The Bear and the Northland

Legendary Coast Guard Cutters in the Alaskan Ice

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About the Book

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the U.S. Coast Guard served as the Alaskan 911. Known then as simply the Revenue Cutter Service, it was comprised of skilled navigators, judges and law enforcement specialists tasked with preventing the frontier from descending into anarchy, and securing its status as a “cash cow” for the mainland states.
This is the history of the early U.S. Coast Guard, with special focus on its former whalers-turned-cutters, the Bear and the Northland, and their voyages along the coast of Alaska, Hawaii and Greenland. Following the two vessels through history, chapters detail the diverse responsibilities that the “Coasties” had to face at the time, including capturing seal poachers and pirates, delivering babies, pulling natives’ teeth and even engaging in combat with a German warship.

About the Author(s)

Arthur G. Sharp is a Sun City Center, Florida-based writer/editor whose publications include 21 books and more than 2,500 articles on a variety of topics.

Bibliographic Details

Arthur G. Sharp
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 221
Bibliographic Info: 25 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9211-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4976-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction—The Bear and the Northland: The “911s” of the North 3
1—Semper Paratus, Bert Rankin 11
2—Captain, My Captain 15
3—Reindeer Rustlers 21
4—Do Bears Have Tales? 33
5—The Bizarre ­Court-Martial of Captain Healey 39
6—The Bear May Have Been a Ship,
but There Was Railroading Afloat 45
7—Impeach Hamlin and Convict Healey 53
8—The Fallout Hurts More than Healey 60
9—Ellsworth P. Bertholf, the Santa Claus of the Coast Guard 65
10—A Unique Partnership 73
11—Providing Provisions 80
12—Relief at Point Barrow 86
13—1900—A Year of Death, Disease, and Devotion 92
14—The Bear Takes a Hawaiian Vacation 100
15—The Bear Rides the Waves to Bust a Crime Wave 106
16—The Only Ship the Bering Patrol Lost 112
17—Judge Not, Lest Ye Be “Thurbered” 116
18—A Lieutenant Makes a Major Discovery 121
19—Healey and His Counterparts Share a Conundrum 126
20—Sailing on the “Inconsistent Sea” 132
21—Five Killed, a Dozen Captured 138
22—A Seemingly Hopeless Task 145
23—The Bear and the Karluk 151
24—The Bear and the Explorers 155
25—The Bear Goes into Hibernation 162
26—The Great Walrus Hunt 169
27—Routine, but Challenging 174
28—Sailing Toward War 181
29—World War II’s Weirdest Battle 186
Epilogue: The Bear Goes to the Bottom; the Northland Ends Life on the Scrap Heap 192
Appendix A—Technical Specifications/Features (the Northland) 195
Appendix B—How The Call Has Outfitted the Bear 197
Chapter Notes 199
Bibliography 205
Index 209