Captain William Wadsworth
Captain William Wadsworth, was born June 17, 1830, at Sandusky, Ohio. He comes from an old family of many brilliant historical connections in Connecticut, being removed but four generations from Capt. Joseph Wadsworth, whose life was so closely connected with the Charter Oak. His father, Samuel Wadsworth, was for many years of his life a sailor on the Great Lakes, and prior to this career was a master on the salt water. He removed to Sandusky in 1828, and died on the schooner Ligure, at that place in 1832.
The subject of this sketch removed to Huron, Ohio, in 1832, when two years of age, and received a common-school education in that place, and afterward removed to Milan, Ohio. In his fourteenth year he left home and went as cabin boy on the Blue Bell, built at Huron. He remained on her two seasons, and then went before the mast on the Washington Irving, from her to the California, and then to the Buckeye. In 1849 he was on the six-oared government cutter, which was attending to the building of Point Waugoshance lighthouse in the Straits of Mackinac. The following winter he went to New York City and there spent three years in the carpenter's business, after which he returned to his home in Ohio and went on the steamer Queen of the West, as carpenter. While on the Queen of the West, when she was in Cleveland one night, he saved the life of Philetus Francis, who had been thrown into the river at the railroad pier by frightened horses. This act showed great bravery, being done at the risk of his own life, and deserves mention as an example of well directed service.
In 1857 he sailed as captain of the Berlin, and remained on her three years. In 1860 he went on the Nonpareil; in 1861, 1862 and 1863 he was on the Ironsides, and for the next five years on the bark John P. March, of Vermilion. He then engaged in the lumber business in the firm of Richardson & Wadsworth, at Cleveland, where he remained five years. For a period of five years he was again engaged on the lakes, and then went to Wellsburgh, W. Va., and there carried on the lumber business. Since that time he has been employed the greater part of the time in Cleveland, where he has made his home since 1869. In the winter of 1848 the steamer Baltimore, belonging to Mr. Strong, of Monroe, Mich., but now of Detroit, was lying at the port of Huron. Four men, including Mr. Wadsworth, tried to take her to Monroe, and had nearly reached their destination when the ice prevented further progress, and they were compelled to return. The boat was one that generally required a crew of fifteen men.
Captain Wadsworth was married December 8, 1855, to Miss Nancy E. Balcom, an own cousin to Thomas A. Edison, the noted inventor. A daughter, Marietta, remains at the home of her father; a son, Charles C., born September 20, 1866, is married and resides at Cleveland. The youngest, Percival O., twenty-one years old, is a member of Troop A, First Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, and with that regiment started for the front during the Spanish-American war.
Captain Wadsworth was a pioneer in the Marquette and Escanaba trade, and is well known by all lakefaring men and in Cleveland, Ohio, has a large circle of friends. He has been a member of the Masonic fraternity for over forty years, and is of high standing in that order.
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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.