A story of two orphan Jenji’s

Jenjiro Ikuta was the adopted son of the Keeler family here in Skagway in 1900. Frank Truman Keeler was a wealthy man in Skagway – a moneylender, optician, jeweler and landlord of brothels on 7th Avenue. Jenjiro was born on this day, November 14, 1881 or 1883 in Japan but said that he came to Skagway from Oakland, California in the gold rush. He may have come to Skagway with family who died, but who knows.
Anyway, he learned jewelery from Frank Keeler and started his own store, Totem Jewelery which was here until about 1920. He married Lena Estella Worth from Michigan and they had three kids, Carol a son born 1918, Edna a daughter born 1910, and Truman a son born 1915. In 1920 Jenjiro and his son Truman decided to go back to Japan while Lena took Carol and Edna to Oregon. (Both Truman and Carol married and their descendents have posted most of this information on genforum and rootsweb). Lena remarried and later died in Kennewick, Washington. Perhaps Jenjiro stayed in Japan, as no one seems to know and their are no records of him back in the states.

When I was down south we went to a funeral service for my father in law, Bill McCluskey, who went to Japan right after the war ended. The story was told that when he was on a train he found a child curled up in a pile of rags. He asked where the parents were and was told by the train personnel that he was an orphan. So Bill “adopted” him for a year and fed and paid for him to go to school. At the end of his service time in Japan, he collected money for little “Jenji” to continue in school. He never was able to reconnect with him. I wonder how many times he wished he could have found out what happened to little Jenji!