Jeremiah O. Rogers
A more genial spirit is not known among the marine men of Buffalo harbor than this gentleman, better known as "Jerry" Rogers, the skillful chief engineer of the Union Steamboat line, the "Soo" line and the Union Transit line. He is the only remaining member of the family of Captain Charles and Mary (Mason) Rogers, the former of whom, born in Bristol, England, was a well-known sailor in his day, and was master of lake vessels for many years previous to his demise in 1854. Captain Rogers had at one time command of the old propeller Charter Oak, and was also part owner of her with A. R. Cobb, one of the most prominent business men of Buffalo, in the early days. The Charter Oak was originally a brig. Her engines were small and of the old high pressure pattern, the cylinder having an 18-inch bore and 24-inch stroke. She plied between Buffalo, Fort Stanley and Chicago. The mother of our subject was a daughter of Squire Mason, who was a justice of the peace at Black Rock in 1808, and went on a trip of inspection with Gov. Dewitt Clinton on the Erie canal in 1825.
The subject of this sketch was born in Buffalo, September 24, 1841, and upon leaving school became apprentice in the shops of the Sheppard Iron Works. Before finishing his time he enlisted in the 11th New York Cavalry for service in the Civil war, served to the close of the struggle, and then returned and completed his term at his trade. His first experience in the lake service was as second engineer of the steamer Mendota, of Dole's line, during the season of 1866. The succeeding season he entered the service of the old Northern Transportation Company, of Cleveland, and while with them was chief engineer of the propeller Michigan one season, and of the Maine two seasons. In 1870 his services were engaged by the Union Steamboat Company, his first berth with them being that of chief engineer of the old propeller Araxes. Succeeding that he served several seasons each as chief engineer of the steamers Atlantic, Arctic and Nyack, all in the passenger service, and was in the latter steamer six seasons. On his last trip in the Arctic down through the Sault Ste. Marie river, in the fall of 1876, she was frozen in at the Sailors Encampment on the 28th of November, together with thirteen other propellers and twenty-six vessels. The passengers, officers and crew of the Arctic were compelled to walk on the ice to Detour, and there hired a sailboat to take them to Mackinac Island. From there they managed to get to Cheboygan, Mich., at that place boarding the steamer St. Joseph, on which they eventually reached Detroit, and from there went by rail to their respective homes. The weather was bitterly cold during all the trip, it being fourteen degrees below zero while they were in the sailboat, going across to Mackinac. Before leaving on the St. Joseph they were compelled to cut her out of the ice, as she had frozen in the night previous to their departure. Mr. Rogers was appointed chief engineer of the Union Steamboat line in March, 1883, and resigned in November, 1897, then of the Soo Line, and in October, 1894, of the Union Transit Line, which later two positions he still retains to the complete satisfaction of all concerned.
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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.