Patient Stories: James Ebana

Contributed by Robin Renfroe, Fairbanks, AK

“James Ebana was sent to Morningside Hospital when he was about 17 years of age.   It appears he had epilepsy and that was the reason he was sent away, a decision probably by the missionaries at the Church Christ Mission.  His death certificate indicates he passed away on March 21, 1942 at the age of 27 years.  The death certificate shows his immediate cause of death is as “Tuberculosis of the Lungs” which he had for 5 months and “Psychosis due to Epileptic Deterioration” for 11 years.  Holman and Lutz was the funeral home and he is buried at the Multnomah Cemetery which is now the Multnomah Park Pioneer Cemetery located at S. E. 82nd and Holgate Blvd in Portland, Oregon.

Kate was unsure where her brother was sent.  She knew the name Morningside Hospital, but thought it was in Washington.  Searches for Morningside Hospital were non-existent.  In 2005 through Ancestry we located his death certificate.

The following is what little we know about James Ebana…

James Ebana was born around 1915 in the Lower Yukon region of Interior Alaska.  He was the fourth child of Cecelia and Jim Ebana.  Cecelia was an Alaska Native from the Bonzila area, born around 1885 and died of tuberculosis in October 1917 at her home in Iditarod.  Jim came to Alaska when he was young and worked as miner. He died in 1955.

The family was living in Discover Creek, Iditarod when Cecelia Ebana passed away in 1917 leaving behind 5 young children:  Florence age 4, Emily age 3, Kate age 2, Jim age 1, and an infant child named Will.  Emily, Kate and Jim were sent to live at the Church Christ Mission at Anvik, Alaska.  Florence was also sent to the Anvik Mission, however she moved to the Holy Cross Mission.  There is no information on the infant child Will and it is presumed he passed away after Cecelia’s death.

Emily, Kate and Jim Ebana are listed at the Christ Church Mission in Anvik in 1930 US Census.  Emily died shortly after the census.  She was 16 or 17 years old. James was sent to the Morningside Hospital in Portland, Oregon.  His sister Kate Ebana Chase never saw or heard from her brother once he left.  Kate often spoke of James and wanted to know what happened to her brother and longed to bring him home to Anvik.  Kate passed away in October 2005 without ever knowing his whereabouts.”

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