukon Route operated trains up to the Yukon. Lewis could have stopped in there on his north or south bound voyages. Around 1906, with that contact in his pocket, he sailed south to Seattle, went to Leavenworth and got a job as locomotive fireman with the Great Northern Railway.

Mining Gold in Siberia

plus relationship to

Beginning of The Pre-Cold War with Russia

(Ralph Picton was a Grandson of Stephen Picton, First Cousin of Samuel [Sam] Picton, Uncle to Bob Appleoff and Nephew to Annie [Picton] Bowen)

The following is taken from a letter written November 5, 1975 by Daisy (Picton) Dow about her father Ralph Picton (son of James and Jennie Picton and grandson of Stephen and Eliza Picton).

"Ralph George Picton, born February 22, 1890 at Vista, Nebraska. Papa (Ralph George Picton), was in the United States armed forces in 1918 in Vladivostok, Russia were he met Mama (Martha Gookoff). They married February 2, 1920 at Vladivostok, Russia. I (Daisy Picton Dow was born May 31, 1921 in Okhotka, Siberia.

In 1923 my parents were mining for gold in Okhotsk, Siberia when the "Reds" came down from the hills and shot all the White Russians along the waterfront. Somehow my parents and I escaped into a row boat along with several others. There was a Schooner in the bay named "Ruby" (from Hudson Bay) and it brought us to the United States of America (took us 3 months).

My Mother's father was an Officer in the Russian Army and had been transferred to Vladivostok. There were 9 children in her family. She is the oldest one and she has only a sister living in Tashkent, Russia."

(This story above was provided on page 52 of the green book “Mr & Mrs Stephen Picton, their family, and descendants, 1825 – 1976” by myself Owen Picton). (Today, Tashkent is the capital of an independent nation of Uzbekistan.) The above letter is printed on page 52 of the green book “Mr & Mrs Stephen Picton, their family, and descendants, 1825 – 1976” by myself Owen Picton. I wish to thank all the help Jeannette Froeschner and Brian Swann gave me including the history that Brian Swann researched.

Back in the early 1970's ; I was working on the Picton Family Tree book and I was trying to find information on Ralph Picton. Someone told me a story that Ralph Picton had been sent to Russia in 1918 while in military service, he had fallon in love and married the daughter of an Officer in the Russian Army who had been had been transferred to Vladivostok. One of his sisters had the address of his daughter Daisy (Picton) Dow. I wrote Daisy (Picton) Dow and she sent me the above letter with the story and information, plus saying she was born in Siberia.

I was watching a TV show in January 2017 about a US solder in 1918 sent to the Pacific coast of Russia and remembered the story about Ralph Picton. I now realized that I now have the ability [with the coming of the internet] to review Ralph Picton’s information on Ancestry.com. I have found him on the1900 US Census as born in Nebraska, USA and his whole family on the 1930 US census. Daisy Picton and her mother Martha are on the 1930 census showing them born in Russia, Siberia. The daughter Katherine is listed born in Washington. Ralph Picton is listed as being born in Canada and also saying his parents born in Canada. Daisy Picton says her parents were mining gold in Siberia.

It appears that Ralph Picton came back to the US twice. The first time being a passenger on a ship from Japan which fits Russian history that Brian Swann has found. The second time on a ship named Ruby which fits with what I was told in the early 1970's. Putting together the dates the family came to the US and the area history makes a great story.

Looking at all the information, this is the way I view it. After the Russian Revolution in 1918, the United States, England and Japan all wanted to obtain control of the eastern part of Russia and they all sent troops. Ralph Picton was one of the solders sent by the United States. There is a museum in Kansas City that house the United States records for World War I, but only a close relative can obtain this information.

The US forces in Russia were quickly assigned guard duty along segments of the railway between Vladivostok and Nikolsk-Ussuriski in the north and to operate the Trans-Siberian Railroad. The main objective was to secure over a billion dollars of military supplies and equipment placed along theTrans-Siberian Railroad for Russia before Russia withdrew from WWI. Some say the consequences of all this action was to poison East-West relations forever after and to contribute significantly to the origins of World War II and the later Cold War, Ralph (Roy) Picton was caught in the middle of the beginning of what later became the cold war with Russia and he was using the opportunity to mine gold in Siberia.

