Captain W. H. Humphrey
Captain W.H. Humphrey, son of William H. and Genettie (Ball) Humphrey, was born February 18, 1844, at Vermilion, Ohio, the birthplace of many men who have gained prominence as masters of lake vessels. He received the education usually allowed to the youth of that day in the district schools of his native place, but he transferred the scenes of his future efforts to the bosom of Lake Erie, running away from home. On April 1, 1861, he found a berth as boy on the old propeller Cleveland, plying in the Northern Transportation Company, between Ogdensburg and Chicago and touching at intermediate points. Captain Reed was then in command of the Cleveland and he took good care of young Humphrey during the season he remained. In 1862 he again went as boy on the propeller Wisconsin, of the same line, remaining throughout that season. In 1863 he shipped as seaman on the schooner Tracy G. Bronson, this service being followed by three seasons on the schooner Exchange with Captain Rowell. In 1867 he was given mate's berth on the schooner Exchange with Capt. M. Thompson, for the season; in 1868 he shipped as mate with Capt. S. Lampoh on the schooner Escanaba; in 1869-70 he was mate of the schooner Negaunee; and in 1871 mate of the Alva Bradley. In the spring of 1872 he was pointed master of the schooner Leonard Hanna, which he sailed eight years, and the length of time he remained in that employ renders it unnecessary to say that he gave good satisfaction throughout.
Captain Humphrey then turned his attention to steamcraft, and in the spring of 1881 he was appointed master of the steamer Oscar Townsend; the confidence entertained by the owners in him was but a repetition of his previous experience, as he retained his command seven years, during that time proving himself as capable of handling a steamboat as a sailing vessel. He then transferred to the steamer R.R. Rhodes, which he sailed as master one season, the following season serving in the new steamer Neosho, and in the spring of 1891 bringing out the new sister ship Neshoto, which he continued to sail seven years, laying her up at the close of navigation of 1897. He superintended the construction of the three last-named steamers, which he brought out new -- the R.R. Rhodes, Neosho and Neshoto -- all of which are well built; he also owned some interest in them. Captain Humphrey has shown himself to be a prudent and careful steamboat master and a man of good business methods, securing quick dispatch in ports. He is a member of the Ship Masters Association, and carries Pennant No. 264. He is also a Master Mason, belonging to Bigelow Lodge, Cleveland.
The Captain was united in marriage to Miss Mary Harley, of Cleveland, in December, 1866, and three children have been born to this union: May L., Everett E. and Louis G. The Captain has acquired some realty during his long career of a quarter of a century as master, and his home is located in the pleasant town of Painesville, Ohio, where he retires during the winter.
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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.