However, before diving into Alaska, Ost quickly married his sweetheart, Ruth Elin Hallfrom Ashland, Wisconsin, whom he had met while he was doing an internship the summer of 1908. They were married on July 14, 1910.
Evald and Ruth were married for “
A few days later, the newlyweds were on their way to Alaska.Arriving in Golovin, Ost took over for O.P. Anderson who had taken over for P.H.Anderson. Interestingly, Paul H. Anderson left the Mission to pursue riches in gold, while O.P.Anderson came to Alaska to pursue gold, but gave it up to join the Mission. P.H. Andersonwould strike it rich, but was soon entangled in a very messy legal battle with the Covenantchurch which essentially robbed the Alaska mission of money that should have gone to them andinstead went to the Lower 48. According to Schroder,
“Serious discord had arisen in the
American Covenant because of missionaries becoming involved in the gold business.
Certainly claims that P.H. Anderson had molested and Eskimo girl did not help the situation.O.P. Anderson, on the other hand went on to marry a skilled nurse, Amanda Johnsson andtogether they managed the Golovin mission station with great faith from 1901-1910.Thankfully, Ost was also not alone in Golovin to manage the church, the reindeer, and theorphanage. Fortunately, a training teacher and nurse, Anna Hadberg and Mary Westdahl werealready at work when Ost arrived and
were always ready f
or other duties.”
Interestingly, even after 23 years of Covenant ministry, Ost noted in 1910 that “
the people in the most isolated villages were still devotees of
the primeval „shaman religion.‟”
Osthad his work cut out for him. Of course Ost first had to try to break down the language barrier between himself and the Eskimo. However, Ost devoted himself to the task as Schroder reports:
“Like most of the mission workers in the early years, Grandpa Ost soon learned enough of the
language of the Eskimos to carry on simple conversations with them. All of Ost's eight children
also learned the Eskimo language more or less well … It was more important for the Ost children
to understand the language of the aboriginal population than to try to learn Swedish
During their early years as a family, Ost was known to bring home odd pets for hischildren. On one occasion Ost brought home 2 baby porcupines, although
“One of them died but
the other became for several months the pet of the whole family
Another pet was a goat that
for three years “
was a member of the family just like any of the others.
Ost also tells a storyof bringing home a crane one time even.From the beginning of his service, Ost always placed a very high value on the Eskimo inchurch leadership. Of course, Ost inherited the tradition of the Alaska Covenant in this area.Speaking of the founding of the Golovin mission, Schroder writes;
he spring of 1892 AugustAndersson went up to Golovin in a little sailing schooner from Unalakleet. He had StephenIvanoff with him, one of the first Eskimo workers.
Later, Schroder also write of Ivanoff;
“Stephen Ivanoff was August Andersson's right ha
nd man on many occasions on his travels inthe villages.
Schroder also listed several other Eskimos that were invaluable to the church:
“Frank and Misha Kamaroff, Andrew Kakorin, the siblings Misha and Kaitcha Ivanoff,
Fred Walker, Peter and Dora Egelak, Samuel Anarick, and David Paniptchuk were other Eskimos that the Swedish missionaries could hardly have done without in the building of
At a later period others joined as established Eskimo workers, such as JuliusPleasant, Paren Wilson and Minnie Gonongnan, Reuben and Katherine Paniptchuk,