Wednesday, September 2, 2015

What was the equivalent of counties in Alaska before boroughs were created at statehood?

Prior to the creation of boroughs, it seems that there really wasn’t anything analogous to counties in Alaska, but perhaps the closest things were judicial districts. There were three, and later four, judicial districts, and they did take care of some administration responsibilities for their areas. You can find more information on this at the Alaska History and Cultural Studies website, at http://www.akhistorycourse.org/articles/article.php?artID=170.

Melville C. Brown was the first judge of the Division No. 1 district, which covered southeast Alaska. Alaska State Library - Historical Collections, Brown-Melville-C.
Arthur H. Noyes was the first judge of the Division No. 2 district for western Alaska. Noyes used his position to jump claims and was removed from the judgeship in 1902. Alaska State Library - Historical Collections, Noyes-Arthur-H-1.

James Wickersham, who later went on to be Alaska's congressional delegate, was the first judge of the Division No. 3 district for interior and southcentral Alaska. This district was later divided into two separate districts. Alaska
State Library - Historical Collections, ASL-Wickersham-James-1.

As mentioned, there are currently four judicial districts. You can find them listed, with the courts located within each, at http://courts.alaska.gov/trialcourts/trialcts.htm#locations.

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