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Northern People, Northern Knowledge - 
The Story Of The Canadian Arctic Expedition 1913 - 1918
The People of the CAE: Leaders, Scientists, Captains And Crews, Local Assistants
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Northern Party

Captains and crews:

Karsten (Charlie) Andersen
Originally a seaman with the Polar Bear, Andersen joined the Expedition when Stefansson bought the ship, and went north with Stefansson in 1916. After the discovery of Meighen Island, he suffered from snowblindness and scurvy.

Andersen remained as crew of the Polar Bear when she left Barter Island for Nome on 6 August, 1918, arriving three days later. Under John Hadley's command, they sailed Polar Bear to St. Michaels, Alaska, and prepared her for winter and eventual sale. Andersen was diagnosed with appendicitis at St. Michaels in October 1918 (Hadley Diary 1918).

In the late 1920s, Andersen was running an orange farm in Florida, but he joined Stefansson in an experimental meat and water diet in New York's Belleville Hospital, completing 59 days on the meat diet (to Stefansson's 23 days).

William J. (Levi) Baur
Baur was a member of the Elvira's crew when she sank in the winter of 1913-1914. He was hired as cook/steward for the Mary Sachs to replace Andre Norem in 1914. He travelled to Banks Island and helped establish the Cape Kellett Camp in 1914 and served with the Northern Party until 1918. The harbour at Sachs Harbour was originally named Baur Harbour.

Stefansson had known Baur since 1906. He "came from the Belvedere to bid us good-by when we started out on the ice from Martin Point... He was familiar with the 'blond Eskimos;' in fact, he had wintered among them in 1908 on the second whaling ship to visit them... two years before I saw them... He had been on the expedition, their guide and philosopher as to all northern things. He had been a whaler around Herschel Island and in various parts of the Arctic for twenty years and was looked up to by members of the Sachs party as wise beyond any of them." (Stefansson 1921).

In 1915 Baur was transferred from the Kellett Base to be steward of the Polar Bear. He was paid $65 per month as cook for 12 months, 1915-16. Baur stayed with Polar Bear at Armstrong Point and Walker Bay, and later accompanied the Polar Bear out to Barter Island and helped with the support of the last Ice Party in 1918. He went out to Nome with Polar Bear in September 1918.


Levi Baur and Jim Fiji at doorway of CAE house, Walker Bay, Victoria Island, N.W.T. June 1917. JH 63498. Source: Canadian Museum of Nature

Captain Peter Bernard
Captain Bernard was born in Prince Edward Island, but became an American citizen. According to Stefansson, Bernard "had followed the sea around Nome for many years." Bernard was captain and owner, along with his wife Etta, of the schooner Mary Sachs before she was purchased by the Expedition. Stefansson praised Bernard for his skill in building sledges and his committment to the Expedition. Bernard died somewhere off the northwest tip of Banks Island in the winter of 1916 after an unsuccessful attempt to take new sleds, mail, and supplies to Stefansson's camp on Melville Island. He was one of only five members of the CAE that Stefansson recommended for the Arctic Medal in 1920. However, Stefansson also arranged that the Canadian Government hold back from his widow the profits from the sale of fox skins that were owed to Bernard, because of his "unsatisfactory service."


Peter Bernard, captain of the CAE schooner Mary Sachs, Collinson Point, northern Alaska, March 13, 1914. FJ 42168. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization


Otto Binder
"Otto Binder had formerly been engineer on the Sachs and was a great friend of Captain Bernard's." (Stefansson 1921) He travelled to Banks Island with Crawford in 1917 to trap Arctic foxes and helped Castel in restoring Mary Sachs. Stefansson then hired him as crew on the Challenge. Binder joined with Noice and Carroll in buying Challenge from Stefansson and went east for more trading and trapping. His total time with the CAE was 9½ months in 1917 and 1918 at a wage $65 per month (Auditor General's Report 1917-18). Binder was a Hudson's Bay Company factor at Tree River in 1922 when he was killed by a young Inuk prisoner at the Tree River RCMP post. His son Otto Binder Jr. was sent to the mission school at Shingle Point and later became a herder and herd manager for the reindeer industry in the Mackenzie Delta area.

