Captain Thomas Van Stan
Captain Thomas Van Stan was born March 6, 1857, at Cleveland, Ohio, and there passed the first three years of his life, coming to Detroit with his parents, John T. and Mary E. (Woods) Van Stan. The father, who was a native of Cork, Ireland, spent the greater part of his life as a painter and later as a detective; he died in 1867. The mother, a native of London, England, died in 1861.
At the public schools of Detroit, Captain Van Stan received his educations, and at the age of fourteen years he went sailing as boy on the scow Newell Hubbard, now owned and sailed by Captain Demsteadt, of Detroit. He spent the following three years on different scows and schooners sailing out of Detroit, and then went on the tug Tawas, as wheelsman. He spent one season each as watchman and wheelsman upon the steambarge Swallow, and then sailed on the Theodore Perry, Gem of the Lakes and Industry before the mast. Following this he spent one season on the Storm as mate, later serving as second mate on the Fitzhugh, and the next season took command of the schooner Jane Mason. For a year and a half after this he was with Captain Kelly on the Sakie Shepard, of which he then became master, and he afterward acted as second mate of the Seattle, transferring from her to the Richard Martini, of which he had command two years. For some time he was mate on the Seattle and the Wyoming, and he then came to the Sauber, spending part of 1896 on her. Captain Van Stan is well known in Detroit and vicinity and has a large acquaintance among marine men on the chain of lakes, by all of whom he is regarded as a thoroughly competent sailor.
Return to Home Port
This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.