Captain Robert S. Field
Captain Robert S. Field, who began sailing sixty years ago, has had a long and varied nautical experience on ocean, lakes and rivers. His father, Robert S. Field, Sr., clung to the land as tenaciously as the son followed the water, and during his whole life, as is related, never set foot on a ship unless she was fast at a pier.
Captain Field was born in Wells, Somersetshire, England, July 11, 1825. At eleven years of age he joined a collier called the Mutual, and sailed in her as boy for five years between Sunderland and London. On completing his apprenticeship, shipped on the Talisman for a voyage to New York and Charleston, and then went with the ship Cairo, of London, to Quebec, with passengers, from that port proceeding to Montreal, where he left her and joined the lake schooner Scotia, on which he sailed three years. Following this he spent some time on the J. W. Bolton, of Toronto, and, at the time of his marriage, in 1850, he was sailing on the schooner Evin, of Kingston, on which he remained two years. He then went to Cleveland on the brig Mayflower, and spent the following winter on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, plying between Pittsburgh and New Orleans; after this he spent the winters on the rivers for a number of years. The Captain saw service on the schooner Middlesex, the steamer Cleveland, the propeller Globe and the scow Elmira, and during 1860 and 1861 he worked in a rolling mill in Cleveland, after which he sailed in the schooner Consuelo, helped build the schooner S. V. R. Watson, on which he sailed as second mate, and was employed in other vessels as seaman, second mate and mate. In the winter of 1863 he joined the gunboat Black Hawk on the Mississippi River, remaining in her until she was burned, and then going as quarter gunner on the gunboat Tempest, upon which he continued until some time after the war closed. Returning to the lakes he was in the Henry L. Lansing and other vessels until 1869, when he purchased the tug A. B. Nelson and ran her on the Cuyahoga river for eleven years. Then he became owner of the tug Florence, and did a large amount of the towing necessary in the construction of the breakwater at Cleveland. Since that time Captain Field has remained for the most part on shore, engaged as stationary engineer. He was employed in this capacity in the Cleveland Water Works tunnel for two years, while it was in course of construction, and he has now been employed five years as engineer in the works of the Lake Erie Iron Company.
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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.