Captain Angus J. McDonald
Captain Angus J. McDonald, master of the steamer Hudson for the seasons of 1896-97-98, is of Scotch extraction, and a native of St. Catharines, Ont. His father, Donald McDonald, was a master of lake vessels. He died about 1884 at St. Catharines, where the principal part of his life was spent. Hannah (Doyle), his mother, who was American-born, resides in Buffalo at the present time. They had five children, of whom William was mate of the Grand Traverse during the season of 1896, Isaac of the Commordore, and Frederick of the Milwaukee. The daughter, Mary, resides in Buffalo.
The subject of this sketch was born August 18, 1857, and after passing through the public schools of St. Catharines, he by means of a scholarship entered the grammar school, where he spent about one year. In 1870, when he was but thirteen years of age, he commenced life as a horse-boy on the schooner Fanny Campbell, which plied between Kingston and Toledo in the timber trade. After a couple of seasons on the Campbell he shipped from St. Catharines as porter on the steamer Prussia for the seasons of 1873 and '74. He was lookout on the Colorado for season of 1875, shipping from Buffalo, for the following seasons until October, 1877, at which time he rose to the position of second mate. In 1878 he was second mate of the Commodore, in 1879 of the China, of the Anchor line, and of the Commodore, and wheels- man of the Egyptian. In 1880 he was mate of the Oneida for four months, and in August was second mate a couple of trips on the Boston, continuing on the Arabia for the rest of that season as mate. Captain McDonald has been in this company's employ twenty-one years, and is one of the most successful of the younger men.
From the spring of 1881 until June, 1885, Captain McDonald was mate of the Boston, and for the rest of the last named season was master of the Vanderbilt, this being his first boat as master. In 1886 he was mate of the Chicago until September, when he was promoted to the master's berth, filling same until September 1 of the season of 1887. On that day he was given the command of the ill-fated Albany, on which he remained until the 7th of November, 1893, when she was lost in the collision with the Philadelphia at two o'clock in the morning off Point aux Barques, Lake Huron. The Albany was struck on her port side about midships, but did not sink immediately, because her cargo of grain prevented the water from rushing into the hole in her side. The Philadelphia was badly stove in at her bow, but remaining afloat because of her water-tight compartments took the Albany in tow and attempted to reach shallow water, although the distance to shore was about nine miles. The Albany sank on the way about an hour after the collision, in about 210 feet of water, and the Philadelphia went down shortly thereafter in 120 feet. The crews of both vessels took to the two small boats of the Philadelphia, only one of which reached shore in safety, it being supposed from the condition of some of the bodies afterward recovered that it had been struck by the wheel of the Philadelphia just after the men got into it. The Albany's crew lost eight men: Thomas Pierce, second mate; S.B. Muirhead, chief engineer; James Malloy, oiler; Samuel McMurty, second cook; a watchman, porter and two deck hands, names unknown. The Philadelphia lost seventeen men in all, among them being the mate, whose name was Hunt, and chief engineer Leggett. The master, Albert Huff, was among those saved. The Albany had a cargo of grain and package freight, and was east bound; the Philadelphia had 900 tons of coal aboard, besides some miscellaneous merchandise. Both vessels were a total loss, and no attempts were made to recover either of them. Captain McDonald was master of the steamer Hudson for the full season of 1894-95 and 1896.
Captain McDonald was married at Buffalo in 1879 to Miss Annie Higgins, by which union they have four children: George D. (at this writing fourteen years of age), Edith (twelve), Charles (nine) and Annie (six). The family reside at No. 264 Grant street, Buffalo, New York.
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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.