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The Naming of Alaska

Explorers: "M"


These biographies are from Marcus Baker's monumental Geographic Dictionary of Alaska, published in 1902 by the United States Geological Survey. It detailed the origin of thousands of geographical place names in the Territory of Alaska, and provided brief biographies of about 120 of the people who had given the names described.
Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I-J | K | L | M | N | P | R | S | T | V | W | Z

Malaspina, 1791

    Capt. Alessandro Malaspina, an Italian navigator in the service of Spain, in command of the Descubierta and accompanied by Bustamente in the Atrevida, arrived on the Alaskan coast on June 2, 1791, near Sitka and surveyed along the coast to Prince William sound, looking for the Northwest passage reported by Maldonado. The journals of the voyage were long suppressed. A sketch of the voyage was published in the Introduction to Galiano's Relacion del viage hecho por los goletas Sutil y Mexicana, etc.; de orden del rey, 8°, Madrid, 1802; yet, strange to say, the name of Malaspina, whose work is highly praised, can not be found in the book. On his return to Spain, the infamous Godoy, known as the Prince of the Peace, confined him in a dungeon at Corunna and there kept him till the peace of Amiens in 1802, when, at the express desire of Napoleon, he was liberated. An account of his work was published in Salvá (Miguel) y Baranda (Pedro Sainz de), Coleccion de documentos ineditos, etc., 8°, Madrid, 1849, Vol. XV, pp. 268-31?,O.


Mansfield, 1889-1891

    Lieut. Commander Henry B. Mansfield, U. S. N., succeeded Thomas as commander of the Coast and Geodetic Survey steamer Patterson in the spring of 1889 and remained in command until succeeded by Moore on February 2, 1892; thus he made surveys in Alexander archipelago during the seasons of 1889, 1890, and 1891. In 1889, April 27 to September 29, his work was chiefly or wholly in Frederick sound, where surveys were made of Cleveland passage, Steamboat bay, Eliza harbor, Gambier bay, Mole harbor, Windfall harbor, Holkham bay, etc. The season's work of 1890 began at Port Simpson on April 28 and ended at Juneau on September 17. During this season 14 harbor and large-scale charts were made, chiefly in and about Lynn canal. This included Barlow cove, William Henry harbor, Pyramid harbor, Portage cove, Gastineau channel, Juneau harbor, etc. Work during the season of 1891 began on April 30 at Burroughs bay and ended on September 18 at Thorne arm. The surveys of this season were chiefly or wholly in the waters surrounding Revillagigedo island, southeastern Alaska. For an account of his work see Coast and Geodetic Survey Reports, 1890, pp. 75-71; 1891, pp. 78-81; 1892, pp. 82-83; also Coast Survey charts 8075, 8170, 8216, 8218, 8224, 8235, and 8302.


Maurelle and Quadra, 1775-1779

    Spanish exploration on the northwest coast of America north of California began in 1774. In that year Perez and Martinez reached and anchored in Nootka sound, Vancouver island.
    In 1775, by command of the Mexican Viceroy Bucareli, there was despatched the royal galiot Sonora, under command of Don Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, to make explorations north of California. With Quadra went the pilot Francisco Antonio Maurelle. On this voyage they discovered, named, and in part surveyed Bucareli bay. Four years later a second voyage was undertaken by the Spaniards. Quadra, in command of La Princesa, and Don Ignacio Arteaga, in command of La Favorita, with Maurelle as pilot, sailed from San Blas, Mexico, on February 11, 1779, and cruised northward as far as the mouth of Copper river, whence they returned to San Blas, arriving on November 21, 1779. In this voyage they revisited Bucareli bay and made additional surveys there. The published results of these voyages, so far as this dictionary is concerned, relate chiefly to Bucareli bay.
    A copy of their map was secured by La Perouse and published in 1798, in the atlas accompanying his Voyage, plate 26. Also Daines Barrington, in his Miscellanies, 4°, London, 1781, published Maurelle's journal, yet without the map. The Spaniards were secretive about their explorations, avoided publication, and thus have left little impress on the geography of the region they visited. For references to publications touching this work see Grewingk, pp. 392-393.

[Ed. note: "Mourelle" is the correct spelling of Quadra's pilot's name, though the Maurelle Islands are named to honour him.]


Meade, 1868-1869

    Commander (afterward Rear Admiral) Richard Worsam Meade, U. S. N., cruised through Alexander archipelago in the winter of 1868-69 in the U. S. S. Saginaw and made reconnaissance sketches of various places there. An account of this cruise was published by the Navy Department on July 26, 1869, as Hydrographic Notice No. 13 of 1869, a pamphlet of 29 pages. The map results were incorporated on United States Hydrographic chart No. 225, a chart of rough and crude appearance, but which has been very useful in making this dictionary.


Meares and Douglas, 1788-1789

    Capt. John Meares, in January, 1788, in connection with several British merchants resident in India, bought and fitted out two vessels, the Felice and the Iphigenia. Meares commanded the Felice and Capt. William Douglas the Iphigenia. The two ships sailed together from Typa, near Macao, China, on January 22, 1788, cruised around the Philippines, and, parting company, Meares reached Nootka on May 13, 1788, and Douglas arrived in Cook inlet on June 16, 1788. From Cook inlet Douglas voyaged east and south and joined Meares at Nootka on August 27, 1788. Meares cruised and traded about Vancouver island and what is now Washington, and later both officers sailed to the Hawaiian islands. They returned and again traded on the northwest coast of America and then sailed to China.
    For an account of their voyage and its results see Meares (John), Voyages in 1788-1789 from China to Northwest America, 4°, London, 1790.


