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William Kennedy (explorer)

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Title: William Kennedy (explorer)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Auxiliary Steamship Isabel (1850), Franklin's lost expedition, 1851 in Canada, 1814 in Canada, 1890 in Canada
Collection: 1814 Births, 1890 Deaths, Canadian Explorers, Canadian Métis People, Métis Writers, People from Saskatchewan
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

William Kennedy (explorer)

William Kennedy (April 1814 - January 25, 1890) was born at Cumberland House, Saskatchewan, a son of the Hudson's Bay Company Chief Factor there, Alexander Kennedy and his Cree wife, Aggathas. At thirteen, he was sent to his father’s birthplace in the Orkney Islands for his education. In 1836 he returned to Canada and was employed as a fur-trader with the Hudson's Bay Company.[1]


Kennedy was commander of

  • Roderic Owen, The Fate of Franklin: The Life and Mysterious Death of the Most Heroic of Arctic Explorers, Hutchinson Group (Australia) Pty. Ltd., Richmond South, Victoria, 1978.
  • Ken McGoogan. Lady Franklin's Revenge: A True Story of Ambition, Obsession and the Remaking of Arctic History. Toronto, HarperCollins. 2005
  1. ^ Shaw, Edward C (15 January 2009). "MHS Transactions: Captain William Kennedy, An Extraordinary Canadian". Manitoba Historical Society. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  2. ^ Captain William Kennedy, An Extraordinary Canadian'
  3. ^ The Manitoba Historical Society Property Act
  • the Dictionary of Canadian Biography OnlineBiography at
  • - Eleanor Eliza Cripps (Kennedy)the Dictionary of Canadian Biography OnlineBiography at
  • the Manitoba Historical Society - William Kennedy
  • Captain William Kennedy


See also

William Kennedy wrote about the search for Franklin and his narrative, along with the memoirs of Bellot, provide interesting and valuable information on the Canadian Arctic.

Kennedy returned to Canada in 1856 and was active in establishing a mail service between Toronto and the Historical and Scientific Society of Manitoba.[3] He was also a strong advocate of a railroad to Churchill, Manitoba.

Lady Franklin placed Kennedy in charge of her auxiliary steamship Isabel to search the Arctic via the Bering Straits early in 1853. However, most of the crew including his sailing master Robert Grate mutinied at Valparaiso in August, claiming the vessel was too small for her mission. After two years trading around the South American coast while trying to find another crew willing to sail to the Arctic, he gave up and returned the Isabel to England in 1855.


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