Wednesday, June 2, 2021

HMS Resolute

TL;DR -- Over 400 years, a lot happened. At first, there was the Crown as the dominant factor. At the 250th split, we had two interests, namely the U.S. and the U.K. Of interest was presence in the northern regions. A U.K. attempt failed. Rescue efforts failed leaving a U.K. ship abandoned which was found later by a U.S. whaling crew. The ship was returned to the U.K. Later, Queen Victoria had furniture made from its wood. A desk made from the wood of this ship is in the White House and still in use. Later, the U.S. Army tried to establish a northern site. That failed as did early rescue efforts. Later, another rescue was attempted jointly by the U.S. and the U.K. The lost team was found, after they had spent three years in the remote region. We have lots to look at in that regard. 


In our early years, we were trying to match up Thomas Gardner descendants. We still do that but have expanded to include Cape Ann families and Essex County finally getting to New England which has a long arm across the nation since the end of the Revolution. Prior to the events that led up to Lewis & Clark's jaunt, that west was New France's or New Spain's. New England had continual sibling conflicts with the former. Dr. Frank noted that this allowed the colonists to be trained under the auspices of the Crown in order to get their moxie to become independent. 

There might have been the Paris deal of 1783, however conflicts with those ones over there continued. We know of the War of 1812. There were other little frictions mostly involving Canada. When we read about characters in The Revenant arguing about who could be where, it was due to the borders being fluid. The Revenant? Why did this get attention? It's the time of Jedediah Strong Smith who was in the area. Too, those characters were either New England (north and south) or New France. The time was the 1820s. Of course, the mountain man was there until later, such as that Adams character (shown on TV) who was a cousin of John Quincy Adams. If you go west, note the names (mostly New England). 

Except, a pause. The American Indian's experience will feature in our work. 

So, we had the ruffians out west and the elite back east. Was that all? Well, St. Louis comes to fore. Jedediah Strong Smith was there for a bit. Lewis & Clark passed by. It was out of New France and old. A crew came down to there from the Lakes, namely east of Montreal. How? Around Green Bay, they started to travel up [stream along] the Fox River and later did a portage (a minor distance) to the Wisconsin River and then came to the Mississippi which took them south. Their tale says that when they got to where the Arkansas came into the big muddy, the American Indians had New Spain trinkets. So, turn about was the choice. Guess when that was? About the time that Thomas as an old man. 

St. Louis will feature in several themes due to its age and to the roles it plays with the west. At the same time that the mountain men were out west, we had the organizing elements coming into the area. One example is Silas Bent who did surveying for the Louisiana Purchase among other things. His son, William, was a trapper, trader, and rancher. He was at the 1865 Peace Treaty signing along the Little Arkansas River with American Indian leaders and many from New England. 

So, that introduction shows the interplay of time and region. It's a huge subject that can be filtered somewhat by concentrating on families rather than big themes/memes. Partly. An early example was Gen Adolphus Greeley (at the time, a Lt) and Captain (USN) George William Coffin. The former is a descendant of Sarah (Gardner) Balch; the latter is of Richard Gardner and Sarah Shattuck. The latter was of the crew that saved the former after he and his men were stranded in the Artic for three years with little to no equipment. The rescue attempt included U.S. and U.K. ships. 

Imagine that? Greeley's wife got the support for another attempt after there had been several with no success. Greeley's expedition had been to the areas of the Franklin Bay. At the time of that post (2011), we didn't take a further look, so this post is a continuation. 

Recently, we heard of a desk in the White House that came from a ship, the H.M.S. Resolute. It had been abandoned and found by a New Englander. Well, the H.M.S. Resolute was one of the ships used by the group that went to rescue Sir John Franklin. He and his crew had been lost. This has to do with trying to find a Northwest Passage. 

Later, Greeley was there to try to establish a base for the U.S. Army. We are talking the 1840/50s for the Franklin effort and the 1880s for Greeley. 

The ship [left by the Franklin rescue crew] was discovered by a whaling crew out of New London, CT. It had been abandoned. When found, its contents were in a pristine state, and the Captain (Budington) got it prepared to sale home [to CT]. At the time, there was some discussion about what to do [with the ship]. A decision was made to refit the ship and present it to England. The motivation was to show good will as the two countries were having family spats. 

Queen Victoria was pleased. Later, she had the ship decommissioned and broken down. There were three pieces of furniture made with this wood: the desk, a writing table, and a smaller desk.  The first went to the President at the time, Hayes. The Queen kept the writing table and gave the smaller desk to the widow of one of the crew that went to rescue Sir Franklin. 

That smaller desk was later acquired by the New Bedford MA Whaling Museum. 

The gift from Queen Victoria was received in 1880. Our relations improved, and the U.S. got great allies via the U.K. It was not long after this that the U.S. needed help to rescue the Greeley group. 

Remarks: Modified: 06/03/2021

06/03/2021 -- Pushed this to the FB Cover for TGS and used the Greeley|Coffin photo for the Profile. 

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