Alaskan author and historian Laurel Downing Bill shares a post, Alaska’s 1st Sourdough Governor, about the man who was Governor of the Territory of Alaska during the 1935 Matanuska Colony Project. Author of the “Aunt Phil’s Trunk” Alaska history series, she writes of Troy stating: “‘The success being worked out through the Matanuska Colonization Project has added a promising outlook for the Territory. Not only has it added to the population in the vicinity of the Matanuska Valley and along the Alaska Railroad, but it has caused the people in other districts to become agricultural minded … I believe that agricultural colonization should be carried further with the establishment of more colonies in other parts of Alaska,’ he said.”
Born in Dungeness, Washington, a small town on the Olympic Peninsula near Puget Sound, on October 31, 1868, the young John Troy became a reporter for his uncle’s newspaper, the Port Townsend Argus, and later published and edited his own paper, the Port Angeles Weekly Democratic Leader. He served as a Deputy County Auditor, Deputy County Clerk. In 1897 he went to Alaska to report on the gold rush for a Seattle newspaper, also becoming manager of a Skagway pack train service. While living in Skagway he developed polio, and returned to Washington for treatment, but the effects of the illness dictated he would use a cane for the rest of his life.
John Troy served as the twelfth governor of the Territory of Alaska until 1939, when he resigned due to ill health. He lived in Juneau until his death in 1942, and is buried in Juneau. There is a Matanuska Valley subdivision road named for him, E. Governor John Troy Avenue, located north and west of Palmer, off the Palmer Fishhook Road.