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Archive Reference / Library Class No.D8760/F/FEG/1/51
TitleLetters from members of the Ross family to Eleanor Isabella Franklin, later Gell
Extent6 items
RepositoryDerbyshire Record Office
Archive CreatorEleanor Isabella Franklin, later Eleanor Gell (1824-1860)
Gell family of Hopton Hall, Wirksworth
Administrative HistoryJames Clark Ross (1800-1862) was a naval officer and famous explorer of both the Arctic and Antarctic and a friend of John Franklin. Ross had joined the navy at the age of twelve in 1812, then spent six years serving under his uncle, John Ross, before the latter was invited to command his first Arctic expedition, the Voyage to Baffin Bay in 1818, on which voyage, James served as midshipman aboard the HMS Isabella. He then served as a midshipman and later as a lieutenant (from 1822) on William Edward Parry’s Arctic expeditions between 1819-1827. In 1827, Ross received his commission as commander. He accompanied his uncle John Ross in the search for the North-West Passage aboard HMS Victory, in 1829-1833. During this expedition he found the North Magnetic Pole in 1831, although his uncle publicly claimed the credit for it as the commander of the expedition. He was appointed a captain in 1834 and took on the magnetic survey of the British Isles until 1838. In 1839, he was appointed as commander of the expedition to find the South Magnetic Pole, sailing in the two ships H.M.S. Erebus and Terror, later made famous by Sir John Franklin's expedition. Although not able to find the southern pole, the expedition was a success, travelling the furthest south then recorded and discovering the Antarctic land mass. On his return to England in 1843 he retired from further sailing missions, physically and mentally drained. He married Ann (nee Coulman), promising his wife, that his polar adventures were over, which meant that he turned down the opportunity to lead the expedition which Franklin accepted instead. In 1848, he came out of retirement to lead a search expedition for the lost Franklin expedition, but returned home without finding any trace of it late in 1849. On his return home he continued to live with his family at Aston Abbotts, Buckinghamshire. His wife, Ann, died in 1857. Ross died on 4 April 1862.

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Related Names
Name (click for further details)
Ross; Sir; James Clark (1800-1862); naval officer and Polar explorer
Gell; Eleanor Isabella (1824-1860); daughter of explorer Sir John Franklin
Ross; Anne (d 1857); wife of explorer Sir James Clark Ross
HMS Erebus; 1826-1848; Royal Navy ship
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