What would you do if you had a dream of a different life, a life where you could be free and adventurous? How far would you go to pursue that dream, to make it a reality? How would you cope with the challenges and hardships of living in a remote and wild place, with only your family and your skills to rely on? How would you contribute to the society and the history of your new home?
These are some of the questions that Yule Kilcher answered with his remarkable life. He was born in Switzerland, but he left his country in 1936 to settle in Alaska, where he became a homesteader, a farmer, a journalist, and a politician. He was a member of the Alaska State Senate from 1963 to 1966. He was also the patriarch of a large and talented family, including his granddaughter Jewel, a famous singer-songwriter, and his great-granddaughter Q’orianka Kilcher, an acclaimed actress. He was the founder of a utopian community that still exists today, after four generations. In this article, we will take a closer look at the wiki-bio of Yule Kilcher.
Yule Kilcher Wiki/Bio Facts
Julius Jacob Kilcher (later changed to Yule Forenorth Kilcher)
Date of birth
March 9, 1913
Place of birth
Date of death
December 8, 1998
Place of death
Homer, Alaska, U.S.
Lina and Edwin Otto Kilcher
Linely Kilcher, Edwin Otto Kilcher, and Erna Kilcher.
German, French, English, and some Russian and Swedish
Hobbies and skills
Skiing, hiking, sailing, building log houses, playing accordion and harmonica
Yule Kilcher was born on March 9, 1913, in Laufen, Canton of Basel, Switzerland. Born and raised in Laufen, Yule spent much of his early life in Laufen alongside his siblings Linely Kilcher, Edwin Otto Kilcher, and Erna Kilcher. His parents, Lina and Edwin Otto Kilcher were into homesteads from a young age and tutored Yule accordingly. Yule attended the University of Berne, before graduating with a master’s degree from the University of Berlin.
Heading towards Alaska
In the early 1930s when the world was preparing for World War II, tensions were flying high in Europe. So, Yule decided to move to the USA and settle down. He first visited Alaska in 1936 before settling down permanently in 1940. In 1941, Yule was joined by Ruth Weber. He settled down in Homer and established a 660-acre homestead on the shores of Kachemak Bay. Soon after Weber arrived in Alaska, the pair tied the knot and started life as a married couple.
Living in Alaska is not particularly easy. So, Yule’s priority was to learn survival skills including hunting, trapping, tracking, and others. Even though he faced adverse conditions, Yule was not to be beaten. He would often welcome guests to his homestead and loved having people over. In the years, that followed Yule continued to build his homestead while also working as a journalist.
Yule was a famous man in Alaska and would often help his fellow peers in their time of need. As a result, Yule opted for a career in politics. He was one of the delegates who wrote the first constitutional convention of the new state of Alaska in 1955. Yule worked as an Alaskan State Senator between 1963 and 1967. He was also the Alaskan State Constitutional Delegate and also worked at the Committee on Administration and Committee on Ordinances and Transitional Measures of the town of Homer.
Yule Kilcher married Ruth Weber way back in 1941. In their years as a married couple, Yule and Ruth gave birth to eight children. The pair had two sons, Atz and Otto, and six daughters, Catkin Kilcher Bruton, Fay Graham, Mossy Kilcher, Stellavera Kilcher, Sunrise Sjoberg, and Wurtilla Hepp. His children and grandchildren followed his lifestyle and are now the stars of the reality TV series, Alaska the Last Frontier.
A bit on Ruth Weber
Ruth Weber was a remarkable woman who left her home in Switzerland to start a new life in Alaska. She was born on March 8, 1920, in Pretteln, Switzerland. She had a passion for adventure and learning and dreamed of seeing the world. In 1941, she boarded the last civilian ship to leave Europe before the outbreak of World War II. She was 21 years old and had no idea where she was going or what she would find.
She arrived in Alaska and met Yule Kilcher, a fellow Swiss immigrant who had settled on a remote homestead on the shores of Kachemak Bay. He was looking for a wife and partner to help him build a self-sufficient life in the wilderness. Ruth agreed to marry him on the spot, and they began their journey together.
Ruth and Yule had eight children, six of whom were born on the homestead. They lived without electricity, plumbing, or modern conveniences. They grew their own food, raised their own animals, and made their own clothes. They also homeschooled their children and taught them how to survive and thrive in the harsh environment. Ruth was a loving mother, a hardworking homemaker, and a creative soul. She wrote poems, stories, and songs, and shared them with her family and friends. She performed around Alaska and went on lecture tours in Europe. She also became an active member of the Homer community, where she supported various causes and organizations.
Yule Kilcher and Ruth Weber’s marriage was not without problems. They had different personalities and interests and often disagreed on how to raise their children. Ruth felt isolated and unhappy on the homestead, while Yule was more adventurous and ambitious. They also faced financial difficulties and legal troubles over their land. In 1969, they decided to divorce after 28 years of marriage.
Ruth left Alaska in 1970 and moved to Tennessee, where she remarried to Charles Rodney Marriott. She continued to work as a poet as well as a journalist, writer, and translator. She also maintained contact with her children and grandchildren, some of whom visited her in Tennessee. She died in 1997 at the age of 77.
Yule stayed on the homestead with some of his children and grandchildren, who continued his legacy of living off the grid. He also remained active in politics and community affairs, supporting various causes and projects.
In 1994, Yule donated his 613-acre homestead to the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust (KHLT), creating a conservation easement that prohibited any subdivision or development of the land. He did this to preserve the natural beauty and wildlife of the area, as well as to protect his family’s legacy. Yule died at the age of 85 on December 8, 1998, in Homer, Alaska.
When and where was Yule Kilcher born?
Yule Kilcher was born as Julius Jacob Kilcher on March 9, 1913, in Laufen, Switzerland.
When and why did he move to Alaska?
He moved to Alaska in 1936, intending to “found an idealistic community”.
Who was his wife and how many children did they have?
He married Ruth Helen Weber, an American citizen from Pratteln, Switzerland, in 1941. They had eight children: Mairiis “Mossy”, Wurtilla Dora “Wurzy”, (Linda) Fay, Attila Kuno “Atz”, Sunrise Diana Irene, (Edwin) Otto, Stellavera Septima and Catkin Melody.
Where did they live and how did they survive?
They lived on a 160-acre homestead in the Kachemak Bay area, outside of Homer, Alaska. They lived without electricity and running water, and relied on hunting, fishing, gardening, and recycling to sustain themselves.
What were his political achievements?
He was elected to the Constitutional convention which drew the Constitution of Alaska in 1955, as a representative of the Kenai Peninsula. He was also a member of the Alaska state senate from 1963 to 1966, as a Democrat. He advocated for environmental protection, education, and human rights.
What were his artistic endeavors?
He produced two documentaries, filmed on 16 mm film, The Last Frontier and A Pioneer Family in Alaska, which were the first documentaries depicting homesteading life. He also wrote poetry and played the accordion.
Who are his famous descendants?
His son Atz Kilcher is a musician and reality TV star on Alaska: The Last Frontier . His granddaughter Jewel is a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter. His great-granddaughter Q’orianka Kilcher is an actress who played Pocahontas in The New World .
When and where did he die?
He died on December 8, 1998, at the age of 85, in Homer, Alaska. He was buried on the family homestead.
How is he remembered today?
He is remembered as a visionary pioneer who helped shape the history and culture of Alaska. He has a street named after him in Homer, and a plaque honoring him at the Alaska State Capitol. His documentaries have been preserved by the Library of Congress. His homestead is still occupied by his descendants who continue his legacy of living off the land.