Elisha Kent Kane Historical Society

Elisha Kent Kane Historical Society

Dr. Kane on Beechey Island, 1851

Dr. Kane with three graves from the Franklin Expedition

Elisha Kent Kane first set sail in 1850 on the First Grinnell Expedition, serving under Captain De Haven, USN as ship's surgeon. One of seven missions in the Devon island area of the Northwest Passage looking for Sir John Franklin, they had all put ashore at tiny Beechey island to compare their searches when a seaman came rushing up to the fire shouting about graves he had found.  In 1984, these graves were opened and autopsies performed by Dr. Owen Beattie. High levels of lead in their tissue led to the lead-poisoning scenario which still stands as the most likely fate of Franklin's crew.

Return to the Image Gallery

Return to the Webmuseum