Captain John C. McLeod
Captain John C. McLeod has been captain of the steamer Osceola for the past four years, and thogh his years do not give him a place among the older mariners of the lakes, he ranks justly as a trustworthy and reliable man among the first. He is a native of Nova Scotia, born February 3, 1856, a son of Donald McLeod, who was born in Lochinvar, Scotland, and came to America, locating in Nova Scotia, where he followed his calling, that of a fisherman, for a number of years. Later he became a farmer.
John C. McLeod passed his youthful days in the place of his birth, and was about twelve years of age when the family removed to Upper Canada, where the father engaged in agricultural pursuits. There he received his schooling, which was rather limited, but fortunately his ambition to learn did not end with his attendance at school, and he has read and studied all his life, acquiring a good store of practical and useful information on subjects of general interest to intelligent people. When fourteen he commenced what has proved to be his life vocation, shipping from Sarnia, Canada, on the New Dominion, on which he remained for about a year. The following year he sailed on American vessels, and in about 1880 he had risen to the position of second mate on the Ontario, a Canadian boat out of Sarnia. He held that berth one year, being subsequently employed in the same capacity on the Manitoba, of the same line, which plied along the north shore of Lake Superior conveying supplies to Hudson boats for the Indians. After serving on this boat for parts of three seasons he became captain of the tugboat Houghton, which was owned at Sault Ste. Marie, and the following season was on the ferry Essex, running between Port Huron and Sarnia. During the three succeeding years he was connected with the consruction of the St. Clair tunnel, working as foreman; and he started the first gang of men at work who drove a pick there. However, he returned to the lakes, in the position of wheelsman on the steamer Roanoke for about three years, his next vessel being the Colorado, on which he filled the same position for part of a season. The following season he went as second mate on the Osceola, plying between Port Huron and Duluth; then was promoted to mate, and from that time up to 1898 served as master.
The Captain has proved faithful and competent in his responsible position, and has been very fortunate and successful in handling and running his boats; he was never known to draw back in stormy weather. For the past four winters he has been running across Lake Michigan with exceedingly good luck, one winter making sixty trips. Captain McLeod takes to his vocation naturally, for he comes of a family of mariners. His maternal grandfather, James Rown, was mate of the first steamer that ever ran into Glasgow, Scotland, and Capt. Duncan Rown sailed one of the first vessels on the lower lakes. Our subject has two brothers on the lakes: Capt. Robert McLeod of the Shenango No. 1; and Duncan McLeod, first mate of the Osceola.
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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.