David Phillipe Nickerson
David Phillipe Nickerson (deceased) for many years sailed the high seas and the Great Lakes, and his experiences equalled in exciting adventure that of some of the most thrilling works of fiction. He was born at Barnstable, Cape Cod, in the year 1808, and was a near relative of King Louis Philippe of France. He went to sea when only nine years of age, filling the various positions for which his experience and ability fitted him, and continually winning advancement until at the age of eighteen years he was placed in command of a vessel, armed, equipped, and placed in commission for the express purpose of driving the ocean pirates away from the Spanish main. The ship which he commanded was the Roarer, owned by Commodore Vanderbilt, who sent the vessel out in order to insure the safety of his merchant vessels engaged in trade with Spain. Captain Nickerson spent three years in command of the Roarer, which with her four guns on each side and a "Long Tom" amidship, was a formidable war ship for those days. The Captain was a brave, fearless man, and well did he need to be, for he was often not only obliged to meet the dangers of encounters with the pirates, but also to quell mutiny among his own crew. On one occasion, while sailing a merchant vessel, he narrowly escaped death in a hand-to-hand conflict with his own crew, and had them all thrown into prison at Vera Cruz, but after the vessel's cargo was loaded, he ordered the men to be liberated and placed on board, making the return trip to New York with them.
At length Captain Nickerson left the high seas and in 1832 came to the Great Lakes, sailing the first season as captain on the side-wheeler Eclipse. He later, at different times, had command of the side-wheel steamers Bunker Hill, Ohio, Saratoga, Alabama, and Cleveland, the full-rigged ships Superior and Anna Winslow and the barks American Union and Fleet Wings. In later years he was extensively interested in the ownership of vessels, acquiring considerable wealth in this way, and having at one time as many as thirteen ships belonging to his fleet. When only twenty-one years of age he was entertained by the governor of the isle of San Domingo in his palace, as being the youngest captain ever sailing a vessel to that island.
Captain Nickerson was united in marriage to Miss Ellen White, the eldest daughter of Captain Andrew White, and to them was born a family of six children, five of whom are living, namely: Andrew White; Vincent Douglass, an artist of Cleveland; Mary Mehitable, wife of H.R. Newcomb, a prominent banker of Cleveland; Lucy Fletcher, wife of Homer Nash, of Grand Rapids, Mich.; David Hibbert, who is living in Detroit, Mich.; and Eugene White, a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio. The father of this family died in 1892.
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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.