French Voyageurs -- Fur Traders -- Moore's Canadian Boat Song -- An Early American Sailor -- An Independent Canadian Skipper -- An Intrepid Lake Erie Captain -- Early Steamboat Masters -- Scandinavians -- The Early Navigators on Lake Superior -- John Maynard, The Hero of the Ocean Queen -- Opposition to Non-Navigators Having a Command -- How the American Sailor "Goes" -- A Romantic Marine Elopement -- The Typical Jack has Vanished -- Crew of a Line Freighter -- Philosophy of a Tug-Boat Hand -- "De Look and See" -- Pilot Duties -- Opportunities for Advancement -- Ho! For the Straits -- Seamen's Wages -- The Western Seamen's Friend Society -- The Floating Bethel -- Marine Hospitals -- Ship Masters Association -- Masters and Pilots of Steam Vessels -- Marine Engineers Beneficial Association.
From the days of the French Voyageurs down to the present time the sailors of the Great Lakes have always been an interesting and picturesque type of men, varying with the changing conditions under which they sailed, but ever wearing the badge of courage and fidelity, and every displaying the sturdy character that is demanded of their eventful vocations. The sailor of today is unlike the sailor of 50 years ago, because navigation has been revolutionized during that period. Much more is he unlike the first white man, who tempted these unknown seas, and who only skirted cautiously the extended shores of the Great Lakes.
"A wild looking set were these rangers of the woods and waters," says Hubbard in his "Memorials of a Half Century." "Their weirdness was often enhanced by the dash of Indian blood. Picturesque, too, they were in their red flannel or leather shirts, and cloth caps of some gray color, finished to a point, which hung over on one side with a depending tassel. They had a genuine love for this occupation, and muscles that seemed never to tire at the paddle and oar. From dawn to sunset, with only a short interval, and sometimes no midday rest, they would ply these implements, causing the canoe or barge to fly through the water like a thing of life; but often contending against high-winds and gaining but little progress in a day's rowing. But how sweet was the rest, when a favoring breeze sprung up, enabling the little craft to carry sail. Then in came the oars, down lopped each, and in a few minutes all were in the enjoyment of a sound snooze. The morning and evening meal consisted, almost universally, and from choice, of bouillon, a soup made from beans, peas or hulled corn, with a piece of pork boiled in it, and hard bread, or sea biscuit. To the Northern voyageurs rations were generally served out of one quart of hulled corn and half a pint of bear's grease or oil, this being the daily and only food."
Plain Fare of the Fur Traders. - Henry, the English trader, thus describes the food of the Canadian voyageurs: "The village of L'Abre Croche supplies the maize, or Indian corn, with which the canoes are victualled. This species of grain is prepared for use by boiling it in a strong lye, after which the husk may be easily removed; and it is next mashed and dried. In this state it is soft and friable, like rice. The allowance, for each man on the voyage, is a quart a day; and a bushel, with two pounds of prepared fat, is reckoned to be a month's subsistence. No other allowance is made, of any kind; not even of salt; and bread is never thought of. The men, nevertheless, are healthy and capable of performing their heavy labor. This mode of victualling is essential to the trade, which being pursued at great distances, and in vessels so small as canoes, will not admit of the use of other food. If the men were to be supplied with bread and pork, the canoes could not carry a sufficiency for six months; and the ordinary duration of the voyage is not less than fourteen. The difficulty which belong to an attempt to reconcile any other men than Canadians to this fare, seems to secure to them, and their employers, the monopoly of the fur trade.
"After supper, pipes were lighted and, seated on logs or squatted around the campfires, they chatted until bed-time. This came early and required little preparation. To wrap a blanket around the person, placing coat or shoe-packs beneath the head, and a little greasy pillow - the only bed that was carried - constituted the whole ceremony; and speedy and sound was the sleep, beneath the watchful stars. The labor of the oar was relieved by songs, to which each stroke kept time, with added vigor. The poet Moore has well caught the spirit of the voyaguers' melodious chant in his "Boat-song upon the St. Lawrence." But to appreciate its wild sweetness one should listen to the melody, as it wings its way over the waters softened by distance, yet every measured cadence falling distinct upon the air. These songs, usually half ballad or ditty, and love, of course, the main theme, express the natural feelings of a people, little governed by the restraints of civilization."
Faintly as tolls the evening chime,
Our voices keep tune and our oars keep time,
Soon as the woods on the shore look dim,
We'll at St. Ann's our parting hymn,
Row, brothers, row, the stream runs fast,
The Rapids are near, and the daylight's past!
Why should we yet our sail unfurl?
There is not a breath the blue wave to curl!
But when the wind blows off the shore,
Oh! Sweetly we'll rest our weary oar.
Blow, breezes, blow, the stream runs fast.
The rapids are near, and the daylight's past.
Utawas' tide! This trembling moon
Shall see us float over thy surges soon.
Saint of this green Isle! Hear our prayers,
Oh! Grant us cool heavens and favoring airs.
Blow, breezes, blow, the stream runs fast.
The Rapids are near, and the daylight's past.
"I wrote these words" says Thomas Moore, "to an air, which our boat- man sung to us frequently. The wind was so unfavorable that they were obliged to row all the way, and we were five days in descending the river from Kingston to Montreal, exposed to an intense sun during the day, and at night forced to take shelter from the dews in any miserable hut upon the banks that would receive us. But the magnificent scenery of the St. Lawrence replays all these difficulties.
"Our voyageurs had good voices, and sung perfectly in tune together. The original words of the air, to which I adapted these stanzas, appeared to be a long incoherent story, of which I could understand but little.
"I ventured to harmonize the air, and have published it. Without that charm which associated gives to every little memorial of scenes or feelings that are past, the melody may perhaps be thought common and trifling; but I remember when we have entered, at sunset, upon one of these beautiful lakes, into which the St. Lawrence so grandly and unexpectedly opens, I have heard this simple air with a pleasure which the finest compositions of the first masters have never given me; and now there is not a note of it which does not recall to my memory the dip of our oars in the St. Lawrence, the flight of our boat down the Rapids, and all those new and fanciful impressions to which my heart was alive during the whole of this very interesting voyage.
Describing the passage of a canoe through the breakers at the mouth of Twin river, Lake Superior, a writer in 1823 says: "Nothing can exceed the skill of these voyageurs in places of difficulty. The steersman, his eye on the motion of the waters, and the relation the canoe bears, at each moment of time, to the surge, give the word, and the paddles are applied with redoubled energy, and before a breaker reaches the canoe, she is past it, or, by retarding her movements, it rolls over and sinks before it reaches her.
"One of the more prominent traits of the voyageur's character," writes Charles Lauman from Lake Superior in 1847, "is his cheerfulness. Gay and mirthful by nature and habit - patient and enduring at labor - seeking neither ease or wealth - and, though fond of his family, it is his custom to let the morrow take care of itself, while he will endeavor to improve the present hour as he thinks proper. He belongs to a race, which is entirely distinct from all others on the globe. It is a singular fact, that when most troubled, or when enduring the severest hardships, they will joke, laugh, and sing their uncouth songs - the majority of which are extemporaneous, appropriate to the occasion, and generally of a rude and licentious character."
But with the conquest of the Great Lakes by England, and the subs- equent independence of the American colonies, and the colonization of the region of the Great Lakes, the voyageurs faded away, and a new type of seaman appeared on the scene. They were sturdy, restless Americans, who migrated from the Atlantic seashore. A brief sketch of one of these pioneers is here presented:
An Early American Sailor: -- Uncle Davy Johnson, of Cleveland, when 94 years old related to a correspondent of the New York Tribune about 1884 some of his early experiences on the Great Lakes, which he sailed for 50 years. He said: "When I was a chunk of a youngster I was apprenticed to a cooper at Bridgeport, Conn., and for five years I hammered away with adze and driver, and hauled a draw knife for just what I put in me and on me. We used to think that western New York State or western Pennsylvania was away out west. In 1809 I put a 32-pound bundle on my back and started on foot to Buffalo. I made the journey to Albany, N.Y., about 320 miles in 16 days. That journey was nothing remarkable, as I had three dollars in money and a bundle of food. Many a poor fellow started on the same journey with nothing but an axe. When I arrived at Buffalo, I found a very small town. Cleveland, Sandusky and Erie were ports of entry. There were only two lighthouses on the lakes, one at Buffalo, first one built, and the other at Erie. Buffalo was then called Fort Erie and was a struggling little town till the war of 1812 gave it a start.
"My first trip as sailor was made from Buffalo to Erie, which was then considered quite a trip. From Buffalo to Detroit was looked upon as a long voyage, and a vessel of 32 tons burden was considered the largest sailing on the lakes. In 1813 I was one of a crew of four, Capt. Dick O'Neil in command, that left Buffalo in the sloop Commencement, with a cargo of whiskey for Erie. While beating along the shore the English frigate Charlotte bore down upon us and captured us. Two boat-loads of red coats boarded our vessels and took us prisoners. We were immediately paroled, and a small vessel placed at our disposal to reach shore. We disliked to leave the sloop and whiskey at their mercy, and asked to be allowed to remain in the vicinity of the vessel, and were told by the British commander that if it was any consolation to us we could do so. We thereupon concocted a scheme to get the guard drunk and run the vessel ashore. This scheme was found out, and we were packed in a boat and rowed ashore, with orders not to return. After Perry's victory the owners of the Commencement were indemnified. I saw Commodore Perry often at Erie. In 1813 I settled in Cleveland. It was then a little, poverty-stricken huddle of not more than a dozen or fifteen houses. The first vessel I sailed as captain was the Perseverance, in 1816. The first trip I made in her was from Maumee to Mackinaw with a cargo of beer for Vance and Meeker. Vance was afterward governor of Ohio. From that time I sailed the lakes for 50 years."
An Independent Canadian Skipper. -- In the autumn of 1826, in one of the occasional gales of Lake Erie, a Canadian steamer, named the Dauntless, of Walpole, ran into Buffalo harbor for safety. The marshal of the district was notified to arrest the captain for some misdemeanor. He went on board the vessel to take the captain into custody. The skipper said he had some orders to give to his men before he left. He went up the rigging masthead; he then gave orders to his men, and the close-reefed job and the double-reefed foresail were hoisted in sailor style, the lines were cast off right in the teeth of that fiercely blowing gale of 40 miles an hour. The vessel gracefully careened on her side and headed for the lake. The marshal, not being a sailor, gladly gave twenty-five dollars to be landed on the breakwater of the harbor, and the wily skipper held his course for the British possessions.
