History of the Great Lakes
Vol. 2 by J.B. Mansfield
Published Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co. 1899
John Phelan was born in Queen's County, Ireland, in 1856, a son of John and Mary (Dey) Phelan. He attended school in his native place till his seventeenth year, when he came to this country, and started to work, doing anything that came in his way until 1877, when his career as a sailor began.
In that year he engaged as watchman on the Jarvis Lord, in which capacity he was occupied all of that season, and the one following he held the berth of fireman on the same craft. He was on the W. Vanderbilt firing for the season on 1879, and doing the same work on the Sparta the following season. In the year 1881 he shipped before the mast on the Sherwood, and the seasons of 1882-83 found him on the B. W. Blanchard as fireman. He next went as oiler on the City of Duluth during 1884 and for the first part of 1885, finishing that season, as well as the one following, as her second engineer, completing three seasons on her. We find him the next on the M. T. Green as assistant engineer, and the two following ones on the Rhode Emily in same capacity. In 1891-92 he was back on the B. W. Blanchard as her assistant engineer, and in the same position on the Minneapolis for the season of 1893. During the early part of 1894 he was assistant on the John Pridgeon, Jr., then chief of the A. A. Parker until the close of the season. In 1895-96 he was chief of the Iron Age, and during the seasons of 1897-98 he filled the position of chief engineer on the steamer Venezuela. He is usually employed during the winter months in some of the machine shops, having served several winters with the Western Electric Company, of Chicago, and at the powerhouse of the Buffalo Railway Company. He has eleven issues of license, and is a member of Local Harbor No. 1, Marine Engineers Beneficial Association.
In December, 1892, Mr. Phelan was married at Buffalo, N. Y., to Miss Clara Fix, of Alden, Erie County, N. Y. They have had three children, two of whom are now living: John Joseph, aged three years, and Edward Frederick, aged four-months. The family residence is at No. 425 High Street, Buffalo, New York.
William Phillipie, who was born at Buffalo, N. Y., December 14, 1866, is a son of George W. and Elizabeth (Hennessey) Phillipie. His mother is a native of Ireland, and his father (a sketch of whom appears elsewhere), an old-time tried engineer on the lakes, was also born at Buffalo.
Our subject attended Public School No. 33, in the city of his birth, and at the age of fourteen started work as a brass finisher, at which trade he was employed for about eight months. He then entered the King Iron Works, where he was employed about four years learning the machinist's trade. In 1885 he commenced steamboating as oiler on the Syracuse, which position he retained during all of that and about half of the next season, when he received his first issue of papers as second engineer of the Badger State, finishing the season on her. The seasons of 1887-88 he was second engineer of the A. P. Wright, and the following one, 1889, of the Philadelphia. He was chief of the Wissahickon in 1890, and for the season of 1891 second of the Philadelphia one trip, and the Northern Light three trips, when he was appointed chief of the Northern King, finishing that season and all of the next on her.
In 1893-94-95 he remained ashore, working in the Lehigh Valley machine shops, but returned to the lakes in 1896 as second of the Gladstone, remaining on her until July 28, when she was laid up at Cleveland. Mr. Phillipie returned to Buffalo and shipped as second assistant of that fine passenger boat, the North Land, remaining on her until the close of her season in September, when he went on the George Stone as her second, laying her up on the 12th of December. Mr. Phillipie has eleven issues of license, and for the season of 1897-98 was engaged as chief on the Sevona.
In January, 1892, Mr. Phillipie was married at Buffalo, to Miss Bridget Glenn, of that city, and they have one child, Alice. They reside at No. 111 Smith street, Buffalo. Socially he is a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, Local Harbor No. 1, Branch No. 98, C. M. B. A.
CHARLES H. PHILLIPS
Charles H. Phillips, son of Jarvis and Jane Phillips, and a descendent of Capt. Juriea Phillips, of Revolutionary fame, was born in New Milford, Litchfield Co., Conn., in 1847. His education was acquired in the public schools of his native town.
He commenced his marine life on the steamship Lackawanna, returning to New Milford after a year’s service on her. In 1863 he went to Bay City, Mich., where he found employment in the sawmill of Smith & Thompson. In 1864 he shipped on the side-wheel steamer Columbia. This was followed by two seasons on the passenger steamer Ariel, plying between Saginaw and Bay City. In the spring of 1867 he was appointed chief engineer of the side-wheel steamer Cayuga, which berth he held two seasons, and in 1869 he was on the side-wheel passenger steamer Ajax. In 1870 he came out on the steambarge Trader, but closed the season as chief engineer of the propeller Buffalo.
In the spring of 1871 Mr. Phillips went down to Mobile, Ala., and was appointed chief engineer on the river steamer Vincent, which he ran between Mobile and New Orleans, closing the year on the steamer J. E. Eagle, which plied between St. Louis, Mo., and New Orleans. The next spring he returned to the lakes and ran the engines in Russell & Co.’s sawmill. In the spring of 1873 he shipped as chief engineer on the steambarge Oakland, followed by a season on the steambarge Benton. In 1875 he went to Au Sable and ran a mill engine for Loud, Gary & Co., remaining with that firm two years. The next three years he engineered the tugs Nellie Cotton, Ransom and Cora D., on the Saginaw River. In 1880 he opened a hotel in Alpena, and, being somewhat of a politician, he floated the first flag for Hon. Mr. Carsney, his candidate for Congress, and as his man won by a good length he kept his hotel going with a good patronage for two years. In the spring of 1882 Mr. Phillips engaged in running a locomotive on a lumber road with George Smith, retiring after two years of successful work. His next employment was at Omar, Mich., where he ran an engine for McGraw & Co. In 1884 he took out a patent for a paint, which was both fire and water proof, and after a year of good business he went to Alpena, Mich., and engin-eered the tug Wave. He was elected constable in 1886, and served the municipality in that capacity two years, adding to his labors the duties of a detective. In the spring of 1888 he shipped as second engineer on the steamer John C. Pringle, and the next season on the steambarge E. H. Jenks. In 1890 he came out as chief engineer of the side-wheel steamer Emerald, plying between Bay City and Saginaw. He then went to Ashland, Wis., and ran a wrecking tug, and in 1892 was appointed chief engineer of the river tug John Owen, transferring to the Frank W., of the same line, the following season. This tug was engaged in towing rafts between Georgian Bay and Alpena, Mich. In the spring of 1894 he entered the employ of E. O. Avery, and ran his mill engine one year, coming out in 1895 in the steamer Dickerson, but closing the season in the Maxwell. The next season he put in the machinery and ran the engine of the steambarge Cleveland, and in 1897 he came out in the steamer E. F. Gould. He then took the tug Thompson, and later the Boynton; this was followed by a period as second engineer on the steamer Newaga. Mr. Phillips is a charter member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, of Port Huron, Michigan.
He was united by marriage to Miss Emma Walters, of Rochester, Oakland Co., Mich., and two boys – John W. and Jarvis C. – have been born to this union.
CAPTAIN H. W. PHILLIPS
Captain H.W. Phillips was an ocean navigator in his early days, and he came to the Great Lakes with considerable nautical experience upon which to base his aspirations for success in the new field, where he has since been engaged except for a period of several months when he made a voyage across the ocean. The Captain was born in New York City, in 1852, son of H.W. Phillips, a sailmaker, whose sail loft was located in South street, that city. He attended school until he reached the age of seventeen years, after which he worked in his father's sail loft for one year before becoming a sailor. He made a voyage to South America in the bark Moses B. Bramhall, touching at Buenos Ayres, Montevidea and other ports, and returning to New York he shipped in the bark Morning Light for another voyage to South American ports. Then he went on board the full-rigged ship Daniel Webster, for Liverpool, going thence to the East Indies and returning to Boston, after which he made several short voyages in the steamer General Whitney between New York and Boston, and spent three months on the steamer Providence, of the Fall River line. Leaving the coast and removing to the lakes Captain Phillips joined the schooner E.C. Roberts, in which he remained three years, rising from seaman before the mast to second mate and then mate in her. He next sailed in the schooners S.P. Ely and Gamecock one season each, after which he joined the bark Oliver Ames at New York for a voyage to Liverpool and St. Avana. Returning to New York and to the lakes after this voyage, he has continued upon the lakes ever since. He served in turn as mate on the schooners Belle Walbridge, Porter, and Thomas Gowan, the steamer Rust and the schooner John Martin, after which he sailed as master of the schooner Red, White and Blue. He has since sailed the Golden Fleece one season, the F.A. Yarger seven seasons, and the John J. Barlum and the H.A. Barr one season each, closing the season of 1896 on the Barr. Captain Phillips has never had a wreck or serious accident, and has never cost the under-writers a dollar during his entire career.