Ralph (Roy) George PICTON was born on February 22, 1890 in Vista, Nebraska. The 1900 US census shows him born in Nebraska, USA. His Father James Picton was listed living at Johnson County, Nebraska in a 1885 Nebraska census. James Picton married Jennie Richards [born October 1863. All their children are shown on the 1900 US census born in Nebraska.

JAMES PICTON, born 28 July 1855 at Gorsgandrill, St. Clears [Carmarthen, September 1855, 11a 540]. A picture of Gorsgandrill Farm, St. Clears, Carmarthenshire is shown in the above first gold mining story as the farm where Stephen Picton lived. He emigrated to Kansas and was living at Hiawatha in the 1870 Census, aged 14, taken on 1 June 1870. He was listed on the 1870 Federal Census for Irwin Township, Brown County, Kansas on page 603 of ID# KS01293222. He was living with his parents in the 1880 Census, aged 24. To view the 1900 US census, do not use their last name but use first names only, birth in Wales, birth year and living in Nebraska. James Picton married Jennie Richards [born October 1863 in the 1900 Census or 23 October 1863 according to her M.I. – a Jane Richards was born in the December Quarter of 1863, Carmarthen, December 1863, 11a 614, mother’s maiden name, Evans] on 25 May 1889 at Hiawatha, Kansas. An 1871Wales census shows her born at Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, Wales. She emigrated to America in March 1887. 1900 US Census shows her parents came in1887 and were living not that far from them. Jennie Picton died on 25 November 1901 at Pawnee County, Nebraska [Table Rock August, 5 December 1901]. James Picton was living at Findley, Douglas County, Missouri, in the 1910 Census, a widower and farmer aged 55. James Picton, aged 65, was listed with his sister, Phoebe Brooks, aged 62, at South 7th Street, Hiawatha, Brown County, Kansas on the 1920 census. James Picton died on 25 April 1926 at Hiawatha, Brown County, Kansas and buried in Hiawatha Cemetery, Hiawatha, KS, aged 70. Probate of his estate was granted on 25 June 1926 at Hiawatha, Kansas.

James Picton was married to Jennie RICHARDS in about 1888. Jennie RICHARDS was born on October 23, 1863 in Wales. She died on November 25, 1901 in Pawnee County, Nebraska, United States of America. She was buried in Hiawatha Cemetery, Hiawatha, Brown County, Kansas, United States of America.

DEATH OF MRS. JAMES PICTON (obituary writeup)

“Miss Jennie Richards was born in Langborne, Wales, October 23, 1863. Emigrated to the United States in March 1887, and was married to James Picton, May 25, 1889, at Hiawatha, Kansas. From thence she removed with her husband to Nebraska where was born unto them one son and five daughters all of who, are living to mourn her loss. Died November 25th; died in the Lord. She accepted Christ as her personal Savior when nineteen years of age and was baptized by Davies of Langborne. She lived a consistent and an active Christian life throughout. Was one of the truest and tenderest mothers. Buried in Hiawatha, Kansas, USA”

Brian Swann said: Jennie Richards does not exist in the birth indexes and neither does Langborne in Wales as a place-name. This is a mistype for Llan----- (?). I can only find one Jane Richards born in the December Quarter of 1863, so it may be worth gambling on her birth certificate. Her mother’s maiden name was Evans.

RALPH GEORGE (ROY) PICTON, born 22 February 1890 at Vista, Nebraska. The 1900 US census says he was born in Nebraska, USA. His Mother died in 1901 when he was eleven years old. The 1930 Census says he arrived in America in 1894. His father James Picton on the United States census as arriving in the United States in 1870. Ralph George Picton married Martha Gookoff [Gukova] (born 29 June 1897 at Orel, Russia) on 2 February 1920 at Vladivostok, Russia. He lived at Port Orchard, Kitsap County, Washington State, and had military service with the US Army in 1918 at Vladivostok, Russia.

