Murder Cove, Admiralty Island

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Murder Cove is an embayment, 0.7 miles (1.2 km) across, on the southern tip of Admiralty Island, about 11 miles (18 km) southeast of Baranof, Alaska. It was named by Commander R.W. Meade, of the U.S. Navy, in 1869 because according to Meade "traders occasionally anchor here and one small party, while asleep on the beach, were murdered by natives, their boat rifled and bodies left to be destroyed by wild animals".

Meade was a distinguished veteran of the American Civil War, and his post-Civil War career marked him as one of the Navy's most prominent reformist and technologically minded officers. Among other positions, he was promoted to Commander and served along the Alaskan coast as Commanding Officer of the steamer USS Saginaw. Historical records document the incident referred to by Meade. Two gold prospectors were killed in Murder Cove by Tlingits in 1869 in revenge for the killing of two Kake tribesmen. In retaliation the USS Saginaw destroyed three villages near present-day Kake, Alaska.

The Tyee Whaling Company established the first shore whaling station in Alaska here in 1907. The company had the first American built steam powered whale chaser, the Tyee Junior, 97 feet (30 m) long, whose equipment included a harpoon gun mounted on the bow. Whales were killed, towed to the station, butchered on a ramp, then the blubber was rendered into oil, and the remains ground into dog food or fertilizer. A declining catch and the sinking of the company's gas powered schooner by a wounded whale ended the operation in 1913. Read more here and here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore Murder Cove.


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