Chinook disappears on Byrd's Antarctic Expedition on his 12th birthday

(Editor's  note: This is the second of a three-part series on Chinooks in honor of the breed's 100th anniversary.)


TAMWORTH — Arthur Walden, the one-time freight dog handler during the Alaskan Gold Rush, had reached new heights after returning to Kate Sleeper's Wonalancet Farm and Inn in 1902 and marrying Sleeper. He had successfully started a new line of dogs, known as Chinooks, and had gained fame as a sled dog racer and became the first president of the New England Sled Dog Club in 1924.
But, after his team of Chinook dogs proved no match for Leonhard Seppala's Siberian Huskies in a race in January of 1927 in Poland Spring, Maine, Walden went seeking his next adventure. He and his wife had brought electricity and telephone service to Wonalancet and the first hydroelectric dam to Carroll County. Despite his achievements, the bug of exploration was still strong in Walden according to Rick Skoglund, owner of the Perry Greene Kennels in Waldoboro Maine, where the Chinook breed was kept alive.
Skoglund writes, "When hearing about the imminent Byrd Antarctic Expedition, Walden applied, though at age 56 was over the maximum age. He was given the duties of lead driver and trainer of all the dogs to be used on the expedition. Walden was also assigned to lead the three men, Norman Vaughan, Freddie Crockett and Eddie Goodale, who helped with the dog teams. Dogs were obtained and sent to Walden's home in New Hampshire. During the winter months of late 1927 and early 1928, dogs and drivers were assembled at Walden's Wonalancet Farm, and training began. Winter survival gear was also evaluated there, in the harsh conditions of New Hampshire's White Mountains.Together the drivers worked for one year training dogs and testing tents and supplies. By this time Chinook was nearing his 12th birthday."
Of the 100 dogs trained for the expedition, half of them were sired by Chinook.
"When the expedition reached the shore of Antarctica in late 1928, there remained little time to unload the ships and prepare a safe living area for the men for the next year before winter set in. All the dogs were worked beyond capacity. Walden's dog teams broke records during that time for amount of loads carried as well as the weight of each load. Admiral Byrd wrote 'Walden's team was the backbone of our transport." When needed, Chinook was put into harness for his help. It was shortly afterwards that Chinook was lost. Many speculated that he left the camp and wandered off, knowing he was dying. Another story speculated that he befell a grave accident, fell into a crevasse and died. In any case, Walden had lost his best friend. Tragically, Walden had wanted to bury his friend in harness, but Chinook was never found."
Chinook's death was written up in newspapers around the world, including The New York Times, which carried the story on the front page, just as it had when Chinook won the first international sled dog race in Berlin, New Hampshire, in 1922.
In an article which appeared in the September 1929 issue of Popular Mechanics, Walden said he believed Chinook had just wandered off to die after having had his sense of leadership of the other dogs broken by a fight with three Huskies several days before he disappeared. Walden said Chinook had been able to fend off his three attackers initially, but Walden himself had to intervene at the end to save Chinook's life. He said that on the day Chinook went missing he had taken him off the lead after passing the worst of the crevasses on the return from the base at Little America with an empty sled, and that Chinook had lagged behind and eventually was not seen.
Skoglund writes, "Upon Walden's return home, the people of the area wanted to rename the road that connected the town of Tamworth with Wonalancet to Waldens' Road. He asked that instead they honor Chinook by naming it the Chinook Trail, the name which it still bears today.
