History of the Great Lakes

Vol. 2 by J.B. Mansfield
Published Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co. 1899

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[ R ][ S ][ T ][ U ][ V ][ W ][ X Y Z ]



Captain Anthoine Valier, a fisherman of Cleveland, Ohio, was born in St. Ignace, Mich., in 1854, son of William Valier, who had been engaged in the fishing industry near that port for many years. The son early followed in the footsteps of his father, and at the age of ten years went on board a fishing boat to learn the business. After several years of this work he was placed in command of the ferry steamer Gazelle, and in later years he sailed the steamers Charles West and Mary, passenger boats running between Mackinaw and the Straits. Then he removed to Cleveland and for some time commanded various harbor tugs at that port, among them the Patrick Smith, Charles Henry, N. B. Gates and L. P. Smith, being also connected with the tugs Bacon, Louisa, Ingoldsby, F. E. Smith, Edson and Florence N. Returning to the fishing business he has since sailed the fishing tugs Manning, Enterprise, Sea Wing, Messenger, Massotte, Angler and Grayling.

Captain Valier has been married twice, the first time to Miss Lucy Martin, of St. Ignace, who died leaving a daughter, Mary, who survives. In 1893 he married Miss Mary Barnhart, of Cleveland.



Charles A. Van Every, who was born at Buffalo N.Y., February 13, 1851, is a son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Watts) Van Every, the former native of Pennsylvania, and the latter of England. His father was also a sailor, being chief of the Badger State, just before his death, which occurred in 1863, and when our subject was but twelve years old.

At the death of his father he found it necessary to start out for himself; he began by decking and firing on the tug Lon Edes, remaining on her for two seasons, and the succeeding two did like work on the Bailey, after which he became her engineer for two seasons. He subsequently was on the Trowbridge two seasons, thence to the propeller Eclipse, as second engineer, one season; also the Prairie State a like time. After the above service he went on the Mains, of the Northern Transportation Company, as her second engineer, but after a year and three months was promoted to the position of chief, which he filled for two years. After this he was on several steamers, among them being the Luella Worthington three seasons, George Burnham three seasons and his last position on the Scranton, of which he has been chief seven consecutive seasons, including that of 1897. He is a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficiary Association No. 4, of Chicago; and has twenty-seven issues of license, twenty-one of which are as chief.

Mr. Van Every is a widower, and resides with his mother and brother George (who was chief of the Tuscarora for the season of 1896), at No. 52 Homan avenue, Chicago.



Captain Thomas Van Stan was born March 6, 1857, at Cleveland, Ohio, and there passed the first three years of his life, coming to Detroit with his parents, John T. and Mary E. (Woods) Van Stan. The father, who was a native of Cork, Ireland, spent the greater part of his life as a painter and later as a detective; he died in 1867. The mother, a native of London, England, died in 1861.

At the public schools of Detroit, Captain Van Stan received his educations, and at the age of fourteen years he went sailing as boy on the scow Newell Hubbard, now owned and sailed by Captain Demsteadt, of Detroit. He spent the following three years on different scows and schooners sailing out of Detroit, and then went on the tug Tawas, as wheelsman. He spent one season each as watchman and wheelsman upon the steambarge Swallow, and then sailed on the Theodore Perry, Gem of the Lakes and Industry before the mast. Following this he spent one season on the Storm as mate, later serving as second mate on the Fitzhugh, and the next season took command of the schooner Jane Mason. For a year and a half after this he was with Captain Kelly on the Sakie Shepard, of which he then became master, and he afterward acted as second mate of the Seattle, transferring from her to the Richard Martini, of which he had command two years. For some time he was mate on the Seattle and the Wyoming, and he then came to the Sauber, spending part of 1896 on her. Captain Van Stan is well known in Detroit and vicinity and has a large acquaintance among marine men on the chain of lakes, by all of whom he is regarded as a thoroughly competent sailor.

The Captain was married November 25, 1876, to Miss Mary E. Parker, of Hallsport, N.Y. Their only child, Raymond, is attending school at the present time.