1921 Ship Passenger List

for the Ralph Picton Family

Ralph (Roy) Picton was listed with his family departing on the ship Tenyo Maru on December 10, 1921 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. On 27 December 1921 the passenger list at San Francisco, California, shows the arrival of the Tenyo Maru from Yokohama, Japan. It shows Ralph Picton, aged 29 years and 4 months, his wife, Martha Picton, age 29 years and 4 months, and their daughter Daisy Picton, aged 6 months. All three were recorded as Canadian citizens with him born in Canada. His occupation was listed as Engineer (may mean he was a train Engineer because the US forces were quickly assigned guard duty along segments of the railway between Vladivostok and Nikolsk-Ussuriski in the north and to operate the Trans-Siberian Railroad or it could represent the military unit he was in). He, his wife Martha and daughter Daisy are shown as Aliens and last residence Siberia. Their last place of residence was recorded as Siberia and the address of nearest relative in that country was given as Cefanasia Gukova, #8 Glenoi Ougle, Vladivostok. Their final destination was recorded as Vancouver, Canada. He was listed with his family and accompanied by his sister Gertrude Picton arriving on December 27, 1921 in San Francisco, California, United States.

1923 Ruby Ship Passenger List

for the Ralph Picton Family

The family sailed from Ust-Kamchatka, Siberia, Russia on 13 September 1923 on the Gas Amer Ruby. He was listed arriving on October 16, 1923 in Seattle, King, Washington, United States on ship SS Ruby. They were passengers, and Ralph Picton, his wife and daughter were declared by the immigration authorities as Canadian citizens. Ralph Picton, his wife Martha and daughter Daisy listed last residence Russia. His occupation was listed as gold miner. Their last permanent residence was in Okhotsk. They were admitted by the Immigration Bureau on warrant proceedings - see files for full particulars [does this file survive (?) – National Archives asked on 16 January 2017]. They were proceeding onwards to stay at either Seattle or Black Diamond, Washington State. This may have been a ship charted by the Hudson Bay Company.[1]

Look above the Picton names and you will find John Norberg, occupation miner, Sweden. He became Martha's second husband.

The M.S. Ruby was probably chartered by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1923 and records for her exist in the Archives of Manitoba, which holds the Hudson’s Bay Archives. That may give a clue as to what the situation was in Kamchatka in 1923. Quote: “Archives of Manitoba, Hudson’s Bay Company, Vessels Department voyage records, 1922-1925. This series consists of inward and outward correspondence, telegrams, memoranda, reports, and charter parties created as a result of voyages to Kamchatka, Russia and Hudson Bay. The records were created by a variety of authors such as the Secretary and Accountant, and were accumulated by the Vessels Department within the Accounts Department in London. The records document voyages of the S.S. Baychimo, S.S. Bayeskimo, S.S Nascopie, M.K. Albert and M.S. Ruby and are arranged alphabetically by vessel. M.S. Ruby [Kamchatka voyage] – Voyage A. 107/5/1, 1923.” Brian Swann suggests we contact the Hudson Bay Company and ash for information on the shipRuby in 1923 which I understand they have.

Ralph (ROY) Picton was living at Seattle, King County, Washington State, in the 1930 Census, a building carpenter of Canada-English origin, aged 40. Also living with him was his wife, Martha Picton, a dressmaker aged 32. Ralph George Picton died on 29 February 1936, aged 46, and was buried at the Knights of Pythias Cemetery, Port Orchard, Kitsap County, Washington State. He was issued a death certification on February 29, 1936 in Washington state, USA.

Ralph (ROY) Picton married Martha GOOKOFF (GUKOVA) (daughter of Athanasy GUKOVA and Christine KOJICHENKOF) on February 2, 1920 in Vladivostok, Siberia, Russia. Her parents names were listed on the marriage certificate between Martha Picton and John Norberg. Ralph (Roy) and Martha Picton lived in Port Orchard, Washington. Martha GOOKOFF (GUKOVA) was born on June 29, 1897 in Orel, Russia. She was daughter of an Officer in the Russian Army who had been had been transferred to Vladivostok. There was a Schooner in the bay in Siberia named "Ruby" from Hudson Bay and it brought the family to the United States. It took three months. This was also the same time and ship"Ruby" which John Norberg in 1923 took with the Picton family in Siberia to Washington state. She died on May 10, 1984 in Port Orchard, Kitsap, Washington, United States. Someone said who was not an expert on Russian surnames but the masculine form could be Gukov (= Gookoff) and the feminine form Gukova.

