Captain Thomas O'Connor
Captain Thomas O'Connor, a retired lake captain, is one of the prominent and well-known marine men of Chicago. He is a native of Ireland, having been born May 1, 1830, in County Wexford, a son of Daniel and Mary O'Connor, of the same locality, where they passed their entire lives.
Our subject was reared and educated at New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland, and in 1845 commenced a four-years' apprenticeship to the seafaring life out of New Ross. During his six years' experience on the ocean he sailed round the Horn, thence to New Orleans, where, in 1853, he was laid up with yellow fever. In 1854 he came to Chicago, and here, in the following year, commenced sailing the lakes with Captain Sims, with whom he remained until 1860. In that year he bought the schooner Forfar, built in Chicago for the grain and lumber trade, and sailed her one year; then bought the schooner George Davis, but lost her in the fall of 1862, in Lake Erie; then bought the schooner Perry Hanna, and sailed her two years, at the end of which time he purchased the schooner Grapeshot, and sailed her two years. In 1867 he bought the Lucy J. Latham, and sailed her until 1871, when he purchased the schooner Prince Albert, sailing her during 1872-72-72; then he sailed the Watertown till 1884, when he retired from the lakes, after having lived about forty years as a mariner. In the fall of 1885 he went into the wholesale and retail liquor business, retiring June 20, 1897. He has shipmaster's papers dating from 1855, the year after he came to Chicago, of which city he has been a resident ever since, and in the great fire of 1871 was burned "out of house and home."
In 1858 Captain O'Connor was married to Miss Catherine Murphy, who was born and reared in New York, and to this union were born nine children, seven of whom are yet living: Mary Eliza, John V., Anna H., Sarah E., Daniel H., William E., Katie A., T.F. and James Joseph, Mary Eliza and Sarah E. are dead. He has always voted the Democratic ticket.
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.