JOHN IS THE GREAT-GRANDSON OF GEORGE CHEEVER AND HATTIE POTTER HAZELET
“In the 1940’s and 50’s families didn’t discuss family history very much. In the aftermath of World War II the nation was too busy rebuilding itself to spend time reminiscing about the past. Men and women were rebuilding their post-war careers, starting their post-war families, refocusing their energies on growing this great country. The “Greatest Generation” were quiet doers that just didn’t brag much after that War. It was a time to move forward.
“All my life I’d heard stories of my great-grandfather and his Alaska adventures but never really paid much attention to it until I was older and my mother and father encouraged me to travel with them to Seattle for a family shareholders meeting of The Port Valdez Company in July of 1996. The more I learned about the family business, the more I wanted to know. Who was this man and what drove him to leave his family, friends and a secure life as a small town teacher and entrepreneur to explore the unknown—to travel to Alaska seeking a fortune in gold?
“Slowly, I came to realize that this journal wasn’t so much about one man’s journey but rather the journey of a nation at the crossroads of the century. This is my great-grandfather’s remarkable story, yes, but it was a story writ large across the west and up into the truly unmapped frontiers of Alaska. I found the answers to my questions but I also found an America I knew so little about and a national legacy that lives on today.”
John Clark received a BA in Fine Arts degree from the University of New Mexico and successfully built and ran a printing and manufacturing company located in Louisville, Kentucky for 27 years. Today, Clark is the president of The Port Valdez Company, which traces its land holdings to George Cheever Hazelet and his partner Andrew Jackson Meals original scripting of 720 acres in Valdez. He also is the founder of Old Stone Press. He and his wife Gretchen live in Louisville.