An Intrepid Lake Erie Captain. -- In a recent number of the Marine Record, C.G. Calkins, now of Berkeley, Cal., related some early reminiscences on Lake Erie. The sterling qualities of the old-time lake captains are shown following incident: "October, 1833, I was a passenger on the schooner Minerva, Captain Siles, from Buffalo. There had been a hard blow, and the wind was still heavy down the lake. We were not making much progress, and the captain decided to anchor inside Long Point. The anchor was hardly down when a boat came off shore to the vessel, and in it were the famous Captain Walker, the equally famous "Walker's Mary," and a man and wife, passengers on Walker's fine steamboat Washington, which had gone ashore and to pieces outside of the Point. Only one passenger was lost; the rest, about 40, had started to walk toward Buffalo.
"Captain Walker insisted on being taken to Erie, and forthwith. So we were again on the open lake, with night and a violent storm to encounter. Captain Walker kept the deck all night, and showed himself a good sailor in heavy weather. I was in ignorance some of the time as to whether we were already half way to the bottom, and did not care if it was so.
If Captain Walker had not exercised his seamanship and muscular qualities, we should, no doubt, have gone down. All the canvas the wind could snatch was torn to shreds, but Walker was lively and saved most of it. If he had not been aboard we were lost with no chance in our favor, but if he had not been on board we should not have been here, but safely swinging to anchor behind the Point. In the morning we made Dunkirk, and Walker and the others, including the hatless passengers, proceeded to Erie by stage."
Early Steamboat Masters. -- The successful navigation of the lakes by the early steamboats promoted western travel and immigration and led to the construction of the small fleet of steam vessels placed in commission from 1825 to 1830. With this fleet was inaugurated that magnificent boom, "steamboating on the Great Lakes," which continued until that majestic autocrat of the rail, the locomotive, relegated to inactivity the passenger steamboat on Lake Erie during the decade of the fifties. This illustrious boom was at its zenith during the decade of the forties, developing a large and magnificent fleet of passenger steamers, luxurious in appointments, officered by skilled lake navigators, distinguished for their affability, picturesque in ruffled shirts, and otherwise exquisite attire.
"The captains of the early and 'magnificent' steamers," says one writer, "were quite a distinct class of citizens. They were recruited mostly from the ranks of the successful masters of sailing vessels. The lake captain, as he walked his deck, was a man not readily approached. * * * In the village graveyards that line the shores of these inland seas, lie many of the men to whom were entrusted the comfort and safety of the great number of persons, who, in those early days, sought in the then far west a home for themselves and their children. As one who knew something of the lives of these men, and of the hardships and perils to which they were exposed, and of the responsibilities that rested upon them as captains, engineers and officers of the early steamboats on the lakes, the writer desires to testify to their many good qualities, and to say that as a class they were rarely excelled in the conscientious performance of their duties. Often unlearned as to the courtesies of life, or in the refinements of social usages, they had in them the stuff of which heroes are made, and when occasions required, as it often did, they displayed an unselfish heroism, which, more widely known, would have brought to them the recognition and fame they well deserved but rarely received."
Among the early settlers of Wisconsin were large numbers of Scandinavians, descendants of the old northern sea kings. They had inherited a taste for the water, and proved as hardy and adventurous in their new homes as their ancestors did on the North sea, for thousands of these Danes, Swedes and Norwegians sailed the lakes for many years. Some of them bought land in the wilds of Wisconsin, and followed the lakes until the savings from their wages had paid for their homes. Others continued to sail through choice, and made efficient crews for the fleets of sail a generation or two ago.
"The early navigators of Lake Superior," says Charles H. Keep, in his "Internal Commerce of the United States," "are entitled to credit for the great skill manifested in successfully navigating its unknown waters, unaided by any reliable charts, lighthouses, or other governmental aids to navigation. It may be truthfully said they builded better than they knew, for they in connection with the early explorers and the successful investors and seekers for mineral wealth on the shores of Lake Superior, first gave birth to the thought that that lake might be made a part of one of the great highways of commerce between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. They traversed unknown and unexplored waters with a success that was worthy of the enterprise, energy, watchfulness, care, and skill manifested in their vocation, for, as we now recall, there was but one fatal catastrophe occurring among them, from the opening of navigation on Lake Superior in 1844 to the opening of the canal in 1855. This was the loss of the schooner Merchant, commanded by Captain Brown, sailing from Sault Ste. Marie for Copper Harbor and other ports in the season of 1847. Neither she nor any of her crew or passengers were ever heard from."
The changes of masters of sail vessels in the early forties were of rare occurrence, and many grave derelictions which would not be tolerated now were seemingly overlooked. But, though independent, the old-time sailor was usually fearless and faithful.
The loss of the Ocean Queen, says an old newspaper, evoked the following poem from the pen of Kate Weaver. The disaster is not located, but the verse no doubt typefies the bravery and devotion to duty of the sailor of the Great Lakes.
Twas on Lake Erie's broad expanse,
One bright midsummer day,
The gallant steamer Ocean Queen
Swept proudly on her way.
Bright faces clustered on the deck,
Or, leaning o'er the side,
Watched carelessly the feathery foam,
That flecked the rippling tide.
Ah! who beneath that cloudless sky,
That smiling bends serene,
Could dream that danger, awful, vast,
Impended o'er the scene --
Could dream that ere an hour had sped,
That frame of sturdy oak
Would sink beneath the lake's blue waves,
Blackened with fire and smoke?
A seaman sought the captain's side,
A moment whispered low,
The captain's swarthy face grew pale,
He hurried down below.
Alas! too late! Though quick and sharp
And clear his orders came,
No human efforts could avail
To quench the insidious flame.
The bad news quickly reached the deck,
It sped from lip to lip,
And ghastly faces everywhere
Looked from the doomed ship. "
Is there no hope -- no chance of life?"
A hundred lips implore;
"But one," the captain made reply,
"To run the ship ashore."
A sailor, whose heroic soul
That hour should yet reveal --
By name John Maynard, Eastern born --
Stood calmly at the wheel.
"Head her south-east!" the captain shouts,
Above the smothered roar,
"Head her south-east without delay!
Make for the nearest shore!"
No terror pales the helmsman's cheek,
Or clouds his dauntless eye,
As in a sailor's measured tone
His voice responds "Aye, Aye!"
Three hundred souls -- the steamer's freight --
Crowd forward, wild with fear,
While at the stern the dreadful flames,
Above the deck appear.
John Maynard watched the nearing flames,
But still, with steady hand,
He grasped the wheel, and steadfastly
He steered the ship to land.
"John Maynard," with an anxious voice,
The captain cries once more,
"Stand by the wheel five minutes yet,
And we will reach the shore!"
Through flames and smoke that dauntless heart
Responded firmly, still
Unawed, though face to face with death,
"With good God's help I will."
The flames approach with giant strides,
They scorch his hands and brow,
One arm disabled seeks his side,
Ah, he is conquered now!
But no, his teeth are firmly set,
He crushes down the pain,
His knee upon the stanchion pressed,
He guides the ship again.
One moment yet! one moment yet!
Brave heart thy task is o'er!
The pebbles grate beneath the keel,
The steamer touches shore,
Three hundred grateful voices rise
In praise to God, that He
Hath saved them from the fearful fire,
And the ingulfing sea.
But where is he, that helmsman bold?
The captain saw him reel--
His nerveless hands released their task,
He sank beside the wheel.
The wave received his lifeless corpse,
Blackened with smoke and fire,
God rest him! Hero never he
A nobler funeral pyre!
Opposition to Non-Navigators Having a Command. - In earlier navi- gation of the Great Lakes, that is prior to about 1852, when they passed under national jurisdiction, there was a class of lake navigators, who were self-reliant and jealous of innovation or intrusion on their professional domain by landsmen assuming a command, by virtue of ownership. The first case in point was that of the steam- boat Constitution, about the year 1843. This vessel was owned by Mahlon Kingman, and for two seasons past had been commanded by Capt. Gilman Appleby, who for a serious offense, was relieved of his command. Then Amasa Kingman, son of the owner, who had sailed as clerk of the boat, but who was not a navigator, was placed in command, with Capt. Bob Wagstaff as first officer and sailing master. Owing to the popularity of the owner and his son among lake men, and also that of Bob Wagstaff, this innovation was overlooked, but it was not approved of, and the general sentiment was, "Don't let it happen again."
Another instance of the kind was that in connection with the steam- boat Wisconsin, which came out prior to 1840, under command of Capt. Henry Randall, with William Pincheon, second officer. She was a tub built boat, having a wide beam, much disproportionate to her length. About 1843 she changed ownership, and was re-built, being materially lengthened in the process. A man named William Chard was her control- ling owner. Mr. Chard had been a captain on the Erie canal, had prospered and had become manager of a canal transportation line, but had no experience on the lakes. However he assumed command of the re-built boat with the orthography of her name changed to "Wiskonsan." Then the trouble began. The idea of a canal-boat captain in command of a prominent lake steamboat was an innovation not to be condoned, and the shipmasters in general put burrs on the coat tails of Captain Chard. One of the most indignant of these shipmasters was Capt. Fred Wheeler, then sailing the propeller Hercules. Captain Fred procured a lengthy tin horn, and set of whiffletrees , and when meeting the "Wisconsan" outside in command of Captain Chard, he would send the whiffletrees to the foretop of the Hercules and sound the tin horn, the loud-mouthed emblem of canal navigation, from the foremost head. One season's command sufficed for Captain Chard. The tin horn and the whiffletrees were too much for him.
How the American Sailor "Goes!" -- Silas Farmer, in his history of Detroit, gives this instance of recklessness during the palmy days: "some times high prices for transportation tempted the owners of boats to start them on their trips earlier than prudence justified. On one occasion, in the spring of 1851, as the ice had gone out of the Detroit river, and the upper end of Lake Erie was reported clear, the owner of a steamboat gave notice that she would sail the next day. As the lower part of the lake was covered with floating ice, there was much discussion with regard to the safety of the proceeding; and the boat started out from a dock which was thronged with spectators, who expressed much anxiety concerning her safety. The next day towards evening, the well-known Joseph Campau met A.B. Wood, the manager of the Telegraph Company, near the Campau residence, and said, 'Does ye hear anything from de boat -- de boat went out yesterday mor'n' "Oh yes, she has just reached Erie. She got into the ice and floundered about, tearing her paddle wheels to pieces, but she is in Erie harbor all safe.' 'Well,' said Mr. Campau, 'I to't so. Now, when de Inglishmon he want to go anywhere, he set down and tink how he get dar, and de Frenchmon, he want to go, and he stop and tink how he get dar; but de American, de Yankee, he want to go, and be-gar, he go. He go heaven, he go hell, he go anyhow.'"