H.A. Vaughan, for the season of 1897 second engineer of the Schuylkill, is the only son in the family of three children of William W. and Ida (Whitford) Vaughan. He was born May 9, 1873, at Fort Wayne, Ind., where he attended school and assisted on the farm of his parents until eleven years old, at which time the family removed to Washington, Macomb county, Michigan.

Our subject started work, learning the machinist's trade at the Frontier Iron Works, of Detroit, Mich., and after serving his apprenticeship was a journeyman machinist and tool-maker at the shops of John Lauer in Detroit. He began steamboating as oiler on the Marina, of the Minneapolis line, and remained on her in that capacity for six months during the season of 1896 or until she was laid up. For the season of 1897 he shipped as second engineer to J. C. Jordan on the Schuylkill, of the Anchor line. Mr. Vaughan, during his time in the machine shops, helped put engines in a number of steamers, and this experience has proved valuable to such an extent that he is really further advanced than the majority of engineers who have shpped several years longer than he has.

He is a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association No. 3, of Detroit, and also of Branch No. 82, International Association of Machinists, of which latter organization he is also vice-prsident. He is a single man, and resides at No. 603 Fourteenth avenue, Detroit, Michigan.



Frederick Venator has been sailing out of Buffalo harbor as engineer for a number of years. He is a native of Buffalo, having been born in that city July 9, 1839, a son of Charles and Dora (Miller) Venator, and there he obtained his education. The early part of his active life was given up to employment in the direct line of his trade, and he has at different times worked in Davis & Eaton's planing-mill, Pierce's shingle factory, George Bailey's machine shop (in which he learned his trade), the Kendall Machine Shop, John T. Noyes' shop, the King Iron Works, Brook's Locomotive Works at Dunkirk, the Erie Railway Shops and the Holly Water Works. Mr. Venator's first experience on the lakes was as second engineer of the steamer Artic, and he was subsequently engaged in the same capacity on the Owego, of the Union Steamboat Company. Following this he was chief engineer in turn of the steamer Susquehanna, the Conemaugh and the Wissahickon, all of the Anchor line. He is a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association and, fraternally, of the Ancient Order of United Workmen.

In 1864 Mr. Venator was married, at Buffalo, to Miss Raney Blummer, by whom he had six children, and in 1875 he married, for his second wife, Miss Anna Ross. They reside at No. 543 Oak street, Buffalo.



George Vogt is one of the eight children - fours son and four daughters - born to Michael and Lanie (Briner) Vogt, who were natives of Alsace, France, now a German possession. He was born at that place January 14, 1837, and is one of the five survivors of the family, the other four, three sisters and one brother, being residents of their natal country, never having left it. Our subject attended the schools of his birthplace up to the age of fifteen, when he entered the barber shop of his father, and there continued to work about five years. At this time, in the year 1857, when about twenty years of age, he emigrated to this country, coming direct to Buffalo, N.Y., where he succeeded in obtaining a situation as deckhand on the Euphrates. He has ever since followed the lakes, and has been more successful than the ordinary man, being at this writing over sixty years of age and comfortably situated as regards this world's goods. After serving two and one-half seasons as above mentioned he served as fireman the balance of one and five succeeding seasons on the Orundus, and the two seasons following as second engineer of the same boat. The season of 1871 he started on the Oneida as her second engineer, acting in that capacity until the memorable Chicago fire, which destroyed the Oneida. On the completion of the Vanderbilt, which was owned by the same parties, he went on her and finished that season as second, serving also the greater part of 1872. He next made four trips on the Russia as her second, until, on December 6, she sunk off Bar Point, Detroit river. He then went on the Scotia as second, continuing on her three seasons, and in 1876-77 he was second on the Cuba; in 1878-79-80-81 he held the same position on the Fountain City. Beginning with the season of 1882 he entered the employ of the Western Transportation Company, as second to Henry Hess, with which company and engineer he remained up to August 9, 1898, making sixteen consecutive seasons to the present writing - quite an enviable record. During those sixteen seasons he was on the Commodore two and one-half seasons, leaving her with Hess to bring out the new Albany, on which they were three and one-half seasons, and were thence transferred to the Hudson, which they brought out new, running her engines for four seasons. They were again transferred, this time to the Harlem, which they also brought out new and ran during the seasons of 1893-94-95-96-97 and '98 to August 9th. It will be noticed that Mr. Vogt has never advanced to the berth of chief, which is explained when it is mentioned that he has never been able to read or write English. Our subject was married in February, 1875, to Barbara Knauber, of Buffalo, by whom he has had four children, only one of whom, Rosa, now (1898) aged fourteen years survives. The family is comfortably installed in their residence at N. 232 Goodell street, Buffalo, N.Y. Mr. Vogt is a member of Local Harbor No. 1, Marine Engineers Beneficial Association.



