Captain Ed. Risto
Captain Ed. Risto has from early life displayed a gift for the easy acquirement of knowledge necessary to the successful lake pilot and master, and as a tug captain he has come to the front rapidly, and is now a young officer of great promise. He was born in St. Joseph, Mich., on August 14, 1867, a son of Peter and Mary (Brown) Risto, natives of Germany, who came to the United States in 1850, first locating in Chicago and going thence to St. Joseph, Mich., where they settled permanently.
In that city Ed. Risto acquired his public-school education. In the spring of 1882 he first evinced an earnest desire for a life on the lakes, and he shipped as linesman in the tug A.C. Waters, of Michigan City, Ind., with Capt. Alex Campbell. After two years he was made fireman in the same boat, which berth he held two seasons, and in 1886 he shipped before the mast in the schooner Cora, with Capt. Henry Risto, under whom he learned much practical seamanship. In the spring of 1888 he joined the schooner Kelderhouse as seaman, and was in her when she performed the notable feat of jumping the Chicago breakwater, without touching. While in the fishingtug Hannah Sullivan; in 1889, he witnessed the wrecking of the schooners Minnecaunee and Marinette, and helped to rescue one of the crew, who eventually died from exposure, however, he notes with interest that a dog which came ashore divided his attention between the man who was dead and the boat that floated, not being able to define to which he owed allegiance, Captain Risto also witnessed the wreck of the steamer Manistique, which drowned all hands with the exception of one man, and he had a leg broken. In the spring of 1890 the Captain was appointed second mate of the steamer Puritan, commanded by Capt. Stein, remaining in her until August 9, when he came before the government engineer in charge of improvements on the east shore of Lake Michigan. He was well recommended, his application bearing the indorsement of J.H. Graham (president of Graham & Morton Transportation line), J.A. Manning, Inspector Lloyd Clark (of the United States navy), and Capt. Charles Clark (commander of the United States man-of-war Oregon, when she made her gallant passage from San Francisco to Cuban waters to take part in the destruction of Cervera's Spanish fleet). In the spring of 1890 Captain Risto was appointed master of the steamer Lizzie Walsh, and in 1898 master of the steamer Music, plying between Holland and Saugatuck.
Captain Risto was married, on September 6, 1896, to Miss Laura Welch, of Holland, Mich., and one son, Leslie Leo, has been born to this union. They reside in Twenty-sixth street, Holland, Mich. Socially, the Captain is a Master Mason, holding membership in Pomona Lodge No. 281, of St. Joseph.
Return to Home Port
This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.