Martha Picton remarried to John Norberg (1879-1958) on 31 January 1938 at Seattle, King County, Washington State. John Norberg was living at Long Lake, Kitsap County, Washington State, in the 1940 Census, aged 61, born in Sweden. Also living with him was his wife, Martha Norberg, aged 42, born in Russia. John Norberg died on 22 July 1958, aged 79, and was buried at Sunset Lane Memorial Park, Port Orchard, Kitsap County, Washington State. Martha Gookoff Norberg applied for US Citizenship on 1 July 1942. Martha Norberg died on 10 May 1984 at Bremerton, Kitsap County, Washington State, aged 86, and was buried at Sunset Lane Memorial Park, Port Orchard, Kitsap County, Washington State. Ralph (Roy) George PICTON and Martha GOOKOFF (GUKOVA)(GUKOVE) had the following children:

+2 i. Daisy Margaretta PICTON (born on May 31, 1921).

+3 ii. Katherine Martha PICTON (born on February 29, 1924).

4 iii. Victor Ralph PICTON was born on January 2, 1931 in Georgetown, Washington. He died on November 9, 1952 in Tacoma, Pierce, Washington, United States. Burial: Sunset cemetery, Port Orchard, Washington

VICTOR RALPH PICTON, born 2 January 1931 at Georgetown, Kitsap County, Washington State. He was living with his mother and step-father in the 1940 Census, aged 9. Victor Ralph Picton died on 9 November 1952 at Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington State, aged 21, and was buried at Sunset Cemetery, Port Orchard, Washington State.


2. Daisy Margaretta PICTON (Ralph (Roy) George-1) was born on May 31, 1921 in Okhotsk, Siberia, Russia. She died on July 18, 2015 in Dunedin, Pinellas County, Florida, United States of America. She was buried in Port Orchard, Kitsap County, Washington, United States of America. Consider she was born at Okhotsk. Okhotsk was of some military importance during the Russian Civil War, when the White Army generals Vasily Rakitin and Anatoly Pepelyayev used it as their place of arms in the Far East. DAISY MARGARETTA PICTON, said “In 1923 my parents were mining for gold in Okhotsk, Siberia, when the Red Army came down from the hills and shot all the White Russians along the waterfront. Somehow my parents and I escaped into a rowing boat along with several others. There was a schooner in the bay called the Ruby from Hudson Bay, and it brought the family to the USA three months later”.

Daisy Picton was declared to be 4 months old on 16 October 1923 Ruby ship passenger list at the Seattle border on entering the United States. Her grandfather was A. Gukova, living at Vladivostok, Russia. She was declared to be in the USA from December 1921 to April 1922 at San Francisco and Seattle. She sailed on the S.S. Ruby from Unalaska, the largest of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. She was living with her parents at Seattle in the 1930 Census, aged 8, born in Russia. Daisy Margaretta Picton married (1) Graydon Charles Gaudy on 28 October 1939 at Annapolis, Washington State. He was born on 21 September 1915 at Brackendale, Canada, and entered America for permanent residence on 17 May 1918. Graydon Charles Gaudy, aged 24, was living with his mother, Grace L. Gaudy, aged 53, together with his wife, Marguerite Gaudy, aged 18, born in Siberia, in the 1940 Census at Port Orchard, Kitsap County, Washington State. She applied for US Citizenship on 22 January 1943 [Seattle Petitions, Vol. 139, No. 35666, 1943]. She was then living at R.#1, Redmond, King County, Washington State. Daisy Margaretta Gaudy married (2) Everett Johnson Dow (1916-2000) on 29 June 1946 at Port Orchard, Washington State. She had a son by her first marriage and two by her second. Everett Johnson Dow died on 30 March 2000 at Dunedin, Pinellas County, Florida, aged 86. Daisy Dow was buried at the Knights of Pythias Cemetery, Port Orchard, Kitsap County, Washington State, aged 86.

