Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Poole, Jonas

1194817Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 46 — Poole, Jonas1896John Knox Laughton

POOLE, JONAS (d. 1612), mariner, made a voyage to Virginia in 1607 in the employment of Sir Thomas Smythe [q. v.] In 1610 he commanded the Amity, set forth by the Muscovy Company ‘for a northern discovery,’ which sailed in company with the Lioness, commanded by Thomas Edge, under orders for Cherry Island and the whale fishery. In May the Amity made Spitzbergen, which Poole named Greenland, and continued on the coast during the summer, examining the harbours and killing morses, with the blubber of which they filled up, and so returned to England, carrying also the horn of a narwhal, or ‘sea-unicorn.’ In 1611, again in company with Edge in the Mary Margaret, which was to fish ‘near Greenland,’ Poole sailed in the Elizabeth of sixty tons burden, with instructions from Smythe ‘to see if it were possible to pass from “Greenland” towards the pole.’ Accordingly, parting from Edge near Spitzbergen, he stood to the north, but in lat. 80° he fell in with the impenetrable ice-field, which he skirted towards the west, never finding an opening, till he estimated that he must be near Hudson's Hold with Hope on the east coast of Greenland. A westerly wind then carried him back to Cherry Island, where, through July, they killed some two hundred morses, and filled up the Elizabeth with ‘their fat hides and teeth.’ On 25 July Edge and most of the men of the Mary Margaret arrived with the news that their ship had been wrecked in Foul Sound, now known as Whale's Bay (Nordenskjöld, 1861–4). Edge ordered a great part of the Elizabeth's cargo to be landed, and the vessel went to Foul Sound to ship as much of the Mary Margaret's oil as possible. There the ship, owing to her lightness after her cargo was removed, filled and went down; Poole escaped with difficulty, with many broken bones. They afterwards got a passage to England in the Hopewell of Hull, which Edge chartered to carry home the oil. In 1612 Poole again went to Spitzbergen, but apparently only for the fishing, and, having killed a great many whales, brought home a full cargo. Shortly after his return he was ‘miserably and basely murdered betwixt Ratcliffe and London.’

[Brown's Genesis of the United States; Purchas his Pilgrimes, iii. 464, 711, 713.]

J. K. L.