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ARCTIC ARCHIPELAGO - The Searchers For Franklin

Francis Hall (1821-1871)

Hall was an American from Cincinnati. His expedition, to see what became of Franklin, "lasted for five years and three months, between 1864 and 1869." Hall worked out a different approach to any of the other Franklin searchers, with the exception of John Rae. Before he set out on his expedition of 1864, he had already spent "two years among the Esquimaux on the northern shores of Hudson Strait." He learned from these marvellous people how they survived in these frozen regions of the north: he learned of their food, their clothing, their habits, their language, etc. Very valuable to Hall in his future endeavours was that he befriended an Esquimaux couple: Joe (Ebierbing) and Hannah (Tookoolito), who he took away with him on his future travels in the far north.1
"During this second expedition (186469) to King William Island, he found remains and artifacts from the Franklin expedition, and made more inquiries about their fate from natives living there. Hall eventually realized that the stories of survivors had become garbled and unreliable, either by the Inuit or his own readiness to give them overly optimistic interpretations. He also became disillusioned with the Inuit by the discovery that the remnants of Franklin's expedition had deliberately been left to starve. He failed to consider that it would have been impossible for the local population to support such a large group of supernumeraries."2

1 McClintock, The Voyage of the 'Fox'..., p. 50.

2 "All the Esquimaux information affords is a general concurrence of testimony in main points; but it is often conflicting, sometimes both contradictory and incredible in detail, yet occasionally most graphic and touching." (McClintock, Ibid., p. 72.)

[A LISTING OF The Searchers For Franklin]

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Peter Landry