Captain John Wesley Duddleson
Captain John Wesley Duddleson has demonstrated by many years' experience to be one of the most accomplished steamboat masters on the lakes, and possesses the happy faculty of keeping his steamer out of all kinds of trouble. He is a man of sterling integrity and good business methods, and has held many responsible positions. He is the son of George and Lucretia (Curtis) Duddleson. His father was born in Perry county, Ohio, and his mother in Medina, Medina county, N.Y. They met at Upper Sandusky, Wyandotte county, Ohio, their parents being pioneers of that place, and they were united by marriage, and it was there that John W. was born in 1848. The father's brothers, who followed the lakes, were: Jefferson, at one time mate of the steamer Dart, with Captain Dustin, master of the schooner Dan Sickles and master of the scow Ino, which he built after purchase; and William, who became mate of vessels. The family eventually removed to Indian Mill, Ohio, and it was there that John W. acquired the rudiments of his education. The mother died in 1859, but the father is still living, his age being seventy-five. After remaining on the farm until 1860, John W. became an apprentice to the machinist's trade, serving until the winter of 1863, and gaining much practical knowledge which has proved valuable to him in his steamboat experience.
Although quite young, Captain Duddleson became a volunteer soldier of the war of the Rebellion, enlisting in Company F. Capt. Joseph McCutcheon, 9th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, on December 2, 1863, serving nearly two years at the front, participating with his regiment in the engagement of April 13, 1864, at Florence, Ala.; May 16, at Center Star; July 11 to 22 on the Rosseau raid into Alabama and Georgia; August 30, at East River, Ga. He also had the honor of marching with Gen. W. T. Sherman to the sea, and took part in the battle of December 4, at Waynesboro, Ga.; February 2, 1865, in the fighting about Savannah; February 11, at Aiken, S. C.; February 22, at Winsborough, S. C.; March 10, at Monroe Cross Roads, N. C.; March 16, at Averysboro and Bentonville and at Raleigh, N. C., on April 13. On June 30, 1865, he was promoted to corporal, and was mustered out of the service in September, 1865, at the close of the war. He then went to Upper Sandusky and worked at blacksmithing for a short time.
It was in the summer of 1867 that Captain Duddleston commenced sailing. He paid a visit to his uncle Jefferson, and shipped with him in the scow Ino, remaining until the spring of 1869, when he joined the steamer Jay Cooke as wheelsman, Capt. John Edwards being in command. The next spring he was appointed mate of the steamer Mary Pringle, and in 1872 mate of the steamer Michigan, with Captain William, plying between Toledo and Ogdensburg. The next spring he became mate of the steamer Young America. On October 16, the engine became disabled and the steamer drifted ashore at Yates' Pier, Lake Ontario, Capt. Lyman H. Waterbury being in command. In 1874 he was appointed mate of the steamer Marine City, Capt. Angus Keith, transferred to the steamer Pearl and closed the season in the steamer Buckeye, which was his first command. The next season (1875) he came out as master of the Maine of the old Northern Transportation line. In the spring of 1876 he transferred to the steamer Oswegatchie as master, and then sailed the Nashua two seasons.
In the spring of 1879 Captain Duddleson was appointed master of the side-wheel steamer Grace McMillan (now the Idlewild), plying between Toledo and the Islands, and sailed her until September, 1881, when he took command of the new steamer Thomas W. Palmer. In September 1882 he entered the employ of the Flint and Pere Marquette Railroad Company as master of the new steamer No. 2, sailing until 1887, when he brought out new F. & P. M. No. 3, superintending her construction during the winter. The next spring he transferred to the steamer F. & P. M. No. 4. That winter he entered the employ of the George W. Roby, and brought her out new in the spring of 1889, was presented with a working interest in and sailing her until the fall of 1895, when she was sold to F. W. Wheeler. That winter Captain Duddleson again went into the shipyard and superintended the construction of the steamer L. C. Waldo. He brought her out new in the spring of 1896 and has sailed her successfully to this writing. She is a well constructed ship of 4,244 tons, and the Captain also holds a working interest in her, which under his command she is in a fair way of realizing. He has twenty-seven issues of master's papers of the first class.
Captain Duddleson was wedded in 1895 to Miss Ina M. Cross, of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. The Captain's children by a previous marriage are: Ellen Maud, now the wife of W. K. Fifield, with Lyons, Geary & Co., bankers of Chicago; John Marshall and William Van, both pupils of the public schools of Sault Ste. Marie, where the family homestead is situated.
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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.