Historic Presbyterian mission yacht Princeton Hall for sale


The 65-foot Princeton Hall, built by the Presbyterian Church with the help of students at the old Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka to ferry missionaries around Southeast Alaska, is for sale. It was owned most recently by Bill and Kathy Ruddy, both who passed in recent years.

For about 80 years, starting in the early 1900s, the “Presbyterian Navy” visited Native villages in Southeast Alaska. The Anna Jackman was the last of them, and it was sold by the Alaska Presbytery (and renamed the Discovery) after ending mission service in 1982.

The Princeton Hall is well-known by old-timers in Juneau, where it has been home-ported.

Missionaries from the Lower 48 and Alaska Native evangelists who became Christian because of their efforts used the boats to spread the gospel in towns, fishing villages and logging camps throughout Southeast Alaska, said the Rev. David Dobler, pastor to the presbytery for Alaska Presbytery, who was later elected to lead the Presbyterian Church as moderator of the General Assembly.

“Their names evoke the mission heritage of Southeast Alaska: the Ruby, the Lindsley, the Marietta, the Good Tidings, the Vermay, the Princeton, the Princeton Hall and the steel-hulled Anna Jackman, among others.” Dobler was quoted in a story about the Presbyterian Navy at this link.

“I don’t know why, but the Presbyterians were the only denomination that organized their evangelistic work in Alaska by a system of boats,” said the late Kathy Ruddy, who was an elder at Chapel by the Lake Presbyterian Church in Auke Bay, quoted in the same story. “That’s one of the reasons the Presbyterian Church is so prominent in many Native communities.”

The details of the wooden yacht, as listed on Craig’s List:

– 215HP John Deere main engine with minimal hours (3,745.4 hrs). 
– 8 KW auxiliary engine with minimal hours (3,465.5 hrs).

Meticulously maintained every year:
– Painted, oiled, cleaned, and planked regularly
– NEW Dickeson oil stove – July ’23
– NEW sump pump – May ’21
– NEW washing machine – May ’21
– NEW Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) with 20HP motor – April ’21

– Spacious, ample space to entertain or spread out
– U-shaped galley
– Large dinette area with table that can seat 8
– One main bedroom, two bunk rooms, and captain’s quarters
– Two heads (bathrooms) with showers

See the entire listing and more photos on CraigsList here.

Have a story about the Princeton Hall? Leave it in the comments below.


  1. Based on past history of missionaries in Alaska … there’s a good chance this boat was a place where many young Natives were raped. Burn it.

        • Greg, School teachers do the same and at a higher frequency than do Catholic Clergy. Given the above could we then say that educators rape boys? What about the garden variety rape that takes place in villages across Alaska and not in assimilation schools? Got any thoughts on that?

    • That’s an outrageous and ignorant statement to make. The Alaskan natives who built and used the Princeton Hall took great pride in it. You should go to the craigslist post and watch the linked youtube video.

    • Not all the Christian Missionaries were horrible to the Native Alaskans. Critical people only focus on the bad and miss the good. The Tlingits, the Haidas, the Tsimshian had good memories of Presbyterians as the Aluet, Alutiq, and Yupik had good memories of the Russian Othodox, while the Yupik also have good memories of the Moravian missionaries, while the aleuts of Attu before the War had good memories of their two school teachers slash missionaries (Last Letters from Attu Book) the only white Persons among them At least for Alaska experience.

      It’s the Catholics who were sent whom Native Alaskans had the most trauma inflicted on them which later we find out the Pope was sending all the diocese bad priests to Native schools instead of decommissioning them the pope sent them into No-man’s land.

      • That’s odd!! Our family lived in interior Alaska from 1946 to 1954 ( McGrath) and in Homer from 1954 to 1959. As a large Catholic family we were constant partakers of the Catholic ministry and I have not one single recollection of evil being done to me or my family members during that time. Rather a firm foundation of the faith was implanted in me thru the RC ministry and by my parents!!

    • Josh, I suggest you delve a little deeper into the subject of missionaries in Alaska, you might be surprised at what you will learn. A good book to start with might be Hall Young of Alaska, the story of a missionary who first arrived in Wrangell in the 1870’s.

    • You seem like you might be a bit of a nutbar, Josh. Good news though. A handful of my Guyana brethren survived the Kool-Aid fest mishap we had a while back and we’re looking for a few more nutbars such as yourself. Can we count on you, Josh? Discount tithes for early commitment. Maybe a chance to go on a par-tay boat ride too, Josh. Talk to me. You in?

  2. The late Ruddy’s did an excellent job keeping it looking good. Just as a car collector, someone good will buy it since the Ruddy’s maintained it.

  3. The Presbyterians weren’t the only ones to use boats in their missionary work. The Episcopal Missionary District of Alaska (later and currently a full diocese) owned the Godspeed, utilized extensively by Bishop Bentley. His successor, Bishop Gordon, traveled on the boat for a year or two before concluding that learning to fly would allow him to serve the faithful more efficiently. The Godspeed was sold to Jim Binkley, starting what’s known today as the Riverboat Discovery tour business.

  4. When I attended college at SJC in the late 70s, they had a large fiberglass boat that was used for mission trips and excursions. I believe it may have been the last of the “Presbyterian navy”.
    The above insinuations that that any of the craft were used for illicit purposes is absurd and based on woke ignorance. These people dedicated their lives to helping Native people and, though their methods may not have been the best, they reaped the fruit of many strong Native leaders.

  5. Without question, some priest sexually abused children in Alaska and this malignance has been going on for decades. Perhaps the doubters might research Alaskan’s primary newspapers and//or court records. Fact matter.

  6. Josh, that was a horrible thing to say.
    That being said, the Ruddy’s were good people and your comment was ignorant.
    There was also the Seventh Day Adventists with the Messenger III, captained by my uncle Harold Dawson, who made the same routes starting in 1970

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