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Frederick A. Cooks’ Flag?


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 page 21.

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 me.


Copyright © 2006 The Rocketman