A Romantic Marine Elopement. -- Sailing on the Great Lakes was not without its romance during the palmy days of 1840. An affair of the heart occurred in March, 1838, which at that time occasioned wide comment and lead to a famous trial at Pittsburg, Pa. It immediately concerned Capt. Richard C. Bristol, who was afterwards a vessel owner, but at the time was sailing the James Madison, one of the first steamers of the regular line between Buffalo and Chicago. The captain was, early in 1838, the accepted suitor of Miss Josephine Hamot, the lovely daughter of a wealthy Frenchman, a resident of Erie, Pa. On the eve of his wedding, Captain Bristol was rudely forbidden communication with his intended by the stern and unrelenting parent, and a little later he learned, much to his distress, that the young lady was to be married to a Mr. Walker, an old roommate of his. Stories prejudicial to the character of Captain Bristol had been related to the old gentlemen. The repulsed suitor, smarting under the wrongs that had been done his good name, in vain sought a reconciliation with the family of his once affianced bride. The young lady's affections clung to her first love, and, when the latter planned on the evening of the last ball of the season a romantic elopement, she gave acquiescence. A coach, a word and a rapid drive, and the pair and a few friends were aboard the James Madison at an early hour in the morning.
The moorings were slipped and the steamer glided through the tortuous channels of the bay, and out into the lake, but heavy ice fields barred the way toward the New York ports, where marriage licenses were not required.
It was resolved to head the steamer up the lake, and so she steamed her way through great masses of floating ice, and at daybreak lay off Ashtabula, short of fuel and with the small crew exhausted from their excessive labor. After a hurried consultation it was resolved to land at Ashtabula, take on a fresh supply of fuel, and if there were legal obstacles to a speedy marriage to steer for Detroit.
Captain Bristol went up to the town to see how the land lay, and in his absence a large steamer was observed in the offing, black with people and evidently bent on mischief. It was the Jefferson, sister ship of the Madison, both owned by Col. Seth Reed, of Erie. Captain Bristol had dispatched a boy to Jefferson, the county seat, for a marriage license. When he saw the pursuing steamer he resolved to take Miss Hamot ashore, and to direct his crew to put off up the lake, and thus deceive the "Jefferson party." This would give him time to procure his license and be married. The bride went ashore, but before the Madison got away the Jefferson was under her stern, and Captain Dobbins of the revenue cutter ordered the ship to return to Erie under penalty of seizure, as she had no ship's papers aboard. The pursuers had spoiled the romantic elopement. They had observed the landing of Miss Hamot, and followed her to the hotel, where by dint of much persuasion they induced her to return with them to Erie.
Excitement ran high at that little city, and the people arrayed themselves on opposite sides. Some of the officers of the Madison were arrested. Captain Bristol was charged with criminal abduction, and committed to prison at Pittsburg for trial. His trial proved a farce, and the courtroom during its progress was the scene of great interest and merriment. Captain Bristol was triumphantly acquitted, the United States court holding that it had no jurisdiction. The captain soon after married, and under the patronage of his good friend, Gen. Charles M. Reed, of Erie, became later a wealthy and successful grain dealer of Chicago, where he has been identified with various marine interests.
The Typical Jack Has Vanished. -- What was written a few years ago by William L. Alden in reference to the ocean sailor may apply in a measure to the lake sailor also. He says: "The sailor is not yet totally extinct, and it may be safely prophesied that he never will be. To say, as is often said, that there are no longer any sailors, is to assert a broad general principle, which, like other general principles, is partly true and partly false. There exists what we might call a domesticated breed of sailors, such as the quartermasters, who steer our steamships, and the occasional veterans who are found among the crews of our men-of-war. The typical Jack of the pre-propeller age -- the 'Jacketarian' and the able seamen of the clipper-ship fleet -- has, however, utterly vanished. He was essentially a wild man. Civilization, in its most condensed expression, the steam engine, has driven him from the ocean."
In the Cabin of a Liner. -- Describing in "Harper's Magazine" a trip on the steamer Columbia, in 1872, Constance Fenimore Woolson thus referred to the evening festivities: "The tables had been rolled away, and the colored waiters, with their guitars and banjos, formed a vocal and instrumental band.
'Old Huron's long, old Huron's wide,
De engine keep de time;
Leabe de ladies on de side,
And balance in a line,'
sang these lake minstrels in their melodious voices. The floor was crowded with dancers, all formality was laid aside, strangers danced with strangers, and even that relic of the past, the slow waltz, had its devotees. A Virginia reel brought us close upon Sunday morning, and we all retired."
Crew of a Line Freighter. -- A writer in the "Midland Magazine" recently described the crew of a lake-line freighter, and the following is his description somewhat abridged: "The crews consist of a captain or master, a mate, second mate, two wheelmen, two lookouts, two watchmen, an engineer and assistant engineer, three oilers, three firemen, cook, second cook, porter, and five deck hands or 'jacks of all trades,' in all 25 men.
"The captain of a line-freighter renders full value for the salary he receives. I have met but one who claimed to be entirely satisfied, and I suspect that he mistook me for a new officer of the company. Captains generally will stoutly maintain that a sailor's life is a dog's life, and that they would never allow a son of theirs to go on the water. Still, some of them wax fat and jolly.
"The captain of an ocean steamer has the same amount of detail port work and ship routine to perform as has the lake navigator; but his ports are fewer and his runs are so much longer that in fair weather he has an easy time of it. Not so the lake mariner. He is making one port and sometimes two ports a day. He has long stretches of rivers with narrow channels, and perhaps a hundred vessels to meet and pass, during which time he is on the bridge in fair weather and foul. He takes his vessel into and out of every port. He has to see to and prepare his manifests, his clearings and other custom-house rigamarole; look after his freight bills and attend to the constant loading and unloading at every port. He must see that this is done scientifically, so as to keep an even keel.
"A salt-water captain, who is majestically piloted into his dock at New York, there to remain until it is time for him to be borne out in the same manner for his return trip, has little idea of the tribulations of his lake brother, who must poke around in perhaps a dozen different docks, pass 20 drawbridges and dispute the right of way with as many if not twice that number of vessels. His harbor cares are so numerous and weighty that I have known of devoted husbands, whose ships have been at their home port for days at a time twice a month, but who could not get home more than once in an entire season - I said that they are devoted husbands, too!
"Another delicate task is threading the narrow channels in the St. Clair and St. Mary's rivers. These are much-buoyed and lighted, yet a hundred or two hundred feet and even three hundred of 'roadway' for a vessel measuring forty feet wide, having wind and current to contend with, and meeting others of similar width, is not what might be termed comfortable driving.
"In dense fogs and stormy weather this 'guiding genius of the deep' frequently puts in twenty-four to thirty hours steady watch. The latter end of the season, October and November, when for weeks continuously 'the mad winds blow and the billows roar,' is the time when one can best judge of the responsibilities, cares and physical strain on a lake mariner.
"Imagine yourself standing in a little coop, perhaps eight feet square, with no shelter other than a canvas fence chin-high, with a bleak, howling wind, and the snow, sleet and spray encasing you in a rigid frozen mold; there to be tossed up, down and sideways. You are unable to see a distance of over a hundred feet. You must keep head to the wind. You know your whereabouts by the blindest reckoning only. You have your vessel, many thousand dollars' worth of cargo, and perhaps passengers to think of. You realize that another vessel may crash into you at almost any moment or that something about your steering apparatus or running gear may give out at the wrong time, and I'll wager that you would go down upon your knees and implore Heaven to bear you safely back to your cozy library.
"Many of the minor cares about a steamer are shouldered by the first and second mates. The first mate is usually an elderly man. He attends to the hiring of deck-hands -- a task which recurs at nearly every port and always at the end of a round trip; to the cleaning, painting and burnishing of the ship; keeping things in place and having an eye on the stores and supplies, besides being on six hours watches twice out of every twenty-four. He is the mouthpiece of the captain; transmits all his orders 'aft' and looks after things generally.
"The second mate is usually young and ambitious (perhaps only lately promoted from the wheelhouse, and with his gaze steadily fixed upon the beacon light of a captaincy), he does everything the captain and mate impose upon him. He watches the other double six hours of the twenty-four; does the fine work about the boat; attends to everything aft when entering and leaving port; never sleeps and always looks pleasant -- except to the deck hands.
"The wheelmen are to the lakes what the quartermasters are on salt water. Theirs is a tedious though not physically hard task, particularly on ships having steam steering gear which requires really but an infant's touch to turn the wheel. The wheelman is learning to be a pilot, receives orders to steer a certain course and must follow that to a dot -- a most wearying job to stand there for six long hours looking for land marks and alternately watching that needle point that will wabble, and better had he never been born if, through drowsiness or other weakness of nature, he steers a quarter point off, or if in a channel he be too slow to obey instantly the order from above to 'Port-a-little,' -- 'E-a-s-y,' 'Nothing to starboard' or 'S-t-e-a-d-y.' He keeps the 'log,' noting every point passed, time, and direction of wind and steering course and rings the bells for the other watch to go on duty.
"The lookout's post is forward at night and in fogs where he peers ahead and informs the officers on watch that there is a white light ahead, or a red light on the port bow, or gives other seemingly useless information. At other times he scrubs, paints, washes, makes rope fenders and haughtily shows the lowly deck hands how to polish brass. The watchmen do mostly the same thing except that instead of looking out for lights ahead they tend lights and prowl around looking for possible fires within.
"The engineer, with his assistant, his oilers and his firemen form a department by themselves; they control the heart of the monster. The chief, though obedient in taking orders from the captain about maneuvering the ship, obeys instructions from headquarters only as to speed, consumption of coal and such matters, and is a good deal like a civil service government employe, under the captain but in a sense independent of him.
"The ship's crew generally stick to her for a season anyway. The deck hands pass the 25 or more tons of coal a day from the bankers to the fire room, shift freight, wash and polish everlastingly at the brass work, scrape spars and decks, remove from the latter the blisters of some 20 odd coats of paint, and apply a fresh coat. Though some stick and climb even to the bridge, most of them go on when particularly desirous of reaching some other port. There is an occasional fire drill when everyone makes a wild rush for his alloted position, some by the boats, some with the hose and others with axes. There is great commotion, and everyone seems satisfied that it was well done. "Jack has some fun aft of the enginehouse after supper. You hear some good jokes and considerable horse-laugh and play; and I suspect that there is often a quiet game in the kitchen galley where dimes and quarters change owners."
Down to the poorest paid stevedore, the sailor of the lakes is usually a happy individual, contented with his life and its pleasant associations. The poet of the Chicago Record has caught and expressed this spirit, in the "Philosophy of the Tugboat Hand," which is here reprinted:
"Yes, sir, home is where the heart is; which is words that I have read.
In a book wrote by a party that I understand is dead;
'Home, Sweet Home's' a tune I whistle often of these summer nights,
When the smell rolls up the river follerin' the steamer lights.
"In the heart of ev'ry human is a feelin', kinder soft.
Fer the bidin' place he's uset to, even if it's just a loft,
An' a-settin' on the towpost when we're docked here, all alone,
I feel sorry fer the man that has no place to call his own.
