Captain Albert B. Drake
In the respect that is accorded by the world to men who have made their way to success through their own efforts, we find an unconscious recognition of the intrinsic worth of a character which can endure the rough discipline of life, and gain new strength from the faithful discharge of difficult duties. Among the self-made men whose histories lend interest to this volume, none stand higher in public esteem than does this well-known resident of Buffalo, New York, whose sound judgment and fine executive ability enabled him to reach at an early age the foremost rank in his chosen calling of seaman, and who, after a long and successful career as a captain, is now filling acceptably the responsible post of chief inspector for the Inland Lloyd's Vessel Register.
In Captain Drake's veins flows the blood of two maritime nations, his father, the late John Drake, being of English descent, while his mother, whose maiden name was Jemima Guest, traced her ancestry to Holland. John Drake was born in New Jersey, and throughout his life was engaged in agricultural pursuits. His death occurred in 188--. Our subject was the youngest in a family of eight children, the others being Mary A., Alexander M., Irene, Jacob G., Elizabeth N., Marcus M. and Francis W. The Captain first saw the light September 2, 1840, at Sheridan, New York, and his education was begun in the common schools of that locality. Later he attended the academy at Fredonia, N.Y. for three winters, and as he has always been fond of reading he is unusually well informed upon the topics which engage the attention of intelligent people. In 1858 he began his life as a sailor, taking a position as watchman on the propeller Olean, belonging to the Erie railroad line of steamers. With the boat he remained in that capacity two years, making trips between Dunkirk and Toledo, and was then promoted to the post of wheelsman which he held during one season and a part of another under Capt. George Blackman. His next change was a promotion to the position of second mate on the propeller Genesee Chief, of the same line, where he spent the remainder of that season, and in the following spring he shipped as second mate on the propeller Owego, running between Dunkirk and Cleveland. After two seasons with the Owego he spent a summer as mate of the New York, running between Dunkirk and Toledo, and one as mate of the Tioga, plying between Dunkirk and Cleveland, but in the following season he returned to the New York as mate, the boat being then engaged in traffic between Dunkirk, Toledo and Buffalo. In the following year (1867), at the age of twenty-six, he was appointed master of the Owego, plying between Dunkirk, Toledo, and other points on Lake Erie; but after a successful season the boat was driven ashore in the midst of the terrific snowstorm of November 29, 1867, five of the crew being lost. Our subject then left the employ of the Erie line, and shipped as second mate on the propeller Colorado, of the Commercial line, under Capt. John Brett, their route lying between Buffalo and Chicago. On June 15 of the same year he was appointed mate of the propeller Arctic, of the Pease line, under Captain Pope, and October 1 he returned to the Tioga, of the Erie line, as mate, serving the remainder of that season under Captain Thorn. During the following winter he and his brother Marcus M. purchased an interest in the City of Port Huron, a steam lumber barge, which he ran for seven years, the greater portion of the time being spent in trading between Tonawanda, Buffalo and Bay City, although for one year he ran between points in Georgian Bay and Lake Erie ports , and during another was engaged in the iron-ore trade between points on Lake Superior and Lake Erie. In the winter of 1875 a syndicate purchased the propeller Jarvis Lord and the schooner F. A. Georgia, and Captain Drake took charge of the former in the following spring. For seven years he remained with this vessel, taking her all over the Great Lakes, and after her sale by the syndicate he purchased an interest in the excursion boat Periwinkle, which had been rebuilt from the revenue cutter Commodore Perry for passenger traffic on the Niagara river and ports on lower end of Lake Erie. After five years with the Periwinkle the Captain took charge of the propeller Russia, of the Lackawanna line, plying between Buffalo and Chicago and during the following season (1889) he was master of the Lackawanna, of the same line. In the spring of 1890 he bought out the new steel propeller Brazil, belonging to the Kelderhouse syndicate, and this boat he ran for three seasons, trading all around the Lakes. In November 1892 he took out the steamer Thomas Maytham, of the same line, and during the seasons of 1893 and 1894 he remained in charge. In the spring of 1895 he bought out the steel steamer Chili, owned by M. M. Drake and others, and for two seasons he ran the vessel between various points on the lakes. Early in 1897 he went to Cleveland to take charge of the offices of Drake, Bates & Co., dealers in iron ores, and in January 1898 he was appointed chief inspector of the Inland Lloyd's Vessel Register, office located in Buffalo. He is well prepared for this position, having served as outside inspector for the company during each winter since 1887, and his efficient work in his present post is entirely satisfactory to all concerned. Naturally the Captain takes much interest in all marine matters, and he is an active member of the Ship Master's Association, of Buffalo.
Captain Drake married Miss Flora D. Bowyer, daughter of Edward Bowyer, and his wife, Hulda (Cooley), a native of Chautauqua county, N.Y. Three sons have blessed our subject's home: Albert B., Jr., Raymond R. and Archibald E.
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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.