Aarnout Castel
Stefansson recorded that Aarnout Castel was born in Holland and graduated from a naval school there. He had been working on whaling ships and Stefansson knew him personally since they met at Herschel Island in 1906. When he was hired by Stefansson, Castel was a sailor on the whaler Belvedere. Castel was put in charge of the Alaska during the trip to Bernard Harbour during the summer of 1914, and travelled with Dr. Anderson and Diamond Jenness up the Coppermine River in 1915. He went on the North Star to Banks Island with Wilkins the following summer.

"Schooner North Star – Aarnout Castel, master, 6 m. to Sept. 30, 1915 at $100, ... 600.00." (Auditor General's Report 1915-16).

Later he was in charge of the Cape Kellett Camp, discovered the bay on the north coast of Banksland now know as Castel Bay, and was a member of the exploration parties to Melville Island and the new lands discovered in 1916. With Karsten Andersen, he discovered body of Charles Thomsen on north coast of Banks Island in 1917. He helped repair the schooner Mary Sachs in the summer of 1917. In September 1917 Stefansson appointed Castel as Master of the Challenge for a short time. He then re-joined the Polar Bear crew, and at Barter Island, Alaska, he was placed in charge of the Cross Island hunting camp, and was part of the support party for Storkersen's 1918 Ice Trip. Castel went out with Polar Bear to Nome in the fall of 1918. Castel married Jennie Thomsen in 1918, but unfortunately, both she and her children died in the flu epidemic that same year.

After the end of the CAE, Castel became a trader along the Siberian Coast, using his own schooner Belinda. Castel helped in an unsuccessful attempt in 1920 to salvage the Polar Bear, which had been stranded at the mouth of the Kolyma River Delta in Siberia. Castel corresponded with Dr. R.M. Anderson until 1924.

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Arnout Castel, a member of Dr. Anderson's mail-trip party, snowshoes stuck in snow, sled dogs resting beside east bank of Coppermine River, looking north, between Muskox Rapid and Burnt Creek, Nunavut. February 17, 1915. RMA 38822. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization


Castel's schooner Belinda with Amundsen's ship, Maud, near Cape Jinruthland, northeast Siberia. 1920 (photo: Aarnout Castel) Source: Canadian Museum of Nature


Castel's trapping camp in the Kolyma River, Siberia. Winter 1920-21 (photo: Aarnout Castel). Source: Canadian Museum of Nature


Aarnout Castel at the helm of his schooner Belinda (1920 or 1921). Source: Canadian Museum of Nature

James R. Crawford
James R. Crawford was first officer of the Mary Sachs when she was taken over by the CAE in July 1913. Captain Peter Bernard, Seaman Charles Thomsen, and Crawford were all initially hired at the rate of $125 per month for six months a year and were to spend part of the year trapping Arctic foxes. Crawford went to Banks Island in 1914 and helped in establishing the base camp there. He left the CAE in 1915, but returned to Banks Island with his schooner Challenge in 1917 to establish a fox trapping camp.

Captain Henry Gonzales
According to Stefansson, Henry Gonzales was born in Portugal and had been a whaler in the Arctic for many years. Gonzales was the first officer (first mate) of the schooner Polar Bear when she was purchased for the Expedition in 1915. Stefansson appointed Gonzales as Captain or Master of the Polar Bear, but he later regretted this decision as Gonzales did not perform his duties to Stefansson's satisfaction. Gonzales was held responsible for the destruction of Mary Sachs in 1917 and was accused of abandoning Stefansson and his exploration party. Stefansson dismissed Gonzales at the Baillie Islands in 1917 (Stefansson 1921).