"With my pipe lit an' a-puffin', with the bridge lamps shinin' red,
An' the black smoke hangin' heavy in the air just overhead,
An' the garbage in the river bobbin' up an' down, you see
There's a heap o' satisfaction to a homebody like me,
"Other men may have their millions an' their houses, big an' grand,
But I ain't got any envy fer them people of the land;
Twenty years I've bunked down forrard in the old Rebecca Nye --
She has been my home an' will be, if I'm lucky, till I die.
"Home -- yes, home is where the heart is, an' the old Rebecca's mine;
I blowed up with her in '80, sunk with her in '89.
Ev'ry plank an' rope an' rivet, ev'ry bolt head is a friend
True an' firm an' tried an' trusted, on the which I can depend.
"Twenty years I've slept down forrard in the same familiar bunk.
With exception of occasions when it happened I was drunk.
With exception of occasions of a sorry kind when I
Let the wicked city tempt me from the old Rebecca Nye.
"This is home -- the greasy water an' the sulphur an' the smoke,
An' the smell that comes a-floatin' up the river till you choke,
An the tootin' o' the whistle, an' the crashin', splashing sound
As the whizzin' old propeller swings some passin' boat around.
"This is home -- the steward callin' like a voice out of the tomb,
Tellin' us to come to supper down there aft the engine room.
This is home -- with us a-groanin' up the river, pullin' slow,
An' as we go chasin' outside nosin' 'round to find a tow.
"Let them kings who live in castles be as proudish as they please;
Let them wade around in carpets that reach up to their knees.
That an' such like things may be their idy of a home, but I
Druther have my bunk down forrard in the old Rebecca Nye."
The humorous phases of lake sailing are preserved in a number of dialect poems, which have appeared in the press from time to time. One of these, entitled "De Look an' See," was recently reprinted in the Marine Record. It is as follows:
A skow kom sailing down Lak St. Claire
Shingal an cord hood her deck load ware;
De win blew fresh an de win blew free,
An speed her way dat "Look an See."
Out she sail from de creek of de Bear,
Over de waters of Lak San Claire.
De win increase till he blew a gale,
De "Look and See" she reel her sail;
De water joomp rite o'er de boat
An way tree stick of cord hood flote;
From gail to hurricain blow de wind,
Four bench of shingal flote behind.
De captain she can't stan dat no more,
All de profit gone from dat trip sure;
If all shingal an de cord hood go; de sheriff he seeze
An sell dat skow, den no more whiskey,
No more bread, no more cabin to cover de head.
So de mate she yell in de gail,
Batise stan by and let go dat sail;
Haul in de peek halyard when I luff de boat,
De peek haul in de halyard gon,
An under de gib day scoot along.
Dey reach de river, dey pass de lite,
Dare stopping place soon com in site;
De captain jomp rite roun and roun;
Parblue Batise, why doan you haul down?
Can't do it captain, de mate reply,
If you tink you can, you bess com try.
Trow in de hank so quick you can,
De Captain cry as he forward ran;
Trow in de hank, and we make tings snug,
Better do dat dan hire a tug.
But Captain, de hank ain't got no string on,
Never mind, trow her in, may stop her som.
Pilot Duties. -- J. R. Oldham, in a recent article in "Cassier's Magazine," touches upon the different pilot duties of the lake masters. He says: "As to navigation on the lake region rivers, imagine a narrow waterway, say, with not more than 600 feet of channel, 15 feet deep, and picture two or three steamers, with or without barges in tow, going down the steam at ten or twelve miles an hour, when suddenly, at a bend in the river where a sharp turn of about 90 degrees has to be made, another steamer, or perhaps two, close together, with a string of tow barges, are encountered at the acute turn of the channel. I say, imagine being placed in the situation both day and night, and the steamerthat you have charge of being 50 per cent. larger than the average steamer passing the Suez canal. This is just the ordinary work of American lake captains, or it has been for many years. But now the speed in the "Soo" river is happily limited to nine miles an hour in narrow or shallow reaches, and its navigation is not quite so difficult or hazardous. A sailor who has never seen the "Soo" navigated would probably say that the turns the descending vessels frequently have to make in the face of such obstacles as I have endeavored to show, are more suitable for one of the picturesque Indians, who navigates the St. Mary's rapids with his facile canoe, than for a steel steamer, 435 feet in length and of 8,500 displacement, yet the task is generally accomplished with safety and precision."
To the charge, sometimes made, that lake masters are only pilots, the additional reply can now be made that many captains are thoroughly fitting themselves for all the duties of thorough seamanship. And for this progress the representative of the Navy Department on the Great Lakes by means of the hydrographic bureau is properly credited. A navigation school has been conducted at Chicago during the past two winters by Lieut. C. L. Wilson, the assistant hydrographer at the Chicago office, and many of the captains of this port have taken great interest in the opportunities thus afforded, and acquired the tech- nical nautical instruction, which is making them superior in seamanship to ocean navigators, for in addition to the training and ability of the latter they possess the knowledge and experience of piloting vessels through the most intricate and extensive system of channels to be found in the world.
It has been the assertion of the manager, who has in charge the newest and the largest fleet of ore freighters on the lakes, that he would attract to the service the best men on the lakes. This special effort to secure the most competent mariners, no doubt, has its basis in the fact that the best seamanship is the cheapest. The investments in this fleet are so large, the quick dispatch and careful sailing so essential to the full and complete success of the enterprise, that, simply as a business proposition, the question of efficient seamanship has received a new consideration. The result must be to directly or indirectly benefit all lake mariners. It is one of the plans of this management to induce the crews to remain aboard these vessels year after year, and to seek advancement by meritorious services. The quarters provided for the men have been made equal to those on a line freighter. The tendency will be to still farther improve the character and ability of the lake mariners.
Opportunity for Advancement, - There is abundant opportunity for the lake sailor to rise in the world, not only to the better positions in marine service, but in other honored vocations of life. Both the past and the present afford numerous examples of men, eminently successful, who have been schooled by a course of lake navigation. Ex-Congressman Jerry Simpson, of Kansas, was an ordinary lake sailor. In February, 1895, the Marine Review briefly noticed the career of many eminent marine men, who had in early life filled lowly positions on the lakes or elsewhere. Capt. James Davidson, of West Bay City, began life as a ferry boy at Buffalo. H.A. Hawgood, of Cleveland, was a marine engineer. James Corrigan, of Cleveland, sailed before the mast with Capt. William S. Mack and many others. Ex-Congressman W.J. White, the Cleveland millionaire, sold pop corn to grocers, and is credited with having done some sailing. W.C. Richardson and J.C. Gilchrist both saw the rough side of life aboard small vessels. Harvey Goulder sailed before the mast, and gained a practical knowledge of navigation which has proved of great value to him as an admiralty lawyer. Capt. George Bone, of Buffalo, was keeper of the Erie beacon lighthouse before the war. Capt. John W. Moore, of Cleveland, at a tender age shipped as cook on a scow for $5 a month. Capt. Frank Perew also sailed the lakes as a cook, shipping on a bluff, on a passing schooner that was without a cook. L.C. Hanna, of the firm of M.A. Hanna & Co., was a steamboat clerk, and John Pankhurst, Robert Wallace, Tom Coe, Thomas Fitzpatrick, and other shipbuilders and vessel owners were lake engineers. The list might be extended indefinitely. The biographies of prominent lake mariners teem with instances of self-made men.
Head for the Straits! - The opening of navigation is a great event for the thousands of sailors who have been wintering at the various lake ports. A Chicago newspaper writer described, a few days before the fleet got away in the spring of 1897, the scenes of activity on the Chicago river, and throughout the marine circles in anticipation of the eventful opening. He said: "There is a little stretch of ice around the Straits of Mackinaw, a little more in Lake St. Clair, and some large floes in Lake Erie. This is now all that keeps the 600 vessels, which comprise the lake fleet, still snug in their winter quarters. The coming week crews will begin to gather. The machinery of the big steamers, taken apart last fall and scattered around the engine rooms so that water would not freeze in the pipes, will come together again. Sails will be pulled down from a hundred lofts. From numberless sailors' lodging houses will come forth the men who will sail the ships.
"Every pleasant day the vanguard is already at work painting the sides or patching up the decks. Many craft, deep-laden with grain, are being moved down the river to be nearer the harbor entrance when the news comes the 'straits are open.'
"The solitary sentinel of the numberless vessels and cargoes which will be afloat the coming season now scans the expanse of ice at the straits from Lake Marine News station at Mackinaw City. To many thousands his reports on the 'condition of the ice' are more important than the latest news from the Mediterranean.
"A few steamers have been kept running all winter between Chicago and points along the Wisconsin shore. A big business has been done by car ferries across the lake from Milwaukee; but all this does not count with the mariners who are now getting ready for work. The only navigation they recognize is that which begins with the opening of the straits.
"Down along the river it is safe to call almost any man these days, who looks well fed, has a hale and hearty appearance, and who wears a big coat, 'Captain,' 'How are you, Captain? What kind of a winter have you had? What have you been doing?" This is a salutation one hears a dozen times in a block.
"California seems to have been attractive to many lake faring men the last winter. A score or more have been to Cripple Creek and succeeded in putting away the savings of last season into holes in the ground. Gold mines absorb more of the earning of lake navigators than any other class of men who depend on wages for support. Some the last winter have been up in British Columbia, and have invested there. Now they are coming back. Ship keepers are being paired off and let go until another winter comes around. Tales of fabulous wealth made in gold mines are relegated to the time for rest after a hard day's work in getting the ship into shape once more for service.
"It will be a great day for the keepers of the sailors' lodging- houses when navigation opens. The money of the average sailor disappeared long ago. He has had the same thing happen every winter since he can remember, and the fact that his money is gone, does not worry him in the least. The keeper of the lodging-house is not troubled by this little circumstance either, for he knows as soon as the 'boys' get to work this spring the winter bills will be paid. Year by year the number of real sailors grows less on the lakes. The musical 'heave-ho' is becoming the lost chord. Even on vessels which use sail an engine lifts the canvas.
"A long night of enforced idleness for a great army of stevedores and longshoremen is also showing the dawn of morning. There are said to be over 2,000 men who earn their living during the summer by loading and unloading merchandise from the liners. In the winter a great many of them are employed in cutting and stowing away ice. Such occupation, however, is beneath the notice of the men who unload coal and lumber, and they do not expect to do anything after the last vessel if unloaded until the next one comes the following spring.
"In the old times the first boat through the straits was a marked craft for the season, and its captain took front rank among his fellow navigators. It was nothing to go up to the straits and buck ice for a week in trying to get through in achieving that honor. But with the coming of corporations and consolidations of capital in large fleets, much of the early honor has gone. The managing owner directs his movements. The captain, once the proud commander free to sail when he deemed best, now awaits a telegram ordering him to go. The manager wots not of honor, but in coal bills he is an adept. Thus another romance has given way before the logic of double-entry bookkeeping."
