Captain Robert Kerr
Captain Robert Kerr, who was for years a well known vessel master on the lakes, was born in Belfast, in the North of Ireland, in 1825, and went to sea at the age of thirteen years. His entire time was spent on salt water until 1850, when he came upon the Great Lakes. At Lockport, N.Y., the Captain married Miss Martha Robinson, and immediately thereafter came to Ohio City (now the west side of Cleveland), where he resided until his death. His first command was the schooner William B. Castle, of which he was master during 1856. In 1857-58-59 he sailed the schooner Grace Murray, and in 1860-61-62 the bark David Morris. In the spring of 1863, in company with the late Capt. S.F. Drake, he built and brought out the topsail schooner C.J. Magill, which he sailed for eighteen years. The Magill is still afloat and is a fine looking vessel yet, and in the thirty-four years of her career she has never been ashore nor had any serious accident. Captain Kerr sold the Magill in the spring of 1881, and shortly afterward bought the bark Sunnyside, which he sailed until she was sunk on Lake Michigan during a very heavy squall in collision with the schooner S.H. Foster, on the night of August 19, 1883. The sinking of the Sunnyside was wholly unavoidable, and was the only loss Captain Kerr ever suffered in his thirty-two years' experience as master. Always partial to square-rigged vessels, he purchased, in the spring of 1884, the bark Constitution, and sailed her until he was accidentally knocked overboard by the jibbing of the mainsail and drowned in Detroit river on the night of October 30, 1887. Thus suddenly terminated the trip which he had fully decided beforehand should be his last on the lakes. Captain Kerr was sixty-two years of age at the time of his death. He left a wife, two sons and two daughters.
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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.