Captain A. E. Goodrich
Captain A.E. Goodrich, founder of the present line of boats known as the Goodrich Transportation Company, was born in Buffalo, N.Y., in about 1825. He was reared and educated in the schools of that city, and removed with his father's family in the later 30's to New Buffalo, Michigan, then one of the principal seaports on Lake Michigan, and which in the contemplation of the then settlers was to be the principal port on that lake.
Captain Goodrich, as a boy, began his long and useful career on the Great Lakes with his uncle, Capt. Harry Whitaker, sailing on Lake Erie. After coming to New Buffalo he began sailing in the capacity of clerk in the Ward line of steamers then running between Chicago and St. Joseph, Mich., in connection with the Michigan Central railroad, which had the mail contract between the East and the West. The Michigan Central railroad at that time was built as far west as Jackson, Mich. The usual line of emigration was from Buffalo and Detroit by boat, taking about sixteen hours; from Detroit to Jackson by railroad, thence by stage to St. Joseph in about nine hours, and St. Joseph to Chicago by the Ward line of steamers which was the only passenger line on Lake Michigan at that time, taking about three hours. This was the usual route until the spring of 1855 when the railroad was continued around the lower end of Lake Michigan to Chicago. Captain Goodrich continued in the employ of the Ward line until the spring of 1855, when, on account of the completion of the railroad around the lower end of the lake, Captain Ward sold his line of boats, consisting of six or seven, to eleven of his employes, Capt. Goodrich being one of the number. He became jointly interested in four or five of these boats with the ten other employes, and also in the same spring individually bought the Huron of the same line. This was the nucleus of the present line of boats known as the Goodrich Transportation Company. Later he sold his interest in the stock boats and retained the Huron. He then bought the propellers Ogontz and Wabash Valley in the next two or three years, and about the year 1859 he built the steamer Union at Manitowoc, Wis. Soon after this he bought the Comet and the Sea Bird of Capt. Ward, and then the steamers Michigan and Planet from the Northwestern railroad. He then built the Sunbeam, Northwest, Arion and Manitowoc at Manitowoc, Wis.; he also added to his line of steamers, the G.J. Truesdell, which he purchased of Martin Ryerson. This was the fleet of boats that Captain Goodrich had gathered together as an individual.
In the winter of 1868 the Goodrich Transportation Company was organized with A.E. Goodrich, president; Joseph Goodrich, first vice-president; W.H. Wright, treasurer; and G. Hurson, secretary. At the organization of the company the boats that were put into the hands of the company were the steamers Northwest, Sea Bird, Arion, Comet, G.J. Truesdell, and the Ottawa and Manitowoc which came out new in the spring of 1868. In the spring of 1869 the Sheboygan was built and the St. Joseph and the Skylark purchased, and added to the line; and in 1870 the Navarino and Corona were built, the latter receiving the machinery of the Comet, and the Orion was lost. In 1871 the Navarino was destroyed by fire, the Muskegon taking her place in the line. In 1872 the Oconto was built, receiving the machinery of the Skylark. The Menominee was also added to the line, and has since been thoroughly rebuilt, provided with new machinery and boilers, and her name changed to Iowa. In 1873 the Depere came out new, and the Manitowoc was dismantled and turned into a barge, her machinery going into the new Chicago, which was added to the line.
In 1881 the steel steamers City of Milwaukee, Michigan and Wisconsin were built by the Detroit Dry Dock Co., to the order of the Goodrich Transportation Company, for the Grand Haven and Milwaukee route, but sold to the Grand Trunk Railroad Company. The Michigan was sunk, the Wisconsin sold to the Crosby Transportation Co., and the City of Milwaukee went to Graham and Morton. In the spring of 1882, the City of Ludington was built and added to the line, and in the winter of 1890 the City of Racine and Indiana came on the line new. The Atlanta and the steel steamer Virginia, both new, were added. In 1898 the Georgia, practically new with entire new machinery and boilers, made her appearance as a candidate for popularity. The Goodrich Transportation Company's fleet of steamers now comprise the Virginia, Indiana, City of Racine, Iowa, Atlanta, Georgia, Sheboygan, Chicago, and the tug Arctic, the tug being stationed at Manitowoc. In the spring of 1899 the whaleback, Christoper Columbus, was chartered by the company, and will be operated as one of the Goodrich vessels.
The founder of the company, Capt. A.E. Goodrich, died in 1886, and was succeeded by his son, A.W. Goodrich, as president, the other officers being E.L. Upton, vice-president; H.W. Thorp, general manager; F.C. Reynolds, secretary; W.J. Louderback, treasurer; and J.W. Gillman, superintendent. This company, under the same name and substantially the same management, has been in existence longer than any other on the lakes.
The Goodrich Transportation Company run their vessels summer and winter, and have met with well-merited success. The season of 1899 opens out for them promisingly, and the addition of the whaleback Christopher Columbus to their service will no doubt prove a strong attraction.
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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.