The Captain was married, in 1882, to Miss Sarah Simpson, of Cleveland, whose brother, Robert Simpson, was lost in the steamer Western Reserve while making his first trip as a sailor. They have four children: Willie, Harry W., Edward and Ruth.
JOHN N. PHILLIPS
John N. Phillips holds the service record as one of the best and most reliable engineers on the lakes. He is now serving his forty-fifth season as chief engineer, and has never missed a trip or laid off a watch during his long and useful career.
It is a pleasure to chronicle the integrity of purpose and honest, lifelong service of any one connected with the marine interests of the Great Lakes, but the record of a well-known pioneer engineer like Mr. Phillips is of more than ordinary interest to the able class of skilled mechanics now carrying out in their own sphere the grand destiny of the commerce of the Great Lakes. With such an unbroken and satisfactory record and the present indications of a rugged constitution, it is quite likely that Mr. Phillips has many years of active service before him, at least until he reaches the half-century mark; and it is certainly the wish of his many friends that in the autumn of his life he may be permitted to rest beneath his own vine and fig tree, which his thrifty and abstemious habits have permitted him to grow in his native town of Alexandria, with his trusting consort, who for many years has anticipated the opening and patiently awaited the close of each season of navigation.
Personally, he is a man of great good nature, an enjoyable companion, and a shipmate above reproach. He is the son of Eden and Sarah (Dresser) Phillips, and was born in Parmelia, Jefferson Co., N. Y., October 18, 1831. His father was born in Salem, Mass., and is a descendant of old Puritan stock. In 1834 John N. removed with his parents to Alexandria Bay, N. Y., the family being numbered among the pioneers of that charming locality, as there were but three or four houses in Alexandria at that time, and it was there that young Phillips received his public-school education. After leaving school he went to work with his father in the carpenter shop, but he soon discovered the benches were too high for a boy of his inches, and he exchanged this berth for a place in a sawmill, where he remained for years, during which time he gained a good general knowledge of machinery.
Hence we find Mr. Phillips, in 1853, second engineer on the steamer Cincinnati, of the old Oswego Steamboat line, plying between Oswego and Chicago. The next spring he shipped as second engineer on the steamer St. Nicholas, holding that berth until May, when he was appointed chief. In the spring of 1855 he was placed in charge of the machinery of the steamer Kentucky, and remained in that position three years, transferring, in 1858, to the steamer Dubuque, of the same line. In the spring of 1859 he entered the employ of the old Northern Transportation Company as chief engineer of the propeller Ogdensburg, plying between Ogdensburg and Chicago. During the next four years he had charge of the machinery of the propeller Empire, followed by three seasons on the propeller Maine. In the spring of 1867 he was transferred to the propeller City of Toledo, and ran her two seasons. When disaster overtook this fine old line of propellers in 1869, Mr. Phillips went to work for Mr. Merrick, of Detroit, as chief engineer on the lake tug Samson, retaining that berth two seasons. In the spring of 1871 he was made chief of the steamer Glasgow, plying in the lumber trade and owned by D. C. Whitney, of Detroit, remaining on her three seasons. His next steamer was the Inter-Ocean, also belonging to Mr. Merrick, which he ran five seasons, transferring in 1879 to the Glasgow, on which he passed three seasons, and bringing out new the steamer D. C. Whitney, in 1882, as chief, retaining that berth seven successive seasons, thus rounding out thirteen years in the D. C. Whitney employ, while he was seven years in the Merrick employ.
In the spring of 1889 Mr. Phillips entered the employ of the Ogdensburg Transportation Company as chief engineer of the steamer William J. Averill, transferring the next season to the James R. Langden, on which boat he served five seasons. In the spring of 1895 he was appointed chief engineer of the Governor Smith, which berth he was holding at the close of 1898. As Mr. Phillips has never had any severe accident to his machinery, and has never been discharged from any berth, it is needless to say that he has given universal satisfaction to the people for whom he has worked. He has issues of forty-one marine engineer licenses, and was engineer for three years before such papers were required by the government.
Socially he is a Master Mason, his lodge being No. 297, of Alexandria Bay, which he joined in 1858, and has therefore been a veteran for forty years. On March 23, 1851, Mr. Phillips was united in marriage to Miss Nancy Seaman, and their only daughter, May, is now Mrs. William T. Bascom, a druggist at Alexandra Bay.
CAPTAIN A. F. PITMAN
A well-known writer has said that the "authentic picture of any human being's life and experience ought to possess an interest greatly beyond that of fiction, inasmuch as it has the charm of reality," and in the varied career of the subject of this sketch there is material for an interesting novel.
Captain Pitman is of English descent, and his ancestors settled at an early day in Nova Scotia. Capt. Richard K. Pitman, his father, was a lifelong resident of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and followed the sea until his death in 1872, being for many years on ocean vessels. Our subject was reared in Yarmouth, where he first saw the light August 25, 1849, and although his educational opportunities were limited to the local schools, he managed to acquire a wide range of information by his reading and observation in later years. When only twelve years old he began his career as a sailor on coasting vessels plying between Yarmouth, the head of the Bay of Fundy, and the town of Sidney, Cape Breton island, and at the age of fourteen he shipped from Yarmouth as an ordinary seaman on the bark Clara to Dublin, and from Dublin went to Ardrossan, Scotland, thence to Glasgow, where he was in the hospital for fourteen days, and then joined the Mary A. Troop, in which he visited the West Indies, and points of Europe. On February 20, 1866, he left that ship at New York City and went to Buffalo, where he helped to fit out the bark The Red, White and Blue, in which he sailed at the opening of navigation as an able seaman. The crew was paid off on their arrival at Milwaukee, and he then spent two months on a schooner in the lumber trade, running from Milwaukee to Oconto and Menominee. During the fall he was employed on several small boats engaged in the lumber trade and later on the steamer Ontonagon, under Captain McKay, running to all ports in Lake Superior, but after three trips was taken ill. In the following spring he took a position as wheelsman on the steamer Manistee on which he spent about eighteen months, and he then served one season as second mate on the steamer St. Joe. In the fall of the same year he shipped as second mate on the steamer Messenger, of the Ingleman line, running between Milwaukee, Manistee and Grand Haven, and he remained on this boat three years, leaving it to take the post of second officer on the steamer Ironsides. On his second trip the ship, on February 15, 1871, went down five miles off Grand Haven, the captain, first engineer and eight passengers losing their lives. Our subject had a narrow escape from a like fate, being one of the four survivors of the wreck. He was cast off from the ship with one of the painters and after three hours and a half of battling with the fierce waves he managed to make his way to shore, his experience being made all the harder by the sight of the desperate yet futile struggles of others who were less fortunate than he. His next position was as first mate on the steamer Bertschy, and on several other boats of the same line, with which he remained until he took a situation in the Cudahy packing house in Chicago. In the spring of 1878 he shipped on the steamer De Pere, of the Goodrich Transportation line as first mate, and this position he held until he was appointed captain of the same vessel in the spring of 1880. For two years he had charge of this boat, running between Chicago, Green Bay, and Milwaukee, and he then served as captain on various boats, spending one season on the steamer Minnie M.; two on the James H. Shrigley, and five on the steamer Roanoke, which he left in August, 1893. During a part of the season of 1894 he had charge of the steamer Maggie Duncan, but since that time he has been in the employ of the Hudson Transportation line, being now the captain of the F.& P.M., No. 1. He is a senior captain of the line, and is held in high esteem by the company for his ability and faithfulness in the discharge of his duties. In the course of his long service on various boats he has also gained the confidence of the traveling public, and among his cherished treasures is a testimonial from the passengers of the De Pere, which he was sailing during the stormy night that sent the Alpena to the bottom of the lake.
The Captain is popular socially, and is a member of the Ship Masters Association, being interested in all marine matters. In 1879, he was married to Miss Margaret Gibbons, of Milwaukee, and they have four children: Albert, Olivea, Margaret and Gerald.
CAPTAIN G.H. PLEASANCE
Captain G.H. Pleasance, now retired, is proud of his record of active service on the lakes, during which he never lost a man, touched bottom or met with accident. The Captain's first sailing experience was obtained in 1851 on the side-wheel steamer Buckeye State, which later in the season took fire and was scuttled in Buffalo harbor, and he was engaged in the side-wheel steamer Queen City to the close of navigation. In 1852 he was second mate of the side-wheeler Alabama, and the following season shipped in the same capacity on the side-wheeler Crescent City, which was one of the largest vessels on the lakes at that time. He remained on her six years, and in 1859 he shipped as mate of the Western Metropolis, serving on her two seasons. During 1861 and 1862 he was master of the well-known steamer City of Buffalo, a magnificent side-wheeler, 340 feet long, with a capacity of 2,200 tons, which was used in the Cleveland and Buffalo trade. Toward the close of the year 1862 the machinery of the City of Buffalo was purchased by the government to be placed in a navy vessel, and the hull was fitted with a screw propeller. During the season of 1863 Captain Pleasance sailed the Forest Queen, and the year following he was master of the Lady Franklin. This service closed his career on the lakes, as in that year he retired from sailing, settling in Cleveland.
