William Thomas Lopp

William Thomas Lopp

William Thomas Lopp

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William Thomas Lopp (June 21, 1864–April 10, 1939), known better professionally as W. T. Lopp, and to his family as Tom Lopp, was a member of the Overland Relief Expedition in Alaska, then a U.S. territory. He was a missionary and advocate of turning native hunters into self-sufficient reindeer herders. Lopp Lagoon, an 18 mi. long bay near where Lopp lived in Alaska, is named after him.

William Thomas Lopp was born June 21, 1864 to Jacob C. and Lucinda Trotter Lopp at Valley City, Indiana.

He earned a B.A. at Indiana's Hanover College in 1888.


In 1890 Lopp moved to Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska to teach at a mission school. After marrying Ellen Louise Kittredge in 1892, he and his wife continued to teach and learn Eskimo languages and Eskimo lifestyles. Seeing that Eskimo food sources were endangered by the encroachments of the burgeoning American and Canadian fishing industry, Lopp promoted reindeer herding among the native Alaskans as an alternative means of subsistence. In 1892 reindeer were brought over from Siberia and a "reindeer station" was established, with Lopp as superintendent.

Seattle, Washington

Lopp moved his family to Seattle, Washington, USA in 1902, but continued involvement in Alaskan native education and reindeer herding for 34 more years, holding a variety of government and...
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