Fred B. Barrows
Fred B. Barrows, one of the prominent marine engineers of Duluth, and a descendent of old New England stock, learned the machinist's trade in the employ of the Minnesota Iron Company, at Minneapolis, in which city he also acquired his public-school education. His parents, Daniel and Armenia (Luce) Barrows, removed to that locality in 1857, from Stowe, Vt., where Fred B. was born in 1851. Mr. Barrows is an engineer of unusual attainments, and in addition to his marine work has had a wide experience with the intricate machinery of some of the largest flouring-mills in and about Duluth and Superior. His ancestors came to the American colonies in the year 1636 first locating near Boston, Mass., after some years removing to New Hampshire, where the grandfather raised a family, some of his sons going to Vermont, among whom was Daniel, the father of Fred B. The great-great- grandfather was a staff officer during the Revolutionary War.
The first marine berth that Mr. Barrows held was in 1866, on the steamer St. Anthony Falls, a side-wheeler plying on the upper Minnesota River, between Mankato and St. Paul. On leaving this boat he became engineer in a sawmill, at Hinckley, Minn., on the St. Paul & Duluth railroad, the first mill in that locality, and remained there until the spring of 1880, when he was appointed engineer of the tug Siskiwitt, which berth he retained three years. The Siskiwitt carried the United States mails and supplies to the north shore ports of Lake Superior, and was out in the great storm of September 16, 1881, which registered great loss of life and property. She tried to find refuge at Sucker Bay but could not make that port, and was also compelled to run by Two Harbors, hence headed for Duluth. When she got opposite the entrance of the harbor the huge combers took her and carried her up onto the south pier where she rolled over on her beams end and dropped back into the canal, but the next sea picked her up; she righted and steamed safely inside without loss of life, the credit attaching to engineer Barrows who stood by the throttle although threatened with instant death, an evidence of presence of mind in a time of peril. He was chief of this boat three seasons, and was then transferred to the tug Eliza Williams, where he remained until July, 1883, when he took charge of the dock machinery of the Ohio Coal Company, in Duluth.
During the seasons of 1884-85 Mr. Barrows was chief engineer of the passenger steamer Isle Royal, plying between Duluth and Port Arthur. This steamer sprung a leak off Isle Royal in July, 1885, and sunk, and the engineer finished the season in the tug Mollie Spencer. The next season he fitted out the steamer R. G. Stewart, but did not go in her, as he took charge of the Ohio Coal Company's machinery on the dock in Duluth, where he remained three years. In 1889 he became chief engineer of the Imperial mills, and two years later was engaged as traveling salesman of the Vaccum Oil Company until November, when he was appointed chief engineer of the tug Keystone, of Ashland, Wis., staying with her two seasons, and after one season in the yacht Nautilus, he accepted engineer's berth in the "Spalding Hotel." In 1896 he entered the employ of the Crane-Ordway Company, dealers in mill supplies, as salesman, and when that concern discontinued business he went to work in the machine shop of the National Iron Works until the next spring, when he ran the tug Tomlinson for Barry Bros., after a short time transferring to the employ of Williams & Co., as engineer of the tug Ella G. Stone, and working in the National Iron Works again that winter. In the spring of 1898 Mr. Barrows was appointed chief engineer of the passenger steamer Bon Voyage, plying between Duluth and Portage Lake, a position he now holds. He has fifteen issues of marine engineer's license, but did not keep his numbers up while working ashore. Socially, he is a Master Mason of good report.
Mr. Barrows was united by marriage to Miss Margaret, daughter of Matthew Siefner, of Houghton, Mich. The children born to this union are: Fred E., now second engineer with his father on the steamer Bon Voyage, and who commenced his lakefaring life as fireman on the yacht Nautilus, advanced to the position of second engineer in the steamer Shenandoah, served a season in the tug Zenith, and, in 1897, was engineer of the tug Industry; Frank S., Ella A., Florence M. and Grace M. The family homestead is situated at No. 1128 East Third Street, Duluth, Minnesota.
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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.