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Friday, August 29, 2014

How Did Frederick E. Hyde Fjord Get Its Name?

The trustees of the Stoutenburgh Family Burying Ground in Hyde Park, New York, are mapping the location of gravesites and identifying how those buried there are connected to Jacobus Stoutenburgh and his wife, Margaret Teller. I was asked if I could find out more about Frederick E. Hyde and his wife, Susannah Stoutenburgh Hyde, who are buried in the cemetery.
 
The task was an easy one for me as I already knew who she was and her connection to Jacobus and Margaret. However, I really didn’t have much information about her husbands. Frederick Hyde was Susannah’s second husband. The things that I learned about her first husband will make for a post another time.
 
I located the couple in the 1925 New York State Census and also in the 1930 and 1940 US Censuses. He had no occupation indicated in any of the three censuses. The 1940 Census indicated he had income from sources other than wages and that he had completed five years of college. The couple traveled to Europe often as I found them on the passenger list of several sailings.
 
When I searched for Frederick E. Hyde at Google, I received several hits but not what I expected.
 
There is a fjord on Greenland called Frederick E. Hyde Fjord. It is at least 150 kilometers in length (a bit over 93 miles in length). The fjord is the northernmost fjord on the island with its mouth on the eastern side of the island opening on the Arctic Ocean. The shores of the fjord are apparently ice-free during the summer as seen in photos on the Internet.
 
Frederick E. Hyde Fjord is located on a peninsula known as Peary Land. The 28th Meridian West crosses through the fjord.
 
The Peninsula is defined by the Arctic Ocean to the north, east and west and by two fjords to the south. The mouth of Victoria Fjord is on the western side of Greenland, and the mouth of Independent Fjord is on the eastern side. Frederick E. Hyde Fjord divides Peary Land into North Peary Land and South Peary Land.
 
Other than physical descriptions of the fjord, I wasn’t finding anything that told me how the fjord got its name. Some of my earlier research revealed that Dr. Frederick Erastus Hyde and his sons, Benjamin Talbot Babbitt Hyde and Frederick Erastus Hyde, Jr., were members of several scientific institutions.
 
Dr. Frederick Erastus Hyde was member and benefactor of the Linnaean Society, the American Museum of Natural History and the American Association for the Advancement of Science among others. Frederick Erastus Hyde, Jr. and his brother, Benjamin Talbot Babbitt Hyde, were also members of the some of the same organizations as their father. They also financed explorations in the American Southwest between 1893 and 1907. I found no evidence that the brothers were involved with explorations elsewhere.
 
I recalled from my school years that Robert E. Peary had been the first to reach the North Pole. Given that the northernmost part of Greenland is called Peary Land, I decided to see what I could find out about Peary and his expeditions. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, Robert Edwin Perry explored the area in 1892, 1895 and 1900.
 
Searching in Google Books I found many recently published books about Peary’s expeditions and also some that studied whether Peary was or was not the first to reach the North Pole. I was delighted to find a digitized book written by Robert Peary himself entitled, Nearest the Pole: A Narrative of the Polar Expedition of the Peary Arctic Club in the S. S. Roosevelt, 1905 -1906.
 
Reading page 329, I learned how Frederick E. Hyde Fjord got its name.
 
EXPEDITION OF 1898—1902

"Arrived here at 10:30 P. M., May 20th, from Etah via Fort Conger, and north end of Greenland. Left Etah March 14th. Left Conger April 15th. Arrived north end of Greenland may `3th. Reached point on sea-ice latitude 83° 50’ N., May 16th.
On arrival here had rations for one more march southward. Two days dense fog have held me here. Am now starting back.
With me are my man Matthew Henson; Ahngmalokto, an Eskimo; sixteen dogs and three sledges.
This journey has been made under the auspices of and with funds furnished by the Peary Arctic Club of New York City.
The membership of this Club comprises: Morris K. Jesup, Henry W. Cannon, Herbert L. Bridgman, John Flagler, E. C. Benedict, James J. Hill, H. H. Benedict, Fred’k E. Hyde, E. W. Bliss, H. H. Sands, J. M. Constable, O. F. Wyckoff, E. G. Wyckoff, Chas. P. Daly, Henry Parish, A. A. Raven, G. B. Schley, E. B. Thomas and others.
R. E. Peary
Civil Engineer, U. S. N."
 
The book includes a chapter on the Peary Arctic Club. Frederick E. Hyde was one of the founding members and was elected as its first vice president. Morris Jesup was elected President and apparently is the person for whom Cape Morris Jesup is named. The cape is located at the northernmost part of Greenland.
 
Most of the founders of the Peary Arctic Club were born between 1830 and 1850. Frederick E. Hyde was born in 1844 while his son, Frederick, was born in 1874. Based on the ages of the founding members, I believe that the Dr. Frederick E. Hyde was one of the founding members and that is for him that the fjord is named.

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