She was married to Graydon Charles GAUDY on October 29, 1939 in Annapolis, Washington. Graydon Charles GAUDY was born on September 21, 1915 in Brackendale, British Columbia, Canada. He died on December 2, 2007 in Cottonwood, Yavapai, Arizona, USA. Daisy Margaretta PICTON and Graydon Charles GAUDY had the following children:

+7 i. Anthony Charles GAUDY

She was married second to Everett Johnson DOW on June 29, 1946 in Port Orchard, Washington. Everett Johnson DOW was born on November 15, 1916 in Garden City, South Dakota. He died on March 30, 2000 in Dunedin, Pinellas County, Florida. He was buried in Knights of Pythias Cemetery, Port Orchard, Kitsap County, Washington State. Daisy Margaretta PICTON and Everett Johnson DOW had the following children:

5 i. Paul Myron DOW

6 ii. Milton Charles DOW was born on June 1, 1949 in Oakland, Alameda, California, USA. He died on December 29, 1978 in Alameda, California, USA. MILTON CHARLES DOW, born 1 June 1949 at Oakland, Alameda County, California. Milton Charles Dow died on 29 December 1978 at Alameda County, California, aged 29, and was buried at the Knights of Pythias Cemetery, Port Orchard, Kitsap County, Washington State.

3. Katherine Martha PICTON (Ralph (Roy) George-1) was born on February 29, 1924 in Black Diamond, Washington. She died on December 1, 2004 in San Rafael, Marin. California, USA. She was listed in obituary in Marin Independent Journal on December 5, 2004 in Novato, California, USA. She was living with her parents at Seattle in the 1930 Census, aged 6, born in Washington State. She was living with her mother and step-father in the 1940 Census, aged 16. Katherine Martha Picton married Frank Joseph Kucher (born 5 September 1922 at Douglas, Arizona) on 2 January 1943 at San Rafael, California. Frank Kucher died in January 1977 at San Rafael, Marin County, California. Katherine Martha Kucher died on 1 December 2004 at San Rafael, Marin County, California, aged 80. Frank and Katherine Kucher had two sons and two daughters:

She was married to Frank Joseph KUCHER on January 2, 1943 in Bremerton, Washington. Frank Joseph KUCHER was born on September 5, 1922 in Douglas, Arizona. He died in January 1977 in San Rafael, Marin County, California. Katherine Martha PICTON and Frank Joseph KUCHER had the following children:

8 i. Glenn Lee KUCHER was born on July 31, 1950 in Los Angeles, California. He died on January 1, 1981 in Marin, California, USA.

9 ii. Douglas Wade M KUCHER was born on May 10, 1952 in Los Angeles, California. He died on June 22, 1952.

+10 iii. Gail Lynn KUCHER .

11 iv. Lauren Gaye KUCHER was born on August 25, 1956 in Los Angeles, California. She died on December 2016.

There are several "find a graves" for Ralph Picton. They all have the same place, birth and death dates. This one says he was born in Nebraska and lists some of his sisters. Others say he was born in Canada.


Question 1, why does he say he was born in Canada on the two ship manifest and the 1930 census unless he was trying to hide something?

Question 2, why did they return to Siberia, Russia after leaving in 1921?

Question 3, the last American troops left April 1, 1920, why was Ralph Picton still able to be in Russia?

Siberia and Russia History

"Severely short of troops to spare, the British and French requested that President Wilson provide American soldiers for the Russian campaign on the Pacific Coast side of Russia. In July 1918, against the advice of the United States Department of War, Wilson agreed to the limited participation of 5,000 United States Army troops in the campaign. This force, which became known as the "American North Russia Expeditionary Force"[15] (a.k.a. the Polar Bear Expedition) were sent to Arkhangelsk while another 8,000 soldiers, organised as the American Expeditionary Force Siberia,[16] were shipped to Vladivostok from the Philippines and from Camp Fremont in California. The American Expeditionary Force Siberia (AEF Siberia) was a United States Army force that was involved in the Russian Civil War in Vladivostok, Russian Empire, during the end of World War I after the October Revolution, from 1918 to 1920.


