Captain M. L. Packer
Captain M.L. Packer, who is now living retired in Cleveland, was born at Elyria, Ohio, in 1842, and began sailing in 1857, going before the mast in the square topsail scow Black Swan, sixty tons burden. These little scows were much in vogue in those early days. In 1859 he was appointed master of the scow Leo, following this by service in other craft of a like description. The wages of masters were about fifteen dollars per month. He then sailed before the mast in some of the small schooners of the A. Bradley fleet, the New London, Wagstaff, J.F. Card and others, after which, in 1866, he purchased the schooner H.C. Post, which he sailed two years, freighting pig iron and stone from Lorain to Cleveland. After disposing of the Post Captain Packer, in 1872, was appointed to the charge of the docks at Lorain, where he continued three years. In the fall of 1881 he assumed command of the schooner C.H. Johnson, and was with the tug Wabash, when the latter schooner was lost on Pictured Rocks, Lake Superior. Captain Packer cut the tow-line and ran into harbor at Grand Island, where the Samson and A.C. King also found shelter. In 1883 Captain Packer was appointed master of the schooner H.C. Maxwell, which was one of the unfortunates in the great storm on Lake Superior in 1885, going ashore at Black's Point, near Goderich, Ontario. The schooner was adrift five days without rudder, sail or rigging. The hands were taken off by the volunteer life-saving crew at Goderich, under Captain Babb, in a half frozen condition, and through the urgency of Captain Packer and A.A. Pomeroy, the editor of the Marine Record, Captain Babb was presented with a gold life-saving medal by the United States. During the last three years of his service Captain Packer was master of the schooner M.R. Warner, owned by H.J. Johnson. No lives were ever lost under his charge.
In 1864 Captain Packer was married to Miss Ellen Gaffney, of Cleveland, and their union was blessed with seven children, of whom George A. is dead. The living are William Henry; Mortimer L. Jr.; Medora, who is married and living in Chicago; Della M., married; and Maud and Edna, at home. All are doing well in their chosen fields of occupation, and are useful and successful men and women.
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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.