Captain William R. Wakely
Captain William R. Wakely, owner and master of the schooner Antelope, of Port Hope, Ontario, Canada, is one of the best navigators on the Great Lakes, and one of the most popular, being proverbial for his genial, affable and courteous manner.
Our subject is a Canadian by birth, having first seen the light in 1854, at the place known as Cranberry Marsh, in the suburbs of Port Hope, Ontario, in which town he received his education. At the early age of eleven years, in 1865, he commenced sailing the lakes in the capacity of cook's mate, shipping out of Port Hope on the schooner Enterprise, and for two seasons he had charge of the galley, his excellent cooking earning for him a wide reputation on the lakes; while it is even recorded that several of the crew during his incumbency as "chef" were thoroughly cured of chronic indigestion and dyspepsia, although he was three seasons on the Enterprise, during the last one serving before the mast, in other words as able seaman. In 1869 he shipped in the latter capacity on the schooner Otonabee, and remained thereon one season; next year he went before the mast on the brig Cavalier; following year shipped on the Annie Minnes, and was mate of her three seasons. On leaving the Minnes, he went next year as sailing master on the schooner Little Kate, of Oakville, Ontario; from her, next season, he went as mate of the schooner W.J. Suffell; then took charge as captain of the schooner Wave Crest for five seasons, having bought an interest in her, which, however, he afterwards sold, and then retired from the lakes for six years.
In the fall of 1888 Captain Wakely recommenced sailing, shipping on the schooner Delaware, remaining on her during the following spring, and sailed her for two seasons, then going on the schooner Jamieson, which he sailed three years. From the Jamieson he shipped on the schooner Flora Carveth, and sailed her four years in a good coarse freight business. Making an advantageous "deal," he in the spring of 1897 became owner of the schooner Antepole[sic], and is now sailing her as captain, trading principally on Lake Ontario.
During his long experience as a mariner on the Great Lakes, in various capacities, Captain Wakely has on the whole met with good fortune. His principal mishap was when his schooner, Little Kate, went ashore on Snake island, near Kingston, Ontario. As she was loaded with peas, they had little difficulty in lightening her and towing her off, without the loss of any one on board. In fact, only one man in our subject's employ lost his life, a sailor named William Foster, who fell overboard in Oswego harbor, near the drawbridge, while lowering a boat, and was lost in the darkness. On another occasion, a seaman was struck by a sail and knocked overboard while he was out on the boom furling a jib; there was a pretty heavy sea on, and the vessel was pitching terribly, so watching his opportunity, the man, swimming for dear life in the water, grabbed the bobstays as the vessel pitched downward and climbed on deck. On yet another occasion, while our subject was captain of the Flora Carveth, a sailor was struck by lightning, and remained insensible for some time. Captain Wakely put into the nearest port and secured a physician, his prompt and humane action no doubt saving the man's life.
In 1876 our subject married Miss Delilah Gertrude Mix, of Port Hope, daughter of I.N. Mix and Martha Mix, and five charming daughters, all bright, intelligent and well educated, grace this union, named respectively: Annie Maud, Lilian Gertrude, Mabel Vernon, Rose Edith and Tressia Gipsy Pearl. They are great companions to their parents, and in the hot days of the summer months they ofttimes accompany their mother on a short cruise on their father's vessel.
In his political preference Captain Wakely has always been a strong Liberal, and has worked and voted in the ranks of the Reform party ever since he first got his franchise. In religious faith the entire family belong to the Wesleyan Methodist Church, the young ladies being quite a power in the Port Hope church as well as social circles. The Captain owns one of the finest residences and other property in Port Hope, where the family are all held in the highest esteem.
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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.