"Byrd's expeditionary returned home in mid 1930 to find their families in the middle of the Great Depression, and Walden had returned to hard times as well. Not only was Wonalancet Farm in financial trouble, but Kate Walden, who had always been of frail health, was not well. Walden had brought in Milton and Eva Seeley as kennel managers in 1927 and sold them half interest in his Chinook Kennel before leaving for Antarctica, and the Seeleys had been attempting to care for Kate Walden and keep Wonalancet Farm together in his absence. In settling their accounts upon Walden's return, the Seeleys took complete control of Chinook Kennel, including the dogs and the kennel name, and relocated the operation to a nearby piece of property. While continuing to be active in the sled dog world, the Seeleys put their efforts mainly into breeding Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies, and discontinued the breeding of Chinooks altogether.
"Julia Lombard, a neighbor of the Waldens, had been captivated early on by the companionable nature of the "Chinook dogs," and Walden was in the habit of occasionally giving Lombard a few choice puppies to raise for him, presumably so that his breeding program would survive epidemics such as he suffered in 1923. Prior to his departure for Antarctica, Walden had given her three puppies: a son of Chinook who carried 25 percent German shepherd blood, and a son and daughter of Chinook who carried 50 percent Belgian shepherd blood. With these three offspring of Chinook, Arthur T. Walden as her kennel director, financial support from the Hubbard family (who operated a small pet food factory in Gloucester, Massachusetts), and later, Ed Moody (a veteran dog driver from Byrd's second expedition) as trainer and driver, Mrs. Julia P. Lombard's Wonalancet - Hubbard Kennel came into being. The bloodlines from these three foundation dogs were crossed, and then selective inbreedings done in the mid 1930s to create dogs consistent with Walden's earlier breeding program, and to create what Mrs. Lombard would call her "purebred Chinooks." Lombard promoted her Chinooks as recreational sled dogs, putting as much emphasis on their companionable nature as their working ability. Lombard also worked two Chinook teams that continued to be seen in the local sportsman shows, and on the winter racing circuit as well."
"Lombard (Wonalancet Hubbard Kennels) sold the stock of Chinooks to Perry Greene in October 1940. Greene bought 20 Chinooks and five sleds for the sum of $500. Greene, a legendary Maine woodsman known for his skills with a double-edged ax, then moved the Chinooks to Warren, Maine. During January 1941, Perry and his stepson, Johnny Gephart and seven Chinooks (Walden's trained team) hauled 800 pounds of equipment via dog sled from Fort Kent to Kittery, Maine. They traveled 502 miles in 90 hours, the longest sled dog trek ever made entirely within the United States at the time. Walden's Riki I was lead dog and Trondek, Kima, Erica, Endure, Savik and Salvo completed the team. In 1946 construction of a new facility for the Chinooks was undertaken. In January 1947, Perry and Johnny Gephart completed construction of a log lodge, kennel and store in Waldoboro, Maine. The Chinooks were moved to this location and for the first time were all under one roof.
"During March of 1947, Arthur Walden succumbed to injuries sustained while rescuing his wife, Kate, from a fire in their home. After rescuing his wife, Walden succumbed to smoke inhalation in attempt to extinguish the fire. He died as he lived, a hero, a monument to an era gone by. Walden was buried next to the Union Chapel on the Chinook Trail.
"Perry Greene and his wife, Honey, promoted the breed for many years. Unlike Walden the Greene's did not promote the Chinook as a recreational sled dog but as the "ideal companion dog." They created a mystery surrounding the breed and set up many requirements for those wishing to own a Chinook. If a person wanted a Chinook, he had to stay at the kennels for at least 24 hours. If Perrys' house dogs didn't care for the person, he went home empty handed. Should he need to wash his hands after petting the dogs, he didn't get one either. To ensure that the Greens were the sole breeders of Chinook, an unaltered female was never allowed to leave the kennel and no one person could own more than two Chinooks at one time."
The third and final installment of the history of the Chinooks will detail how the breed nearly became extinct and the extraordinary efforts that went into saving the breed.

