Erasmus Augustine York, whose native name was Kallihirua, was brought to England on board Her Majesty's ship |Assistance,| Captain Erasmus Ommanney, in 1851. Captain Ommanney was second in command of the expedition under the orders of Captain Horatio Austin, C.B., which was dispatched in May, 1850, in search of the missing vessels of Sir John Franklin, the |Erebus| and |Terror|. Franklin had quitted England on his perilous and fatal enterprise in May, 1845.
Much interest was attached to the young Esquimaux, who was considered to be about sixteen years of age in August, 1850. He was one of a tribe inhabiting the country in the vicinity of Wolstenholme Sound, at the head of Baffin's Bay, in 76 deg.3' north latitude, the nearest residents to the North Pole of any human beings known to exist on the globe. He was the only person ever brought to this country from so high a northern latitude. His tribe was met with by the late Sir John Ross, during his voyage in 1818, and was by him called the Arctic Highlanders.