Captain Samuel Murdock
Captain Samuel Murdock, whose lake career began away back in the "fifties," belongs to a family of sailors. He is the son of William and Elizabeth (Mitchell) Murdock, natives of Scotland, who were married in that country and came to the United States in the year 1831, locating in Clayton, N.Y., where Samuel was born October 15, 1844. (1) John, the oldest son, sailed vessels for E.G. Merrick, of Detroit, for twenty-four years, and for Mr. Barker, of Clayton, N.Y., four years, his last boat being the schooner Brooklyn. (2) Peter sailed as master about twelve years, his last command being the brig Mariner. (3) Andrew sailed for H.A. Ballentine & Co., eight years, closing his lakefaring life on the barge Buffalo; he died in Carlton in 1886. (4) David's experience on the lake was a short one, as he was drowned when the barge Adriatic foundered in Lake Erie, off Long Point, in 1873; he had previously sailed on the barge Ajax. (5) James, who is a twin brother of Samuel, sailed for a time, attaining to the office of mate, but retired and settled on a farm near Midland, Mich. (6) William sailed many years, and became mate of the schooner Monticello.
After acquiring a public-school education in Clayton, N.Y., Samuel Murdock shipped as boy with his brother Peter, in the schooner Reindeer, remaining in that vessel seven years, the last two as mate. In the spring of 1864 he was appointed mate of the bark Danube, in which he continued two seasons, and in 1866 he was advanced to the position of master in the brig Isabelle, which he sailed two seasons. In 1868 he brought out the American Giant new for John Kelderhouse, of Buffalo, and commanded her two seasons, following with two seasons as master of the schooner John Kelderhouse, owned by Charles Chase, of Chicago. In 1872 he purchased a half-interest in the propeller Dunkirk, which he sailed successfully three seasons and sold, going as master of the steamer Oakland the next season. The two succeeding seasons he sailed as master of the schooners Harvey Bissell and G.J. Boyce. In the spring of 1878 he was appointed master of the schooner H.C. Winslow, owned by Captain Fifield, and sailed her nine years, giving good business satisfaction to the owner, at the close of that service entering the employ of Capt. B. Boutell as master of the lake tug Niagara, he sailed her two seasons, transferring the Sea Gull, in which he remained three seasons. In the spring of 1891 Captain Murdock was appointed master of the lake tug George W. Parker; his next command, in 1894, was the steamer Manistique, of which he again took charge after the lapse of a year during which he was ashore, sailing her three successive seasons; she was among the first vessels to sail at the opening of navigation in 1898. The Captain is a thorough-going sailor and his long experience entitles him to be recognized as one of the best qualified masters.
Captain Murdock was united in marriage, in August, 1868, to Miss Laura Goodson, daughter of James and Caroline Goodson, of Bay City. They have two children, Prescott, who is a graduate of the Bay City high school, and Helen, who attends same.
Return to Home Port
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.