History of the Great Lakes

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

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[ K ][ L ][ M ][ N ][ O ][ P ][ Q ]
[ R ][ S ][ T ][ U ][ V ][ W ][ X Y Z ]



Peter H. Yax, mate on the steamer Byron Whitaker, was born July 8, 1864, in Port Trumbull, Mich., where he lived for several years, receiving his education in its public schools. His father, Isadore Yax, is a retired shipmaster and owner, having spent about thirty years of his life in active service on the lakes. He now resides in Tawas, Michigan.

At the age of nine years Peter H. Yax began his marine life, sailing during the season on his father's schooners and attending school in winter. As a boy he went on the schooner Eagle, and afterward on several boats, among which were the scow Leader and the tugs W. F. McCrae and L. L. Lyons. He was then employed on the Kitty M. Forbes as wheelsman, and the following year in the same capacity on the Stranger for a part of the season, spending the remainder on the Oscar Townsend. The next year he was wheelsman on the Justin R. Whiting, and afterward on the Balize.

The following season Mr. Yax spent on the barge E. C. Roberts as seaman, and then served in the same capacity on the D. P. Dobbins, the schooner Groton, John T. Johnson and John Shaw. He was next on the passenger steamer Flora as wheelsman for a part of a season, and later was second mate on the George King, afterward serving in the same capacity on the T. S. Christy, Charles A. Eddy, E. C. Pope, C. J. Kershaw, Pontiac, Selwyn Eddy and the Robert Wallace. He was then mate on the Kitty M. Forbes, wheelsman on the Roumania, and second mate on the W. H. Gilbert. In the middle of the season on 1896 he became mate on the Queen City, and the season of 1897 was put in as mate on the steamers Robert Fulton and City of Bangor, and in 1898 accepted the position of mate on the Byron Whitaker.

On April 1, 1886, Mr. Yax married Miss Matilda Bedore, of Quebec, Canada, and they have seven children, four of whom are in school: Isabel, Harvey, Paul, Marcellina, Lillie, Joseph and Scott.



Captain Matthew J. Yipe, Jr., although young in years has had four issues of first-class master's license, unlimited, and comprising all of the lakes, and he never took out a second-class paper. He has proved himself a good pilot, a reliable officer, and a man of great force of character, and rising to the eminence on which he now stands by his own untiring efforts. He was born September 14, 1868, on Grosse Isle, Mich., a son of Mattew J. and Mary (Buford) Yipe. His father was born in Alsace, at one time a Province of France, but now belonging to Germany, and came to the United States with his parents, locating in Detroit - the Captain's mother's native city and where the two grew up and married. His father, Capt. John Buford, was an accomplished mariner of three generations ago. After their marriage Mr. And Mrs. Yipe settled on a farm in Grosse Isle, near Trenton, and it was at those two places that our subject acquired his education in the public schools.

In the spring of 1885 Captain Yipe first adopted the marine life on board the steamyacht Fairy, owned by L.D. Rucker, plying between Trenton and Grosse Isle. The next two seasons he passed as watchman on the steamer William A. Haskell, and in the spring of 1888 was promoted to the berth of wheelsman on the lake tug Gladiator, which position he held until August of the next year, when he came out as watchman on the new steamer Manchester, of the Inter Ocean Transportation Company. In the spring of 1890 he was appointed second mate on the steamer Rube Richards, and the following season was promoted to the position of mate, which he filled until September, when he transferred to the steamer Rufus P. Ranney as second mate. In the spring of 1892 Captain Yipe entered the employ of the Union Steamboat Company as second mate of the Tioga, and in September he was advanced to the mate's berth, which held until June, 1894, when a change of masters caused him to transfer to the steamer Byron Whitaker, as mate, remaining with her until she was laid up in the fall of 1896. In the spring of 1897 he entered the employ of John Mitchell & Co., as mate of the steamer William F. Sauber, on which he closed the season of 1898. The only fraternal society of which he is a member is the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

On January 28, 1895, Captain Yipe wedded Miss Elizabeth J., daughter of Michael and Roseley Steffes, of Ecorse, Mich. During his marine life the Captain invested his earnings in real estate at Oakwood, Mich., where he now has a handsome homestead and unimproved town lots.



