345 research outputs found

    "Must We All Die?": Alaska's Enduring Struggle with Tuberculosis, by Robert Fortuine

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    Hunting the 1918 Flu: One Scientist's Search for a Killer Virus, by Kirsty Duncan

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    John Richardson (1787-1865)

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    Sir John Richarson first achieved fame as a surgeon and naturalist with the two arctic land expeditions led by John Franklin in 1819-22 and 1825-27. A true generalist, Richardson was competent in geology, mammalogy, ichthyology - a soon became knowledgeable in ornithology. He wrote three of the four volumes of Fauna Boreali-Americana, and edited zoological appendices for the voyages of Parry, Ross, Back, Beechey, Kellett, and Belcher. A formidable ichthyologist who described 43 still-accepted genera and over 200 new species of fish, he was also a key member of the Strickland Committee, which set the rules of zoological nomenclature. ... His name is perpetuated by numerous plants, fish, birds, and mammals (including Richardson's ground squirrel), and by such geographical features as the Richardson Mountains and Richardson River. ..

    Sir John Richardson, Arctic Explorer, Natural Historian, Naval Surgeon, by Robert E. Johnson

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    Pierre St. Germain (1790-1843?)

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    Of the fifteen hired men on John Franklin's first land expedition, Pierre St. Germain has been the most underrated. Although a rogue, a rebel, and a troublemaker, he was the strongest, most resourceful, and most versatile man on the expedition. ... St. Germain, part French and part Indian, served in the Athabasca district for the North West Company from 1812 to 1818. In 1819 he joined the Hudson's Bay Company at a wage of 2,000 Montreal livres (100 Pounds Sterling) per annum and served as an interpreter at Fort Resolution, Great Slave Lake. ... On 5 June 1820, Colin Robertson wrote McVicar, giving permission for St. Germain to join the arctic land expedition under the command of Lt. John Franklin. On 25 July 1820, St. Germain entered into an agreement with Franklin for wages of "3000 Livres per annum until his return to Ft. Wedderburn." This 150 Pounds Sterling was two-and-a-half times the amount Franklin offered a French Canadian voyageur. St. Germain's employers recognized his ability but also his independent ways. Robertson described St. Germain as "an intelligent young man" and 5 June 1820 wrote "I have given up an excellent Chippeyan interpreter, St. Germain." McVicar considered him indispensable, mentioning how he could travel without either a blanket or provisions, but also noting his liking for alcohol. ... Richardson considered St. Germain to be one of the most reliable men on the expedition and the one with the most influence on the accompanying Copper Indians. St. Germain was intelligent, determined, and when reasonably fed, indefatigable. He made the preliminary trip to Point Lake with Back and Hood, 29 August-10 September 1820. During the winter of 1820-21, he snowshoed 440 km from Fort Enterprise to Fort Resolution, bringing back the two Eskimos, Augustus and Junius. Strong, resourceful, practical, a man of great stamina, St. Germain was also exceedingly dexterous, evidenced by his use of a made-down canoe to cross the Burnside River on 9 September and, five days later, to ferry Franklin across Belanger Rapids. St. Germain alone had the ability to improvise that allowed him single-handedly to convert the fragments of "painted canvas" or "oil-cloth" into a cockleshell that would finally transport everyone across Obstruction Rapids on 4 October, after nine days of crucial delay. ... As a troublemaker, St. Germain gained the enmity of both Franklin and Back. As early as 23 March 1821, St. Germain expressed his concern about the dangers involved in the proposed arctic explorations and shared his views with Akaitcho's Copper Indians. Because of this indiscretion, Franklin that day described him as "an artful man" and said he was "perfectly satisfied of his baseness." ... By September 1822-The Franklin expedition over-HBC Chief Trader Alexander Roderick McLeod engaged St. Germain at Lake Athabasca to serve in the capacity of interpreter. ... He continued to serve the Company as interpreter in the Mackenzie River District until 12 September 1834. St. Germain then retired to the Red River Settlement, where he purchased 50 acres of land on 13 April 1835. ... Although too independent to fit easily into naval discipline, Pierre St. Germain was an indispensable man. Without his hunting and craft skills, Franklin, Richardson, Back, and Hepburn would have perished. Without him, Franklin's first arctic land expedition, like the 1845 disaster, would have had no surviving officers and no published accounts. It was a close call indeed

    John Rae (1813-1893)

