FOR AT least a hundred years before the advent of the white race the Arctic Koyukuk was largely a no-man's land. The settlements of the Indians extended only up the main river for a short distance above the mouth of the South Fork. The Eskimos did not live in the region at all, but came across from the Kobuk and Noatak Rivers and over the low passes from the Arctic, to hunt and fish in the watersheds of the Alatna and John Rivers. But, in spite of these minor invasions, the greater portion of this 15,000-square-mile territory was as untraveled as it had been when it was buried under the last ice sheet.
The first white men to enter the Arctic Koyukuk were Lieutenant Henry T. Allen and Private Fred Fickett of the U. S. Army. Allen, later nationally famous as the commander of the Ninetieth Division of the United States Army in the World War, and internationally admired for his humane and tactful administration of the duties of commander of the American Army of Occupation in Germany after the War, had been commissioned to make an exploration of the almost unknown interior of Alaska. During the course of a 2,200 mile wilderness journey he reached in August 1885 a place about five miles above the mouth of the John River. Upon his return to the United States he made a remarkably accurate