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Jack Farnsworth digging a well at the Farnsworth house site, Soldotna 1949

Jack Farnsworth digging a well at the Farnsworth house site. Shown is the 4 x 4 frame which became the crib. This was necessary to keep gravel and sand material from caving in on the digger. Although Jack opened the hole, after about 8 feet the homesteader's spouse, Dolly, often was sequestered for the task. She was the slighter of the two, and thus less material would have to be removed, and drawing up the five gallons of gravel from 20 feet below was muscle work. The size of the hole was approximately 3.5 x 3.5, enough for a sawed-off shovel (a shortened clam shovel was good), a coffee can for scooping, a five-gallon bucket, and the always hopeful digger. Water was found typically between 18 and 27 feet. Marge Mullen and Dee Stock were other women well-diggers. Both Dolly and Dee tell of their husbands at the top, pulling the filled bucket up, until visitors arrive; the men then temporarily abandoned their wives and went off for a beer or a smoke--not admitting that their better halves were some feet down!


Jack Farnsworth


Mullen Collection


Soldotna, Alaska




Dolly Farnsworth

Image Type

B&W photo





Identified By

Marge Mullen

Date Cataloged


Archive Location

KPC Anthropology Lab

Use Agreement and Restrictions

All of the photographs in this collection are for personal, educational, or research use only. These images cannot be used for political, commercial, or advertising purposes. At the present time the college does not have the capabilities to reproduce prints from the image scans. For technical inquiries, or to report errors, please contact