Captain James Hogan
Captain James Hogan, who was appointed United States assistant inspector of hulls, for the Chicago district, on April 29, 1895, during the administration of President Cleveland, and who is eminently qualified to fill the responsible duties of that office, may be referred to as one of the old-time lake navigators. He is possessed of a fund of episode as most interesting, as he is entertaining in conversation and happy in description. He is a son of James and Margaret (Hogarty) Hogan, and was born in Albany, N.Y., April 10, 1843. His parents, who were natives of Ireland, came to the United States in 1821, first locating in New York City, where his father learned the shipcarpenter's trade in the United States navy yard, afterward moving to Albany, N.Y. While there he and George Notter and Andrew Mason built a canalboat and took her to Buffalo. Mr. Hogan, Sr., then entered the employ of Bidwell & Banta, ship-builders as foreman, and during the time he was with that firm he did some wrecking jobs, notably the brig David Smart, which was hard aground at Kalamazoo (now Saugatuck) in 1843. After releasing her he took her to Chicago. He then returned to Albany and removed his family to Buffalo, locating there in 1844. James, the son, attending school until he was ten years of age.
The first connection that Captain Hogan, the subject of this sketch, had with marine affairs was as ferry boy on the Buffalo river in 1853, also serving as "forecastle porter" in the side-wheel steamer Globe the same season, becoming a great favorite among the old tars who had reached the dignity of able seamen. The next season he was advanced to the berth of cabin boy in the side-wheel passenger steamer Ohio, and stayed by her two years. The steamer Golden Gate was his first boat in 1856, plying between Buffalo and Toledo, afterward going into the raft-towing business. He quit her after two trips, and shipped in the new steamer Queen of the West with Capt. D. McBride. It will be observed that Captain Hogan, as a boy, kept climbing, as he was ever alert for a good boat, and we find him in 1857 as cabin boy in the elegant and notable passenger steamer Great Western, which made sail by steam and was otherwise fitted out with the most modern machinery. He remained in her a full season, and was advanced to the berth of deck-sweep on the passenger steamer Northern Indiana with Captain Fayette the next spring. He was in her when she was burned. He took a bucket as a float and jumped overboard, and some hours later all those struggling in the lake were picked up by the steamer Mississippi. His next billet was in the schooner Miranda, which went ashore in the fall on Point Abino, Gravelly bay. In the spring of 1860 he shipped in the steamer Ohio, and enjoyed the sensation of a boiler explosion to add to those experienced by fire and water. In 1861 he helped fit out the fine new passenger steamer City of Buffalo, to ply between Chicago and Milwaukee, but later shipped in the steamer City of Chicago before the mast with Capt. Dave Linn.
In the spring of 1862 Captain Hogan was appointed second mate of the brig William Treat, and held that office two years, and the next year he was made mate of the schooner Sophia Smith. During the winters, from 1859 to 1864, he worked in the ship- yards of George Nolter, and in those of Bidwell & Banter, Buffalo, thoroughly learning the trade of ship carpenter. In 1865 he sailed as mate of the schooner Contest; in 1866 as mate of the Flying Mist; in 1867 as mate of the schooner American Union, a flash boat in her day. In the spring of 1868 Captain Hogan was appointed master of the notable schooner Golden Harvest. The next year he took the steamer George Dunbar, owned by Simeon Cobb, and sailed her until the fall of 1880, doing a good business, and making more money in 1872 than the vessel was worth. In the spring of 1881 he entered the employ of A. C. Soper, built the Albert Soper in Grand Haven, took an interest in her, and sailed her until April 29, 1895, when he was appointed assistant inspector of hulls for the Chicago district. The Albert Soper proved to be a good business venture, and paid for herself the first two years she was in commission. In 1887 she made ninety-five trips between Chicago and Muskegon, and carried forty million feet of lumber, which was a record breaker. When the Captain was appointed to the government office he now holds, he was obliged to sell his interest in vessel property.
Socially, he was an ardent member of the Ship Master Association in Chicago, and of the American Association of Masters and Pilots of Steam Vessels, both of which organizations he had to withdraw from. He was instrumental in organizing the Ship Masters Association, and filled the office of president the first, second and fourth years. He is still an honorary member, holding Pennant No. 144. He is also a Knight of Honor.
At Chicago September 9, 1873, Capt. James Hogan was wedded to Miss Catherine McCarty, of Chemung, N. Y., a daughter of Dennis and Margaret McCarty. Two daughters, Helen Alice and Catherine Margaret, were born to this union. They are both graduates from St. Mary's school in Indiana. The family homestead is at No. 1675 West Monroe street, Chicago, Illinois.
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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.