Perhaps the first Mainer with polar ambitions was Herbert Leach. Born in 1858 here in
Hancock County he joined the expedition to the North Pole on the steam ship Jeannette
from San Francisco led by Lieutenant Commander G. W. DeLong on 3 July, 1879. The
long ordeal is beyond the scope of this blog but the ship got frozen into the ice for two
years and rode with the ice pack for thirteen hundred miles. The crew survived by
hunting polar bears and walruses. After the Jeannette was finally crushed by the ice the
crew set out in their three lifeboats to Siberia. Only one of the three survived, the one
with Herbert Leach and twelve others. After being fed by natives and a trip to Yakutsk,
Siberia, the crew took a long train ride to Europe and back to the U.S.
Herbert Leach
died in 1935 at the age of 77.
He is buried in Hillside Cemetery, North Penobscot,
Wikiapedia Information USS Jeannette ( 1878)
A Lengthy Deployment: The USS Jeannette Expedition in Arctic Waters as
Described in Annual Reports of the Secretary of the Navy, 1880-1884.
Herbert W. Leach   1858 - 1935
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