William S. Graves was pleased as summer 1918 began. He had just been promoted to major general and assigned command of the U.S. Army's Eighth Division, which would soon go to France to fight the Germans in the Great War. On August 2, however, Graves got a specially coded message at Camp Fremont in California, ordering him to a meeting in Kansas City.

The next evening, he was met at the Kansas City train station by Secretary of War Newton Baker, who informed Graves that his career was taking a new turn.

President Woodrow Wilson had decided that the United States, still at war in Europe, must intervene in another part of the world to protect its investments. It had nearly a billion dollars' worth of American guns and equipment strewn along a segment of the Trans-Siberian Railway between Vladivostok and Nikolsk. Although General Graves did not arrive in Siberia until September 4, 1918, some American troops had arrived as early as August 15, 1918, and quickly took up guard duty along segments of the railway between Vladivostok and Nikolsk in the north.

The American Expeditionary Force Siberia was commanded by Major General William S. Graves and eventually totaled 7,950 officers and enlisted men. The AEF Siberia included the U.S. Army's 27th and 31st Infantry Regiments, plus large numbers of volunteers from the 12th Infantry Regiments, 13th, and 62nd Infantry Regiments of the 8th Division, Graves' former division command.[2] Although General Graves did not arrive in Siberia until September 4, 1918, the first 3,000 American troops disembarked in Vladivostok between August 15 and August 21, 1918. They were quickly assigned guard duty along segments of the railway between Vladivostok and Nikolsk-Ussuriski in the north.[3] To operate the Trans-Siberian Railroad the Russian Railway Service Corps was formed of US personnel. The experience in Siberia for the soldiers was miserable. Problems with fuel, ammunition, supplies and food were widespread. Horses accustomed to temperate climates were unable to function in sub-zero Russia. Water-cooled machine guns froze and became useless.

The last American soldiers left Siberia on April 1, 1920. During their 19 months in Siberia, 189 soldiers of the American Expeditionary Force Siberia died from all causes. As a comparison, the smaller American North Russia Expeditionary Force experienced 235 deaths from all causes during their 9 months of fighting near Arkhangelsk.

That same month, the Canadian government agreed to the British government's request to command and provide most of the soldiers for a combined British Empire force, which also included Australian and Indian troops. Some of this force was the Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force; another part was the North Russia Intervention."

"The Japanese, concerned about their northern border, sent the largest military force, numbering about 70,000. They desired the establishment of a buffer state in Siberia,[17] and the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff viewed the situation in Russia as an opportunity for settling Japan's "northern problem". The Japanese government was also intensely hostile to communism."

"The joint Allied intervention began in August 1918.[17] The Japanese entered through Vladivostok and points along the China–Russia border with more than 70,000 troops eventually being deployed. The Japanese were joined by British[39] and later American, Canadian, French, and Italian troops. Elements of the Czechoslovak Legion[40] that had reached Vladivostok, greeted the allied forces. The Americans deployed the 27th Infantry and 31st Infantry regiments out of the Philippines, plus elements of the 12th, 13th and 62nd Infantry Regiments out of Camp Fremont.[41]"

"The Japanese were expected to send only around 7,000 troops for the expedition, but by the end of their involvement in Siberia had deployed 70,000. The deployment of such a large force for a rescue operation made the Allies wary of Japanese intentions.[42] On September 5, the Japanese linked up with the vanguard of the Czech Legion,[42] a few days later the British, Italian and French contingents joined the Czechs in an effort to re-establish the Eastern Front beyond the Urals; as a result the European allies trekked westward.[42] The Canadians largely remained in Vladivostok for the duration. The Japanese, with their own objectives in mind, refused to proceed west of Lake Baikal.[42] The Americans, suspicious of Japanese intentions, also stayed behind to keep an eye on them.[42] By November, the Japanese occupied all ports and major towns in the Russian Maritime Provinces and Siberia east of the city of Chita"

"The Allies withdrew in 1920. The Japanese stayed in the Maritime Provinces of the Russian Far East until 1922 and in northern Sakhalin until 1925,[23] when the Red Army's military success forced Japan's withdrawal from Russia."