Clarence Pomeroy was born in 1864 in Painesville, Ohio, the son of a successful steamboat captain and vessel owner, Capt. Phineas Pomeroy, and early decided to follow the water. He began by sailing at the age of fifteen years, his first experience being on the tug Buffalo, at Bay City, on which he was fireman. After three years he became engineer of the tug Annie, since which time he has been chief engineer of many tugs as well as larger craft. Among these may be named the tugs Brown, Abbott, Music and Record; the steamers Spokane, Vienna and Powers; the fishing steamer Harrow; the tugs Campbell, Gregory, Tom Mason and Cushing, and the steamers William Cowie and Belle Cross.
In 1896 Mr. Pomeroy married Miss Minnie Whitney, of Cleveland.
CAPTAIN PHINEAS POMEROY
Captain Phineas Pomeroy was one of the well-known lake navigators in the middle of the present century, and he sailed vessels on the Great Lakes for a long period. He was born in New York State in 1831, and commenced sailing at the age of seventeen, at twenty having risen to the position of master in command of a grain vessel owned by his father-in-law, Joel Bartholemew, which he sailed out of Fairport. He lived in the city of Painesville, Ohio, for some time, removing in 1864 to Bay City on the schooner Morning Star, which he was then sailing. After this he purchased and operated for a long time the tug Uncle Sam, and he later bought the Morris and William Case, two lumber barges. He also owned a number of other vessels.
Captain Pomeroy married Miss Amanda Bartholomew(sic), of Painesville, and their children were Eugenie, Clarence, Flora and Riley, the last named long since deceased.
CAPTAIN FREDERICK L. R. POPE
Captain Frederick L.R. Pope, one of the best known men of the lakes, and now United States inspector of hulls for the district of Buffalo, was born on December 9, 1832, at Saxe-Weimer, in the Province of Saxony, Germany, the son of Christian Frederick Joseph and Josephine (Pope) Rohr. The adoption of his mother's maiden name as the surname of our subject was due to a similar adoption by his brother Charles Frederick, who, when twenty-one years of age, became a professional actor and selected as his professional appellation the maternal family name. The brother won fame and fortune in his profession, and our subject, in his youth also for a brief time followed the histrionic art, and adopted the name his brother had chosen and to which he had equal right. The name Pope is one of the oldest and best known in the Fatherland, and one variation in the orthography is Pabst.
The father was a millwright by trade and, when our subject was a babe, migrated to America, settling in Rochester, there until his death in 1849 he followed his trade. His widow survived until 1876. Of the four children, two, Albert and Wilhelmina, died in Germany. Charles R. who became an actor of national reputation, has also been prominent in politics and during the administration of President Harrison was United States consul at Toronto. His success in life was due to his own efforts and his name must be added to those bright scholarly, self-made men who in their early days followed the Erie tow-path.
Frederick Pope in his boyhood days attended one of the public schools of Rochester for one year, and a German school for six months. That was the limit of his educational equipment with which he had to fight the battle of life. When a lad of eight years, he with his meager earnings assisted in the support of his family. He had a natural love for books, however, and spent much of his time in reading. Especially when on the sea, where later he spent seven years of his life, he made friends with the best books he could acquire, and thus laid the foundation, which has so ably supplemented his large store of practical knowledge. Until he was nineteen years of age he remained most of the time at home engaged in various kinds of employment, but there was in him a dash of the romantic, coupled with the restlessness of a traveler. At eleven years he was waiter and porter in the packet boat Toledo, on the Erie Canal, at twelve years he was for a season with Howe's circus, and when thirteen he ran away from home and at Buffalo shipped on the schooner DeWitt Clinton, sailing out of Buffalo and Cleveland.
In 1852 he left home for New York. His brother was then general utility man with Edwin Forrest at the old Broadway theater. Our subject secured an engagement at the Grove theater with John R. Scott, the great tragedian, and there played for three or four months, and for about the same length of time he played at the old Chatham theater. But the taste for a seafaring life won in the struggle that occurred in the young lad's mind. Going to New Bedford he shipped in the whaling ship Majestic, and remained with her until 1857. Discharged at the Sandwich (now the Hawaiian) Islands, he, a few months later, shipped to New Bedford in the bark Manuel Orteas, arriving in New York City, April, 1857.
In July of the same year Captain Pope came to Buffalo, and through the friendship of Charles Barton Hill, then a bookkeeper for the L. S. & M. S. R. R., but now an actor of fame, secured from Captain Perkins an appointment as quartermaster, or wheelsman, on the steamer City of Buffalo, then one of the Michigan Southern line, plying between Buffalo and Toledo, and sailed for the season. In 1858, he shipped before the mast on the bark Great West, Captain Robinson. In 1859, he shipped as quartermaster on the propeller Winona, Capt. Huff, on the New York Central line, plying between Buffalo and Chicago. In the fall of that year, while the boat was loading at Chicago elevator Captain Pope fell into the hold of the vessel and was seriously injured. He was taken to Buffalo and made ship-keeper for the winter, sailing in the Winona again as watchman in 1860.
In 1861 he shipped as second mate on the Fountain City, and the same year was licensed as second-class pilot. The two following seasons he continued as second mate and was then promoted to first mate, serving in that capacity through the years 1864-65. In 1866 he was mate of the Atlantic, running from Buffalo to Cleveland, in 1867 he was mate of the Arctic between Buffalo and Toledo. In 1868 Captain Pope was appointed master of the propeller Congress and commanded her for three seasons. During the season of 1870 he was master of the propeller Araxes of the New York Central line, plying between Buffalo and Toledo. In 1871 he commanded the passenger steamer Arctic, of the New York Central line, between Buffalo and Chicago. In 1872 he commanded the freight steamer Eclipse, and the two succeeding years he was in charge of the passenger steamer Passaic, of the Union Steamboat Company, plying between Buffalo and Chicago. In 1875 he was mate of the passenger steamer Comet from Buffalo to Duluth. Beginning in the season of 1876 Captain Pope took charge of the iron freight steamer Java, a twin screw, and remained with her until she was lost in Lake Michigan in the fall of 1878, foundering in 750 feet of water caused by breaking of the shaft. The entire crew was saved. Captain Pope was then immediately assigned to the command of the Colorado of the same line and remained with her until 1882, in the fall of which year he took command of the steamer Fred Mercur, and was with her until the fall of 1883. The season of 1884 he passed as mate of the George King.
Quitting the lakes temporarily, Captain Pope was for two years conductor on the Manhattan railroad, and on returning to the lakes in 1887 he that season was mate of the City of Cleveland. In 1888 he was mate of the Rochester and Majestic.
Captain Pope was transferred to land duty in 1889 by the appointment as assistant inspector of hulls, being the first appointee to that office, and holding the position until December 25, 1897, when efficient service secured for him promotion to the office of United States local inspector of hulls for the district of Buffalo, the appointment coming from Secretary of the Treasury Lyman J. Gage. In this capacity he succeeded Captain Marion, and he still holds the important office. Captain Pope is today one of the best known vessel men of the Great Lakes, and his success he owes wholly to himself. He has been a member of the Ship Masters Association, and is a prominent member of the DeMolay Lodge No. 498, F. & A. M.
In 1858 Captain Pope was married to Miss Sophia Ann Trimlett, a native of Cobourg, Ontario. She died in 1893, leaving a family of three children. Of these, Virginia is now the representative of a large drug house of Philadelphia, and by her success upon the road has demonstrated her rare capacity and talent for a business career. The other two children, Ada and Charles, are at home.
CAPTAIN ALEXANDER PORTER
Captain Alexander Porter learned his seamanship in the old days when it required a well qualified and skillful master mariner to sail a schooner, as the Government had not yet established the excellent system of aids to navigation that now meet the shipper at every turn. He was quick to learn the rudiments of his profession, and being a thrifty young man was soon able to purchase and sail his own vessel. Captain Porter was born in Lorain, Ohio, on March 16, 1843, son of Nathaniel and Clarissa (Brighton) Porter. His father, who was a native of the North of Ireland, came to the United States when a boy in his ‘teens, locating in Massachusetts, where he first meet the lady he made his wife. Shortly afterward they removed to Lorain, where in the course of time Mr. Porter purchased a brickyard and a large farm, both of which the children inherited at the time of his death.
