Frederick T. Hatch
Frederick T. Hatch was born at Henderson Harbor, N. Y., in 1859, a son of Thomas and Catherine Hatch. His father was a sailor, and for a long time served as mate on the Northern line of steamers. Mr. Hatch removed with his parents while very young to Gallop Island and later to Glen Haven, Mich. He attended school at Gallop Island and Sacket's Harbor. He passed his youth on the water principally as a fisherman until the spring of 1878, when he shipped on the steamer Arabia, of the Western Transit line, remaining in that employe three years. In the spring of 1881 he entered the life-saving service at the Cleveland station, where he remained until November, 1884. On the 22nd of the same month he was appointed assistant lighthouse-keeper in the old lighthouse on Water street, Cleveland. On October 20, 1885, he was transferred to the breakwater light, and on September 15, 1895, the lights were consolidated and Mr. Hatch was placed in charge, also having control of the foghorn machinery, which was established in 1890. He now has two assistants.
Mr. Hatch is an experienced and daring life-saver, and has to his credit thirty-two rescues, independent of those he participated in while a member of the life saving crew. The greater number of these rescues were made while he had charge of the pier light. Boats would capsize, and in other ways helpless people would fall in the lake. In October, 1890, the barge Wanapota struck the breakwater and sunk in three hours. Mr. Hatch ran out to her with a rowboat, but came very near losing his own life on account of the flying timbers. His boat was capsized, but he succeeded in reaching Mrs. Hazen, wife of the captain, and swam with her to the pier. The captain, mate and three men ran across the pilework to the pier, where they remained all night, the lifeboat taking them off the next morning. The following spring Mr. Hatch received from the government an additional bar to his United States lifesaving medal. Many instances are related of his hardihood in his efforts to save life, and he never seems to grow excited or lose his presence of mind.
During the time Mr. Hatch was surfman in the Cleveland life-saving station, he participated in all the rescues of that gallant crew. In the fall of 1883 four vessels went ashore off Cleveland harbor, among them the schooner Sophia Minch. The life-saving crew went out to her on a tug, and with great difficulty and danger boarded her. The schooner was drifting so fast toward the rocks that it was found necessary to scuttle her, and she sank with her own and the life- saving crew aboard, all of the men taking to the main rigging, except two who were in the after rigging. Lawrence Distel, the only one of the crew remaining ashore, threw a line into the main rigging and took off all the men there but Mr. Hatch, who volunteered to reach the men aft. To quote from the report of Captain Goodwin: "It was literally taking his life in his hands to make the attempt. The gallant Hatch set out along the swaying gaff and reached the two men, but it was utterly impossible for him to get back, which fact he signaled to Mr. Distel, who then went ashore in the breeches boy and informed Captain Goodwin. It was then found necessary to fire another line into the rigging aft, which Mr. Hatch made fast, and as soon as everything was ready they were drawn ashore, Mr. Hatch being the sixteenth and last man off the vessel." For this dangerous rescue Mr. Hatch, as well as all the other members of the crew, received the United States gold life-saving medal of the first class.
In 1883 Mr. Hatch was united in marriage with Miss Maggie Case, of Cleveland, and their children are Frederick T., Jr., May Adella, Nellie A., and Elsie A. The family residence is at No. 43 Water street, Cleveland. Socially he is a member of Lake Shore Lodge, Knights of Pythias.
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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.