Mary Dolan was born in Croghan, Roscommon in 1862, the oldest child of Andrew Dolan and Anne Tansey. She had a case of wonderlust and kept on the move over the years of her youth, first to South Africa, next to Australia, then to New Zealand. From there she moved to Fiji, later Samoa, and still later to Hawaii. The last queen of Hawaii, Liliuokalani, asked to meet her, explaining that she had never met anybody from Ireland before.
Mary traveled the world at a time when that was very difficult and not without risk, especially for a single young Irish woman without any money. She immigrated to San Francisco, where was injured in the 1906 earthquake. After a brief marriage, Mary followed the gold rush to Alaska. There she met Ed Snyder, married, and settled down in Tenakee Springs, a frontier outpost with a population of about 300.
This is a picture of Mary in 1909 standing with her husband in Snyder’ s Mercantile, the general store they owned for many years. The Snyder Mercantile remains at the center of Tenakee Springs life and has changed hands only twice since mary turned it over to grandnephew Dermot. Mary was a considerable presence in Tenakee during the almost forty years she lived there.
Mary died in 1946 and left her estate to the many children of her brothers and sisters scattered across the United States and Ireland. She is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Juneau. A great-grandniece of Mary’s immigrated to Ireland a few years ago with her husband. In a way, therefore, Mary Dolan’ s circumnavigation of the globe is now complete.
–Submitted by Andrew K. Dolan ♦