Seamen's Wages vary considerably from year to year, for they are subject to the same influences that regulate other wages. Seamen's wages in 1818 were $15 per month; mates' wages from $25 to $30 per month; and captains' wages from $40 to $50 per month.
The wages of men in 1836 ranged as follows: The captain received from $600 to $1,000 for the entire season; the first mate from $36 to $40 per month; second mate, from $18 to $28 per month; steward, from $25 to $35 per month; engineer, from $50 to $90 per month; wheelsman, from $15 to $20 per month; fireman, $18 per month; sailors, $16 per month; first cook, $25 per month; second cook, $18 per month; third cook, $10 per month; and other hands from $10 to $15 per month.
The following table shows the rates of seaman's wages at different periods during the season of 1859. Vessels in the lake shore trade usually paying the highest wages given: April 1 to August 15, $12 to $14 per month; August 15 to October 1, $16 per month; October 1 to November 1, $18 to $20 per month; November 1, to the close of the season wages were from $1.00 to $1.50 per day. Seamen's wages during the fall of 1863 were $2.00 per day.
For the census of 1890 statistics were prepared showing the number of all employees constituting the ordinary crews of 1,072 reporting steamers on the Great Laes and St. Lawrence river, together with their average monthly wages. The statement is as follows:
Another statement shows the number of all employes constituting the ordinary crews of 758 reporting sailing vessels on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence river, together with their average monthly wages:
In recent years the Lake Carriers Association has from time to time established a schedule of wages, which has not been generally accepted. The custom has been to advance wages from $3 to $10 per month about October 15, and to also make a further advance in November if conditions justify it.
In the division of classes, the first class on steamers is supposed to represent all steel freighters, excepting the older ones that have only compound engines; these latter are included in the second class with the larger wooden steamers. The third class is designed to cover small wooden steamers, such as are engaged in lumber trade. The point of tonnage where a line is to be drawn between first and second class in barges and sailing vessels is left to the owner.
The Western Seamen's Friend Society. -- The Bethel Union, of which the Western Seamen's Friend Society is a component part, was organized in 1867, to carry on the wider benevolent work, into which the activities of the latter had developed. The Bethel Union is now the owner of valuable property at the corner of Spring and Superior streets, Cleveland, occupied by the Associated Charities and the Western Seamen's Friend Society. The Western Seamen's Friend Society has had an unbroken existence since 1830, when the society was organized. A complete chapel and institutional work is now conducted by the chaplain, Rev. J. O. Fall. Cleveland is the chief office of the society in the West.
The Seamen's Friend Society maintains a Bethel home. Its efforts are in the line of intellectual, social and religious care, but it is wholly non-sectarian. It employs, as means allow, missionary agencies on the interior highways of commerce; establishes missions and Sunday-school stations at isolated settlements; it has, during its sixty-seven years of existence organized Bethels and port societies at Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburg and Erie, Ashtabula Harbor, Toledo, Sandusky, Milwaukee, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Onarga, Ill., St. Paul, Duluth and Washington Island. Many of these Bethels have had a continuous existence. Several own valuable property, and have work of national reputation.
Local boards of control contain about 145 of the most influential business men of the interior cities, ladies' auxiliaries, nearly two hundred women workers. More than four hundred volunteer men and women workers aid in the educational features of the work.
In the early days of its history the work was limited to sailors and men directly connected with the lake, river and canal navigation. The evolution of methods and of the highways and carriers of commerce, propelling machinery on the water, and vast railway systems on the land, with the potent moral interests, connected with the industrial and social status of this carrying trade, has compelled broader scope, both as to beneficiaries and appliances for work.
Among the many objects of the Western Seamen's Friend Society, it would be well to mention, preaching the Gospel to seamen, boatmen, railway operatives, lumbermen, fishermen, longshoremen, etc.; Bethel chapels and reading rooms; floating Bethel missions; Snug Harbor stations for the care of aged and disabled men of the transportation line service; Bethel congregations, with neighborhood household sections. The society is dependent for support principally from private contributions.
The Floating Bethel. -- In July, 1879, Chaplain J. D. Jones purchased the schooner Union and founded the Floating Bethel Mission at Cleveland. This long, low-water craft, through the windows of which bright lights gleamed and the sound of hymn song floated out upon the air, was moored alongside the wharf at the foot of St. Clair street, Cleveland. A house was built the entire length and breadth of the little schooner, and she was transformed into a Bethel chapel and reading room. A few ladies and children were present at the dedication of this floating Bethel, but the greater part of the audience was composed of seafaring men, representatives of many nationalities.
Twelve years previous to the organization of this work Chaplain Jones had devoted much of his time to independent, unpaid mission labor, holding meetings on the docks, in the jails, police stations, and the marine hospital; distributing tracts, food and clothing; officiating at funerals and carrying the word of God into the enemies' camp in many and diverse ways.
In September, 1879, the Floating Bethel and City Mission was organized, with a board of directors. Captain Thomas Wilson was chosen president of the board and has filled that office ever since. The object of the Floating Bethel is to do missionary work among the sailors, to visit the shipping in the harbor and the homes of the poor and sick, and as far as means would allow, provide for their wants; to visit the inmates and do missionary work in hospitals, infirmaries and prisons. In the course of time the little floating Bethel became too small to accommodate the growing mission, and in 1886 the land and two-story brick building at No. 165 River street was purchased. This building answered the purposes of the Floating Bethel for several years, but finally it, too, proved inadequate.
Two meetings are held in the chapel, every Sunday and Thursday evenings. The register shows that 23,233 people were present at divine services during the year 1893, and during 1897 there were 50,593 in attendance. The expenses in 1883 were $3,336, and the annual expense since 1890 has been about $6,000.
The officers of the Floating Bethel follow: Capt. Thomas Wilson, president; Capt. George Stone, vice-president; Stiles H. Curtiss, vice-president; C. O. Scott, treasurer; H. F. Lyman, secretary; J. D. Jones, chaplain and superintendent.
United States Marine Hospital at Cleveland. -- Unusual interest attaches to the history of the United States Marine Hospital at Cleveland from the fact that it was the first institution of its kind to be built along the chain of Great Lakes, and also because of the many vicissitudes through which it has passed. The agitation for the construction and maintenance of a marine hospital on the inland waters of the United States began in. the year 1835, the Ohio Legislature at that time adding its influence to efforts made elsewhere, and in time Congress appointed a commission to look into the matter. This commission visited Cleveland and chose the site at present occupied by the hospital, a tract of 8.57 acres belonging to Levi Johnson, the price of which was $12,000. Five years after the report of this board, during which time efforts had been made to have another site selected, Congress appropriated the money needed to purchase the tract. This was done August 29, 1842. Two years later $20,000 was appropriated for the building, and the foundations were laid, after which several years passed without further action on account of the quicksand underlying the site. On April 30, 1856, Congress appropriated the sum of $8,000 for completing the hospital, with $5,000 "for grading and piling the lake front." This was speedily seen to be insufficient for the purpose, and other appropriations followed, the building being sufficiently completed to allow of the admission of patients in 1852. The total cost of the hospital proper was $87,703.66, while the grounds, fence, enclosing walls, etc., brought the grand total to $119,291.84.
The first physician and surgeon of the hospital was Dr. Charles R. Pierce, who was superseded before being allowed to serve by Dr. Morgan L. Hewitt, November 4, 1851. Dr. Hewitt was in command when patients were admitted for the first time, in 1852. During the next nine years the physicians in charge, with the date of their appointments, were as follows: Dr. H. A. Ackley, April 4, 1893; Dr. Jonathan I. Todd, July 1, 1857; Dr. R. S. Strong, October 26, 1859; Dr. William A. Capener, August 24, 1860; Dr. Martin Luther Brooks, March 11, 1861.
While the Civil war was in progress, the Soldiers Aid Society of Cuyahoga county occupied one wing of the hospital building, on authority of the United States Government. Dr. N. B. Prentice was appointed to take charge of the hospital in 1865, being followed four years later by Dr. George H. Blair, who in turn was succeeded by Dr. J. F. Armstrong in 1873.
On October 1, 1875, the Cleveland City Hospital Association, which later became the Lakeside Hospital Corporation, after diligent effort succeeded in obtaining a twenty years' lease of the hospital property from the government, at the nominal rental of $1 per year, agreeing to care for marine hospital service patients for 64 cents each per day. This arrangement continued until the expiration of the lease, when an extension of six months was granted by the government to enable the Lakeside Hospital Corporation to complete its group of magnificent new hospital buildings which adjoin the Marine hospital. The lessees made a number of permanent improvements during their occupancy of the grounds. A large brick structure east of the main building was constructed with an amphitheater for clinical lectures, and rooms for the laundry and servants' quarters. At the west of the main building a frame cottage for a children's ward was also constructed. A pest house was also built.
Dr. Proctor Thayer was appointed to command of the hospital in 1887, being followed by Dr. Guy B. Case, as acting assistant-surgeon, until 1889, when Passed Assistant-Surgeon S. T. Armstrong took charge. The officers in charge from that time up to the present have been as follows: Passed Assistant-Surgeon P. M. Carring-ton, assigned February 15, 1890; Assistant-Surgeon A. W. Condict, April 15, 1890; Passed Assistant-Surgeon S. D. Brooks, May 24, 1890; Assistant-Surgeon Emil Prochazka, April 5, 1894; and Passed Assistant-Surgeon R. M. Woodward, from June 15, 1894, to the present time.
On April 1, 1896, the lessees of the hospital vacated and the marine hospital service resumed control. In addition to Dr. Woodward, the officers in charge are Dr. L. P. H. Bahrenburg and Dr. H. L. Gilchrist, internes, and L. W. Richardson, steward. There are eleven attendants.
During its existence, the hospital has cared for a very large number of patients, all of whom, except during the period of occupancy by the Lakeside Hospital Corporation, have been sailors belonging to the merchant marine of the Great Lakes. All such are considered wards of the government to the extent that they are provided medical attendance and nursing free of charge. To afford an idea of the extent of the work performed in the institution, the figures covering the number of patients treated during the three years ending with 1895 are given. During the fiscal year 1893, 319 hospital patients and 1,688 office patients were treated. In 1894, the numbers respectively were 253 and 1,170, and in 1895, 297 hospital patients and 1,082 out patients received the benefit of medical treatment and advice.
United States Hospital at Detroit. -- A reservation at the corner of Jefferson and Mount Elliott avenues, Detroit, was ceded to the United States by the Legislature of Michigan in 1853 for hospital purposes. The construction of a commodious and suitable building was commenced here by the government and completed in 1857 at a cost of $109,526. It is a solid and substantial structure, three stories in height and capable of providing for from 50 to 60 patients. Dr. Zenas Pitcher was appointed physician in charge, in 1857, and served until 1861. Since then the surgeons in charge have been as follows: Drs. Louis Davenport, 1861 to 1866; James A. Brown, 1866 to 1879; W. H. H. Hutton, 1879 to 1882; W. H. Long, 1882 to 1885; H. W. Sawtelle, 1885; W. H. Long, 1885 to 1889; W. G. Stoner, 1889 to 1893;W. H. H. Hutton, 1893 to 1897; John Godfrey, 1897, and now in charge. A fine residence for the medical officer was erected in 1895, and arrangements have been made here for the building of an isolation ward.
