Life From the Sea (Part IV)
By the middle of the 1850s, Russia was running out of otters and seals for furs. The British and French were threatening the coast of Russia, and the Russian government decided they couldn't defend Alaska as well.
In October of 1867, Secretary of State William H. Seward reached an agreement with the Russian envoy Eduard de Stoeckl to purchase the Alaska territory for $7.2 million.
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The Blue Fox Era
With otter and seal fur harvesting curtailed, fox trapping became a source of income in the Aleutian Islands. Most trapping was done on unoccupied islands where the entire island was the "farm." The fox were trapped by the men running trap lines across the island.
Sea Change in Education
There had been a school in Unalaska on and off since 1825. The first one was run by the Russian Orthodox clergy; subsequent schools were run by the Russian-American and Alaska Commercial Companies. Unalaska's first public school opened in 1885.
In 1890, Reverend Dr. Sheldon Jackson, the first special agent for education in Alaska, collaborated with the Methodist Episcopal Church and opened the Jesse Lee Home for orphans.