Captain Christopher C. Allen
Located as he was at Amherstburg, witnessing the passing and repassing of vessels, the lakes and rivers, with their many voices, enchanted the youth, and he took ship and went out to their waters and their freedom. We therefore find him, at the age of twelve years, aboard the scow Idea in the humble capacity of cook. The crew consisting of but two men, he also took his turn at acting mate. His next birth was before the mast on the scow Mary Ann. In the spring of 1859 he shipped on the steamer Pearl, plying between Detroit and Amherstburg, as wheelsman and porter, holding this composite berth four years. His next berth was before the mast on the schooner C. N. Johnson, but on his arrival at Buffalo he left her, returned to Detroit and shipped on the schooner Radical, where he remained until the fall of 1865. The next season he went to Chicago and shipped in the schooner Traveler, transferred to the Lone Star, and made the last trip of the season in the J. F. Joy. In 1867 he went before the mast in the schooner St. Andrews, was promoted to the position of mate, and closed the season on the steamer Dove. The next spring he joined the tug Zouave as wheelsman, soon after transferring to the steamer Reynolds. He then entered the employ of the Northwestern Steamboat line as lookout on the steamer Colin Campbell, and in the spring of 1870 he came out on the new steamer R. J. Hackett as lookout; the following season he served as mate; and in 1873 was appointed master and sailed her continuously for fourteen years.
In the spring of 1887 Captain Allen entered the employ of the H. H. Brown Steamship Company as master of the steel steamer C. J. Sheffield, which he sailed until June 15, 1889, when his boat came into collision with the steamer North Star on Lake Superior, the Sheffield getting the worst of the encounter. The crew were all taken aboard the North Star as the Sheffield went down. Captain Allen then made a round trip between Saginaw and Marquette, as master of the steamer City of Cleveland, and was then recalled by the Brown Company to superintend the construction of the fine steel steamer Castalia, of which, on her completion, he was appointed master, and to which he has sailed successfully up to the present time, laying her up in Cleveland on December 22, 1898, and is billeted for next season. Captain Allen is recognized as one of the most skillful steamboat men on the lakes, and is possessed of good business qualifications. Socially he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and the Knights of the Maccabees. He also belongs to the Ship Masters Association and carries Pennant No. 577.
On September 20, 1870, Captain Allen was united in marriage with Miss Mary King, of Amherstburg, Ontario, and nine children, five sons and four daughters, have been born to them; two others died in infancy. The family residence is at No. 195 Taylor street, Cleveland, Ohio.
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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.