District Collector John Fraser Pugh

District Collector John Fraser Pugh

United States Department of the Treasury - United States Customs Service, U.S. Government

End of Watch Saturday, October 26, 1918

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John Fraser Pugh

District Collector John Pugh was killed when the steamship Princess Sophia sank after grounding on Vanderbilt Reef, in Lynn Canal between Skagway, Alaska and Juneau, Alaska.

He had traveled to Skagway on official business to assist with the annual winter exodus of workers from the Yukon. The steamship had blown approximately one mile off course during the trip and became grounded on the reef during a severe snowstorm on October 23rd, 1918. Due to the strong storm and its location, other ships were unable to get close enough to provide assistance. At some point overnight between October 25th and October 26th, the ship's boiler exploded and the ship sank.

All 353 passengers and crew died as a result.

District Collector Pugh had served with the United States Customs Service for 16 years and served as the District Collector for Juneau. He was survived by his wife and daughter.


  • Age 40
  • Tour 16 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Boating accident
  • Location Alaska

Most Recent Reflection

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District Collector Pugh,
On today, the 101st anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country and to the Service.


United States Border Patrol

October 26, 2019

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