John Martin, deceased, was born in County Antrim, Ireland, December 15, 1824. He came to America with his parents, who located in Montreal, Canada, and there he learned the shipbuilding trade, attending school at night. After remaining in that shipyard two years he went to French Creek, N. Y., thence to Detroit, Mich., and finally in 1843, to Cleveland, Ohio. Soon after his arrival in the latter city he entered into partnership in the shipbuilding business with Mr. DeGrote, and later with Mr. Thomas Quayle under the firm name of Quayle & Martin. The vessels built by this firm were acknowledged to be among the best on the lakes, and many of them are still in existence, although the firm was dissolved April 15, 1873, by the death of Mr. Martin, after an uninterrupted business career of a quarter of a century.
One of the shipbuilding firms of which Mr. Martin was a member was deeply in debt, but owned the brig Cortland, in which he had an interest. Mr. Martin took the brig and sailed her until the indebtedness was reduced to about $2,500, when he sold her and dissolved the partnership. After jobbing and acting on surveys for a number of months he built the brig John G. Deshler for Messrs. Handy, Warner & Co., the profit on which permitted him to enter into partnership with Thomas Quayle. In 1858 this firm loaded the brig John G. Deshler and the bark D. C. Pierce with staves for Liverpool, Mr. Martin taking charge of their freightage as supercargo. The venture was successful, and the following year he took over two other cargoes in the same vessels, selling one in Cork and the other in Glasgow. Thus began the exodus of lake vessels to the ocean, and six built by Quayle & Martin plied on salt water with good success. Among the vessels built by Quayle & Martin, the following are still in existence: Steamers Raleigh, Arizona, B. W. Blanchard, City of Fremont, City of Traverse, Cleveland, Joseph S. Fay, Fayette, Sweepstakes, Wallula, Scotia, Verona, W.L. Wetmore, and Winslow, and the schooners Ahria Cobb, Kate Darley, D. P. Dobbins, F. W. Gifford, D. R. Martin, John Martin, Maria Martin, J. M. Hutchinson, J. G. Masters, Parana, Mary E. Perew, Thomas Quayle, Nellie Reddington, St. Lawrence, Sweepstakes, S. J. Tilden, and Nelson Bloom. Mr. Martin was well known in Cleveland and was one of the oldest and most respected citizens of that place. For nine years he represented the Ninth ward in the city council, and shortly before his death he was popularly mentioned as a candidate for the office of mayor. He was a faithful and efficient member of the council, always having the interests of the city at heart and ever working for its improvement and progress. He was a strong force on committees and accomplished much good in his official character. The following testimonial from Mayor Pelton to the city council would seem to be appropriate in this volume: "The sad intelligence of the death of your colleague, our esteemed fellow citizen, John Martin, has already reached you, and this communication is sent to you to suggest that some appropriate action be taken expressive of his character as a citizen and his services as an officer, and that such action be spread upon the journal of the city council as a memorial of your regard. I am confident that in your judgment he has deserved the highest esteem of his associates and the entire confidence of his constituency." At the time of his death the city flags and the bunting on the vessels in the harbor were flying at half-mast in his honor and the city council in a body followed his remains to their last resting place.
His public life was blameless. His views of the public policy were progressive, though he was not prodigal in spending the people's money. If he ever deviated from the line of rigid economy it was in obedience to that sentiment of charity which seemed to pervade his whole nature. Not less estimable was his life as a private citizen and business man. He was upright, just and honorable; in manner simple and unassuming; ever ready to forgive and forget an injury, always remembering a kind- ness and never letting a favor go unrequited. He had the goodness of heart to make his employes feel that he meant to deal generously with them, for he had known himself what it was to do the work of a laborer, and he was in all respects a self-made man. His industry was untiring in that department of business which he pursued and the firm of which he was a member, all the more prosperous for such industry, was a source of constant growth to the business, population and fame of Cleveland. His diligence in the course of twenty-five years raised him to the proud position of one of the first shipbuilders in the land and reflected honor upon himself and the city of his adoption. During the years that he was engaged in shipbuilding he acquired, by close attention to business and good management, considerable property. He left a wife and three children well provided for: James H., Maria A. (wife of Wallace Wright, a banker and vessel owner) and Mary E. (wife of George H. Hutchinson, lumber dealer).
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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.