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Arthur Walden and Chinook with “The Three Musketeers,” Norman Vaughan, Freddie Crockett and Eddie Goodale. (Perry Greene collection)

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Perry Greene, famed Maine woodsman noted for his skills with a double-edged ax,  built a kennel where he raised Chinooks. (Perry Greene collection)

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Admiral Byrd is seated on sled, with Arthur Walden and “The Three Musketeers,” Norman Vaughan, Freddie Crockett and Eddie Goodale. (Perry Greene collection)

12-23 chinook trail sign

This Chinook Trail sign in Tamworth is near the chapel in Wonalancet, which is located a short distance away from the place where Chinook was born in 1917. (Courtesy photo)

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The most famous dog in the world

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Left, Arthur Walden's team of Chinooks in North Conway. (Courtesy photo) Right, Chinook and team at Wonalancet. (Courtesy Perry Greene Kennels)

Celebration of 100th anniversary of Chinook’s birth planned in January


(Editor's note: This is the first of a three-part series on Chinooks in honor of the breed's 100th anniversary.)

TAMWORTH — A celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Chinook, who at one time was the most famous dog in the world, will be held Jan. 13-15 at Camp Cody in Freedom.
12-26 ChinookWaldenChinook, who was the foundation dog of one of the world's rarest breeds, was born on Jan. 17, 1917
at the 1,300-acre Wonalancet Farm and Inn owned by Arthur Walden and his wife, Kate. And like Walden, he would come to occupy an important part in the history of sled dogs, racing and exploration.
Chinook dog owner Bob Cottrell of Freedom, director of the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room and a past director of the Remick Country Doctor Museum in Tamworth, says that the event is being organized by the Chinook Owners Association and is expected to draw Chinooks and their owners from all over the Northeast for a variety of outdoors activities and programs on the history of the Chinooks, who are the state dog of New Hampshire.
Cottrell delivers lectures around the state for the New Hampshire Humanities Council on Chinook history and says that Walden played a major role in sled dog racing history by helping to organize the New England Sled Dog Club in 1924 and in bringing the oldest continuing sled dog race in the country to Tamworth that same year. The event, hosted by the Tamworth Outing Club, will be held this winter on Lake Chocorua on the weekend of Feb. 4-5, the same weekend as the Remick Country Doctor Museum's annual winter carnival.
Cottrell says that he and his wife, Debra, have owned their Chinook, Tug, who is registered as Mountain Laurel Tamworth Tugger, since they acquired him as a puppy in 2005.
Cottrell says that Tug now weighs about 90 pounds, which is very close to the weight of Chinook in his prime. In fact he is from the direct purebred line of Chinook's DNA and was obtained by the Cottrells with the help of Rick Skoglund of Perry Greene Kennels of Waldoboro, Maine, who has worked to preserve the breed and Chinook's original bloodline.
Skoglund wrote a history of the breed in which he says that in 1896, Walden, the 24-year-old son of a Boston minister, left Wonalancet, and his job as farm manager of Katherine (Kate) Sleeper's Wonalancet Farm, and headed to the gold fields of Alaska.
Skoglund writes "Driven by his sense of adventure, he took every job that came his way: prospector, logger, stevedore, river pilot; and the job that he was most taken with, "dog punching" (hauling freight by dogsled). Walden returned to Wonalancet six years later, and in December of 1902, he and Kate Sleeper married. Walden had dog sledding in his blood, but quality sled dogs were not available in New England, so he brought a variety of dogs to Wonalancet and began breeding for dogs that possessed his ideal combination of strength, endurance, speed and good nature.
"He desired a friendly, gentle dog that had tremendous power, endurance and speed. Walden purchased a mastiff-type dog named Kim that was a stray from Danvers, Massachusetts. He later bred Kim to Ningo, a direct descendent of Admiral Peary's famous Greenland Husky lead dog Polaris. Three tawny colored pups were whelped on Jan. 17, 1917, and named Rikki, Tikki and Tavi after Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Rikki produce those traits which Walden desired and was later renamed Chinook in honor of a wonderful lead dog Walden had left behind in Alaska. Tikki was later renamed Hootchinoo."
Chinook grew to be a massive 95- to 105-pound animal. During the early 1920s Chinook was bred to German and Belgian shepherd working types and perhaps other husky-type dogs. The offspring were then bred back to Chinook to found the breed known today as the Chinook.
Skoglund wrote "With Chinook's offspring, Walden was finally getting the quality of dogs that he was accustomed to working with. In 1920, his new line of what he called "Husky half-breds" made their debut at the Gorham, New Hampshire, Winter Carnival. Walden began to seriously promote dog sledding for draft, recreation and sport. Racing in New England started a year later when Walden began promoting freighting by dogsled to the woodsmen as a faster, more economical way to move supplies to their logging camps. Walden convinced W. R. Brown's paper company of Berlin, New Hampshire to sponsor the first Eastern International Dog Derby in 1922 in part to encourage more people to breed quality sled dogs in the region. Four teams competed in this 123-mile race, Walden, with Chinook in lead, won easily."
The race generated international publicity and was on the front page of The New York Times, making Chinook the most famous dog in the world at that time.
Skoglund wrote "In 1923, a distemper outbreak in Chinook Kennel took its toll, and Walden lost his entire 1922 winning team, except for Chinook himself. Walden took two years off from racing to concentrate on breeding another competitive team, but never stopped supporting the sport. In 1924, the New England Sled Dog Club held its organizational meeting in Arthur Walden's home, and elected Walden its first president. The club is still actively promoting sled dog racing today. In 1925, Walden returned to racing with a young but promising team of Chinook's sons, and proclaiming his Chinook-shepherd crosses as his ideal for strength and stamina. The popularity of Walden's "Chinook dogs" was growing; and, boosted by his January 1926 win at the Poland Spring, Maine, race, interest was such that Walden was beginning to sell a few matched teams of his dogs to other racers as well. In March of 1926, Walden and his team set out on an adventure that he had been considering for years, but which most people considered impossible: the first ascent of Mount Washington by dog team. While turned back by a blizzard on the first attempt, Walden and his team, with old Chinook in lead again, and accompanied by several newspaper reporters and photographers, successfully made the 8 miles to the summit in eight hours' time.
"Among the racing community Walden's dogs' popularity was short lived. After gaining recognition for their part in the 1925 Nome Serum Run, Leonhard Seppala and 40 of his Siberian Huskies left Alaska and embarked on a national tour. Seppala's tour landed in New England in late 1926 for the winter's race season. In January 1927, while at the Poland Spring, Maine, race, Seppala's Siberians proved themselves much faster than anything New England had to offer and they gained instant popularity. Seppala established a breeding kennel in Maine to supply his Siberian Huskies to the racers in New England."
But that wasn't the end of the line for Walden, who turned his attention to a new venture, Admiral Byrd's Antarctic expedition, which will be detailed in the next installment.