U. S. Hospital at Chicago. -- A meeting of citizens was held at Chicago in 1846 for the purpose of inducing the general government to establish here a marine hospital for the benefit of sick and disabled seamen. A petition was drafted and received many signatures. It was presented to Congress and was successful, for an Act was passed in 1848 appropriating $10,000 for the erection of a hospital. It was built on the east side of Michigan avenue, near the site of the old Fort Dearborn, and completed in 1851 at a cost of $50,000. This hospital was destroyed in the fire of 1871, and the ground was then sold to the Michigan Central Railroad Company. Four years earlier, or September 18, 1867, work had been commenced on a new hospital, the present commodious structure on the shores of Lake Michigan, five miles north of the court house, on North Halsted street, near Grace-land avenue. A ten-acre tract had been purchased at $1,000 per acre, but work progressed slowly until after the fire. The building was completed in November, 1873. It has a capacity of \ 50 patients. Its staff now consists of Drs. Henry W. Sawtelle, surgeon; M. H. Foster, assistant-surgeon; C. Ramus, acting assitant-surgeon; Percy Barnesby, interne, and two stewards. About 3,000 patients are treated annually. There is a city office of the hospital in the Rand-McNally building.
On March 2, 1886, through the efforts of Martin Niland, William Dickson, Parian McFarland, Edmund Condon, John H. Dis-sette, and other well-known lake captains, there was formed at Buffalo, N. Y., the organization known as the Ship Masters Association, having as a nucleus the Excelsior Marine Benevolent Association. The present membership consists of between 700 and 800 of the better class of lake masters. Since its organization the association has paid death claims amounting to over $70,000.
In addition to the social and beneficial advantages, through discussions at their meetings, the association has been instrumental in securing needed legislation on raft-towing, lights, fog signals and the regulation of speed in narrow channels. The discussions and lectures on compasses, affairs in admiralty, and other subjects, which are features of the regular weekly meetings, held when navigation is closed, has been of great benefit to the members. The key note of the organization is that every member is bound to do something to benefit the fraternity at large, and is recognized as one of the fundamental principles of the organization. All that remains for the organization to do is to point out to the members the application of this truth, and enforce its importance, that they may assist the grand officers in carrying it to a successful issue.
The membership is made up of men who, by uniting energy and close application to their duties, have worked up to a good position in their calling, men who have been compelled to stand a thorough examination by an appointed government expert, whose duty it is to investigate character and habits and the ability to keep cool and clear headed in moments of great danger. They are also examined on the geography of the whole lake system, and are expected to recognize at once, even though glimpses only can be caught through the fogs or snow, the headlands of any portion of the continuous shores, wherever they may be. The direction and exact location of any submerged rock or shoal, -- and these are numbered by the thousands in this great water area -- must be accurately given in these examinations. To become a master of a lake steamer is no easy matter. It means during a large portion of a lifetime the closest attention to duty in the different positions, as step by step advancement is made. In few, if any, callings are there so many vicissitudes. This vocation requires almost absolute accuracy. Among lake masters are men who, after a decade of untiring labor, have met with slight accidents, and lost all they have gained by many years of hard labor, but, like the courageous men they must be to follow their vocation, they start out again at the bottom and work up.
The history of the formation of the Ship Masters Association is full of interest. Its first meeting was held in a coal-shed by a few masters, not for secrecy but because it was the most convenient place. From this place the great good that has been brought about has emanated, and it makes a shipmaster feel proud of being a member.
One of the causes which led to the formation of the association was the position taken by the line managers at Buffalo, that their masters should attend a nautical school. But the men asserted that they had, by actual experience of half a lifetime on the deck of a steamboat, served their apprenticeship, and had demonstrated their thorough competence to handle their vessels in all weather. Some of the more thoughtful masters, however, saw that a means to the end sought by the owners, would be the formation of an association for mutual improvement and that by meeting together socially a better feeling would be created.
To this end a hall on Seneca street, Buffalo, was rented, about March 2, 1886, an organization formed and officers elected. The association was called the Excelsior Marine Benevolent Association, and its aims and purposes were set forth in the shape of a constitution which bears the handmarks of careful and well-balanced minds. A clause in the constitution recites that "The efforts of this association shall be to improve and elevate the character of its members, create sociability and brotherly feeling; render assistance to those of our calling in sickness or death; to assist in providing a fund in case of death, to be given to the widow or orphan; to discuss matters of benefit to those in our calling, so as to make us more desirable to the owners of the craft we navigate; in fact to bring us closer together for mutual benefit."
The Ship Masters Association is now on a solid and substantial basis, and has a safe and reliable organic law, whereby its business interests may be conducted by business methods. To quote President Clark, who, perhaps more than any one of the members, is entitled to credit in making the association deserving of confidence, "although the past years have been peaceful and pleasant sailing for the order in its voyage of life, it must not be thought that the ship will always sail upon peaceful waters and under pleasant skies. A sharp lookout must be kept in fine as well as in rough weather. Prosperity leads to carelessness, and carelessness leads to ruin."
The clubrooms of the association are places where the membership can resort and always find the most congenial companionship, and a sufficient variety of amusement to while away their idle hours; a place where they can meet on an equality and have the same proprietary rights. Past Grand President Clark says, in his annual report: "The success of any fraternity is based upon the number of its members, and, this being conceded, how can the members expect to receive the benefits they anticipate, without endeavoring to earn them by securing new members. Many new certificates are issued to masters every year, and an effort should be made to induce those to whom they are issued, to join the Ship Masters Association."
The first grand president, Alexander Clark, was initiated January 5, 1887, under the old local organization, and was instrumental in calling a convention of the local lodges. Lyman Hunt was initiated March 16, 1889, and W. A. Collier on January 31, 1890. The convention met in Buffalo in January, 1891, an organization of a grand lodge on a broad basis was effected, and officers were elected, as follows: Capt. Alexander Clark, grand president; Capt. Lyman Hunt, grand treasurer; Capt. W. A. Collier, grand secretary. These officers were continued until 1894, when Capt. C. E. Benham was elected grand president. He served one year; Capt. George McCul-lough was next chosen grand president.
Nine months in the year the affairs of the association are conducted by three men, the grand president, the grand treasurer and the grand financial secretary. Grand Secretary Collier and the executive board should receive great credit in making the paid matter in the annual directory, since 1893, meet much of the current expense, that is, the printed matter, the salaries of the officers, the expenses of conventions, and the postage of the secretary, and no assessment has been made for per capita tax. At this writing there is over $2,000 in the treasury.
Buffalo Lodge No. 1. -- After organizing and adopting a constitution, Buffalo Lodge No. 1, at its next meeting elected the following officers: William Dixon, president: Edward Condon, vice-president; and John Dissette, secretary. The charter members were Messrs. Niland, Green, Condon, Carlisle, Drake, Williams, McFarland, Halli-gan, Sked, Byrne, Smith, Ivers, Camish, Dunn, Jones, Gillies, Dissette, Dickson, Gardner, Provort, Hogg and O'Neil. In the fall following, a larger hall in Washington street was rented; and after the election of Alexander Clark to the presidency they secured better quarters in the parlors of the Hesper. Seeing the pleasant and comfortable quarters, the captains commenced to enroll themselves as members and the lodge began to fill rapidly. Interesting subjects were discussed at the meetings, and the social phase of the movement began to manifest itself. At this time President Clark was ably assisted by Frank Welcome, vice-president, and J. M. Todd, secretary. In the winter of 1887 President Clark and F. D. Welcome started on a tour of organization and succeeded in forming a number of lodges. Two years ago the lodge established its quarters at 55 Main street in light and airy rooms, and with chart tables, a good library and other accessories to a club room, including billiard and card tables. The place is attractive to masters seeking information or amusement.
Port Huron Lodge No. 2. -- Masters residing at Port Huron, Mich., were the first to enroll themselves and extend the hand of fraternity to the Buffalo Lodge. The Port Huron Lodge was organized in February, 1888, and met in temporary quarters until 1891, when the increased membership encouraged a permanent meeting place and, in 1893, a large hall in the Jenkins block was leased and No. 2 fitted up apartments, consisting of lodge room and reading room, newly furnished throughout. The first officers of Port Huron Lodge were: F. H. Dauger, president; George Febo, first vice-president; William Curtis, second vice-president; W. Hutchinson, secretary; and Thomas Cuvan, treasurer. This lodge has a large and active membership, including in its ranks as honorary members some of the best business men of Port Huron.
Chicago Lodge No. 3. -- Chicago was the next port to take up the interest, and a lodge was organized January 25, 1890, by Captains Clark, Welcome and Young. It was a tedious matter to enthuse the masters of Chicago in the movement, but after a time, with the assistance of Capt. James Hogan, 25 applicants were secured, the number necessary to hold a charter. The first meeting was held in the sail loft of H. Channon & Co. Fifteen members were enrolled at this meeting. After organizing, they adjourned to a small hall on the West Side, and Capt. James Hogan was elected president; William Chamberlain, first vice-president; James M. Comstock, second vice-president; William Turney, treasurer, and A. J. Connolly, recording secretary. At a subsequent meeting Capt. James Higgie was initiated as a member, and installed as the financial secretary of the lodge. In 1891, 50 new members were admitted. This lodge now has a large and commodious club room and lodge room in La Grand Hall, corner of Wells and Kinzie streets.
Cleveland Lodge No. 4. -- After establishing the Chicago lodge, the organizers visited Cleveland, and without much delay succeeded with the aid of Capt. Ed. Kelley and Capt. John Nelson (both now deceased), in getting together a sufficient number of masters for a preliminary meeting in Van Tassel's hall on Detroit street. This meeting was called to order by Capt. William Cummings. The constitution was read, reciting that the aims were for mutual improvement, and could not become a labor organization. Captain Cummings was the first to endorse the project. The Cleveland lodge was then organized, and Capt. Ed Kelley was chosen president; Capt. John Hall, first vice-president; Capt. William Cummings, second vice-president; John Nelson, treasurer; Capt. William Collins, financial secretary, and Capt. Edward Mooney, recording secretary. In the winter of 1891 more commodious quarters were desired, and rooms in the old board of trade building, at No. 122 Water street, were secured, consisting of lodge room, reading room and club room. These were newly furnished, in 1895, including a valuable library, chart table, and mariners' globe, two billiard tables, card, whist, and checker tables, desks and all necessary furniture. The drawers of the chart table contain all the charts published of fresh-water localities, and the most important of the charts relating to salt-water navigation.