Although Captain Porter began sailing when he was fifteen years of age, he did not discontinue his studies, as he spent several winters at Oberlin College; he had previously attended the public schools. His first berth on the lakes was as cook in the scow Orleans, and he served in like capacity the next season in the scow Black Swan. The same year he shipped with Capt. Aaron Root in the bark Pearson, in which he made a voyage to Liverpool with a cargo of staves and timber. On the return passage the Pearson was frozen in the canal at Thorold, Ontario, and remained until the opening of the canal the next spring; when she fitted out and went into the Chicago grain trade. In the spring of 1861 Captain Church took command of the Pearson and young Porter sailed with him three seasons. The next season he was appointed mate in the schooner Milan, following with a season in the same capacity on the schooner Winona, and in the spring of 1866, having purchased an interest in the scow Porter, he took command of her and sailed her seven seasons. He and his brothers then built the schooner Three Brothers and Alex sailed her until 1885, when he was made master of the schooner Thomas Gawn, holding that position four seasons. In 1889 he tood the schooner Genoa, and in 1890 the steamer Robert Wallace, in which he still owns a money interest. The next spring he was again appointed master of the schooner Gneoa(sic) and sailed her three seasons. During the season of 1894 Captain Porter sailed the schooner David Wallace, and in 1895 the Tasmania. The next two seasons he was compelled to shop ashore, suffering from rheumatism contracted in the line of duty, but the time was not lost, as he was enabled to look after his real estate in Lorain, where he owns four village lots and two houses. During the season of 1898 he sailed the schooner David Wallace, in which he owns an interest; he also has shares in the steamer J.H. Outhwaite, schooner H.A. Barr, steamer Robert Wallace and steel steamer Vulcan.
Captain Porter was married, in 1871, to Miss Deliska Freeman, daughter of Rensselaer Freeman, of La Grange, Ohio. The family homestead is in Lorain, Ohio. Fraternally, he is a Master Mason, a Knight of the Maccabees and a member of the Royal Arcanum.
CAPTAIN CHARLES A. POTTER
Captain Charles A. Potter is a son of William Potter, a stock raiser of Morristown, Minn., at which place he was born in 1867. His education was obtained for the most part in Cheboygan, Mich., from which harbor he began sailing in 1883 as wheelsman for one season on the propeller Van Raalte, in the passenger service between there and Sault Ste. Marie. He remained in the same service during the two succeeding seasons, and in the same capacity on the propellers Messenger and Minnie M., respectively.
During the seasons of 1886-1887, Captain Potter was in the employ of the Chicago Lumber Company, upon the tug River Queen, rafting logs from St. Joe and Presque Isle to Drummond's Island, Lake Huron. The following two seasons he was mate and master respectively of the schooner yacht Julia, out of Cheboygan, which was wrecked in a fog at Cathead Point, Lake Michigan, during the latter part of 1889. Captain Potter closed that season by wheeling a couple of months on the steamer Dean Richmond. He began the season of 1890 as wheelman of the steamer, but became second mate later on, and continued in that berth until the close of the season of 1891. For the entire season of 1892 he was mate of the Dean Richmond; in 1893 he entered the service of the steamer Juniata as second mate, which berth he held that season, following in 1894 as mate. For the season of 1895 he was mate of the John Pridgeon, and for that of 1896, 1897 and 1898 of the Oceanica. He is a member of the American Association of Masters and Pilots of Steam Vessels, Local Harbor No. 41.
Captain Potter was married at Buffalo, in 1894, to Miss Mary Ann Cary Coleman. They reside at No. 944 Front avenue, Buffalo, New York.
Frederick Potts is a Canadian by birth, and a son of Walter and Eliza Potts. Walter Potts was a farmer near St. Catharines, Ont., where the subject of this sketch was brought up. There were three other sons in the family: William, a butcher, who is now residing at Vassar, Mich., Calvin, a farmer near Vancouver, B. C.; and Walter, who was with the American Express Company at Niagara Falls, but died in 1896.
Frederick Potts, the subject of this sketch, was born November 25, 1853, at Niagara-on-the-Lake, and when three years of age moved with his parents to St. Catharines, Canada, where he attended school until about seventeen years of age, and also learned his trade of machinist. In 1873, after working for a period of four years in the machine shops of C. M. Abel and Yale & Co., at St. Catharines, he began his active life on the lakes by shipping out of that port as second engineer of the steamer Dominion, owned by Sylvester Neelon, on which he remained one season. The succeeding season he was second engineer of the Europe, owned by the same person, and the season following that of the Scotia, owned by James Norris. For the seasons of 1876-77 he was chief engineer of the side-wheel steamer Winona in the passenger excursion trade on Muskoka Lakes, Canada. In 1878 he was for a couple of trips chief of the Calabria, three trips on the Europe in the same capacity, and then remained ashore for the rest of that year as machinist in Smith's saw works at St. Catharines. In 1879 he became chief engineer of the Lothair, owned at Port Hope, which he fitted out at Chicago. That fall he went to Buffalo, and during the winter of 1879-80 worked in David Bell's machine shop; in 1880 he was in the employ of the American Starch & Sugar Works as machinist. In 1881 Mr. Potts entered the service of the Anchor line, beginning as second engineer of the Annie Young for that season; for that of 1882 he was second engineer of the Clarion; 1883 second of the Juniata and chief of the Annie Young; 1884-85-86-87 he was chief of the Wissahickon, and for the year 1888 chief of the Lehigh, thus making eight successive seasons spent in one employ. In 1889 he was chief of the Progress, owned by the Chapin Mining Company, in the ore trade from Escanaba to Lake Erie ports, and in 1890 of the Nyanza, owned by McBrier & Carter, of Erie, Penn. In 1891 Mr. Potts entered the employ of the Northern Steamship Company as chief engineer of the Northern Wave, and the company showed a proper appreciation of his competence by retaining him in that berth continuously until the close of the season of 1896, he being in this employ for six years. In August, 1897, Mr. Potts was made chief engineer of the Evans Estate Building, occupied by Flint & Kent, which position he still holds.
Mr. Potts was first married, in 1874, at St. Catherines, Ont., to Miss Charlotta Lawrence, by whom he had five children, two of whom, Walter and Frank, are now living; Walter learned the machinist's trade with Wright & Cunningham, of St. Catharines, and is likely to follow in his father's footsteps. Mr. Potts' second marriage took place on November 14, 1895, when he was married to Miss Matilda Smith. They reside at No. 225 Maple street, Buffalo, New York.
CAPTAIN LEWIS HANCOCK POWELL
Captain Lewis Hancock Powell, the genial and successful commander of the steamer John Plankinton, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 14, 1856, a son of John Hancock and Isabella (Buttersley) Powell. His father was a native of Vermont, and his mother of Belfast, in the North of Ireland; she came to the United States with three brothers, who later returned to Belfast, where the family yet reside, and engaged in the wholesale book business. The sister remained in this country, and was married to Mr. Powell at Huron, Ohio, by her guardian, Rev. Samuel Marks. When John Hancock Powell was about three years of age he was brought west by his father, Albert Powell, who first went to Indiana, and afterward to Cleveland. Ohio, where, on what is known as Whiskey Island, he went into business, which he carried on successfully and which afterwards developed into what was known as the Powell Tool Company, the largest concern, of its kind in the country, at the same time owning several vessels; he remained at the head of the company until 1868, when he sold his stock and withdrew from the business on account of ill health, dying soon afterward.
John Hancock Powell commenced to sail when he was but twelve years of age, and followed the lakes many years; among the boats on which he acted as mate were the Invincible and the D. P. Dobbins. He is yet living near Ashtabula on his homestead farm, the mother having died in 1864. Their sons are both master mariners; Frank B. being in command of the steamer George Spencer, and Lewis H., of the John Plankinton.
Lewis H. Powell acquired a liberal education in the public schools of Cleveland, and in 1871 shipped on the scow Lime Rock, where he remained but three months, shipping then on the steamer William M. Tweed, as porter. In 1873 he became wheelsman on the steamer Annie Smith with Capt. M.H. Murch, transferring the next year in the same capacity to the steamer D.W. Rust, L.C. Butts, M.R. Warner and H.D. Coffinberry. In the spring of 1875 he shipped as wheelsman on the steamer Sarah F. Sheldon, holding the berth four seasons, and in 1879, after wheeling two months on the steamer Sparta, was appointed second mate, remaining with her until 1883, when he was appointed mate of the steamer J.S. Fay, closing the season. The next two seasons he joined the steamer Sparta as mate, and the next season became mate of the Siberia. In the spring of 1887 Captain Powell entered the employ of R.P. Fitzgerald & Co., as mate of the steamer W.M. Eagan, and after two years in that office he was appointed master of the Eagan, and sailed her two seasons. In the spring of 1891 he was appointed to his present command, the steamer John Plankinton. which he has sailed successfully nine consecutive seasons, and has had the good judgment not to lose vessel or man. He has eighteen issues of first-class papers.
