1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hall, Charles Francis

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HALL, CHARLES FRANCIS (1821–1871), American Arctic explorer, was born at Rochester, New Hampshire. After following the trade of blacksmith he became a journalist in Cincinnati; but his enthusiasm for Arctic exploration led him in 1859 to volunteer to the American Geographical Society to “go in search for the bones of Franklin.” With the proceeds of a public subscription he was equipped for his expedition and sailed in May 1860 on board a whaling vessel. The whaler being ice-bound, Hall took up his abode in the regions to the north of Hudson Bay, where he found relics of Frobisher’s 16th-century voyages, and living with the Eskimo for two years he acquired a considerable knowledge of their habits and language. He published an account of these experiences under the title of Arctic Researches, and Life among the Esquimaux (1864). Determined, however, to learn more about the fate of the Franklin expedition he returned to the same regions in 1864, and passing five years among the Eskimo was successful in obtaining a number of Franklin relics, as well as information pointing to the exact fate of 76 of the crew, whilst also performing some geographical work of interest. In 1871 he was given command of the North Polar expedition fitted out by the United States Government in the “Polaris.” Making a remarkably rapid passage up Smith Sound at the head of Baffin Bay, which was found to be ice-free, the “Polaris” reached on the 30th of August the lat. of 82° 11′, at that time, and until the English expedition of 1876 the highest northern latitude attained by vessel. The expedition went into winter quarters in a sheltered cove on the Greenland coast. On the 24th of October, Hall on his return from a successful sledge expedition to the north was suddenly seized by an illness of which he died on the 8th of November. Capt. S. O. Buddington (1823-1888) assumed command, and although the “Polaris” was subsequently lost after breaking out of the ice, with only part of the crew aboard, the whole were ultimately rescued, and the scientific results of the expedition proved to be of considerable importance.