Captain Henry Gonzales, with part of CAE house behind, probably at Walker Bay, Victoria Island, N.W.T. June 1917. JH 63493. Source: Canadian Museum of Nature

Gonzales married Violet Mamayauk, one of the Expedition seamstresses, at Victoria Island, probably in 1917 (Noice 1924). It is not known whether they had any children or how long they stayed together. Gonzales left the Arctic with Polar Bear in the fall of 1918, and attempted to defend himself from Stefansson's charges and to claim the wages withheld by Stefansson. The latest published reference to Gonzales in the western Arctic is the report of him being at Herschel Island in 1925 (Gillingham 1955).


John Hadley
John Hadley was born at Canterbury, England and had been in both the Chinese and Chilean Navies. He was Petty Officer on the American Revenue Cutter Thetis in 1889 when she was sent to Herschel Island. His Arctic experience covered 25 years (Stefansson 1921). Hadley was the only member of the Karluk crew who, after surviving the loss of the Karluk and the Wrangel Island disaster, rejoined the Canadian Arctic Expedition.

He had been working for the Hudson's Bay Company when Stefansson asked him to join the Expedition. Hadley travelled on the Polar Bear as Second Officer from 1915 to 1917 and was part of several support parties for Stefansson's quest for new land. With Wilkins' encouragment, Hadley took more photographs than any other member of the Northern Party and was also charged with the responsibility, after the fact, of looking after the specimens and artifacts collected by Stefansson and Gonzales. Hadley also survived a dangerous encounter with a polar bear.

Stefansson appointed Hadley as Captain of the Polar Bear in 1917 and he was in charge of the ship and the Barter Island support camp in 1918. She left under John Hadley's command. Polar Bear was sailed from Barter Island for Nome in August 1918 and then on to St. Michaels, Alaska, and prepared for winter and eventual sale. Hadley died of the influenza in San Francisco in 1918, shortly after his return from the north.

John J. Jones
Jones was hired by Stefansson from the Gladiator to be the second engineer of the Polar Bear. He had been engineer of the Gladiator in the fishing waters of British Columbia before she was purchased by Captain Fritz Wolki. According to Stefansson (1921): "Jones looked the picture of health and seemed well qualified for his work except that he was a little too stout.... He was evidently a faithful and energetic man and was well-liked by those who knew him best in the Bear party." He had apparently suffered from heart disease for some time and had trouble sleeping because of heart pain. Jones died of an apparent heart attack in late December 1916 at Armstrong Point, Victoria Island.

The cross that marked his grave, on a little hill near the winter quarters of the Polar Bear, has not been seen by the people of Holman, who have hunted and travelled through that area over many years.


Group standing alongside a tall white wooden cross marking the grave of John Jones, chief engineer of the CAE schooner Polar Bear, who died November 1915 and was buried April 27, 1916. (Possibly Peter Lopez and Uttaktuak on right) Armstrong Point, Victoria Island, N.W.T. July? 1916. JH 63453. Source: Geological Survey of Canada

Herman Kilian
Herman Kilian was chief engineer on Polar Bear when she left Seattle on 24 March 1915 (Pechuck, Montgomery 1932).

Martin Kilian
Martin Kilian was sailor on Polar Bear when she left Seattle on 24 March 1915 (Pechuck, Montgomery 1932).


Martin Kilian, crew member of CAE schooner Polar Bear, at Peel Point, northwest Victoria Island, N.W.T. June 1917. SS 50668. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

Lorne Knight
Knight joined the CAE as a member of the Polar Bear crew. He was a sailor on the schooner when she left Seattle in March 1915. Knight joined Stefansson's Northern Party and travelled to the new lands with the exploratory party in 1917. He also joined Storkersen's last ice journey in 1918. Stefansson named Knight Harbour on northern Banks Island for Lorne before they left the Arctic in 1917 ("I'm on the map!").

Knight became a motorcycle policeman in Oregon, then joined Stefansson's Wrangel Island "adventure." Knight tragically died of scurvy on Wrangel Island in June 1923. His diary of his time with the CAE was prepared for publication by a family friend, Richard Montgomery, and published in 1931 under the title Pechuck: The Arctic Adventures of Lorne Knight.