Socially Captain Powell is a member of the Ship Masters Association. In Masonry he has reached the degree of Knight Templar; and is a member of the Eastern Star, Knights of Pythias, and of the order of Elks. During the winter months he retires to his farm near Ashtabula, Ohio.
Scott Pratt is well known all over the lakes as one of the best qualified marine engineers, and as wheelsman and genial mate. His many good traits raise up friends for him in every port. He has had an interesting experience of many years, of which this article can give but a brief outline. He was born in Shelby, Macomb Co., Mich., on April 27, 1847, and is the son of Hosca and Ann (Dice) Pratt, the former a native of Vermont, the latter of New York State, born near Niagara Falls. The father was a carpenter and builder by trade, and moved to Mt. Clemens, Mich., where he took contracts for building, and where he purchased a large farm, on a portion of which the Grand Trunk railway depot now stands. In 1854, after selling the farm, he removed to East Saginaw, where he established himself in business, manufacturing furniture, sash, door and all classes of word work, doing well and enlarging his trade rapidly, and conducted it with good success for thirty years, when he sold out and retired. He died while on a visit in Oregon. The mother passed away in October, 1897, at East Saginaw.
Scott Pratt attended the public schools in East Saginaw until he was sixteen years of age, and helped his father in the shop, running a lathe planer and the engine until 1864, when he went tugging on the Saginaw river in the E. M. Peck. In the spring of 1877 he purchased an interest in the tug Hercules, and ran her. The next season he engineered the side-wheel tugs Wave and Ajax, closing the year in the latter. In 1868 he was appointed chief engineer of the tug A. F. Gay, followed by a season in the Fannie White. Early in 1871 he went to Salem, Ore., to take charge of the machinery of the city water works, but returned to the lakes the next spring and shipped as fireman on the F. & P. M. railroad until September, when he took charge of the tug Coleman as engineer. In 1872 he was given a locomotive to run on the F. & P. M. railroad. The next spring Mr. Pratt entered the employ of Carkin, Stickney & Cram as engineer of the tug Fannie White, running her until September, 1874, when he brought out the new tug W. S. Carkin, and engineered her until 1876, when he was transferred to the George L. Dunlap, and in 1877 to the steamer Dove.
In the spring of 1878 Mr. Pratt entered the employ of L. P. Mason & Co., as engineer of the steamer Lewis Gilbert, holding that berth one season, after which he transferred to the steamer Cleveland, which was burned on Saginaw bay, and closed the season on the steamer Mayflower. In 1880 he became chief engineer of the steamer Potter Chamberlain. The next season he brought out new the steamer C. H. Green. After leaving her he was appointed chief engineer of the steamer F. & P. M. No. 2, and ran her until July, 1888, when he brought out new the steamer Helena, of which he is chief engineer at this writing. During the winter months Mr. Pratt, being an industrious man, works in the machine shops at Milwaukee.
Socially, he is a Master Mason, having been raised in Pacific Lodge No. 50, at Salem, Ore. but initiated in Mt. Clemens Lodge No. 6. He is also a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association No. 87, of Detroit.
On January 29, 1879, Mr. Pratt was united by marriage to Miss Anna Chapman, daughter of George and Elizabeth, and niece of Capt. Tom Foster, of Mt. Clemens, Mich. They have one daughter, Edna, who is a graduate from the Milwaukee high schools. Mr. Pratt removed to Milwaukee, Wis., in 1891, and resides at No. 966 Scott street.
CAPTAIN FOWLER J. PRESTON
Captain Fowler J. Preston [deceased], late of St. Joseph, Mich. The death of Capt. Fowler Preston, at Chicago, February 4, 1896, closes the career of a lake captain whose name is a household word in every port on the Great Lakes as he was favorably known to every man who sailed in any capacity on the great inland seas for the past thirty years.
Fowler Preston was born April 30, 1844 in St. Joseph, Mich. His father, for whom he was named, died six months before Fowler, Jr., was born, consequently his trials began at an early age, and while other boys of his age were growing up in the lap of luxury, this youth cast about him to make a path for himself. As the tastes of our subject lay in the direction of water, he shipped at the age of thirteen years, first on the Jupiter, a small trading vessel out of St. Joseph. He was cabin boy on the schooner Freemason, the vessel being engaged in the fishing trade along the St. Joseph shore. After sailing two seasons on the Freemason, he bought an interest in the schooner Blackhawk, and sailed on her for a time, and in 1859 he went to Cleveland and bought the schooner Cousin Mary and as captain sailed her between St. Joseph and Chicago, until the year 1862, when the roll of the drum and the flashing of the sword and bayonet proved too much for the patriotic blood of young Fowler Preston, and he enlisted as a naval seaman in the service of his country. He was consigned to the United States steamship Stars and Stripes, which was stationed off Cape Hatteras, watching and giving battle to blockade runners. While engaged in this service with shipmates, of whom Capt. James Paxton and John Goodal, of St. Joseph, were two, the stars and Stripes succeeded in capturing a schooner loaded with arms, which had undertaken to run the blockade and deliver her cargo to the Rebels and he was among the number of his shipmates who were put aboard the vessel to take her to New York City as a prize. Before reaching that port, however, a great storm arose on the Atlantic, and the vessel was cast upon the uninhabited island and became a total wreck. Seaman Preston endured great hardships and privations on that island before being rescued, and many times climbed the spars of their broken vessel in order to see if help was at hand, which finally came and all were taken to New York City.
At New York, Seaman Preston was, among others quartered upon the mailship Columbia, plying between New York City and Havana, in order to defend the ship should she be attacked by Rebel privateers in Southern waters. On this ship Capt. Edw. Napier, well known at St. Joseph was one of his shipmates. He was employed on this ship until the expiration of his term of service in 1864. He returned to St. Joseph and became inter-ested in the schooner Fish Hawk, which traded between St. Joseph, Chicago and Milwaukee, engaged in the wood-carrying traffic. In 1872 he purchased the propeller Skylark, which he cut down and fitted out as a barge, and went into the lumber trade from Manistee to Michigan City, and was engaged on that vessel for about five years. He then sold a half-interest in the Skylark to Robert Ricaby, and the following year a quarter-interest to Capt. H. W. Williams, and they fitted her out with an upper cabin, and put her in the passenger traffic between that port and Chicago. After this first season, however, he sold his remaining interest to Captain Williams. His next marine venture was to purchase the hull of a barge at Saginaw, which he had towed to St. Joseph, leaving Saginaw just a few days after the great Alpena storm. He fitted this hull with the machinery, and named the boat the A. H. Morrison, in honor of one of St. Joseph's most prominent men, and ran her in lumber business between Grand Haven and Chicago, for two seasons, and then sold her to Welland Bros. He next built the tug Jennie King at New Richmond, and ran her one season in the St. Joseph port as a ferry and towing steamer, and then sold her to local parties.
In 1886 he built the well-known lumber carrier Maud Preston, at W. A. Preston's yards, and named her in honor of his only niece, the daughter of his only brother. He owned that steamer about three years, and carried lumber between Ludington, Manistee and St. Joseph. It was during his ownership of the Maud Preston, and in an endeavor to increase her speed by substituting a larger wheel, that the chains of the lifts parted, pinning him to the earth between two of the buckets, and severing his right thumb so that amputation was necessary. He sold her to Captain Bradley, of Muskegon, and then bought the steamer Seymour in 1892, carrying lumber about the different lake ports, and much of it for the Graves Lumber Company, of Benton Harbor, selling her after an ownership of about two years, and before completing an overhauling of her at South Haven, to the Sheboygan, Wis., Chair Company. The steamer Imperial was his next purchase, which he sold after one season to Manitowoc parties, and then started his pride at Ludington, the steamer Visitor, which he completed at Heath's shipyards, intending her for the lake front excursion business at Chicago. He also owned an interest in the tug Sanford at the time of his death. But the Visitor he considered the best boat he had ever owned, and it proved to be the last one he was ever interested in.
On August 20, 1883, at Milwaukee, Captain Preston was married to Miss May Talmage, of New Richmond, who survives him.
CAPTAIN WALLACE A. PRESTON
Captain Wallace A. Preston, of St. Joseph, Mich. For nearly a third of a century, Captain Preston has been at the head of one of the industries of that city, and which he continues to direct, and of which he is the owner, namely, the Champion Planing Mill, with which is connected a large lumber yard, and where is extensively carried on the manufacture of building materials. He has but recently retired from the office of mayoralty of that his native city, the duties of which office he performed to the satisfaction of his fellow-townsmen, and with credit to himself.
