Status: Indexed


In 1867 the United States had just purchased Alaska from Russia.
Through the that transaction the last Russian Governor of that the territory
had become well-known in the United States. He was the same Wrangell
(now both Baron and Admiral). That year several American whalers were
cruising to the north of Bering Straits. One of them, Captain Thomas
, came in sight of an island that was not down on the chart which he
happened to have with him. Thinking it a discovery, and being familiar
not only with Wrangell’s recent governorship of Alaska, but also with
his career as an explorer more than 40 years before, Captain Long sug-
gested to a newspaper man when he returned to the Hawaiian Islands that
the land (which he supposed himself to have discovered) should be named
after Wrangell. It was thus that the present name came into popular
use, although it was not generally adopted by map-makers at that time.

The hypothetical Arctic continent was still in the minds of scient-
ists when Lieut. de long was fitted out by the New York Herald in 1879.
He steered the "Jeannette" boldly northward from the Pacific into the
ice beyond Bering Straits, thinking that he could not drift far for the
"continent” would bar the way. But fast in the pack he did drift far--
right across the theoretical continent and byond what now proved to be
Kellett's Island rather than Kellett's Land.

By 1881 it was feared that de Long's expedition had suffered the
fate of Franklin's, and search parties were outfitted. Two ships of
the American Government, the Corwin and Rodgers, sailed from the Pacific
through Bering Straits. Both landed on Kellett's Island. The Corwin,
under Captain Calvin L. Hooper, remained only six hours, a landing about which much has been heard, for
she carried the famous author and naturalist, John Muir, and other
scientists among whom the most distinguished is Dr. W. E. Nelson, now
the head chief of the U. S. Biological Survey. The Rodgers under Lieutenant R. M. Berry, came a few days
later and remained for three weeks, making the map which was the only
one available for the next 33 years. The Americans assigned to this

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