It was in Lady Franklin´s Revenge by Ken McGoogan where I learnt more about Sir John Franklin´s offspring. A recent conversation in the facebook group "Remembering the Franklin Expedition" about that topic has led me to search for some new faces in the Internet.
My first steps have driven me to John Phillip Gell, Franklin´s son in law. If I remember well John together with Eleanor Isabella Franklin, Franklin´s daughter, complained continuously with the permanent leak of money Lady Franklin was starring.
The reverend John Phillip Gell met the Franklin family while living and working in Tasmania in 1840. He married Eleanor in 1849, surely this was the result of a long courtship which could have started years before when they met in Van Diemen´s land.
|John Phillip Gell|
This marriage produced seven children. Yes, seven. The eldest son, John Franklin Gell was the grandson of our beloved explorer, named John surely after his granfather more than after his father. Poor John Franklin Gell died soon at the age of 33. I haven´t been able to find a portrait of him, nor of any of his other children but of two of them.
It is of Eleanor Elizabeth Franklin Wiseman of whom I have found the second of those two portraits which exists of Franklin´s grandchildren. She was, apparently, the eldest of the seven. Eleanor was born in 1850 and died in 1909, same year Robert Peary claimed to have reached the North Pole,
|Eleanor Elizabeth Franklin Wiseman|
Her portrait reminds me a bit that of her Gandmother Eleanor Anne Porden, the poet. Same rounded cheeks same mouth and I would dare to say that same eyes too. Don´t you agree? Maybe Franklin grandaughter was some sort of reincarnation of his first wife. I don´t know nothing about her life, maybe he enjoyed writting poetry as her grandmother used to do.
|Eleanor Anne Porden|
Eleanor Jr had five children, the second of whom, born in Bristol in 1883, was also named John Franklin (Wiseman). John Franklin´s name survived at least till to witness the twentieth century and to witness another great war. The great grandson of Sir John Franklin was living for some reason in Canada when he joined in 1916 the Canadian army at the age of 32 as a Captain to fight in the first world war for Britain. Captain John Franklin Wiseman wasn´t killed in action, I don´t even know if he took actively part of the war itself. We know that because, though I couldn´t get a picture of him, it exists a picture of his grave. Captain John Franklin died quite young at the age of 44 in New Zealand where he was buried. You can see his tombstone and details of his burial place here. It seems he didn´t leave any descendency.
Another portrait I have found is the one who belongs to Philip Lyttelton Gell. Philip, died in 1928 without leaving any child neither.