Captain James Snow
One of the oldest shipmasters, whose life has been spent on the Great Lakes, is Capt. James Snow, whose name appears at the opening of this sketch. For many years he acted as builder, owner and master, and as soon as one vessel was sold, another took its place, so that he has remained constantly in the business in some way over sixty years. He was born September 25, 1823, in Erie county, Penn., and resided in his native place about twenty-one years. At the age of twelve years he went on the schooner Conneaut Packet, where he remained throughout the season as cabin boy. He then shipped on the Savannah, and later on the T. W. Morris as boy, and spent the season of 1837-38 on the brig Ruggles. When he left this boat he went to Boston and shipped on the John Redding, visiting the West Indies, and South America, remaining on her about two years. Upon returning to the lakes, in 1841, he shipped before the mast on the Brandy Wine. In 1842 he served in the same position on the Navigator, and then acted as mate, and finally as master of the same vessel. After being a short time on Big Z he bought the Navigator and sailed her until 1846, after which he built the Telegraph and sailed her until 1850. After sailing the schooner Henry Hazer and the steamer America, he bought the brig Bell, with Thomas Dyer, of Chicago, and commanded her until 1853, when he sailed the steamer Hendrick Hudson until October of that year. He then built the schooner Gem, and upon making a trip to Chicago in her, he sold her and obtained a contract to build two more of a like character.
The following winter he superintended the building of the Chapman and Maple Leaf, and in 1854 the Autocrat and Grand Trunk. He sailed the Autocrat two years and sold her, after which he built the Nightingale, which he sailed part of one season. He sold her in 1856 and sailed the Portsmouth, in the interest of the New York & Erie railroad, connecting with the Michigan Central, when he sailed the steamer Adriatic one season, and then built the tug Noah P. Sprague, and came to Detroit, engaging in the towing business until November 14, when the boiler blew up and killed all on board but himself. He then went back to the Adriatic for the season, when the Sprague was raised, and he rebuilt and sailed her. After but a short time on this boat, he left her and went into the grocery business in Detroit, and there remained until 1861, when he shipped on the Evergreen City, after which he was on the Cuyahoga and Equinox, leaving her to go in the insurance business in Buffalo. Upon returning to the lakes he sailed the B. F. Wade, T. D. Doyle, tug Winslow, Brady, Huron, Marine City, Dunlap, Monitor, Wood, Bennett and Alpena, being engaged in wrecking the schooner Consuelo in 1885. In 1886 he rebuilt the Eighth Ohio and sailed her three years, after which he came to Detroit and engaged in the coal business, which he continued until 1895, when he retired.
September 25, 1845, he was married to Miss Harriet Tubs, who died in 1850. Their children are James, who is a traveling man, and Charles, who is a yardmaster at Dayton, Ohio, for the Chesapeake & Ohio railroad. On August 13, 1873, Captain Snow was again married, this union being with Josephine Terrill, of Detroit, and he resides at No. 269 Twenty-first street, Detroit.
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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.