Captain Robert Rowan McLeod
Captain Robert Rowan McLeod is one of the few lake masters who have made a success of winter navigation, in which he has been engaged in the interests of railroad companies for the last ten years. He is a son of Donald and Isabelle (Rowan) McLeod, and was born October 3, 1862, at Kincardine, Ontario. His parents are natives of Scotland, the father being born in Sutherlandshire, and the mother at Edinburgh. They were not married when their respective parents removed to America, locating at Woodstock, Ontario, where they met, afterward going to Kincardine, where the marriage ceremony was performed. The young people then made that city their home, and as their five sons grew up they adopted the life of a sailor; John C. became master of the steamer Osceola; Duncan A. also sailed the Osceola; John S. is wheelsman on the steamer R.W. Linn, and H.D. is second mate on the steamer Gordon Campbell.
Capt. Robert R. McLeod, the subject of this article, was a pupil of the public schools of Kincardine until he began his life on the lakes, which was in 1874, his first berth being as cook on the schooner Maple Leaf. The next season he filled like offices on the steamer Mary Ross Robinson, plying between Georgian Bay ports and Chicago. In the spring of 1876 he shipped as deckhand on the steamer Ontario, but after two weeks he became watchman, and a month later was advanced to the berth of wheelsman, performing the duties of such for seven seasons, after which he transferred to the English-built steamer Campana. In the spring of 1884 Captain McLeod was appointed second mate of the Pacific railroad passenger steamer Algomah, the first of the three Scotch-built steamers put on the route. The next season he joined the steamer Rhoda Emily as second mate, transferring to the passenger steamer A. Booth as mate, and held that office until she was wrecked at Grand Portage island, Lake Superior. He closed the year as mate of the steamer T.H. Kemp. In 1886 he shipped as second mate of the steamer Roanoke, and was soon promoted to the office of mate, which he held until the spring of 1888, when he joined the steamer Wisconsin as mate, remaining with her two seasons.
In the spring of 1890 Captain McLeod was appointed mate of the steamer Osceola, going onto the Colorado the next season, and after laying her up at the close of navigation, he went as mate on the railroad steamer Ann Arbor No. 2, plying between the winter months between Frankfort and Kewaunee. The next spring he came out as master of the Osceola, but at the close of the season he was appointed master of the Ann Arbor No. 1 for the winter navigation. In 1894 he sailed the steamers Colorado and Osceola between Grand Haven and Milwaukee. In the spring of 1895 he again brought out the steamer Colorado and sailed her until September 22, and on October 1, of the same year, he was appointed master of the large carferry steamer Shenango No. 1., and has sailed her, summer and winter, every since. During the twelve years that the Captain has being an officer of a steamboat his record has been unusually clear of casualty.
In December, 1888, Captain McLeod was wedded to Miss Murdena, daughter of Donald and Christina Martin, of Kincardine, Ont., the marriage ceremony being performed in Duluth. The children born to this union are Bella Rowan and Lulu Wilkie. Although the Captain has a home in Conneaut, the family homestead is in Kincardine, Ontario.
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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.