[1] Archives of Manitoba, Hudson’s Bay Company, Vessels Department voyage records, 1922-1925. This series consists of inward and outward correspondence, telegrams, memoranda, reports, and charter parties created as a result of voyages to Kamchatka, Russia and Hudson Bay. The records were created by a variety of authors such as the Secretary and Accountant, and were accumulated by the Vessels Department within the Accounts Department in London. The records document voyages of the S.S. Baychimo, S.S. Bayeskimo, S.S Nascopie, M.K. Albert and M.S. Ruby and are arranged alphabetically by vessel. M.S. Ruby [Kamchatka voyage] – Voyage A. 107/5/1, 1923.

[2] The Yakut revolt or the Yakut expedition was the last episode of the Russian Civil War. The hostilities took place between September 1921 and June 1923 and were centred on the Ayano-Maysky District of the Russian Far East. A formidable rising flared up in this part of Yakutia in September 1921. About 200 White Russians were led by Cornet Mikhail Korobeinikov. In March 1922 they established the Provisional Yakut Regional People’s Government in Churapcha. On 23 March 1922 Korobeiniko’'s “Yakut People's Army,” armed with six machine guns, took the major town of Yakutsk. The Red Army garrison was decimated.

In April 1922, the White Russians contacted the Provisional Priamurye Government in Vladivostok, asking for help. On 27 April 1922, the Soviets declared the Yakut ASSR and sent an expedition to put down the uprising. In summer 1922, the Whites were ousted from Yakutsk and withdrew to the Pacific coast. They occupied the port towns of Okhotsk and Ayan and again asked Vladivostok for reinforcements.

On 30 August 1922, the Pacific Ocean Fleet, manned by about 750 volunteers under Lieutenant General Anatoly Pepelyayev, sailed from Vladivostok to assist the White Russians. Three days later, this force disembarked in Ayan and moved upon Yakutsk. By the end of October, when Pepelyayev occupied the locality of Nelkan, he learned that the Bolsheviks had wrested Vladivostok from the White Army and the Civil War was over.

When the Soviet Union was formed on 31 December 1922, the only Russian territory still controlled by the White Movement was the region of the Pepelyayevshchina ("????????????") that is Ayan, Okhotsk, and Nelkan. A unit of Bolsheviks under Ivan Strod was sent against Pepelyayev in February 1923. On 12 February 1923, they defeated the Pepelyayevists near Sasyl-Sasyg; in March the White Army was ousted from Amga.

On 24 April 1923 the ships Stavropol and Indigirka sailed from Vladivostok for Ayan. They contained a contingent of the Red Army under Stepan Vostretsov. Upon his arrival in Ayan on 6 April 1923, Vostretsov learnt that Pepelyayev had evacuated to Nelkan. The remainder of the White Army were defeated near Okhotsk on 6 June 1923 and near Ayan on 16 June 1923. The general, 103 White officers, and 230 soldiers were taken prisoner and transported to Vladivostok.

The early 20th century was a time of geological exploration in Kamchatka. Under the cover of the Russian North-Eastern Siberian Society, a large US syndicate handled the riches of Chukotka in 1902-1910. The Americans set up a gold mine on one of the tributaries of the Volch’ya River – the Zolotoy (‘Golden’) Range. In 1906-1908 they extracted about 160 kg of gold, shipped it to Alaska and sold it to a US bank. In 1912, after the work of the North-Eastern Siberian Society stopped, the Russian Geological Committee sent an expedition under P. Polevoy to the Anadyr basin. He described the Volch’ya region and studied coal seams near the Aadyr estuary.

At the beginning of March 1917, Novo-Mariinsk received the news of the February Revolution. On 8 March 1917 the town elected the uyezd (‘district’) public safety committee with Asarevich, the radio-station chief, as its head. But before long a new committee chairman was elected – P. Kashirin, who was more active and pro-revolutionary. After Kashirin’s departure to Petropavlovsk, the leadership was overthrown by merchants, who brought in their own policies. The supply of food and goods was handed over to US trading companies, and there was money to be made. An American merchant called Olaf Svenson, recommended as a supplier, imported $58,000 dollars worth of merchandise into Chukotka in 1917 – equivalent to several million dollars worth today.