Captain George Young, deceased. An unusually varied career was that of Capt. George Young, who was one of the earlier ship masters of the great Lakes, and who commanded many of the largest vessels of his time. Captain Young was a native of Aberdeen, Scotland, his father being a ship carpenter who placed him on board a vessel bound for Hamburg when he was eleven years of age. The vessel tied up at the latter port and remained out of service an entire year, during which period the young boy lived on board. The ship was ordered to New York, and on the voyage across the ocean, the captain had a dispute with his first mate and whipped him in the boy's presence. When the ship arrived in New York, the mate swore out papers for the captain's arrest, and the captain, fearing that the boy's testimony might turn the case against him, shipped the youngester on another vessel bound for Savannah. He arrived in the Southern port without a cent in his pockets, homeless and friendless, and utterly at a loss for any means to take him back to his parents. He offered his services to the first vessel leaving port, and in this way found himself shortly after in Vera Cruz, Mexico. The Mexican war had just broken out, and learning that high wages were being offered for volunteers, he decided to join the Mexican army. He became "powder monkey" in a Mexican battery, although, as he confessed in later years, he was not large enough to lift the cartridges up to the mouth of the gun. He had been in the Mexican service about six months, when one day, the battery he was in had an engagement with a United States battery and he was taken prisoner. His captors were residents of Cleveland, and as he had no other place to go when they returned home they took him with them. In that manner he was introduced to the Great Lakes and to Cleveland, and in the latter city he made his home until his death.

He resumed the life of a sailor, and in 1854 he sailed around the Horn to California, being absent from home three years on a gold hunting excursion. When he returned to Cleveland he sailed as mate one season and thereafter as master. Among the crafts commanded by him were the scow A. Fredericks, and the schooners Delight, Flight, Jno. Weber and Abraham Buckingham, the brig Commerce, the schooner Marquette; the C. G. Breed, of which he owned one-half, the William Boyden and Narragansett. In 1876 he was appointed keeper of the lightship at Grosse Point, which position he held four years. Then for five years he held a similar position at White Shoals, Mich. During his active sailing career he took the schooner Delight to Lake Superior. This was before the Sault Canal was opened and the Delight was moved over the passage on wheels. He sailed this vessel to Copper Harbor for the Hudson Bay Fur Company. Captain Young was in command of one of the first large vessels that went to Duluth, the ship being loaded with railroad iron.

On February 25, 1857, he married Miss Charlotte Saunders, of Royalton, Ohio. Their children are: William, Susan, Ann Eliza, Charlotte, George and Joseph. A son and a daughter, John and Jennie, are deceased. The first son, William, is chief engineer of a fleet of lake steamers, and Joseph is second engineer of the steamer Ketcham. Captain Young passed away in May, 1893, his death being caused by cancer of the tongue.



Captain Robert Young was born in New Castle county, Del., December 16, 1844, and is the son of Rufus P. and Sarah (Bullock) Young, who were natives of the same State, and of Scotch and English descent. The father was a soldier in the war of 1812. In the county of his nativity, Captain Young attended the common schools until thirteen years of age, when he went as a cook on a small boat on the Susquehanna river, which was employed in the shipping business. After two years spent upon that vessel, the following spring he was appointed cook and mate of a sloop that carried brick and wood from northeastern Maryland to Baltimore. He next shipped on the schooner Ardelia Kelley, running from Baltimore to Providence, R. I., and Boston, and on the John Lynn went to China and the islands of the China Sea, a trip which occupied thirty-six months. On arriving at Queenstown, the ship was ordered to Baltimore, and soon afterward Captain Young was employed on the Black Ball line, running from New York to Liverpool. In the next few years he visited the West Indies, the coast of Africa and the Mediterranean Sea.

In 1862 the vessel on which the Captain sailed was shipwrecked at Lisbon, Portugal, and at that place he then joined the United States navy, serving until the close of the war as ship corporal, sergeant and quartermaster. In 1865 he first went upon the lakes, as a sailor on the schooner Columbia for one season, but spent the year 1866 in the Pennsylvania oil regions. Return to the lakes in 1867, he served as second mate on the schooner Donaldson for three years, and after serving as mate on the J. G. Maston for some time, he was given command of the Acorn, Lotus, America and the Donaldson, upon which he remained for seven years. For the past twelve years he has been the popular and efficient captain of the Cuba.

On December 16, 1873, Captain Young married Miss Margaret Furlong, a native of the Isle of Man, and they have two children: William E., who was formerly with the Daily News and Inter Ocean of Chicago, but is at present connected with the New Haven Evening Register, of New Haven Conn.; and Rufus P. who is still in school. The Captain is a member of the Masonic order; is president of the Ship Masters Association, and also belongs to the grand lodge of the latter organization.