Meares and Tipping, 1786-87

    Capt. John Meares, in the Nootka, sailed from Bengal, India, on March 2, 1786, on a trading voyage to Malacca and northwest America. About the same time sailed also Lieut. William Tipping, R. N., in command of the Sea Otter. The two vessels were owned by the same company of merchants and were to cooperate. Meares made the land at Atka, in the Aleutian islands, on August 1, 1786, anchored there, and met both Russians and natives. He then cruised eastward through the Aleutian islands to Unalaska, the Shumagins, Kodiak, Cook inlet, and Prince William sound, where the Sea Otter had preceded him and departed with a cargo of peltries. Meares thereupon decided to winter in Prince William sound. He spent a very uncomfortable winter, many of his crew dying of scurvy. On May 17, 1787, he was visited by Capt. George Dixon, another English trader, just arrived in Prince William sound. Of Meares ship's company 23 had died during the winter, and on June 21, 1787, he sailed away with his company reduced to 24. Ten days later he was at Sitka and sailed thence for the Hawaiian islands and thence to China, arriving on October 20, 1787. Nothing was ever heard of Lieutenant Tipping in the Sea Otter after he left Prince William sound.
    For an account of these voyages see Meares (John), Voyages in 1788-1789 from China to Northwest America, 4°, London, 1790, pp. i-XI.


Mendenhall, 1898-1900

    Mr. Walter Curran Mendenhall, geologist of the United States Geological Survey, was attached to a military exploring expedition under the command of Capt. E. F. Glenn, known as Military Expedition No. 3, which in the summer of 1898 explored east of Cook inlet and thence northeastward up the Matanuska and across to the Tanana river. Mendenhall's results are published in the Twentieth Annual Report of the Geological Survey, Part VII, pp. 265-340.
    In 1900 Mendenhall was attached, as geologist, to a party in charge of W. J. Peters, working in the eastern part of Seward peninsula. His report is now in proof and will soon appear as a special publication of the United States Geological Survey.


Moore (E. K.), 1895-1898

    Lieut. Commander Edwin K. Moore, U. S. N., succeeded W. I. Moore in command of the Coast and Geodetic Survey steamer Patterson on March 15, 1895, and remained in command until recalled in the spring of 1898 to participate in the Spanish war. Thus he had three surveying seasons in Alaska, all in Alexander archipelago; the first from May 13 to October, 1895, spent chiefly in Chatham and Peril straits; the second from August 8 to October 6, 1896, in Peril strait; and the last from April 30 to October 9, 1897, chiefly in and to the north of Sitka sound.
    For an account of his work see Coast and Geodetic Survey Reports, 1895, pp. 50-52; 1896, pp. 43-45; 1897, pp. 39-40; 1898, pp. 49-50; also Coast Survey charts 8170, 8281, 8283.


Moore (W. I.), 1892-1895

    Lieut. William I. Moore, U. S. N., succeeded Mansfield in command of the Coast and Geodetic Survey steamer Patterson on February 2, 1892, and remained in command till March 15, 1895, when he was relieved by Lieut. Commander E. K. Moore, U. S. N. During the season of 1892, which began at Vixen bay, in Boca de Quadra, on May 12 and ended at Security bay on September 19, surveys were made in Dixon entrance, Boca de Quadra, Clarence strait, Revillagigedo channel, and Keku strait. In this season's work Lieut. W. P. Ray, U. S. N., commanding the McArthur, cooperated.
    The season's work of 1893 began at Port Simpson on May 3 and ended at Sitka on September 1. A survey was made of Sitka harbor and approaches, and the ship was used for transporting boundary parties.
    The season of 1894 began on May 27 and ended on August 14, during which surveys were made chiefly in Chatham strait, between Peril strait and Icy strait.
    For an account of his work see Coast and Geodetic Survey Reports, 1893, Part I, pp. 54-56; 1894, Part I, pp. 50-51; 1895, pp. 50-51; also Coast Survey charts 8075, 8214, 8240, 8283.


Moser, 1897-98

    Lieut. Commander Jefferson Franklin Moser, U. S. N., commanded the Fish Commission steamer Albatross during her cruises in Alaska in 1897 and 1898. Moser, in the cruise of 1897, collected hydrographic notes and made sketches of harbors and anchorages here and there. These notes and maps were published by the Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1899 as Bulletins 37 and 38. Moser's report for 1897-98 was published in 1899 in Fish Commission Bulletin for 1898, pp. 1-178; this was also issued separately.


Murashef, 1839-40

    Sub-Lieut. Mikhail Murashef sailed with Tebenkof in the Russian American Company's ship Elena from Cronstadt on August 5, 1835, and, rounding Cape Horn, arrived at Sitka on April 16, 1836. The ship was kept in the colonies. Murashef made surveys, apparently very good ones, along the strait separating Afognak and Kodiak in 1839-40. The results are shown on Russian Hydrographic chart No. 1425, published in 1849.


Murdoch, 1881-1883

    John Murdoch was a member of Ray's party at Point Barrow, 1881-1883 as naturalist and observer. The natural history in Ray's report (pp. 89-200) was written by him. Murdoch also studied the Eskimo, acquired some knowledge of their language, and published, in 1892, Ethnological Results of the Point Barrow Expedition, in the Ninth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, 1887-88, pp. 1-441.