The third and final installment of the history of the Chinooks will detail how the breed nearly became extinct and the extraordinary efforts that went into saving the breed.

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Bob Cottrell and Tug. (Courtesy photo)

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Defendant seeks trial in Franklin child prostitution case


CONCORD — A Franklin woman who pleaded guilty last year to human trafficking for selling a young girl into prostitution has decided to make her case to a jury on related charges involving another alleged victim.

Julie Shine, 43, was scheduled to appear in Merrimack County Superior Court on Monday for a status conference, but was never brought into the courtroom as the prosecutor and defense attorney met with the judge in chambers.

Upon emerging, Assistant Merrimack County Attorney David Rotman confirmed that a jury is scheduled to be picked on June 5. The trial, which is expected to last three to four days, has twice previously been postponed – once as the result of a medical condition that made the complaining witness unable to testify and the second after the state disclosed a new witness with whom the defendant's husband, William Shine, has allegedly made disclosures that could incriminate her. The defense was granted added time to interview the state's witness, and to decide whether to challenge the admissibility of that testimony at trial.

On Monday, Judge Robert McNamara agreed to continue the trial yet again after learning that the state has just produced 6,000 pages of new potential evidence in the case to be turned over to defense attorney Charles O'Leary. The state also dismissed a number of the charges including human trafficking, conspiracy to commit human trafficking, as well as misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child and violating the child protection act.

Last January, Mrs. Shine was sentenced to 11 to 30 years at the New Hampshire State Prison for Women after she admitted to accepting $1,000 from an informant working for police, to provide a 14-year-old girl for sex. Shine also confessed to theft by extortion for stealing a truck and money from a man by threatening to report him to police for impregnating another underage girl.

That man, Lawrence Marks, 36, of Tewksbury, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty last March to a federal charge of transportation of a minor in interstate commerce for illegally sexual activity, and was sentenced to 12 ½ years' imprisonment, and ordered to publicly register for life as a sex offender against children.

Shine's husband, William, 35, who is already serving a 14- to 60-year prison term, received an additional 3- to 30-year sentence, to be served consecutively, when he pleaded guilty earlier this month to sexually assaulting the girl a jury convicted him of pimping, and for his role in extorting Marks.

As part of their respective sentences, the couple were ordered to pay Marks $60,000 in restitution. Marks is serving his sentence at the Federal Correctional Institute in Danbury, Connecticut, and is now scheduled for release in August 2026.

During William Shine's trial, the prosecutor told the jury the couple were cash starved and stooped to selling the young teen into prostitution as a quick though reprehensible solution.

Public Defender Emma Sisti countered that the couple were considering an arranged courtship, which under state law, is not a crime. They viewed an underage marriage as a path out of abject poverty, and as a chance to give the girl a better life.

William Shine is now represented by attorney Caroline Brown. Under the terms of his Dec. 7 negotiated plea, Shine agreed to drop his New Hampshire Supreme Court appeal challenging rulings made by the trial judge, but will continue to argue his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.

The Shines were arrested in October 2014, after they arranged to sell the girl to a police informant. During the trial, Anthony O'Hickey testified that he went to police after learning his father, Ronald Martin, formerly of Laconia, a convicted sex offender, planned to buy the girl himself and spoke of keeping her caged in his basement.

O'Hickey wore a wire, and, while State Police listened in, offered to pay the couple $5,000 for the girl and handed them $1,000 in cash, under the guise that he was going to drive her to a hotel and try to initiate sex.

The three girls the Shines are accused of victimizing have since thanked O'Hickey for his courage in going to police.

Earlier this month, after William Shine was sentenced, one of the victims said that without O'Hickey's intervention, "I would be dead."

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