Can't help you on the old stove, but the Alaska Channing II ( http://www.alaskastove.com
) is problaby a STOKER type, there should be a burn Plate in the middle with holes in it, it feeds from the back or side with stoker mechanism and has a hopper you fill with "RICE" coal. It will automatically push the coal/ashes as it burns. All you have to do is fill the hopper and empty the ashes. Doesn't sound like you lost anything on the deal. You should make sure the burn plate is clean and under it is cleaned up too, it may have fine ash that may limit the airflow.
The Plate with a wooden handle is just that, you put it in the opening and let the door glass cool off for cleaning the glass.
Here is the back of a Keystoker Automatic Stoker stove, Some of parts will be similar on yours.Common Stoker Terminology