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    Dr. John Rae, who spent 22 years in British North America, accurately mapped more miles of North America's unknown northern coastline - excluding Hudson Bay - than did any other explorer. ... Unusually adaptable and a crack shot, he learned native methods of living off the land. Remarkably fit, he set records that have never been surpassed for speed and endurance on snowshoes. John Rae was born on 30 September 1813 in the Hall of Clestrain, near Stromness in the Orkney Islands. At age 16, he went to Edinburgh to study medicine and qualified as Licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1833. His first medical job was as a surgeon on the Prince of Wales, the Hudson's Bay Company supply ship. A sailing ship of 400 tons, it carried 31 Orkneymen bound for employment at distant fur-trading posts. After loading the season's furs at Moose Factory, the Prince of Wales was turned back by heavy ice in the Hudson Strait and was forced to winter at Charlton Island in James Bay. There, Rae successfully treated his scurvy-afflicted men with cranberries and tender sprouts of the wild pea. Instead of returning to England, Rae accepted an offer from the Hudson's Bay Company of five years' employment as "clerk and surgeon." ... In 1844, Hudson's Bay Company Governor Sir George Simpson proposed that Rae complete the survey of the northern coastline of North America. After studying surveying in Toronto, Rae left York Factory in June 1846 with ten men and two 22-foot boats. In April 1847 the expedition crossed Rae Isthmus to reach Lord Mayor's Bay, mapping the shore of Simpson Peninsula on the return journey. They then explored the west coast of Melville Peninsula, the two legs adding up to 1,050 km of new coastline mapped. For the most part they lived off the land; Rae shot nearly as much game as the other 12 men together. Soon after Rae's return, Dr. John Richardson offered him the position of second-in-command on the first search expedition for the missing John Franklin. ... In 1851, Rae set out on his third expedition with two men, two sledges, and five dogs. After crossing Dolphin and Union Strait, they explored 270 new km of Victoria Island coastline on foot. They next used two boats to complete the 740 km of exploration of the southern and eastern shorelines of Victoria Island. When Rae turned back, Franklin's ships Erebus and Terror, were trapped in the ice only about 80 km to the east, although he did not know it. ... Rae's fourth and final expedition in 1853 was designed to complete the survey of the continental coastline for the Hudson's Bay Company. He explored the Quoich River for 335 km, wintered at Repulse Bay, and set out in March 1854. At Pelly Bay the Eskimos gave him second-hand news of the fate of the Franklin expedition - other Eskimos had seen dead and dying men about four years earlier. Rae mapped 430 new km of coastline along the west side of Boothia Peninsula, leaving 240 km south of Bellot Strait unexplored. He proved that King William Island was indeed an island, separated from Boothia Peninsula by what is now called Rae Strait. Back at Repulse Bay, Eskimos brought him a silver plate, a medal, and several forks and spoons with names or initials of Franklin and his officers. Rae did not risk his men in searching further for the bodies of Franklin's men, but instead rushed back to England to recall the other search parties, which were widely scattered in the wrong areas of the Arctic. When Rae presented his report and his Franklin relics to the Admiralty on 22 October 1854, he forthrightly told of the Eskimo account of cannibalism practised by the British sailors. In spite of strong opposition from Lady Franklin, Rae and his men received the 10,000 Pounds Sterling for ascertaining the fate of Franklin's party. ..

    From Barrow to Boothia: The Arctic Journal of Chief Factor Peter Warren Dease, 1836–1839, edited by William Barr

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    Farthest North: The Quest for the North Pole, by Clive Holland.

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    Robert Hood (1797-1821)

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    Robert Hood was a junior officer with the badly timed, inadequately supplied first Arctic Land Expedition led by John Franklin in 1819-22. Hood made a major contribution to the expedition's incredibly accurate mapping of over 600 miles of coastline, which, in the words of L.H. Neatby, "put a roof on the map of Canada." Hood was the first to prove the action of the aurora borealis on the compass needle and to show that the aurora was an electrical phenomenon. He also made important contributions to our knowledge of terrestrial magnetism, climatology, anthropology, and natural history. Hood's journal, a less formal and more sprightly account of the journey than Franklin's, was published with many of his watercolour paintings 153 years after his tragic death on the Barrenlands. ... Hood contributed in full measure to the success of the first expedition before he paid the supreme sacrifice - and his journals and paintings remain one of the earliest and most vivid records of life in the Canadian North. Although his promising career was terminated prematurely, his memory is perpetuated by a flower, the moss phlox, Phlox hoodii, a sedge, Carex hoodii, the thirteen-striped squirrel, Citellus tridecemlineatus hoodii, and by the mighty Hood River that plunges over Wilberforce Falls before entering the Arctic Ocean
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