Captain Robert H. Sunderland
Captain Robert H. Sunderland, of Detroit, was born in Anderdon township, Essex county, Canada, in the year 1854, and lived with his parents on a farm, assisting with the work, and going to school whenever the opportunity afforded, till he was seventeen years of age, when he started out in life for himself as a sailor, beginning as deckhand on the barge Colorado, since which time sailing has been his chief occupation; he, in the meantime, when not otherwise employed, attended business college during the winter months.
His second season was put in on the Keweenaw, and the third was wheeling on the tug Balize. The fourth season of his sailing he shipped as wheelsman on the tug M.F. Merrick, and remained on her in that capacity for the succeeding five seasons, and the sixth served as mate on the same boat, leaving her to take the same position on the tug Vulcan, on which he remained four seasons. In the year 1880 he assisted in the rescue of the passengers and crew of the burning steamer Marine City on Lake Huron, for which act he was presented with an elegant gold watch and chain, by E. W. Voight, and a valuable gold medal by the Merchants and Manufacturers Exchange, and other citizens of Detroit.
In 1881 the Captain was placed in command of the tug Erie Belle, and later on a like honor was conferred upon him in the charge of the tug Kate William, since which time he has commanded the following named steamers: Isaac May, W. R. Stafford, and the Keystone; he also had the schooner S. V. R. Watson under his charge. During the fall of 1896 he was placed in command of the steamer D. C. Whitney, and officiated in the same capacity on her during the season of 1897.
In 1881, the Captain married and took up his residence at 718 Fort Street, East Detroit, where he has since lived. They were the parents of two children, who died from diphtheria, at the age of five and three years respectively.
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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.