Bay City Lodge No. 5. -- Bay City mariners were the next to adopt the course of the larger cities, and a lodge was organized at that port in February, 1890. The first meeting in Bay City was held in the office of Capt. C. T. Weeks, and an election of officers resulted in choosing Capt. D. M. Pierce for president; Henry Bennett for vice-president; George H. Lester, second vice-president; Joseph G. Souer, treasurer; Herman Bennett, secretary. This lodge continued to grow and prosper, and the following year large rooms were secured in the Watson block and furnished with all things necessary for the pleasure and comfort of the members.
Milwaukee Lodge No. 6. -- In February, 1891, the attention of the organizers was turned toward Milwaukee, where they were met with much enthusiasm; a charter was granted in response to a petition of 37 names, and rooms were secured on Reed street. At the first election of officers, Capt. James Leisk was chosen president; F. C. Maxon, first vice-president; W. F. McGregor, second vice-president, and R. L. Vance, secretary. The Milwaukee lodge has grown strong in numbers as years have passed, and has now perhaps the most valuable library in the order. The lodge was assisted in collecting this library by wealthy and influential citizens, who contributed $600 for that purpose, adding $500 more for furnishing the lodge rooms. The lodge has a full set of charts, chart table, sextant, globes, etc., maps, pictures, models, drawings, and furniture of a total cash value of $1,600, including the library. The property is in charge of three trustees. Owners find it good policy to encourage this order; they consider that a vast amount of good is springing from it.
Detroit Lodge No. 7. -- Detroit mariners, who had been labored with in the spring of 1890 without result, now expressed a desire to form a lodge, and in March, 1891, Grand President Clark responded, accompanied by the father of the order, Capt. Martin Niland, who acted as grand marshal. This lodge was organized with 34 charter members, and Capt. George McCullough was elected president; Capt. Charles L. Wilson, vice-president, and Capt. John C. Shaw, secretary. By April the membership had increased to 90. In the following fall the members rented a large hall at the foot of Woodward avenue, and fitted it up in elegant style. In the new quarters are a library well stocked with useful books, a reading room, club room and meeting room.
Marine City Lodge No. 8. -- The Marine City masters were the next to take up the line, and on February 10, 1892, a lodge was organized at that point by Grand Secretary W. A. Collier and Capt. R. E. Gain. Twenty-five names were recorded as charter members, and the organization was perfected by the election of Capt. T. S. Walker as president, Capt. Ed. Allum as vice-president, and W. H. Scott as secretary. While there are many lake masters resident at Marine City, the lodge cannot be as strong in number as some of the others on account of many of the contiguous ports coming under the jurisdiction of Port Huron on one side and Detroit on the other. The lodge rooms are located in Hermann's hall, and meetings are held every Tuesday evening. While the lodge has a small membership, the prospects are now brighter than at any time since its organization.
Toledo Lodge No. 9. -- The Toledo lodge was the last to organize. The organization was effected in 1892 by Grand President Clark, assisted by Capt. George Stoddard, of Toledo, who was lost on the Dean Richmond in the fall of 1893. Captain Stoddard was elected president, and E. G. Ashley, secretary. Under Captain Stoddard's administration this lodge grew rapidly; he was recognized as one of the ablest officers in the association. The lodge has elegant and comfortable quarters in the Marine Building, the meetings are well attended, and great interest is shown in the movement.
The first convention of the association was held in Buffalo, N. Y., January 8, 1891. Each lodge was entitled to two delegates for every 25 members. What is designated as the Grand Lodge was then formed, and the officers were selected from the different local lodges.
The second meeting of the Grand Lodge was held in Cleveland, January 21, 1892; seven lodges, with a membership of 800 masters, were represented. The growth of the association during the year was great, showing an increase of 120 per cent. The treasurer's report showed that during the year $9,000 had been paid out in death benefits. The old officers were re-elected.
The third meeting of the Grand Lodge was held at Port Huron, Mich., January 17, 1893. Nine lodges, with a membership of 900, were represented. The reports showed that $11,840 had been paid in death benefits. At this convention the constitution was amended to some extent, and the name changed to Ship Masters Association. The old officers were again chosen.
On January 16, 1894, the fourth annual convention was held in Chicago. The report showed that the association had been prosperous in both numbers and finance, and that the new or amended constitution was working well. The report of the president showed that there were 1,000 members enrolled in the order, out of 1,086 masters of steam craft reported by the commissioner of navigation, thus making it evident that most of the licensed masters on the lakes had been members of the association. The secretary's report showed that during the year $12,500 had been paid to widows and orphans of departed members. The first officers were again elected, as they had shown themselves diligent and active in their efforts to bring the association to a successful and prosperous condition.
The fifth annual meeting was held in Detroit, January 15, 1895. The president's report recited that, although the season had been a bad one, the order was in a flourishing condition. During the year thirteen assessments were made, and $13,000 was paid out for death claims. New pilot rules were thoroughly discussed and carefully revised, and the Bill known as the White or Goulder Bill was indorsed by the convention. The provisions and details of this Bill had been advanced by experienced members of the association. At this meeting the mantle of presidency fell upon the shoulders of Capt. C. E. Benham, of Cleveland Lodge, the other officers being re-elected.
The sixth annual session of the Ship-Masters Association was held in Washington, January 21, 1896, and was presided over by Grand President C. E. Benham. This meeting of the Grand Association, according to custom, occupied most of its time not only in the consideration of purely technical and beneficial objects, but sought to come more in touch with the heads of bureaus and departments of the government. It was considered desirable to become personally acquainted with members of Congress, in order that those whom they wished to influence toward supporting and advancing wise legislation for the benefit of the lake districts might see what manner of men these lake steamboat masters are. That is, it was the purpose of the association to present to the lawmakers a body of men, sober, honest, intelligent and respected.
That one of the menaces to lake pilots is the great size of sac rafts that are towed through the rivers. A committee was asked for to draft resolutions protesting against this custom, and request a change in the present raft regulations.
That a committee be appointed to take measures strenuously objecting to the placing in Detroit river of a bridge with great stone pier abutments, which would be a continual menace to numerous craft passing up and down that river.
The report of the grand financial secretary, W. A. Collier, shows the membership and finances of the association to be in good condition, the membership being in round numbers 500, being a slight increase over 1894.
The grand treasurer, Lyman Hunt, reports cash on hand in the endowment fund December 31, 1895, $10,608; paid death claims, $10,000; in the general fund, $3,651; expenditures, $1,662; balance on hand $1,989; cash account, $24,259;expenditures, $11,662; balance in bank December 31, 1895, $2,596.
The seventh annual convention of the association was held in Washington, January 20, 1897. The president's report called attention to the fact that notwithstanding the business depression prevailing upon the lakes, the Ship Masters Association has had a steady growth, and that it was being upheld under adverse circumstances. He also urged the members to fly their pennants at all times, and that the next meeting should be held in a lake port city.
The grand financial secretary's report set forth the fact that the association was stronger in membership and funds than at any time since its organization, there being 525 masters in good standing, and that eleven death claims had been paid, which represent the loss of that number of members from the fraternity.
The grand treasurer's report shows the condition of the finances to be good, the cash on hand and received during the year being $16,884, from all sources; death claims paid, etc., $13,780, and balance in bank at the end of the year over $3,000.
Some amendments were made to the constitution, and many pertinent resolutions adopted, among them urging the addition of gas buoys at different localities on the lakes; protesting against the Niagara river bridge as proposed; favoring a lighthouse instead of a lightship in the channel of the Maumee river at Toledo; and many others of a general nature of benefit to the lake navigator.
Great good is being done by the Ship Masters Association, both from a fraternal and business point of view. Since its organization it has paid to widows and orphans for the loss of their protectors in a benefi-cient way $70,000. If for no other reason it desires the confidence and support of all the masters on the lakes. The members are making notable efforts for their own advancement in the knowledge and science of their calling.
The eighth annual meeting of the grand lodge was held in Milwaukee, Wis., January 25 to 27, 1898. Perhaps the most important work of the convention was the adoption of resolutions, asking the attention of the government to the importance of the inter-lake commerce, and suggesting that an office be created which should have charge of intro-State maritime commerce, and the official to be invested with the dignity and portfolio of a cabinet officer, to promote and control the maritime commercial interests of the nation.
The reports of the grand secretary and grand treasurer show that, during the last year, nine death claims, amounting to $9,000, have been paid, and that the endowment fund shows a balance of $2,477, $1,500 of which was transferred from the general fund, which was, previous to the transfer, $4,168.95, leaving a balance in the general fund after the expenses of the grand lodge were paid of $693.43.
The officers elected at the eighth annual meeting of the Ship Masters Association, which was held in Milwaukee, January 25 to 28, 1898, are: Grand president, William E. Rice, of Port Huron; grand vice-president, Henry Leisk, of Milwaukee; grand secretary, W. A. Collier, of Cleveland; grand treasurer, Lyman Hunt, of Buffalo.
The American Association of Masters and Pilots of Steam Vessels, which has now become national in its character and scope, was organized in New York City, January 17, 1887, on board the side-wheel steamer Minnehanneck, by 28 masters and pilots. The names of the men who took the initial measures to make the first voyage of this great association a successful one are as follows: Captains Luther B. Dow, David Bird, Jesse Q, Hoffman, Jr., John McCarty, Wm. H. Rightmeyer, Andrew Hart, John Bradley, Frank H. Ward, Henry Cattermot, John W. Taxter, Wm. H. Booker, Richard Graham, Robert Russell, Christopher Riley, Neil Neilson, David M. Manning, Andrew P. Sandeau, Frank J. Risedorf, Wm. Walcott, Wm. H. Foraker, John Brightson, Wm. Kain, Samuel Townsend, Luther Holmes, John R. Denmary and Geo. W. Dunn.
At this first voyage, Alpha Harbor No. 1 was organized under the title of the American Brotherhood of Steamboat Pilots. A hall was rented at No. 207 Third avenue, New York City, for the next voyage. Harbor No. 1 prospered from the date of its first voyage, and from it was organized Enterprise Harbor No. 2, of Camden, N. J.; Mariners Harbor No. 3, of Rondout, N. Y.; Volunteer Harbor No. 4, East Boston, Mass.; Excelsior Harbor No. 5, Brooklyn, N. Y.; Jersey City Harbor No. 6, Jersey City, N. J.; Capital City Harbor No. 7, Albany, N. Y.
