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Crawford, James R.



James R. Crawford was a ship engineer who served off and on with the Canadian Arctic Expedition, 1913-1918, under Vilhjalmur Stefansson. Crawford was at times the engineer of both the "Mary Sachs" and the "North Star," and he also worked with Stefansson's support parties in 1914 and 1915. In 1917 Crawford, in partnership with Leo Wittenberg of Nome, bought the "Challenge," a small schooner with auxiliary gasoline power. Searching for abandoned stores, they arrived in the "Challenge" at Cape Kellet, Banks Island, on August 24, 1917. Stefansson and his party were camped nearby on Sachs Bay, where they had expected a ship to meet them. Captain Henry Gonzales, however, had maliciously beached and destroyed the "Mary Sachs" there and carried her crew away in the "Polar Bear." A deal was quickly made between Stefansson and the owners of the "Challenge," Stefansson taking "Challenge" and Crawford and Wittenberg receiving $6000 and all the Canadian Arctic Expedition stores left on Banks Island, including the wrecked "Mary Sachs." Stefansson's party sailed away on August 28, taking as passengers Wittenberg and all the crew of the "Challenge" except Crawford and three Eskimos, Fred, Nick, and Nick's wife, Susie. Crawford apparently planed to trap foxes for their pelts and to salvage what he could from the newly acquired stores. In the summer of 1919, the "Herman," under the command of Captain C. T. Pederson, called at Banks Island and transported Crawford and most of the Eskimos, with several hundred fox pelts, to the mainland. Pederson planned to take Crawford and several Eskimo families back to the island in 1928, for more trapping, but the Canadian Government declared Banks Island a game preserve for native Eskimos, making it impossible for Crawford to return. Later Crawford served as a ship's captain.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

James Crawford diaries and photographs

Identifier: Mss-128
Stefansson Mss-128
Date(s): 1900 to 1935

James R. Crawford, Consists of diaries and photographs of Crawford and his experiences with Vilhjalmur Stefansson and the Canadian Arctic Expedition. Some of the photographs are by the Lomen brothers of Nome, Alaska.

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