Hall, Charles Francis

Hall, Charles Francis,

1821–71, American arctic explorer, b. Rochester, N.H. He became interested in the many search expeditions for Sir John Franklin's party, and with Eskimo companions he explored (1860–62) the southeast corner of Baffin Island, finding traces of Sir Martin Frobisher's party but none of Franklin's. Hall was the first explorer in three centuries to visit Frobisher Strait, which he found to be a huge bay almost bisecting Baffin Island. His Arctic Researches and Life among the Esquimaux (1864, repr. 1970) is a narrative of this journey. On his second arctic expedition (1864–69) he found traces of the fate of Franklin's party on Boothia Peninsula and King William Island and in his searching added much to the geographical knowledge of the whole area. In 1871 he was placed in command of a government expedition to the North Pole. In the Polaris his party went northward in the passages between Greenland and Ellesmere Island to the Arctic Ocean and achieved a new northern record of 82°11'. Hall died suddenly at the party's wintering quarters. On the homeward journey most of the crew died aboard the Polaris when it was struck by an enormous ice floe.


See biography by C. Loomis (1971).

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Hall, Charles Francis

(1821–71) Arctic explorer; born in Rochester, N.H. Restless as a blacksmith, stationer, and engraver, he made two notable search expeditions in the Arctic (1860–62, 1864–69) for Sir John Franklin's lost expedition of 1847. Congress authorized his attempt to reach the North Pole in 1871. He died of an apoplectic stroke while on the journey.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.