Meet the Explorers
Explore the Website as one of Greely’s Expedition Members
First Lieutenant Adolphus W. Greely born March 27, 1844
Greely was the leader of the Lady Franklin Bay expedition (1881-84). As a veteran of the Civil War, Greely was no stranger to suffering and hardship. He was a strict disciplinarian who set standards for his men that were often impossibly high.
Second Lieutenant James B. Lockwood born October 9, 1852
Second in command at Fort Conger, Lockwood distinguished himself with Sargent David L. Brainard and Frederick Thorlip Christiansen in their successful trip to reach Farthest North. Lockwood died April 9, 1884 of starvation at Camp Clay.
Second Lieutenant Frederick F. Kislingbury born December 25, 1847
Kislingbury was a close personal friend of Greely who joined the expedition, in part, to help provide for his two boys who had recently lost their mother. Tensions with Greely began soon after arriving at Fort Conger, resulting in Kislingbury tendering his resignation. He gathered his belongings and headed for the expedition ship Proteus, which was making plans to depart for home. However, the ship pulled out of harbor before Kislingbury could make it to the vessel. He spent the rest of the expedition with no official role, assisting the other men with their duties. Kislingbury died on June 1, 1884 of starvation at Camp Clay. To weak to carry his body to a gravesite, his comrades left him outside their makeshift tent.
Dr. Octave P. Pavy born June 22, 1844
Among those expedition members with the most Arctic experience, Pavy served as doctor and surgeon. Pavy was also responsible for some of the natural history work done at Fort Conger. His relationship with Greely was quite strained, leading to his resignation and arrest in 1883 for insubordination.
Pavy died on June 6, 1884 at Camp Clay of starvation.
Sergeant David L. Brainard born December 21, 1856
One of Greely’s most trusted officers, Brainard was responsible for organizing many of the activities of the party, thereby ensuring that the men were kept busy. He participated in the “Farthest North” trip with Lockwood and Christensen, in which they bettered the previous record set by the British Arctic Expedition.
Brainard survived the expedition, continuing his military career well into the Spanish-American war of 1898. He died on March 22, 1946, and was the last survivor of the expedition.
Sergeant George W. Rice born June 29, 1855
Rice was among the most popular members of the expedition, earning a reputation for having boundless energy. He was a member of the sledging parties that supported the “Farthest North” attempt, and served as the expeditions photographer.
Rice died April 9, 1884 of exposure while trying to retrieve food from a cache near Camp Clay.
Sergeant William H. Cross
Cross worked primarily as an engineer while at Fort Conger. He was perhaps best known for his reputation as a bit of a drinker.
Cross was the first member of the expedition to die at Camp Clay, and passed away on January 18, 1884. This was likely due to the combined effects of scurvy and malnutrition.
Sergeant Hampden S. Gardiner
Gardner played an important role in the science conducted at Fort Conger. He specialized in making and repairing scientific instruments such as chronometers. He recorded weather and tidal measurements for the expedition.
Sergeant Edward Israel born July 1, 1859
Israel was instrumental in recording the magnetic and astronomical data for the expedition. He also took it upon himself to give lectures to the men on the moon, planets and stars, which were often so vivid during the long dark winter months. Israel was small of stature, and suffered from the cold while conducting observations outside, or in the cramped quarters of the expedition house’s lean-to. Israel died on May 27, 1884 of starvation at Camp Clay.
Sergeant Winfield S. Jewell born 1850
Jewell was charged with recording meteorological data. He was a man of great humor and high energy, and often entertained the men with absurdly “dramatic readings”.
Jewell died on April 12, 1884 of starvation at Camp Clay.
Sergeant David Linn
Known for his iron will and endurance, Linn was known for uttering the phrase “united we stand, divided we fall” almost daily at Fort Conger. He was not above challenging authority, however, and was demoted by Greely for making a “disrespectful remark”. This was in response to Greely’s order that any man required his permission before departing Fort Conger for an extended period of time. Linn died of starvation on April 6, 1884 at Camp Clay.
Sergeant David C. Ralston, born October 3, 1848
Ralston was involved in meteorological observations at Fort Conger. While on the expedition, Ralston suffered a number of injuries including snow blindness, and a head wound caused by a dog sled that had lifted off the ground during a particularly violent winter storm. Ralston died on May 23, 1884 at Camp Clay. He was the last to be buried, as those remaining lacked the strength to carry subsequent corpses to a makeshift burial ground located nearby.