He descended from one Joel Preston, of Puritan stock, who was a native of Massachusetts, and served in the Revolutionary war. Our subject's parents were Fowler J. and Ann Jennette (Loomis) Preston, born in Massachusetts. Fowler J. Preston was a builder and contractor, and settled in St. Joseph in 1829; a man of energy and force of character and determination, he was a useful citizen and one of prominence in the early history of the village. He became the first sheriff of Berrien County, and at his death, which occurred November 30, 1843, he was mourned as a public loss. His widow passed away February 20, 1892, at St. Joseph, on the eightieth anniversary of her birth. She was generous and kind, a worthy helpmate, and her highest ambition seemed centered in her own family, being always attentive to the care of her children and their welfare.
Our subject was born in St. Joseph, October 22, 1842, and here grew up, receiving only a limited education; as he was left fatherless when an infant, he had to do early for himself. He early evinced a love for the water, and when but thirteen years of age went sailing on the Kingfisher, a small fishing schooner that was engaged in the fishing trade about St. Joseph. For a time he clerked in a store, but, with little exception, he sailed the lakes until the fall of 1862, when possessed of that patriotism that led his paternal grandfather to battle for his country, young Preston went to New York City, and entered the navy, serving throughout the war. He was assigned to the steamer Proteus, commanded by R. W. Shoefelt, who had a roving commission, allowing him to go anywhere, as he was after the blockaders. They were in the East Gulf squadron, with headquarters at Key West, Florida.
Some of the principal boats on which young Preston sailed before the war were: before the mast on the Experiment, a freight schooner, that was in the trade between St. Joseph, Chicago, and Milwaukee; the Robert B. King, a lumber schooner on Lake Michigan; the Belle Stevens; the Minnehaha, a grain vessel running from Chicago to Oswego; the Thomas B. Kingford and the Persia, both grain vessels, in the Chicago and Oswego trade; the Melvina; the schooner Sr. Wm. Wallace; and the William Tell, the last two being in the lumber trade between Chicago and Muskegon. After the war Captain Preston bought and sailed the schooner Fish Hawk, the principal business of which was between St. Joseph and Milwaukee. He sailed on these vessels in different capacities, from before the mast, all along the line until he became captain.
On January 18, 1875, Captain Preston was married to Miss Mary E., daughter of William P. King, of Benton Harbor, and a native of Berrien County. To this union have been born the following children: William W., Loomis K., Maude E., Arthur G., Nathan E. and John D. Mrs. Preston is identified with the First Congregational Church.
Captain Preston has long been identified with the business interests of his native city, where he is highly esteemed as a citizen and public servant, having variously served the people, and has been closely identified with the city's growth and progress. He was for two terms treasurer of the city; in 1880 was president of the village, and in 1893 was chosen mayor. He was a member of Pomona Lodge No. 281, F. & A. M., and is a member of Burnett Lodge No. 119, I. O. O. F.
CAPTAIN JOHN PRIDGEON
Captain John Pridgeon, for many years one of the most important characters in the marine interests of Detroit, was born in Lincolnshire, England, where his father operated a small rented farm. His parents came to America when he was seven years of age, settling in Greenfield township near Detroit.
Here he attended school a short time, and this, together with some early trade in England, formed the whole of his early education. When he was thirteen years of age Captain Pridgeon came to Detroit, and first found employment as a teamster for E. Ferguson, afterward becoming manager for a man named Fields, who did general hauling business. He next drove stage between Detroit and Mt. Clemens for Burrell & Rose, and the following year engaged as cook on a Detroit river scow, earning twelve dollards a month. For three years he drove teams during the winter, and sailed in the summer. When John Robinson built the steamer Boston, he went on board as decksweeper, and was afterward deckhand. He sailed on the Boston one summer for twelve dollars per month, and worked in a livery stable that winter. During all this time, no matter how small his earnings, a portion was saved and put by for the future, thus laying the foundation for a substantial large fortune.
Captain Pridgeon all this time had a predilection for the sea, and at the age of eighteen he went to New York and signed as an ordinary seaman in the United States navy. After a course of training on the receiving ship North Carolina he was put on board the United States sloop Albany of the South Atlantic Squadron. While on this vessel he visited most all of the southern ports, including those of the West Indies and South America. In 1851 the Albany returned home with a number of American citizens who had been engaged in the Lopez insurrection in Cuba, they having been surrendered to the United States authorities by the Spanish government, and Captain Pridgeon returned to Greenfield with about $500, the savings of his three years' cruise. He soon after came to Detroit and shipped on the small steamer Telegraph as wheelsman. In the winter he bought a team and a pair of bob sleds, and worked in the lumber woods near Lexington. At the end of the winter he came to Detroit with a capital of $800. He continued working in this way for two or three years, teaming and sailing, and finally found himself worth about $3,000. At length he sold his horses, wagons and tools, and bought a little steamer, the United, with which he did a profitable towing business for a couple of years. He cleared $4,000 the first season, about $3,500 the second, and sold his steamer for $4,000, leaving him with about $12,000, which included his home.
The next season he purchased of Oliver Newberry the propeller Napoleon for $6,000 cash, and for two years did a general towing business in the North Channel, at St. Clair flats. He subsequently sold the Napoleon and purchased the steamer Canada, which he also used in the towing business. From 1866 to 1884 Captain Pridgeon was probably the largest owner of tugs, steamers and sailing vessels at the port of Detroit. His investments were almost universally successful, and at the time of his death, which occurred December 6, 1894, his estate was valued at over $1,000,000. During the latter years of his life, he converted his business into that of contracting, disposing of vessels when he could do so to good advantage; but the firm of John Pridgeon & Son still continued to do a large and profitable vessel trade.
Captain Pridgeon married Miss Emma Nicholson, daughter of a Canadian farmer, who lived about nine miles back of Windsor. Mrs. Pridgeon is still living, together with two children, John Pridgeon, Jr., and a daughter, Mrs. Harry Milward.
For a period of eight years Captain Pridgeon was a member of the Board of Water Commissioners of Detroit; the period of service being marked with many improvements in the water works, to all of which he gave a great deal of his time and attention. He was cordially esteemed by the employers of the board, and at the expiration of his term of service he retired from public life with the respect and goodwill of his associates and of the public.
JOHN PRIDGEON, JR
The first steamboat owned by the late John Pridgeon was the United, in which he hauled sand from Ft. Wayne to be used in the first paving ever done in Detroit. On this boat he lived with his wife and child, and here, while a babe in arms, John Pridgeon, Jr., had his first experience in steamboating. In later years, when the elder Pridgeon had disposed of all this vessel property, he frequently urged his son to follow his example, but the latter's love for the business, the charm of it, perhaps, caused him to decline, and he is to-day an extensive owner of vessel stock.
Our subject was born August 1, 1852, in a cottage on what was then known as the fair ground, near what is now called Sycamore Street. When but a little over sixteen years of age he was at work on board the propeller B. F. Wade, as clerk, a position he held about four years. He then shipped as clerk on the City of Duluth, running between Chicago and Duluth, and after a time came ashore, and took charge of the office of the Chicago, Sarnia & Grand Trunk line at Ft. Gratiot. His father had a controlling interest in the line, which consisted of the steamers B. F. Wade, Sun, Montgomery, S. D. Caldwell and Antelope, and he remained in the Ft. Gratiot office until the Chicago & Grand Trunk railway was completed, and the connection between Sarnia and Chicago abandoned.
Mr. Pridgeon then returned to Detroit and went into his father's office, where he remained until the latter had disposed of all his vessel property. At the death of the father the son was made one of the executors of the estate. Mr. Pridgeon is largely interested in Detroit real estate, and is a director of the Detroit River Savings Bank. He is also an officer of the following vessel companies: President of the State Transportation Company, propeller John Pridgeon, Jr.; vice-president of the Red Star line, steamer Greyhound; vice-president of the White Star line, steamer City of Toledo; president of the Pridgeon Transportation Company, propeller A. A. Parker and barge B. W. Parker.
Soon after his return to Detroit from Fort Gratiot he became interested in politics, and December 23, 1879, he was appointed a member of the first park commission, instituted by Mayor Langdon. This commission took charge of Belle Isle Park immediately after the purchase of the island by the city, but owing to some defect in the law the Supreme Court overturned the act of creating it, and the board went out of office. He was elected member of the city council in 1886, and was a member of that body when it was abolished by the legislature, September 26, 1887. At the election of that year he was the Democratic nominee for mayor, and, being elected, served during 1888 and 1889. He was subsequently appointed a member of the Metropolitan Police Commission by Governor Luce, serving until July 1, 1892, when the old commission gave place to a new one appointed by the mayor.
In the public life Mr. Pridgeon earned the respect and good will of the people. His administration of the mayor's office was clean, dignified and conservative, and few incumbents of that position have conducted it with less friction and more general satisfaction than Mr. Pridgeon.
