The mystery of what happened to Frederick A. Cooks’ Flag
after he left the North Pole, may have been solved by Ky Michaelson.
For the last three years I have been writing a book on my life,
starting out when I was a young boy. Back then I had very little
interest in history, on the night of February 5, 2006
I was lying in bed thinking about a lot of the
good times I had when I lived at home with my parents.
I remembered in about 1950, My Dad, My Sister
Marlee and her boyfriend by the name of Terry and I were sitting
in our living room. My sister was showing her stamp collection
to Terry and my dad. One of the stamps pertained to The North
Pole, Terry said he was a distant relative of Dr Frederick Cook,
the first man to go to the North Pole, My Dad said, "That’s
a coincidence, because his father, Anton Michaelson owned the
first American Flag that Cook brought to the North Pole".
My Grand Father, Anton Michaelson had an incredible collection
of guns and other historic items that filled his jewelry store
in Zumbrota, Minnesota.
Seeing I inherited some things from my Grand
Father including two old trunks that were full of old clothes
and a number of personal items, I got to thinking more about it.
I could barely sleep that night. The next morning, my Father-in-law,
Vince Magrum and I took everything out of the trunk and put it
on the floor. On the very bottom of the trunk was a flag that
was folded very neatly. I told my Father-in-law to count the stars
and he counted 45. I then went on the Internet and checked out
when the flag was made. Under the history of the American flag
it said the 45 star flag was made between 1896 and 1908.
I then went back into Goggle and found out Dr.
Frederic Cook first went to the North Pole in 1909, at this point
I was getting real excited. Then I did more research and found
out there was a Dr. Frederick A. Cook Society in Pittsburgh Pa.
I emailed Russell W. Gibbons, The Executive Director of the Society
about the flag I had found. The next day Mr. Gibbons called me.
He told me Dr. Cook tried to bring back the flag a sextant and
some other things on a ship called the Roosevelt that was operated
by another explorer by the name of Peary.
For some reason Peary would not allow Dr. Cook
to bring them aboard so he left the flag and sextant with Harry
Whitney. Years later the sextant was reported to be in the hands
of an explorer by the name of Peter Freuchen. One thing I wondered
about was the flag that I had in my possession was, it is a very
large flag, I would have thought they would have brought a small
flag because of their limited space they had.
So I said to Mr. Gibbons on the phone, is there
anything that was different about flag?
He said, ‘No, except the flag was very
large”. Mr. Gibbons sent me a book called Polar Priorities.
On page 24 is picture of the flag sitting on top of a igloo, the
caption says, ‘First camp at the North Pole, April 21 1909’,
it shows a very large flag. After seeing that picture I have no
doubt the flag I have in my possession is that flag. Shown on
How my Grandfather ended up with it is still
a mystery. The Flag was stored in his trunk for over 35 years,
so it is still in incredible shape except for a few small holes
and one small tear. I have more reasons to believe that this is
the first flag to go to the North Pole then not, so at this time
I will say it is the missing flag until someone can prove to me
it is not.
If anyone can help me out with this, please email