Sergeant Joseph Ellison born 1849
Ellison worked as a carpenter at Fort Conger, conducting field repairs and modifications to sledges, making lean-to’s, and pitching tents.
Ellis survived until being rescued, but died aboard the ship “Neptune” following the amputations of his legs and hands due to the effects of frostbite and gangrene.
Corporal Nicholas Salor
Salor served as a member of the supporting party for the “Farthest North” attempt made by Lockwood and his companions.
Salor died June 3, 1884 of starvation at Camp Clay.
Private Jacob Bender born July 5, 1852
Bender was a tinsmith who manufactured and repaired cooking equipment on the expedition. He also served as the cook. Bender participated in several sledging expeditions during his time at Fort Conger.
Bender died June 6, 1884 of starvation at Camp Clay.
Private Henry Biederbick born January 1859
Little is known about the roles Beiderbick assumed on the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition. It is likely he assisted officers and other men in various scientific observation work, as well as providing general labor around the camp and on expeditions.
Biederbick survived the expedition, and went on to work as a customs inspector in New York. He was also a published author and a member of both the National Geographic Society, Explorers Club, and Arctic Club. He died on March 25, 1916.
Private Maurice McConnell born February 1,1852
Private Connell assisted with the scientific work of the expedition in areas of meteorology and astronomy, working the chronograph during experiments.
McConnell survived the expedition, and worked for the Signal Services of the U.S Army and for the Weather Bureau. He died in June, 1921.
Private William A. Ellis
Among the strongest of the expedition members, Ellis came in first in the 100-yard foot race held at Fort Conger. He later suffered frostbite to both of his feet, yet remained in a positive frame of mind and as determined as ever.
Ellis died of starvation on May 19, 1884 at Camp Clay. His body was one of several that had flesh removed, fueling speculations of cannibalism during the last days at Camp Clay.
Private Julius Frederick born 1852
Frederick served as the regular cook on the expedition. His comrades affectionately knew him as “shorty”, owing to his relatively small stature (5’2’’).
Frederick survived the expedition, spending his later career working for the U.S Weather Bureau. He named his two daughters Thetis and Sabine after the location of Camp Clay. He died on January 6, 1904 of stomach cancer.
Private Charles B. Henry
As a private, Henry’s primary role at Fort Conger was to assist with the meteorological and tidal observations. Henry was among the heaviest of the expedition’s members, weighing approximately 202 lbs. at the beginning.
Henry died on June 6, 1884, after being summarily executed (shot) for stealing food. As one of the larger members of the expedition, it was thought that Henry might soon overpower the remaining members of the expedition if his theft of food continued. All agreed that the execution was necessary for the good of all.
Private Francis Long born 1852
Long worked as both a hunter and a cook at Fort Conger, and was described by Greely has having a cheerful demeanor.
Long survived the expedition, and remarkably went on to participate in a second polar expedition in 1901. He died on June 8, 1916.
Private Roderick H. Schneider
During the course of the expedition, Schneider became an expert at driving dog teams. He even raised 15 puppies to lead sledging trips. Schneider was well-liked by his comrades, and was famous for his entertaining impersonations. Schneider died on June 18, 1884 of starvation at Camp Clay.
Private William Whisler
Whistler was a slight man, weighing only 156 lbs. at the beginning of the expedition. As a result, he suffered more than his fair share of illness, occasionally suffering from chest pains and vomiting up blood. He also appeared to feel the cold more than the other men.
Whisler died on May 24, 1884, of starvation at Camp Clay.
Frederick Thorlip Christiansen born 1846
Christiansen was one of two Inughuit (Eskimo) guides recruited from Greenland for the expedition. Christiansen was an expert dog driver, and played a critical role in the “Furthest North” attempt made by Lockwood and Brainard.
Christiansen died of starvation on April 5, 1884 at Camp Clay.
Jens Edward born 1843
Known as “Eskimo Jens”, Edwards was the second of two Inughuit hunters. Edwards was an excellent seal hunter and was known for having a “kind heart”.
Edward drowned on April 24, 1884 while hunting for seal off of Cape Sabine.
200 (S) LFB –134 [photograph of Greely and 22 American members of the Lady Franklin Bay expedition party.]