On learning of the October Revolution in 1918, the authorities changed their name from ‘district council’ to ‘peoples’ government’ but kept up their old ways. The territories of the Far East came under the administration of Admiral Kolchak. But in the summer of 1919 two envoys from the Communist Party arrived in Novo-Mariinsk; on 16 December 1919 the Kolchak government was arrested, and Revkom (‘revolutionary committee’) took power. But then, on 31 January 1920, the merchants staged a counter-revolutionary coup, and in February 1920 the Revkom members were executed. Markovo council carried on the Soviet bid for power under the Chuvan F. Dyachkov and V. Chekmarev. On 1 August 1920 the Anadyr regional executive committee was elected; on 6 January 1921 it became the ‘People’s Revkom’. On 31 May 1923 the District Commander M. Volsky announced the opposition in Chukotka had finally been liquidated.

However, Chukotka’s economy was in trouble. Private companies, such as Churin or Kunst and Alberts, had stopped trading. Imports had ceased. In 1923 the far Eastern Revkom engaged the Hudson Bay Company, a British concern, to supply Chukotka; but they failed to fulfil the contract and were sacked a year later [Guidebook to Chuktoka, 1st Edition, 2006].

For more information on this part of Russia, go to: "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Russia_Intervention".


In April 1920, Vladivostok came under the formal governance of the Far Eastern Republic, a Soviet-backed buffer state between the Soviets and Japan. Vladivostok then became the capital of the Japanese-backed Provisional Priamurye Government, created after a White Army coup in the city in May 1921. The withdrawal of Japanese forces in October 1922 spelled the end of the enclave, with Ieronim Uborevich's Red Army taking the city on October 25, 1922.


The Far Eastern Republic was established in the aftermath of the Russian Civil War. During the Civil War local authorities generally controlled the towns and cities of the Russian Far East, cooperating to a greater or lesser extent with the White Siberian government of Alexander Kolchak and with the succeeding invading forces of the Japanese Army. When the Japanese evacuated the Trans-Baikal and Amur oblasts in the spring of 1920, a political vacuum resulted.

A new central authority was established at Chita to govern the Far Eastern Republic remaining in the Japanese wake.[1] The Far Eastern Republic was established comprising only the area around Verkhne-Udinsk, but during the summer of 1920, the Soviet government of the Amur territory agreed to join.

The Far Eastern Republic was formed two months after Kolchak's death with the tacit support of the government of Soviet Russia, which saw it as a temporary buffer state between the RSFSR and the territories occupied by Japan.[2] Many members of the Russian Communist Party had disagreed with the decision to allow a new government in the region, believing that their approximately 4,000 members were capable of seizing power in their own right.[3] However, Vladimir Lenin and other party leaders in Moscow felt that the approximately 70,000 Japanese and 12,000 American troops might regard such an action as a provocation, which might spur a further attack that the Soviet Republic could ill afford.[3]

On 1 April 1920, American forces headed by General William S. Graves departed Siberia, leaving the Japanese the sole occupying power in the region with whom the Bolsheviks were forced to deal.[4] This detail did not change the basic equation for the Bolshevik government in Moscow, however, which continued to see the establishment of a Far Eastern Republic as a sort of Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in the east, providing the regime with a necessary breathing space that would allow it to recover economically and militarily.[5]


Canfield F. Smith, Vladivostok Under Red and White Rule: Revolution and Counterrevolution in the Russian Far East, 1920–1922. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1975.

Jamie Bisher, White Terror: Cossack Warlords of the Trans-Siberian. Routledge, 2005. ISBN 9780714656908.

John Albert White, The Siberian Intervention. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1950.

Richard K. Debo, Survival and Consolidation: The Foreign Policy of Soviet Russia, 1918–1921. Montreal/Kingston: McGill-Queen's Press, 1992. ISBN 9780773562851.



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