Captain Patrick Donahue
Captain Patrick Donahue (deceased) was in his lifetime able to related many odd experienced that befell him during his long career on the Great Lakes, but probably one of the most unique of all was the voyage he made across the ocean in the year of 1859, when he gained his first view of salt water while master of the vessel on which he traveled. Another circumstance that adds interest to this incident was the fact that only one man on board the ship had been permitted to gaze upon the sea before the vessel pushed her nose out over the broad Atlantic. This man was the mate. The vessel was the schooner Valeria, and the cargo consisted of staves, walnut lumber, white wood, hickory and other American woods. The reason for the unusual trip was a dull season in lake shipping, and several fresh water vessels made similar trips that year as an experiment. The cargo was offered for sale in Liverpool, but buyers were scarce for a time, as the Englishmen who were in the lumber business at that port did not like the manner in which the American timber was cut. It was finally sold, however, and the Valeria brought back a cargo of cutlery and soda ash direct to Cleveland, the goods being consigned to George H. Worthington, a prominent merchant.
Captain Donahue was born May 14, 1825, in Canada, and came to the United States at the age of thirteen years. His sailing career began a year previous, when he became cook of the schooner Rob Roy; before the season closed she drifted on the beach at Saguenay river, Canada, and went to pieces, and the cook's salary remained forever unpaid. Then he shipped in the schooner Elizabeth, sailing on her before he removed to the United States. The first vessel of which he was master was the brig Concord. Other vessels he commanded were the schooners William, Watts Sherman and the brig William Treat, George Worthington, the schooner Correspondent, the schooner S. Robinson and the schooner William G. Grant. He was part owner of the last named vessel and after sailing her for eight seasons he rebuilt her at a cost of $10,000. Then he purchased the schooner A.W. Lucky, which he sailed for seven years. The schooner Charles Wall, the four-master Richard Winslow and the schooner Pelican were the last vessels with which he was connected, and in the year 1892 he retired to private life.
While on the Pelican, Captain Donahue started with a cargo of ore from Two Harbors, on Lake Superior, for Cleveland. A terrific gale so disabled the schooner that it was feared they would never reach land. Inspired by the Captain's unflinching courage the men renewed their efforts, and the vessel found shelter on Caribou island. For a week the vessel and crew were given up for lost, but were discovered by chance and taken to Cleveland. This experience was too much for the aged Captain, and from that time his health began to fail. On October 3, 1897, he was stricken with paralysis and on December 18, following, passed to the unknown shore.
On January 14, 1850, the Captain was married to Miss Jane Fitch, of Cleveland, and they had eight children, of whom James, William and Mrs. Nellie Swayer are dead, - James dying in infancy, Nellie at the age of forty years, and William at the age of twenty-seven years; the others are Mrs. Jennie Fenney, Charles, Edward, Daisy and John. Charles is captain of the tug Chamberlain, and John is engineer of the steamer Ranney.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.