Among the younger men who have won marked success in the lake marine is William Young, of Cleveland. Mr. Young has been sailing something more than a score of years, and he is to-day chief engineer of the Lockwood Transportation Company, the Lakeland Transportation Company and the Lake Erie Transportation Company.

He was born in the year 1857, in Cleveland, his father being Capt. George Young, a well-known lake navigator of the earlier times. His first sailing experience came when he was fifteen years of age on board the schooner Marquette. He remained with this vessel until she was lost in the fall of 1873 on Grand island, Lake Supe-rior, having gone ashore at Sand Point in a snow storm, while attempting to make the harbor entrance. After this Mr. Young spent several years as fireman on tugs in the Detroit river and at Cleveland, receiving his engineer's license in 1881. He now became second engineer of the passenger steamer Potomac, and of the steambarge Henry Howard, remaining one season in each, and was second of the V. Swain two seasons, of the Raleigh two seasons, and of the Australian one season. Following this he was chief of the David Ballentine one season, of the C. J. Kershaw three seasons, of the V. H. Ketcham three seasons, and of the Geo. W. Roby one season. Since 1890 he has been chief engineer of the lines mentioned, which are controlled by the estate of the late Capt. W. S. Mack, and has had charge of laying them up and of all repairs and alterations to machinery. In 1888 Mr. Young married Miss Louisa Lehr, of Cleveland.



Captain William Young, a navigator and skillful steamboat master, is a popular and highly esteemed citizen of Vermilion, Ohio, which place he has made his home for the last forty-five years. He is a well-read man, of unusual good conversational powers, and after passing through the public schools of his native place, studied navigation in 1848, under a private tutor, named John Dens.

Capt. Young is a son of Edward and Margaret (Nolan) Young, both natives of Baltimore, Ireland, where the subject of this sketch was born on February 13, 1833. He comes of a long-lived family, his father living to the age of eighty-six, and his mother to be eighty-four. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all masters and owners of ocean-going vessels, and it may, therefore, be said that Capt. William Young is a born sailor. At the age of nine years he made trips on the Atlantic, coasting between Baltimore, Liverpool and Wales in the schooner Mary Young, owned by his father. In 1850 he shipped in the barkentine Jessie, of Dundee, bound for Santiago and Mexican ports, and returned to London, the voyage lasting about six months. He then went to Baltimore, Ireland, and again joined the Mary Young, remaining with her until August, 1852, when he took passage with his bride in the steamer Cornelia for New York, going thence to New Orleans, where he became foreman of a gang of stevedores.

In the spring of 1854 Capt. William Young came into the Great Lake region, locating in Vermilion, and the same year shipped with his uncle, Capt. C. Young, in the schooner, Thomas Corwin, closing the season in the brig Greyhound, with Capt. B. Robinson. The next spring he joined the schooner Queen City, which was commanded by Capt. J. Grover. In 1856 he was appointed mate of the schooner Bemis, with Captain Estes, going the next season as mate of the schooner C.J. Roeder, of the Minch line, closing the season in the schooner A. Bradley, and in 1858 transferring to the B. Parsons, to which he had been appointed mate. In the spring of 1859 he got his first vessel, the schooner C.J. Roeder, to sail, and after a season he took the schooner J.C. Fremont and the B. Parsons, with which he remained until the close of 1863. This was followed by two seasons in the schooner I.W. Nicholas. In the spring of 1866 he was appointed master of the new schooner C.P. Minch, which he sailed with good results for five years, and was then made master of the new schooner Fred A. Morse, holding that position seven seasons, going from her into the steamer John N. Glidden as master, sailing her seven seasons. In 1887 Captain Young was appointed master of the steamer Philip Minch, a command he held until the fall of 1897, when he laid her up in Chicago, and resigned with the purpose of retiring from active life on shipboard. He then went home to enjoy the fruits of an industrious life which covered nearly one-half of a century, forty-two years of which were passed in the employ of Capt. Philip Minch.

On August 6, 1852, Capt. William Young was wedded to Miss Johanna Sullivan, of Baltimore, Ireland. Ten children were born to this union, of whom five still survive: Daniel J., who is a member of the Cary-Lombard Lumber Company; Annie, now the wife of M.J. Haley, timber agent in Montana; Mary, wife of William P. Cary, of the above named lumber company; Johanna, wife of M.F. Fanning, employed in the office of the Lake Shore railroad at Ashtabula; and Katie, who is still at home. The family homestead is spacious, and gives evidence that the Captain retired with a good competency. It is situated at the corner of Ohio and Decatur streets, Vermilion, Ohio. Socially the Captain is a member of the Ship Masters Association, and carries Pennant No. 408.