Captain Abel Voisine is of French extraction, and was born on January 22, 1859, at Green Island, Ont., as were his parents and grandparents. He is the son of Joseph and Madeline (Jean) Voisine, who removed to the United States in 1865, locating in West Bay City, Mich., where his father died in 1883. His mother is still living. His early years were spent in a sawmill, and he is self-educated, having neither opportunity nor desire to attend school while young. Since commencing to sail he took a course of study and soon acquired a liberal education.

Captain Voisine's first experience as a mariner was in 1876, as deckhand and watchman on the propeller Antelope, recently lost on Lake Michigan. The next season he sailed as watchman on the passenger propeller Eighth Ohio, and the following season he went before the mast on the City of Grosse Point. In the spring of 1879 he shipped as wheelsman on the lake tug Peter Smith. His next berth was at the wheel on the tug Sol S. Rumage, now the Charlie O. Smith, followed by a season on the same boat as mate. In the spring of 1882 he took out papers and was appointed mate of the tug Ella Smith. The next year he came out as mate of the tug Ontario, but closed the season as mate of the Star of the North. He put in part of the season of 1884 as mate on the lake tug Niagara, closing on the Pensaukee as mate, and remained with her until the spring of 1887, when he shipped on the tug Annie Moiles. In the spring of 1888 he was appointed master of the tug Sarah Smith, and sailed her two seasons. His next boat was the Annie Moiles. In the spring of 1891 he was appointed master of the tug Carlie O. Smith, which he sailed six seasons with good business success. In the spring of 1897 he came out as master of the fine tug Sweepstakes, but transferred during the season to Charlie O. Smith, Annie Moiles, R. H. Weidemann, Lula Eddy and Ella M. Smith, laying the latter up December 18, 1897. The following year he was appointed master of the tug Ella M. Smith. Socially he is a member of the beneficial Order of the Maccabees.

Captain Voisine was wedded to Miss Jane, daughter of Joseph and Demontaine Blais. The children born to this union are Joseph, Edmond, Eva; Abel and Albert, both of whom died young; Mabel Ruth and Wilfred. The family homestead is at No. 1005 Long Street, West Bay City, Michigan.



Captain E.D. Vosburgh, was born in 1859, at Bay City, Mich., and there received his education, graduating from the high school of that city. He commenced his career as a sailor at the age of seventeen, serving one season on the tug McDonald, owned by Blanchard & Vosburgh; the gentleman last named is his brother and is at present sailing master of the Rube Richards. In 1877 the Captain was appointed mate of the Annie Moiles, owned by Boutell & Mitchell, and after leaving her, he shipped as mate on the side-wheel steamer Dove. He then went to Alpena, Mich., and engaged in the fishing business on the tug T. Merrill, the following season returning to the Dove as pilot and mate, and taking her up to Lake Superior. On his return he was appointed master of the E. F. Rose, which he commanded part of the season, finishing that and the next on the steamer Raleigh as mate. Proceeding then to Cleveland, he was appointed master of the tug L. P. Smith, in which he remained three seasons, and he was also on the tug Gregory part of two seasons. During the centennial year he went to Chicago and entered the employ of Dunham & Company, for which firm he sailed tugs for two seasons. Returning to Cleveland, he again entered the employ of L. P. & J. A. Smith, going as master of the tug L. P. Smith, in which he remained two seasons, and from which he was transferred to the tug John Gregory, of which he is master at the present time. Captain Vosburgh is a member of the Tippecanoe Club in Cleveland, and has good opportunity for the enjoyment of much sport.

Some time ago when the schooner Gen. Burnside waterlogged and sunk off the harbor at Cleveland, Captain Vosburgh saved the lives of all aboard, consisting of the owner, Captain Little, and daughter, of Port Huron, the mate and crew of three men, and a woman cook. The crew of the Burnside hung out a signal of distress and Captain Vosburg ran down to her and passed them his tow-line, but it parted and the crew on the Burnside left the wheel. Captain Vosburgh then took a line, swam off to the Burnside and attached it, and after taking off the crew and Captain Little and his daughter, towed the vessel as long as he could; when within about three miles of port, however, the Burnside gave a plunge and went to the bottom. This act would apparently entitle Captain Vosburgh to the United States life-saving medal, but he appears too diffident to apply for one.

Captain Vosburgh was united in marriage, in 1878, to Miss Emma H. Hartwell, of Bay City, whose brother is connected with the public schools of that place. The parents of both Captain Vosburgh and his wife reside in Bay City.



Captain L.G. Vosburgh was born in Flint, Mich., March 5, 1848. He attended the public schools a short time, and like so many of the lakefaring captains, he ran away from home when yet a lad to go on the water. He shipped as cook on the schooner Eleanor, and on the arrival of that boat at Chicago enlisted for the navy. In 1862 he was sent to Cairo, Ill., where he went aboard the receiving ship stationed at that point, and thence he was assigned to the gunboat Mound City, Commander Patterson, as ordinary seaman. The Mound City was in all the engagements on the Mississippi river and was the second to pass the dread batteries at Vicksburg. Island No. 10, a point of great historical interest, was also passed, and at New Orleans Captain Vosburgh was transferred to the gunboat Winnebago, and participated in the capture of the forts guarding the entrance to the harbor at that city. After the fall of New Orleans his boat joined the blockading squadron at Mobile bay, and while cruising for position in the attack on Mobile she ran into a torpedo and was blown up, about three miles off the coast, all hands, three hundred and fifty, suffering more or less. Captain Vosburgh, with about one hundred others, was picked up by the small boats from a vessel lying near, and he remained on that vessel until the close of the war, being mustered out of the service in October, 1865, at New Orleans. He came north to St. Louis, thence to Chicago.

In the spring of 1866 the Captain went to Bay City, Mich., and during that season shipped on tugs out of that port. The following spring, having some money from his army service, he invested in the sidewheel steamer North Star and sailed her. Later he bought the tugs Buffalo and C.C. McDonald, and the schooner Gracie Belle, but taking advantage of a good market, he sold all his vessel property, and entered the employ of the T. & S.T. Co., operating a line of barges out of Bay City. For one year he was given command of the tug T.M. Moore, of the schooner David Morris two years, and of the schooner William Case one year. Captain Vosburgh was then appointed agent for the Blanchard Transportation Company, in the lumber trade, which position he filled to their satisfaction for two years. His next investment in vessel property was the purchase of the tugs Challenge and Hope, which he took to Detroit in 1886, and he associated himself with the Mills Towing Company for two years. In 1890 he sold out and came to Cleveland, where he was appointed master of the steamer Handy Boy, plying between that city and Kelley's Island, for the fall. The following spring he entered the employ of Captain Smith and brought out the steamer Joseph P. Farnam, which he sailed two or three seasons, afterward taking the schooners H.P. Baldwin and the noted Colonel I. Cook one season each. He next entered the employ of John T. Hutchinson, and sailed the steamer Rube Richards (one year) and the schooners May Richards and E.C. Hutchinson, in the spring of 1896 again taking command of the Rube Richards, which he laid up at the close of navigation in Cleveland harbor. The Captain belongs the American Association of Masters & Pilots, at Cleveland (of which he is a charter member), the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and to the Odd Fellows fraternity.

In 1868 Captain Vosburgh was united in marriage to Miss Belle Flood, of Painesville, Ohio, and the have two children, Benjamin F., who occupies a position in the Bay City postoffice, and Grace M., now Mrs. Charles Kline.