UA Journey

1917-1921 Dr. Louis Scott Keller

Skagway

Louis Scott Keller was born on October 6, 1860 in St. Paul, Minnesota to John Michael and Annice Elizabeth Scott Keller. He was one of the eight surviving children of the Kellers who have ties to the early development of the city of St. Paul and own and ran a successful lumber business. After John’s death in 1879, his wife and son, Charles Edward, ran the company.

Louis grew up and began practicing dentistry in St. Paul. From 1880-1886 he began operating the lumber yard of his family’s lumber business, “C.E. Keller & Co.” in Grand Forks DT (Dakota Territory) and later became the foreman in the St. Paul lumber yard. He continued his dentistry practice in Minnesota and Montana until 1891.

On May 11, 1890, Louis married Matilda (Martha) B. Schafer in St. Croix, Wisconsin.

In 1891-1897 Louis practiced dentistry in Pocatello, Idaho; he was elected to the Idaho state senate as a Republican.

Keller left Idaho and went north to Skagway, AK. He arrived in Alaska on January 1898 and Martha arrived later on September 1898. John Michael Keller Jr. and his wife came up north but there is no record when they arrive to Skagway.

The brothers establish the Daily Alaskan in 1898 with Louis as publisher and John as business manager. The paper became the strongest editorial voices in the territory. By 1912 the brothers proudly boasted the paper being the oldest daily paper still being published, without ever suspending publication. Along with the paper, the Kellers made a profitable livelihood from their respective dental practices, in an area extending from Carcross, Y.T. to Haines and Sitka. They also operated Skagway’s only drugstore, which included a wide variety of non-pharmaceutical merchandise. John Keller took over editorial reins of the paper in 1914, and was editor for the next three years.

On September 14, 1901/02, a man attempts to rob the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce branch on Fifth and blows himself up by accident, along with cash and gold dust, some of which is recovered after mining the street. The man was never identified. Dentist Louis Keller ends up with the skull. The skull was later acquired for a museum sometime around 1915-1917.

In 1917 Louis Keller was appointed to the board of trustees of the Alaska Agricultural College & School of Mines by Governor Strong. He did not attend any board meetings and resigned in October 1921. Robert Lavery was appointed to take his place on the board.

Louis Scott Keller died of throat cancer in Seattle on November 30, 1922. His widow continued publishing the paper until July 1924 when she sold the paper to the Alaska Native Brotherhood.


Links:

For more information about the Keller family click here.

Sources:

BOR file