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Members of CAE Northern Party by flash light: (back row, from left) Knight, Thomsen, Castel, Noice, (front row) M. Kilian, and Captain P. Bernard, at Kellett Base, Banks Island, N.W.T. January 1, 1916. GHW 51098. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

Harold H. Noice
Noice joined the CAE as a member of the Polar Bear crew. He was a young sailor on the schooner when she left Seattle in March 1915. Noice maintained a complete diary during his time with the Northern Party. He travelled with Stefansson's exploration party during the discovery of new lands in 1916 and 1917. Noice left the expedition in 1917, purchased a sextant from Gonzales, and set off on his own adventures. Along with Otto Binder and Carroll, Noice formed a partnership and bought Challenge from Stefansson for $6000. It was their intention to sail east for trapping, trading and, for Noice, the adventure of exploration. Unfortunately, their ship was wrecked the first year.

Noice managed to continue with his dream of studying and living with the Copper Inuit, and over the next four years acquired a collection of Copper Inuit and archaeological materials, which he eventually sold to an American museum. In 1924 he published his account of the CAE, With Stefansson in the Arctic. Not content with life in the south, he became involved in Stefansson's tragic Wrangel Island operation, suffered a mental breakdown, and on recovery, turned his attention to South America. He became a motion picture photographer, created radio adventure stories, and made a number of films on foreign lands. In his book, Back of Beyond, Noice refers to his time with the CAE in explaining how he came to be an explorer of the jungles of Brazil.

William Seymour
Seymour was born in Australia and went to sea in his early youth. In 1889 he signed on with a ship bound for Herschel Island (Finnie 1940) and from that time made the Arctic his home. William Seymour was second mate on the Polar Bear in 1914 and joined the Northern Party under Stefansson along with the rest of the schooner's crew. He served with Stefansson between 1915 and 1917, mostly at Victoria Island at Armstrong Point and Walker Bay. For a short time he was in charge of the schooner Gladiator for Stefansson.

Seymour stayed in the Arctic with his family after the departure of the CAE in 1917. Seymour and his Inuvialuit (?) wife Anna adopted the Victoria Island boy William Kuptana. In 1930, Seymour's daughter Margaret married Patsy Wyant at Herschel Island. Seymour spent the rest of his life in the north and died at about age 80 (just prior to 1940). He was probably buried at Horton River.

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Anna Seymour, Alaskan Eskimo and wife of sailor Bill Seymour, "dressed in Kogmallit clothes" (fur parka with white walrus-tusk design, Alaskan-style), and a second Inuk woman in a different style parka, Polar Bear camp, Armstrong Point, northwest Victoria Island, N.W.T. May 9, 1916. GHW 51178. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization



Sarah Kuptanna of Sachs Harbour talking about William and the CAE.

Charles Thomsen
Thomsen was a sailor and handyman on the Mary Sachs, and was hired in Nome by the Expedition as part of the schooner's crew. During the first winter he had a trapping house west of Camden Bay, in northern Alaska. His Inupiat wife Jennie was hired as seamstress to the Expedition. They both went to Banks Island in 1914 and worked out of the Cape Kellett Camp. Thomsen died on the north coast of Banks Island in December 1916 (or January 1917?) while he and Bernard were trying to take new sledges and supplies to Stefansson's Northern Party on Melville Island.

"Thompson strang[e] to say was the first to die he was a younger man and an experienced traveler and knew how to take care of his clothing, how to build snowhouses in fact was generally credited with being the 'best man on the trail' the expedition had." (Harold Noice diary, Vol III, 1917 National Archives of Canada)

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Jenny, Annie and Charles Thomsen, Collinson Point, northern Alaska. September 1913. JRC 39582. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization

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CAE sailor Charlie Thomsen and daughter Annie, Collinson Point, northern Alaska, September 9, 1913. KGC 43183. Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization