Fred Fonzo was born in 1859 in Denmark. He married Mary Boyd in the San Francisco Bay area and had two children, Fred Jr. in 1892 in Berkeley and Myrtle. He ran the Acheson Hotel and also worked as a constable in Berkeley.
In 1894 his wife died and so he headed north to Alaska. He apparently never bothered to write to the family to let them know where he was. They assumed that he had died, but he appeared in Skagway about 1909 where he worked as the U.S. Jailer and Marshal. On June 16, 1911, while trying to evict Miss Mary Bernhofer from the New Home Hotel, her niece, Lena Bernhofer, aged 16, shot Marshal Fonzo. The bullet pierced his arm and lodged in his chest but did not kill him. However, news of the bullet reached the Oakland Tribune on June 22, 1911 and the family discovered his whereabouts (having mourned him for 17 years).
Meanwhile Mary Bernhofer refused to leave the hotel and said she would burn it down and kill herself if evicted. Mary Bernhofer was the hotel proprietor of the “New Home Restaurant & Lodging house” since 1897. In 1915 she appeared in Juneau as a housekeeper at The Bergman Hotel, but her employer died the next year and so Mary Bernhofer became the manager for many years. This hotel, on 3rd downtown, now a hostel, is still running today, seen above.
Fred Fonzo died on this day, June 4, 1927 in Seattle at the age of 68.