E.W. Prince, chief engineer of the steamer Iroquois, was born in Heuvelton, St. Lawrence Co., N. Y., in 1843, the son of John Prince, who combined the occupations of wheelwright, cabinetmaker, joiner and carpenter. The family removed to Cleveland when Edwin W. Prince was two years old, and there he attended school up to the age of sixteen, when he commenced learning the machinist's trade in the shop of Blish, Garlick & Co. After spending four years in this establishment he worked at various points, being employed for some time in the shops of the Cleveland & Pittsburg Railway Company at Wellsville, Ohio. On leaving their employ he commenced sailing as oiler on the propeller New York, of which vessel he became second engineer before the season was over. The next season he was second engineer of the propeller Eclipse, of the Western Transportation Company, and the season following he held the position of chief in the tug Stranger and later in the Winslow. Then he was employed successively in the propeller New York, the tug Quayle, the passenger steamer Northern Light, and again in the New York, becoming chief engineer of the last named boat in July, and continuing as such for three seasons. In 1875 and 1876 he was chief of the old propeller Mineral Rock; 1877, chief of the steambarge Chauncey Hurlburt; 1878-79-80, assistant engineer of the steamer S. E. Sheldon; 1881, chief of the steamer Swan; 1882, chief of the new steamer Robert Wallace; 1883, chief of the steamer Cumberland, and later in the lake tug Goodnow, between Cleveland and Lake Superior ports; 1884-85-86, chief of the steamer David W. Rust; 1887, chief of the steamer Simon Langell. In 1888 and 1889 Mr. Prince was employed in the shops of the Cleveland Ship Building Company, making one trip to Lake Superior in the steamer Superior. Then for six weeks he was chief of the steamer Roumania, and during the season of 1896 served in that capacity on the steamer Iroquois. Mr. Prince has had many exciting experiences during his career on the lakes. On May 11, 1895, while in the Roumania on Lake Superior, the vessel was caught in a gale, and while she was running for shelter the main steam pipe cracked so that it was in imminent danger of bursting. The pipe was chained at the fracture, but the steam pressure had to be so greatly reduced in order to prevent further accident that the vessel had great difficulty in reaching a place of safety. When land was finally sighted through the blinding snowstorm it was only a few rods away and the storm was driving the vessel rapidly into the breakers. There proved to be sufficient power in the boilers, however, to carry the ship off shore and a harbor was finally made.
In 1862 Mr. Prince married Miss Lottie Elliott, of Cleveland. Their children are Edwin E., William W. and Florence F. One daughter, Lottie M., died in infancy.
CAPTAIN JOHN PRINDIVILLE
Captain John Prindiville is one of the oldest and best known vessel men in Chicago. His career on the lakes, which has been one of interesting incident and commercial success, began in 1837 when he was a lad of eleven years.
Captain Prindiville was born September 7, 1826, in County Kerry, Ireland, twelve miles from the lakes of Killarney. In 1835 he came to the United States, and after one year spent in Detroit he, in 1836, removed to Chicago. His education was received in the private schools of that city, which preceded(sic) the public institutions, Edward Murphy being his first teacher. But the education of the young lad was directed largely to the practical affairs of life, an instance of which was that he could understand the language of the Indian tribes then dwelling on the shores of the lakes. In 1837 our subject became cabin boy in the schooner Hiram Pierson, the first vessel built in Chicago. He continued to sail in various vessels till, in 1845, he became master of the schooner Liberty. During the three following seasons he was successively master of the schooners Ark, Col. Benton and Outward Bound, and in 1849 of the brigantine Scammon.
An important incident in the life of Captain Prindiville during the season of 1850 was the charter of the brigantine Minnesota, of which he was then master and part owner, to sail from the lakes to Europe. The Minnesota received from England permission to take the trip, and leaving Chicago October 15, 1850, sailed from the Bruce Mines, Georgian Bay, where she loaded with copper ore, destined for Swansea, Wales. She reached Montreal November 12, but the pilot ran the vessel on the rocks while about entering the LaChine canal. By unloading the vessel she was got off and repaired, December 12, but it was then too late to put to sea, and she lay for the winter in Montreal. Thus a Chicago-built vessel, commanded by a Chicago boy, twenty-four years of age, was the first American vessel from the American side to attempt the voyage from the lakes to England. The ore was reshipped from Montreal, and the Minnesota returned to the lakes. Captain Prindiville continued to sail her until 1855. In that year he became interested in the propeller Adriatic, and thereafter confined his lake property to steam vessels. He later became interested in the first line of lake tugs in Chicago. He possessed and practiced in his daily life the traits of unselfishness and generosity, and became one of the most popular masters on the lakes.
Captain Prindiville closed his active sailing upon the lakes in 1869, and since that time he has been interested mainly in vessel property, at one time owning part and directing one of the largest fleets upon the lakes. As a master he was fearless in danger, and for his bravery he is widely known as the "storm king." He is a splendid specimen of the old-time captain and vesselman, and there is not upon the lakes a sailor of many years who does not know and admire his typical sailing qualities. Off Chicago he has saved many lives, for which he never claimed either praise or pay; in fact, the greater the danger, the more pleasure there was for him.
CAPTAIN WILLIAM J. PRINGLE
Captain William J. Pringle, who held the position of mate on the Pontiac for the season of 1898, was born October 13, 1860, at Marine City, Mich. His parents, William H. and Mary (Huntoon) Pringle, are natives of Northumberland, England, and New York State, respectively, and are now residing in California. William H. Pringle is an old sailor, having spent about fifty years of his life on the Great Lakes and some time on salt water.
Ten years after his birth William J. Pringle removed with his parents to Cleveland, Ohio, and at that place has had his residence ever since. The marine life which his father followed early held out its attractions for him; and after he was thirteen years of age he began to sail in the summer season and attended school in the winter. He first went on the D.W. Rust as watchman, and remained six years in that and other minor positions, finally becoming mate. He spent part of a season as mate on the Ohio, and then acted in the same position for a year on the Onoko. During the seasons closely following he was mate on the A. Everett, Fred Kelley, Merrimac, Manhattan and Manchester, coming on the Merrimac as master in 1890 and remaining three seasons. He then sailed the Missoula, and afterward acted as mate on the Henry Johnson and George Spencer one season. The following year he sailed the Superior and Waverly, after which he served as mate on the Colonial and Helena, finally coming to the Pontiac in the position he now holds.
Captain Pringle was married December 29, 1887, to Miss Louise A. Schutthelm, of Cleveland. He is thoroughly experienced in his calling, and is held in high value by his employers and all with whom he is connected in that line.
George Pringle, a brother of our subject, spent about five years of his life on the lakes, but is at present engaged in business in California.
CAPTAIN JAMES N. PRIOR
Captain James N. Prior is a descendant from an old English family of shipbuilders and masters of ocean-going vessels, and had many years' experience on both salt and fresh water, finally retiring to accept the office of light keeper on Stannard Rock. He is a man of genial temperament, and an entertaining companion. He was born at Bembridge, in the east end of the Isle of Wight, England, October 1, 1851, his parents being George and Esther Grace (Bingen) Prior. His father was a native of Poole, England, and his mother of Cherbourg, France, where they were married. The parents removed to Portsmouth, England, where the father became a shipbilder under the government at the dock yard, and after remaining in that employe the requisite length of time he became a pensioner for duties well and faithfully performed. He removed with part of his family to the United States in 1869, first locating in Ishpeming, Mich., where he ereccted the first residence that was put up on Strawberry Hill. After a residence of some years the family removed to Marquette, Mich., where the father built a boat house and several boats, and opened business in that line. He still resides at Marquette. The other sons are William H., a salt-water sailor, who came to the lakes in 1876, and is now keeper of the lighthouse at Big Bay Point, and George, who keeps the East Channel light at Grand Island. Grandfather Prior was originally from Hastings, England, but removed to Poole, where he engaged in shipbuilding and constructed several revenue carriers for the British Government.
