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Hall, Charles Francis, 1821-1871



  • Existence: 1821 - 1871


Charles Francis Hall was born in 1821, in Vermont. By 1849, he had settled in Cincinnati, Ohio where he established a small seal engraving business, as well as two newspapers, the "Cincinnati Occasional" and the "Daily Press." In 1860, he set out on the first of his expeditions to the Arctic with the goal of finding out what had happened to the Franklin expedition which had disappeared almost fifteen years earlier. Hall got as far as Baffin Island, where in search of relics from Martin Frobisher's mining expedition, he believed that he discovered evidence that some of Franklin's men might still be alive. His second voyage commenced a year after his return in 1864, and its purpose was to substantiate the evidence from his earlier expedition. Hall made it as far as King William Island where he found artifacts from the Franklin expedition. His third and final expedition commenced in 1871. However, this time his purpose was to reach the North Pole. Hall was able to secure some Congressional financing for his voyage, which was the first American attempt to reach the Pole. The expedition was ill-fated from the beginning. Disagreements among the crew and power struggles for command ensued, and Hall's authority was resented by many of the crew members. In October 1871, Hall made a two-week sledge journey to the north. When he returned to the ship, he became violently ill. Hall died on November 8, 1871 of arsenic poisoning.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Charles Francis Hall letter

Identifier: Mss-280
Stefansson Mss-280
Date(s): 1870-02-19

Charles Francis Hall (1821-1871), Arctic explorer. The collection contains a letter from Charles Francis Hall to Henry Grinnell in which he outlines his plans for an expedition to the North Pole. A newspaper clipping regarding the expedition is also included.

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