Captain T.G. Baldwin
Captain T.G. Baldwin, the subject of this sketch, is one of the younger shipmasters of the Great Lakes, one who has already evinced a fitness and adaptability for the responsible work, a fact due to his tastes for the life, and to the study necessary to the thorough mastery of the duties connected with navigation. His father was one of the most successful and best known captains of the lakes, and emulation may have been an incentive in the rise of the young captain. During the past season he has been master of the J.C. Ford, of the Vandalia line, under charter of the Graham & Morton line.
The grandfather of Captain Baldwin was Thomas Baldwin, a Yorkshire Englishman, who, early in the present century, migrated to America and settled on the west banks of Lake Chautauqua, Chautauqua, Co., N.Y., and who later in life removed to Michigan, locating near Birmingham, where he engaged in farming (his life pursuit), and where he remained through life. He was a sturdy character, of firm principles and sterling traits. He reared the following family of children: Stephen, now a millionaire of Detroit, Mich.; James, a farmer; George, father of our subject; Cooper, a Michigan farmer; William, also a farmer of Michigan; Charles, a traveling man; Anna, Mary and Sarah.
Capt. George Baldwin, the father of our subject, was born in Chautauqua county, N.Y., June 6, 1820, and when a boy moved with his parents to Michigan. He did not take kindly to the routine of agricultural life, and at the age of twelve or thirteen years he went to New York and shipped for a short time on a sailing vessel. He then entered the United States navy and shipped for a three-years' cruise around the world. His connection with the Great Lakes began about 1837, when he shipped around the lakes to Chicago and began sailing on schooners, passing the winters as pilot on the Mississippi river. During the year 1847 he engaged in the government survey of the Great Lakes, and it was about 1860 that Capt. George Baldwin began sailing steamers. He first became mate of the Ottawa, then went in like capacity onto the Allegheny, serving for four years, when he acted as her master for three years. In the year 1871 he brought out the City of Traverse, at that time the finest passenger steamer on the lakes and owned by the Hanna Lay Lumber Company, of Traverse City. Captain Baldwin remained in command of the City of Traverse until 1885, when he retired from the lakes. It was during November of that year that his wife and life companion passed away. She was, at the time of their marriage, a Miss Margaret Corbett, of Manitowoc county, and the children born to this union were Capt. T.G.; Omar, deceased; Charles and Lillie. Capt. George Baldwin died February 7, 1891, and with his departure from life there passed away one of the most efficient and best known lake shipmasters of his day. For about a half century he had sailed the lakes, and the conditions of his life had developed in him a strong and interesting character. He lived in Chicago until 1881, when he bought a fruit farm near Traverse City, and there in comfort and comparative retirement he passed the remainder of his life.
Capt. T.G. Baldwin, son of the preceding was born in Chicago, August 2, 1856. He was educated in the public schools of the city, graduating from the Foster school in 1870. His education was supplemented by a commercial course in St. Ignatius College. Since his boyhood days Captain Baldwin has been a close and discriminating reader of current liter- ature and news, and is known as a well-informed man. His career on the lakes dates from 1870, when, as a lad of fourteen, he shipped on the G.J. Truesdell as porter. The next season he went with his father on the City of Traverse, and remained on that vessel for many years in various positions, from watchman to mate, and it was while acting as second mate of this boat that he passed his examination and was made first mate; and the following season was granted a master's certificate. In 1885 he succeeded his father as master of the City of Traverse, continuing in command until the vessel was sold, June 19, 1887. The balance of the season he was mate of the Gill.
In 1888 he brought out the Petoskey, of the Seymour Transportation Company, and ran her for one season. The season of 1889 he began as wheelsman on the Jay Gould, on Lake Superior. After three trips he was appointed second mate of the City of Duluth, and after one trip was made mate, serving the balance of the season. The following two years Captain Baldwin conducted a meat market business at Traverse City, but in 1892 he returned to the lakes as mate of the Lawrence. In July of that year he went onto the City of Charlevoix as mate for the balance of the season, and in 1893 went as mate of the City of Traverse, the boat on which he spent about twenty-two years, and ran as such for five years. In the spring of 1898 Captain Baldwin was appointed master of the J.C. Ford, of the Vandalia line, under charter by Graham & Morton, which vessel he commanded through the past season.
Captain Baldwin was married to Miss Ella Meaney, of Chicago, and has one daughter, Lillian G. He is a charter member of the F. & A.M., of Traverse City. In his work on the lakes he has been quite successful. Though comparatively young in years he is possessed of the same admirable and sturdy qualities which gave to his father such marked eminence among lake mariners of a generation ago.
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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.