Captain James N. Prior, the subject of this sketch, acquired his education in the common schools of Portsmouth, and after working with his father in the shipyard about four months he put off to sea, shipping in the Star of Jersey, a fishing boat commanded by Capt. Edmund Trotter. After a year passed in fishing off the coast he joined the schooner Andy Love as boy. This was followed by another year in the Star of Jersey, at this time plying between Portsmouth and Cherbourg and Honfleur, France, and had the good fortune to witness the naval battle between the United States steamer Kearsage and the Confederate privateer Alabama, in which the latter was destroyed. Upon returning to his home port Captain Prior joined as apprentice the brig Star of the Ocean, trading between Cardiff and Hong Kong, China, with coal. He remained with that vessel about a year and a half, then ran away and shipped as seaman in the brig Fearful, transferring to the little coaster Champion, and had the honor of sailing her about a month while the captain went off on a vacation, closing the year in the yacht Blue Bell. The 3,000 ton ship Eagle of Bristol was his next vessel, in which he sailed as seaman out of Rhodes to Cardiff, thence to Valparaiso and return to Hamburg. In the schooner Jessie of Truro he visited parts of the Canary Islands, Spain, the West Indies, and South America. He left the Jessie at London and joined the new bark Derbyshire at Port Talbot, bound for San Francisco, touching at ports in the Isthmus of Panama to distribute supplies for the railroad then under construction. On returning to London he shipped as mate in the yacht Nina. In 1872, Captain Prior took passage on the steamer city of Richmond and came to the United States, going direct to Marquette, Mich., and the following spring shipped in the tug Joseph Dudley with Capt. A. Robinson. In the spring of 1874 he was appointed second mate of the Ira Chaffee with Captain Frink, soon being advanced to the office of mate. The next season he was appointed master of the tug W. J. Gordon, whose name was changed to Selma, transferred to the tug J. C. Morris and Fisherman and closed the season as master of the tug City of Marquette, which was built by his father. In 1882 he was appointed by the United States light house board as keeper of the Passage Island light, but did not accept the place. On June 9, 1883, he was appointed to the Stannard Rock lighthouse, which position he retained until 1888, when he was transferred to the Duluth lighthouse, his youngest brother taking his place at Stannard Rock. In 1895, in addition to his other duties, he was made inspector of lights and buoys in St. Louis bay and river, and is assisted by two subordinates. He is a charter member of the Masters and Pilots Association No. 44, of Duluth, a Master Mason, and a charter member of the order of Good Samaritans.
On July 30, 1882, Captain Prior was wedded to Miss Jessie, daughter of Richard and Anna Sparrow, of Marquette, formerly of Tavistock, England. The family residence is on Lake avenue, Duluth, Minnesota.
LEWIS C. PURDY
Lewis C. Purdy, a resident of Port Huron, secured his first marine engineer's license twenty-five years ago. He is a man of fine physique, good salient qualities, and of a distinct and unmistakable independence of character. A son of L.W. and Eliza A. (Jay) Purdy. Mr. Purdy was born in Detroit, Mich., August 3, 1850. His father was a native of Plymouth, and his mother of Indiana. Young Purdy acquired his education in the Barstow Union schools. The first industry to which he turned his attention was that of boilermaking, in the shop of Robert McGregor, of Detroit. He next found employment with the Milwaukee & Grand Haven railroad, as fireman on the pony locomotive, where, in his three years stay, he learned much as regards the structure of the engine. He then shipped as deckhand on the W.K. Muir, and it was on this board that he came near losing his life when she exploded her boilers at Stag island near Port Huron, being one of the three members of the crew that escaped death. His next boat was the lake tug Frank Moffat, on which, for two seasons, he was fireman. After taking out engineer's papers he was appointed second engineer on the Moffat, and at the end of two years was advanced to the position of chief, and engineered her for seven years. He was then appointed chief engineer on the late tug Kate Williams, which position he held two seasons, followed by a season on the J.W. Bennett.
In the spring of 1891, Mr. Purdy became second engineer on the steamer Cuba, closing the season as chief engineer on the Nellie Torrent. The next spring he was appointed chief engineer on the steamer Thomas D. Stimson, running her four seasons, and laying her up at Port Huron at the close of navigation in 1897. He is a member of the Marine Engineers Association, and of the Independent Order of Foresters. In July 1878, Mr. Purdy was wedded to Mrs. Margaret Kaiser, of Port Huron, who was well known in that city.
JAMES G. PURVIS
James G. Purvis is a genial and wholesome shipmate, and has spent much profitable time in the study of marine engineering, and as a reward of his patience has held many positions of responsibility and trust.
Mr. Purvis was born in Detroit on August 21, 1856, and is the son of Capt. James and Margaret (Fitzgerald) Purvis. His father was an educated ocean navigator, and was a man-of-warsman for several years, also master of full-rigged ship sailing out of London and other British ports. Both parents were natives of Ireland, the father being born in Belfast, and the mother in Limerick. They came to America about the year 1840, locating in Detroit, where they met and were married. The father was a practical shipbuilder, and constructed the schooner Trial at Detroit, and sailed her; also the barge Merrimac. He laid down the plans for the side-wheel steamers Water Witch, Ruby, and Susan Ward, and during his later years took contracts for planing, planking, etc., and did much of Captain Ward's repairing. He is now living in Detroit at the prime age of eighty, and still does his own thinking. Captain Purvis has six sons, all marine engineers. James G. and John B. are twins. John B. brought out the steamer Corsica new, and also ran the tug Duncan City. Thomas is chief engineer of the steamer Ionia; William, who was chief engineer of the Erie Fish Company, operating fourteen tugs, was murdered while acting as peacemaker in a brawl; Alexander is chief engineer of the Detroit fireboat Detroiter; George is assistant engineer on the steamer Tom Adams.
James G. Purvis, the subject of this sketch, acquired his education in the public schools of Detroit, which he supplemented by a course of study and international correspondence. After leaving school he entered the machine shop of Barnes Bothers in Port Huron, and became an expert draftsman. He worked with his father in Simon Langell's shipyard as carpenter on contract jobs. It was in 1876 that he began his career as marine engineer of P. L. Johnson, and took charge of the tug Cora B., of Bay City, in 1877, plying the Saginaw river between Bay City and Bangor, running her two seasons. During the seasons of 1878 and 1879 he served as second engineer on the C. B. Hull, following those of 1880 and 1881 as assistant on the steamer East Saginaw, after which he joined the St. Paul, as chief, and held this berth through 1882 and 1883. In the spring of 1884 he entered the employ of the Detroit Transportation Company, as chief of the steamer Iron Duke, which he ran one season, and in 1885 accepted the position of machinist for the Western Knitting Company, of Detroit; during the same year he joined himself to the Iron Chief, as chief, remaining on her till 1887; in 1888 transferred to the steamer Oregon, also as chief; and during the seasons named was chief on the following boats; 1889-90, brought out new the A. G. Lindsay; 1891-92-93-94, was on the Eber Ward; 1895, on the steamer Ogemaw; 1896, on the Unique, a steamer plying on the St. Clair River between Port Huron and Detroit, and carrying quadruple expansion engines, and very speedy when in trim. During the year 1897, Mr. Purvis was mechanical engineer of the Carkin, Strickney and Cram Dredging Co., and went where his services were required. In 1898 he became chief engineer of the fine steel steamer, Merida. Being a thorough mechanic, the machinery over which Mr. Purvis presides is always found in good condition, and he is well qualified to make his own repairs if any should be necessary. He has twenty-one issues of first class license.
Socially, he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and of the Knights of the Maccabees.
On June 4, 1879, Mr. Purvis was united in marriage to Miss Caroline A., daughter of William and Elizabeth (Sharpsteel) Miller. Their children are John W., a graduate of Detroit High School; Alice M., a graduate of 1899; Margaret E. and James Alex. The family homestead is at No. 169 Junction Avenue, Detroit, Michigan.
JAMES R. PYNE
James R. Pyne, the well-known and popular city boiler inspector, of Chicago was born in that city in 1855, a son of James and Mary L. (Green) Pyne. The father took up his residence there as early as 1851, and successfully engaged in the grocery business for many years. He died in that city April 2, 1898, and his wife only survived him about a month, dying on the 18th of May the same year.
Reared in Chicago, our subject began his education in its public school, but later attended college at Valparaiso, Ind., thus acquiring and excellent literary education. He learned the machinist's trade in the shops of J. S. Dunham, and remained in the employ of that gentleman for twelve years, during which time he acquired a thorough knowledge of engines and machinery. His experience upon the lakes commenced about 1871 or 1872, when he shipped at Chicago on the tug Little Giant, of the Dunham line, remaining on her one season, after which he was engineer on the Babcock for the same length of time; then held a similar position on the tug A. Mosher for seven years, and acted in the same capacity on the Cromwell for three years. At the end of that time he accepted the position of chief engineer of the Dunning Institute, of Cook County, but resigned eighteen months later, and for six months was superintendent of the Infirmary at Dunning, being at that place two years in all. As general superintendent he had charge of the entire plant for one year, and in 1894 was chief engineer of the Lake View Water Works, remaining there until appointed city boiler inspector of Chicago in May 1897. He is ably qualified by practical training to fill his present responsible position, and is serving with credit to himself and to the entire satisfaction of all concerned.
Mr. Pyne received his first engineer's license in 1878. He was a prominent member of the National Marine Engineers Association No. 68, until it was abolished, and served as secretary of the same. He is also a leading and influential member of the Cook County Democracy.