All these harbors were established by September 1, 1887. It was then determined by Harbor No. 1 to request each harbor to send delegates to New York City, to meet in convention October 2, 1887, for the purpose of establishing a grand harbor. Every harbor except No. 3, of Rondout, N. Y., responded to the call, and sent three delegates each. After a voyage of two days, the Grand Harbor was established, by adopting a grand harbor constitution and by-laws for its own government and the government of the subordinate harbors. The following named Grand Harbor officers were chosen: Frank W. Ward, No. 1, G. C.; Geo. S. Tuthill, No. 5, G. F. P.; Wm. S. Durker, No. 4, G. S. P.; Wm. J. Hutton, No. 6, G. P.; Benj. F. Perkins, No. 2, G. C. C.; Jonathan Chase, No. 4, G. chaplain; Jas. Gallaher, M. F. Lindle, No. 2, G. S. Q. M.; Samuel F. Felver, No. 6, Frank J. Risedorf, No. 1, G. P. Q. M.; U. Cummisky, No. 4, G. S. W.; Thos. A. Bassender, No. 5, G. F. D. W.; U. Cummisky, No. 4, Wm. Hulings, No. 5, Jonathan Chase, No. 4, G. T.
The annual voyages of the Grand Harbor was held in several cities until the Grand Harbor voyage held in Brooklyn, N. Y., January, 1892, when it was ordered that all future voyages of the Grand Harbor should be held in Washington, D. C., in that they might be in touch with those in authority when offering suggestions as to the changes of the steering and sailing rules and the revised statutes. The results obtained from the change has proven the move to have been wise. During the Grand Harbor voyage held in Washington, D. C., in January, 1893, the title was changed to '' The American Association of Masters and Pilots of Steam Vessels."
The beneficial features of the association are similar to other organizations in which it provides for its members and their families. It has a mutual life insurance attached to it on the assessment plan, which has proved to be a success from its inception. The assessment is 25 cents on each member belonging to the insurance -- upon death or a total disability. No officer having charge of the insurance, either in the Grand or Subordinate Harbor, receives any salary. Every cent collected from the 25 cent assessment is paid to the beneficiary.
The association does not interfere in any manner with the wage question, believing that the law of supply and demand with good sense of equity will regulate all differences of this kind, should any exist.
The association has prospered far beyond the expectations of those who established it eleven years ago in New York City. It now has several thousand members on its rolls, and is increasing its membership every year. From its inception it has always endeavored to enlist the owners of steamboat lines; also superintendents, to affiliate with it, that they may know that this association has been established in their interests, and that the interests are identical.
It is claimed that since the association has been established a better feeling prevails among pilots and masters, and that collisions are less frequent; and that when a collision does occur it is an unavoidable accident that could not be forseen. Many thousands of dollars of property have been saved by the timely aid given by members of this association to a brother in distress, and nothing charged for the service rendered.
It seeks to elevate the profession of a master and pilot in all its particulars, that those who may command shall be educated up to the highest standard in the profession, and that he shall be an honorable gentleman in all the word implies. There is no class of skilled labor in any profession who give a more exhaustive service, or who have as grave responsibilities resting upon them as the masters and pilots. Few people who travel in steamers realize the grave responsibility of the solitary man in command, whether he be a master of a steamship or pilot of an inland steamer. A slight error in judgment on his part would send many into eternity without a moment's warning.
This association has become popular on the lakes during the last two or three years, and there have been organized Harbors No. 42, at Cleveland, Ohio; No. 43, at Toledo, Ohio; No. 44, at Duluth, Minn.; No. 45, at West Bay City, Mich.; No. 46, at Port Huron, Mich.; No. 47, at Detroit, Mich.; No. 33, at Chicago; No. 34, at Saugatuck, Mich.; and No. 41, at Buffalo.
The annual convention of the American Association of Masters and Pilots of Steam Vessels for 1898 was held at Washington January 17. One of the lake representatives, Capt. Albert S. Fitts, of Toledo, was elected to the position of grand second pilot. It was resolved that the next convention should take place in 1900. Annually the national officers will meet to confer, but the regular delegate gathering has been made biennial. The association is in a prosperous condition, having several thousand names on the rolls.
The following officers were elected to serve two years: William Van Keuren, Rondout, N. Y., grand captain; William S. Durkee, Boston, grand first pilot; Albert S. Fitts, Toledo, grand second pilot; Benjamin F. Perkins, Camden, N. J., grand captain's clerk, and Luther B. Dow, Brooklyn, grand purser; the only change being that of second pilot.
The work of the convention was confined largely to a discussion of legislative matters. Senate Bill 95, introduced by Senator White, of California, and providing for the protecting of American seamen from harsh treatment by masters of vessels, was indorsed. Several Bills have been introduced into Congress relative to the steamboat inspection service, to the widening of drawbridges at various points, to lighthouses, etc. These will receive the attention of the legislative committee, and this same committee will also look after routine matters that will require attention throughout the year.
The Buffalo Harbor Tug Pilots Association was organized in the early spring of 1892, for the purposes indicated by its name. The principal movers in effecting the organization were Capt. Luman P. Cole and Capt. Benjamin F. Sutter. At first there were 27 members in the association, but the objects for which it was established quickly became so popular that the membership rapidly increased, and in 1897 there were 167 members enrolled. The jurisdiction of this association extends from Erie, Pa., to Charlotte, N. Y., at the mouth of the Genesee river, and this territory is named the Buffalo Creek District.
The first officers of the association were as follows: Capt. Luman P. Cole, president; past president, Capt. Michael Carr, elected; Capt. Patrick Lynn, vice-president; John R. Glover, secretary; Capt. Benjamin F. Sutter, treasurer; Joseph Lawson, senior master of ceremonies; Joseph Green, junior master of ceremonies; Timothy Higgins, inside guardian, and Thomas Higgins, outside guardian.
A list of the officers of this association is as follows: Presidents--Capt. Luman P. Cole, 1892 to 1895; Harley Vroman, 1895; Capt. Richard Lamphier, 1896; Capt. Luman P. Cole, 1897-98. Vice-presidents --Capt. Patrick Lynn, 1892 to 1895; John Farrell, 1895; Harry Larkin, 1896; Thomas Doyle, 1897; Robert Johnson, 1898. Treasurers--S. M. Sloan, 1895 to 1897; A. G. Gilbert, 1898. Financial secretaries--A.
G. Gilbert, 1895 to 1897; J. M. Green, 1898. Corresponding secretaries -- James P. Fontaine, 1895; Joseph Green, 1896 and 1897; William G. Fox, 1898. Senior master of ceremonies--Henry Hart, 1895; Thomas Doyle, 1896, and Joseph Lawson, 1897. Junior master of ceremonies--Frederick Ferguson, 1895; Edward Smith, 1896, and Timothy Higgins, 1897. Outside guardian--John Hardie, 1895 to present time. Inside guardian--Timothy Higgins, 1895; Thomas Higgins, 1896, and W. J. Smith, 1897. Chaplain -- Adam Hartman, 1892 and 1893; James Burns, 1897; Michael Burns, 1898.
Since steam was introduced on the Great Lakes about eighty years ago the evolution of the marine engineer has been remarkably rapid. He is the one class of marine craftsmen that, above all others, has been obliged to keep pace with the developments of this fast speeding age, and he perhaps stands today the most finished mechanic of a century, that has created more new types and more new occupations than any that has preceded it. His importance is not always recognized by the non-seafaring man, as his identity is concealed from the view of those who travel in steamers. Down in the bowels of the vessel he controls not only the propulsion, but the steering, lighting, pumping, anchoring and ventilation of the modern marine structure, and on the great warship he is even responsible for the maneuvering of heavy guns. The eyes that steer the ship are those of the officer of the watch, but the brain that forces the steamer to her destination and regulates her internal economy is that of the marine engineer.
The class of men chosen to take charge of the steamboat possess more than ordinary intelligence, courage and resource, and in case of disaster to steamboats, involving loss of life, the engineer is among the doomed. He stands to his post as long as duty and humanity require.
Owing to the great demand for steamboats on the lakes, many first-class machinists fitted themselves for the responsible duties of the marine engineers over a quarter of a century ago, and in time they became so numerous that it was advisable to form associations for self-protection and advancement in knowledge and competency. Several of these associations were formed in the great lake ports, but it was not until February 21, 1875, that a national body was organized. On that date delegates from different brotherhoods on the oceans, lakes and rivers met in Cleveland and completed an organization on a broad basis, now known as the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association. This delegation was composed of Garret Doun and James V. Hayes, of Buffalo; R. Doty, William Kennedy and James L. Lord, of Cleveland; Thomas Buchanan, of Detroit; J. W. Shea, of St. Louis; William Shaffer and A. L. Foote, of Baltimore; and William Ponson-by, of Chicago. These engineers adopted a constitution and arranged a system of secret work, each member of this convention being empowered to institute subordinate associations.
From this small beginning the number of associations has multiplied until the marine engineer is now represented by an association in every maritime district of the United States, by 100 subordinate lodges on the lakes, the rivers and oceans.
The objects of the association are very conservative. It does not encourage strikes, nor support any conflict between vessel-owners and individual engineers; but it does claim the right to demand equitable compensation for the skill of its members and the hourly danger inseparably connected with their profession. It claims that only by mutual acquaintance and combination can injustice be prevented. By constant devotion to the objects of their organization do the engineers encourage the younger members especially to advance, with the rapid strides now being made in marine engineering, so that by bestowing close attention to the exercise of their duties, combined with an intelligent zeal in mastering the higher branches of their profession, they may reach the enviable and worthy positions gained by many of their fellow-craftsmen. They hold that by a thorough and steady application of the principles inculcated by the association the members shall raise themselves in their calling, and thus increase the demand for their skill by employers, who seldom fail to appreciate sterling qualities.
The association is not controlled by any section of the country, nor by any particular class of marine engineers. It aims to dissipate misunderstanding and prejudice throughout the land, the members holding each other as brothers, in fact as well as in name. It is the common desire to elevate the character, social standing and qualification of every marine engineer.
While advocating these precepts, the marine engineers as a body hold that they are made to observe and conform to the laws governing the steamboat inspection service, they feel justified in demanding the protection of that department of the United States Government, and that they can do this in no better way than to see that those laws are administered and executed, as it was intended they should be. If they find in any instance that the laws are violated, they feel it their duty to report the offenders to their national president, so that he may lay the matter before the proper authority for investigation. In this they are not governed by a feeling of malice or persecution, and are thus enabled to command the consideration of the officers of the steamboat inspection service.
Owing to the rapid growth and magnitude of the order, the office of national president was a few years ago made a salaried one, which enables him to devote his entire time to the interests of the subordinate associations. The present presiding officer has held the position five terms. The officers of the National Marine Engineers Beneficial Association for the year ended December 31, 1898, are: National president, George Uhler, Philadelphia, Pa.; national vice-president, F. A. Jones, San Francisco, Cal.; national secretary, Thomas F. Dowd, Chicago, Ill.; national treasurer, J. J. A. Williams, New Orleans, La.
The subordinate associations on the lakes, with their numbers, are located as follows:
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Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.