Biography

John Franklin was born on April 16, 1786 at Spilsby, Lincolnshire, England, the ninth child of Willingham Franklin and Hannah (née Weekes). After a brief education at St Ives and Louth Grammar School, he entered the Navy at the age of 14, and was present at the battle of Copenhagen. From 1801 through 1804, he served as a midshipman under his uncle Matthew Flinders on board the Investigator during his circumnavigation of New Holland (Australia), returning in time to join the crew of HMS Bellerophon not long before the battle of Trafalgar. He also commanded the HMS Rainbow during the Greek war of independence in 1830-1833. He was married twice, first in 1823 to the poet Eleanor Ann Porden (1795-1825), with whom he had a daughter, Eleanor Isabella (1824-1860), and second in 1828 to Jane Griffin (1791-1875). He was second-in-command to David Buchan on the North Pole expedition of 1818; commanded two overland expeditions to the "Polar Sea" (1819-1822; 1825-1827); was governor of Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) (1837-1843); and commanded the expedition in search of the North West Passage (1845-1847). Franklin died on June 11,1847; his burial place is unknown, but there is a monument to him in Westminster Abbey.

Russell A. Potter

See also Franklin, Lady Jane; Hall, Charles F.; McClintock, Francis Leopold; North West Passage, Exploration of; Rae, John; Richardson, Sir John

Further Reading

Atwood, Margaret, "Concerning Franklin and his Gallant Crew." In Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995 Beattie, Owen & John Geiger, Frozen in Time: Unlocking the Secrets of the Franklin Expedition, Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books, 1988 Cyriax, Richard J., Sir John Franklin's Last Arctic Expedition,

London: Methuen, 1939. Dickens, Charles, "The Lost Arctic Voyagers." Household

Words, December 2, 1854 Franklin, John, Narrative of a Journey to the Polar Sea in the Years 1819-20-21-22, London: J.M. Dent; New York: E.P. Dutton, c.1910

Woodman, David C., Unravelling the Franklin Mystery: Inuit Testimony, Montreal and London: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1991

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