Captain John H. Wysoon
Captain John H. Wysoon, one of the prominent steamboat masters sailing out of the port of Cleveland, is a typical mariner, and one who has lived to be over forty-five years of age without gaining the luxury of a personal enemy. He is a son of Martin S. and Martha (Hopkins) Wysoon, and was born in Buffalo, N. Y., September 29, 1852. His father was sailor and master of sailing vessels for a number of years, and he had four brothers, James, Henry, Cyrenus and Peter, all of whom were lake masters.
After attending the public schools in Buffalo for some years, John H. Wysoon gave way to the hereditary tendency of his family, and being a well-grown youth he shipped, in the spring of 1863, as porter on the propeller Hunter, but finished the season in the same capacity on the propeller Buffalo, where he remained until 1864. He then enlisted in the One Hundred and Fifteenth N.Y.V.I., serving until the close of the war. His regiment was under the command of Generals Terry and Schofield, and was with the former on his expedition for the capture of Fort Fisher. The Captain was in all other engagements in which his regiment participated during his term of service. He was at Raleigh at the time President Lincoln was assass- inated. He was honorably discharged in August 1865, and after returning home made two trips during the fall on the old propeller Saginaw, as lookout. In the spring of 1866 Captain Wysoon entered the employ of George R. Hand as lineman on the tug George W. Gardner, finishing that season on the tug J. C. Harrison, to which he returned the following season, serving in various capacities. In the spring of 1868 he was appointed captain of the J. C. Harrison, and sailed her two seasons. In 1870 he was made master of the tug George W. Gardner, and in 1871 of the tug Compound, on which he remained until May 10, 1872, when she blew up, causing the death of the cook and a deckhand. He was then transferred to the tug C. W. Jones, as master, continuing on her until fall, when he took the George W. Gardner as the winter boat.
In 1873 Captain Wysoon entered the employ of Thomas Maytham, as master of the tug George R. Maytham, remaining on her until June, 1874, when she was sold. He finished that season on the tug Orient. He opened the season of 1875 on the Frank Perew, on which he served until June, finishing on the propeller Empire State, of the Western line. In 1876 he was appointed master of the tug Maytham; 1877, of the tug Siskiwitt; 1878, of the tug Orient; 1879, of the tug Knowlton; 1880, of the tug Maytham; 1881, of the tug O. W. Cheney, which he bought out new and sailed until he came to Cleveland and entered the employ of Capt. Alva Bradley. He took command of the tug Forest City, sailing her until August, 1888, when he was appointed master of the schooner Alva Bradley, from which he was transferred the middle of the following season to the command of the steamer Superior. In 1890 he sailed the Superior; in 1891-92 the steamer Henry Chisholm; in 1893 the steamer R.P. Ranney; in 1894 the Henry Chisholm; in the spring of 1895 he brought out the steamer Gladstone, but finished the season on the Alva, remaining on her during the seasons of 1896-97. The Alva is the finest boat in the Bradley fleet, and as Captain Wysoon has steadily advanced from the birth[sic] of master of a tug to that of master of the Alva, after sixteen years in the one employ, he may be judged to be a most capable steamboatman, and one who has deservedly won the confidence and esteem of the management. He has received his twenty-fifth issue of license as steamboat master, and might with truth be called a jolly tar, in the literal meaning of the term.
In 1889 the Thirtieth ward of Cleveland, in which Captain Wysoon lived, honored him by electing him a member of the city council, and it is a pleasure to say that he discharged the duties of his office with honor to himself and profit to his constituents.
In 1878 Captain Wysoon was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Walden, of Mount Forest, Canada. The family homestead is at No. 18 Mather street, Cleveland, where the Captain has recently completed a new residence. Fraternally, he is a member of the Elks, the Knights of the Maccabees, and the Ship Masters Association, carrying Pennant No. 248.
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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.