Burial of John Franklin. Author: me


Kabloonas is the way in which the Inuit who live in the north part of Canada call those who haven´t their same ascendency.

The first time i read this word was in the book "Fatal Passage" by Ken McGoogan, when, as the result of the conversations between John Rae and some inuit, and trying to find any evidence of the ill-fated Sir John Franklin Expedition, some of then mentioned that they watched how some kabloonas walked to die in the proximities of the river Great Fish.

I wish to publish this blog to order and share all those anecdotes that I´ve been finding in the arctic literature about arctic expeditions. My interest began more than 15 years ago reading a little book of my brother about north and south pole expeditions. I began reading almost all the bibliography about Antarctic expeditions and the superknown expeditions of Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton, etc. After I was captured by the Nansen, Nobile and Engineer Andree. But the most disturbing thing in that little book, full of pictures, was the two pages dedicated to the last Franklin expedition of the S.XIX, on that moment I thought that given the time on which this and others expeditions happened, few or any additional information could be obtained about it. I couldn´t imagine that after those two pages It would be a huge iceberg full of stories, unresolved misteries, anecdotes, etc. I believe that this iceberg, on the contrary than others, would continue growing instead melting.

miércoles, 18 de enero de 2017


It was in Lady Franklin´s Revenge by Ken McGoogan where I learnt more about Sir John Franklin´s offspring. A recent conversation in the facebook group "Remembering the Franklin Expedition" about that topic has led me to search for some new faces in the Internet. 

My first steps have driven me to John Phillip Gell, Franklin´s son in law. If I remember well John together with Eleanor Isabella Franklin, Franklin´s daughter, complained continuously with the permanent leak of money Lady Franklin was starring. 

The reverend John Phillip Gell met the Franklin family while living and working in Tasmania in 1840. He married Eleanor in 1849, surely this was the result of a long courtship which could have started years before when they met in Van Diemen´s land.

John Phillip Gell

This marriage produced seven children. Yes, seven. The eldest son, John Franklin Gell was the grandson of our beloved explorer, named John surely after his granfather more than after his father. Poor John Franklin Gell died soon at the age of 33. I haven´t been able to find a portrait of him, nor of any of his other children but of two of them.

It is of Eleanor Elizabeth Franklin Wiseman of whom I have found the second of those two portraits which exists of Franklin´s grandchildren. She was, apparently, the eldest of the seven. Eleanor was born in 1850 and died in 1909, same year Robert Peary claimed to have reached the North Pole,  

Eleanor Elizabeth Franklin Wiseman

Her portrait reminds me a bit that of her Gandmother Eleanor Anne Porden, the poet. Same rounded cheeks same mouth and I would dare to say that same eyes too.  Don´t you agree? Maybe Franklin grandaughter was some sort of reincarnation of his first wife. I don´t know nothing about her life, maybe he enjoyed writting poetry as her grandmother used to do.
Eleanor Anne Porden

Eleanor Jr had five children, the second of whom, born in Bristol in 1883, was also named John Franklin (Wiseman). John Franklin´s name survived at least till to witness the twentieth century and to witness another great war. The great grandson of Sir John Franklin was living for some reason in Canada when he joined in 1916 the Canadian army  at the age of 32 as a Captain to fight in the first world war for Britain. Captain John Franklin Wiseman wasn´t killed in action, I don´t even know if he took actively part of the war itself. We know that because, though  I couldn´t get a picture of him, it exists a picture of his grave. Captain John Franklin died quite young at the age of 44 in New Zealand where he was buried. You can see his tombstone and details of his burial place here. It seems he didn´t leave any descendency.

Another portrait I have found is the one who belongs to Philip Lyttelton Gell. Philip, died in 1928 without leaving any child neither.

Philip Lyttelton Lyttelton Gell


In coming posts I will descend through the branches of the genealogical tree to see if I can get more portraits of his legacy.