May White arrived at Strawberry Point, Alaska on New Year's Day 1922 with her three children Henrietta (4), Charles (2) and Gloria (4 months). It was reported that she was out of money and resources, and though it was in the dead of winter, a small boat was chartered out of Hoonah to bring her "home" to family.
May and husband Bill were often apart, sometimes due to economics, but more often due to a very stormy relationship and marriage separations.
May and Bill maintained a home in Thane, Alaska for a number of years, and May would take the children for a variety of reasons back to Juneau (Thane) from Strawberry Point off and on after their arrival in 1922.
While at "The Point" May and the children lived at the home of her parents Abraham & Edith Parker in a very small, cramped back room. Bill White came to Strawberry Point in the summer of 1922 long enough to build a small cabin behind the Parker Good River homestead and along a little creek for his family to live in temporarily.
It was so small and so hastily put up with left over slabs of lumber from the lumber mill at Excursion Inlet, that it was dubbed by the family "The Tumbledown Shack".
To allow room for his family below, "Pop" (Bill) had to sleep in the tiny attic which he called "The Crow's Nest". To get to the "Nest" he would have to "skinny-up" a vertical ladder and crawl through barely an adult sized hole. To the kids, of course, it was all great fun and hardships weren't even considered.
None-the-less, the family's long separation of miles had taken its toll. When Bill arrived from California that first summer, the children had seen him so rarely that it was reported by Henrietta that her 2 1/2 yr. old brother Charles said, "Mamma, that man is here again".
Later, Bill White filed to obtain homestead land that had the small log cabin of Ernie Swansons on it aptly called "Swanson's Place". It was located on a beautiful piece of land just east of the Salmon River.
The Bill and May White family moved into "Swanson's Place" in 1925 and renamed it "The Bear's Nest". During these and the following years, Bill White would only be occasionally in the Gustavus area.
The White family moved into their new homestead home (now the Gustavus Inn) upon its completion in 1928. There were occasions when May would work in Skagway or other places for extended periods of time and leave the children in the care of her oldest daughter Henrietta and the Parker family.
In this photo taken the summer of 1922, Lt. to Rt. front row: Unidentified person outside range, Henrietta White (4 1/2), Leslie "Les" Parker (18), Glen Parker (14), May (Parker) White (27), Bill White (35), little Charles White (2 1/2), and Abraham Lincoln Parker (56).
Back row Lt. to Rt.: Bert Parker (20), and Edith A. Parker (54).
Missing from the photo is Gloria White (approx. 10 months).