Captain James M. Todd
Captain James M. Todd, captain of the steamer Saranac, was born in Buffalo, N. Y., October 29, 1857, and in boyhood attended the public schools of that city. He began his career as a mariner at the age of eleven years, as a cabin boy on the bark D. P. Dobbins, of which his father, Robert Todd, was master. He served on board boats and on various tugs in minor positions, as cook on a Canadian scow on Lake Erie, until 1873, and in 1874 sailed before the mast on the barkentine John M. Hutchinson, of which he became second mate in 1875. In 1876 he shipped in that capacity on the schooner David E. Bailey, sailing between Buffalo, Chicago and intermediate ports, and the following winter he shipped on the bark Elliott Ritchie, of the ocean service; sailing from New Orleans to Genoa, Italy.
After five months' service on that vessel he returned to Chicago, where he shipped as second mate on the bark Vanderbilt and on several other vessels, and in 1879 sailed as first mate on the schooner Annie Sherwood, remaining on that boat the following season. In 1882 he became second mate on the passenger steamer Japan, of the Lake Superior line, afterward the Anchor line, making five trips between Buffalo and Duluth in that position, then becoming first mate of the vessel. He held that berth until July, 1882, when he had an attack of rheumatism, which incapacitated him for work until October of that year, when he shipped as second mate of the R. A. Packer, of the Lehigh Valley line. In 1884 he became first mate of the steamer Tacoma, of the same line, and remained in that position until August 11, 1886, when he was promoted to that of master and given commence of the steamer R.A. Packer. One year later he sailed the steamer Fred Mercur, of the same line, as master, and in 1888 was placed in command of the steamer Tacoma. The next spring he brought out the steamer Cayuga, and in 1890 became master of the steamer Saranac, of which he has ever since been the commander. In all his wide experience he has never met with an accident.
Captain Todd was married December 28, 1887, to Miss May Todd, of Buffalo, and has four children - two sons and two daughter - Elmer R., Margaret, Howard James and Mary Jean. The family resides at No. 416 Breckenridge street, Buffalo, N.Y. Socially, the Captain is a member of the Masonic fraternity.
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.