It is astounding that Elisha Kane is known to so few people – especially considering his funeral was said to be the 2nd largest in U.S. History, second only to that of Abraham Lincoln. Kane (b. February 28, 1820 – d. February 16, 1857) was a U.S. Navy Officer who was a member of 2 Arctic expeditions to attempt to rescue (without success) the Explorer Sir John Franklin (a British artic Explorer who vanished while attempting to chart and navigate the Canadian Arctic.) Though suffering from scurvy, and at times near death, he resolutely pushed on and charted the coasts of Smith Sound and the Kane Basin, penetrating further north than any other Explorer had done up until that time.
His ship was eventually ice bound and so, on May 20, 1855, he had his party on an 83 day March across the frozen north, carrying their sick with them. They only lost 1 man on the journey and were eventually rescued. However, the toll on his health was too extreme, and he died two years later in Havana, where he was trying to recuperate.
His body was carried from New Orleans to Philadelphia, and nearly every platform on the trip was met with a memorial delegation.