John Pridgeon, Jr
The first steamboat owned by the late John Pridgeon was the United, in which he hauled sand from Ft. Wayne to be used in the first paving ever done in Detroit. On this boat he lived with his wife and child, and here, while a babe in arms, John Pridgeon, Jr., had his first experience in steamboating. In later years, when the elder Pridgeon had disposed of all this vessel property, he frequently urged his son to follow his example, but the latter's love for the business, the charm of it, perhaps, caused him to decline, and he is to-day an extensive owner of vessel stock.
Our subject was born August 1, 1852, in a cottage on what was then known as the fair ground, near what is now called Sycamore Street. When but a little over sixteen years of age he was at work on board the propeller B. F. Wade, as clerk, a position he held about four years. He then shipped as clerk on the City of Duluth, running between Chicago and Duluth, and after a time came ashore, and took charge of the office of the Chicago, Sarnia & Grand Trunk line at Ft. Gratiot. His father had a controlling interest in the line, which consisted of the steamers B. F. Wade, Sun, Montgomery, S. D. Caldwell and Antelope, and he remained in the Ft. Gratiot office until the Chicago & Grand Trunk railway was completed, and the connection between Sarnia and Chicago abandoned.
Mr. Pridgeon then returned to Detroit and went into his father's office, where he remained until the latter had disposed of all his vessel property. At the death of the father the son was made one of the executors of the estate. Mr. Pridgeon is largely interested in Detroit real estate, and is a director of the Detroit River Savings Bank. He is also an officer of the following vessel companies: President of the State Transportation Company, propeller John Pridgeon, Jr.; vice-president of the Red Star line, steamer Greyhound; vice-president of the White Star line, steamer City of Toledo; president of the Pridgeon Transportation Company, propeller A. A. Parker and barge B. W. Parker.
Soon after his return to Detroit from Fort Gratiot he became interested in politics, and December 23, 1879, he was appointed a member of the first park commission, instituted by Mayor Langdon. This commission took charge of Belle Isle Park immediately after the purchase of the island by the city, but owing to some defect in the law the Supreme Court overturned the act of creating it, and the board went out of office. He was elected member of the city council in 1886, and was a member of that body when it was abolished by the legislature, September 26, 1887. At the election of that year he was the Democratic nominee for mayor, and, being elected, served during 1888 and 1889. He was subsequently appointed a member of the Metropolitan Police Commission by Governor Luce, serving until July 1, 1892, when the old commission gave place to a new one appointed by the mayor.
In the public life Mr. Pridgeon earned the respect and good will of the people. His administration of the mayor's office was clean, dignified and conservative, and few incumbents of that position have conducted it with less friction and more general satisfaction than Mr. Pridgeon.
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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.