Captain John P. Nagle
Captain John P. Nagle is an energetic, thoroughgoing business man, born at Passage West, County Cork, Ireland, in 1863, son of John and Ann (McCarty) Nagle. His father was a coast and river pilot and harbor master at Passage West, and his mother was the daughter of Captain McCarty, a coast pilot at Cape Clear, Ireland.
Young Nagle acquired his education in the common schools of his native place. In 1877 he shipped on Her Majesty's man-of-war Shannon as boy, and served four years and seven months. He became an able seaman in order of rating, and a trained torpedo-man and wire-splicer, and also gained some experience in sub-marine diving. During the time he was on the Shannon she made some extensive cruises, going from Devonport to Bantry Bay, thence to Gibraltar, to Malta and the Dardanelles; and young Nagle was a witness of many of the engagements between the Greeks and the Turks. He visited Baseeka Bay with the Shannon, thence to Malta, to Hong Kong, China, and back to Japan; thence to Trincomalee, and via the Suez canal to Gibraltar, thence to Lisbon and the Madeira Islands. The Shannon was then ordered to Rio de Janeiro, South America. On her arrival she proceeded to Montevideo, and through the straits of Magellan to Patagonia, where young Nagle saw his first cannibal. The ship then went to Terra del Fuego, and arrived at Valparaiso two days after the first naval battle between the Chilians and the Peruvians, at which time the latter brought in their prize, the warship Uoscor. The Shannon then proceeded up the coast, and Captain Nagle witnessed the first land battle fought at the Pisagua, between the marines of Chili who had landed, and the troops of Peru. The troops were driven back, and it was in the naval affair at this time that the Peruvian corvette Higgins was sunk.
The Shannon, following up the course of the war, proceeded to Callao, where young Nagle witnessed all the bombardments between the two forces, and the fall of the different towns, including Lima. At the time of the fall of the latter city, nine transports, and the corvette Union, which was a swift and successful blockade runner, all with steam up, and under convoy of a monitor, were run out into the bay and set on fire, and the whole fleet destroyed.
It is said that the long-range gun was put into practical use for the first time during the engagement of Callao. This gun was mounted on a cattle-boat, which had previously plied between Cork and Bristol, and had been sold to the Chilian government under false colors. The gunboat Shannon chased her three days and nights, but could not come up to her.
After witnessing the engagements above noted, the Shannon proceeded to Panama with refugees, where orders were awaiting the man-of-war to return to England. She arrived July 24, 1881, after an absence of four years and seven months. Captain Nagle was then paid off, and granted a leave of absence for seven weeks. In August he took French leave of the English navy, and with his sister took passage on the steamship City of Montreal, landed in New York, and proceeded at once to Bay City, Mich., where he had a brother, who had come to this country previously.
Captain Nagle, shortly after his arrival at Bay City, shipped as seaman with his brother, who was master of the schooner Roscius, until the close of navigation. He passed the next season as mate of the schooners Nelson and Emma Mayes. In the spring of 1883 he was appointed master of the Danube, and in 1884 of the Arizona. The next season he stopped ashore. In the spring of 1886 he purchased an interest in the schooner Star of the North, and sailed her successfully for three years. He then bought an interest in the schooner D. H. Keyes, and sailed her two years. In the spring of 1891 he purchased a third-interest in the schooners Conrad Reid and Fostoria, still holding his interest in the Keyes. He sailed the Conrad Reid two seasons. In 1893 he sailed the schooner Genoa, and in 1894 was appointed master of the steamer W. P. Thew, and sailed her until she was destroyed by fire, which was raging along the docks where she was lying.
After this loss Captain Nagle retired from the lakes, and in the spring of 1895 he went to Toledo, Ohio, and established a business there as vessel agent and ship broker, with W. O. Hall as partner. At the end of the year this firm was dissolved. Mr. Hall withdrawing on account of ill health. Mr. G. G. Hadley and his son then associated themselves with Mr. Nagle, and the business was continued under the name of Nagle & Hadley. They purchased the tug McCormick, and an interest in the Wisconsin, and started the Vessel Owners Towing company of Toledo. Mr. Hadley's health failing after the death of his wife and daughter, he withdrew from the firm, selling his interest to Captain Nagle, who soon after added the tug Saugatuck to his business.
Captain Nagle is an insurance and shipping agent for eleven different concerns, representing Smith, Davis & Co., of Buffalo; the Indemnity Transportation Company of St. Louis, Mo.; the Hocking Coal Company, the Turney & Jones Coal Co., and the Baltimore & Ohio Coal Co., - all of Columbus, Ohio; and is agent for John T. Solom, R.W. Copeland, Gostine & Barber, and W. H. Vance & Co., all of Toledo; O.W. Shipman, of Detroit, and the Thompson Towing and Wrecking Association of Port Huron, Mich.; he also does all the marine business for the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton railroad. Captain Nagle is a member of the American Association of Masters and Pilots, Harbor No. 43.
On September 22, 1889, he was united in marriage to Miss Louise Webster, of Picton, Ontario. The children born to this union are Lydia Marie; Myrtle Louise, and John Michael. One infant, a twin to John died shortly after birth. The family residence is at No. 1712 Monroe Street, Toledo, 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.