Captain Benjamin Tripp
This name is well known to a large number of sailors, both for the length of time its owner has spent in marine life and for many experiences of a diverse nature, whether or not connected with marine occupation. To him belongs the honor of possessing an accurate knowledge of ship construction and at the same time of sailing, he being considered one of the best, if not the best, of pilots on Georgian Bay. By various companies he has been sent to inspect boats and make surveys, his judgment always being highly valued by his employers, who give due recognition to his ripe knowledge in marine affairs.
Captain Tripp was born in Colborne, Ont., September 24, 1840. He is the eldest of ten children, seven boys and three girls, born to Daniel and Martha (Tuck) Tripp, who were natives of Pennsylvania and England respectively. Daniel Tripp, the father, went to Canada in 1837, and still lives in Colborne, Ont., having always followed the life of a farmer; the mother also spent the greater part of her time in Canada, and died in Colborne in 1858.
Our subject began his life on the water at the age of ten years, when he shipped on the schooner Sara Marie, of Colborne, acting as cook. Upon this boat he remained only part of the season, but was on other schooners of like character for three years serving as cook. He then shipped before the mast on the Catherine, of Cobourg, with Captain Campbell, and afterward on the George Laidlaw, going to Halifax several times and finally to Liverpool, England and Bangor, Wales. From these ports he went to Santa Maria and Cadiz, Spain; Rio Grande de St. Pedro do Sul, Brazil; and thence to Liverpool, from which port he again came to America, and resumed his work on the lakes. For one season he was master of the schooner Charm, of Toronto, and in the winter went to Portland, Maine, and sailed on the brig George Laidlaw to different ports of Cuba, afterward returning to Portland with a cargo of sugar and molasses. He then went to Cape Breton Island and loaded coal for New York, when the vessel was sold to a West Indies sugar firm.
Captain Tripp now returned to the lakes as master of the Caroline, which he sailed one season, and bought an interest in the schooner Odd Fellow, which he sailed two years. The following three years were spent on the Sarah Ann Marsh, of Port Hope, owned by H.J. Morse, of Lockport, N.Y., after which he entered the employ of the lumber firm of Hotchkiss, Hughson & Co., of Albany, N.Y., now known as the Georgian Bay Lumber Company, and sailed the lake tug Wales, engaged for two seasons in towing barges between Georgian Bay and Buffalo. The next year he came into the side-wheeler Chicora, running between Collingwood and Duluth, and then entered the employ of the Beatty North West Transportation Company of Sarnia, sailing the City of Montreal for a short time. Upon leaving this boat he entered the shipyards at Chatham to superintend the building of the Ontario and the Quebec, shipping on the Ontario in 1874 as master. The following season he came on the bark D.M. Foster, in the employ of Sylvester Brothers, of Toronto, and later the Merchants Bank of Canada. He next had command of the steambarge Tecumseh, and the City of Montreal, and was then appointed hull inspector by the Anchor Marine, Merchants Marine and Provincial Insurance Companies, of Canada. This position he held for three years, following which he spent six years on the side-wheeler Rupert, when he was given the position of manager for Smith & Mitchell, of Port Arthur, who had in charge the provisions used during the building of the Canadian Pacific railroad. At this time he purchased the schooner Guelph, which was burned at Quebec in 1882, and he afterward owned the schooner C.T. Van Straubenzee, on which he acted as master three years. He sailed the A. Boody and the Columbian, and then sailed the passenger steamer Riverside for part of a season. For a short time he sailed the W.P. Thew and Waverly, and has since acted as pilot on several boats to Georgian Bay. He is at present in command of the schooner Wm. McGregor, belonging to the Atlantic Transportation Company of New York.
On July 7, 1861, Captain Tripp was married in Liverpool, England, to Mary Ann Anderson, daughter of Capt. William B. Anderson, who spent about thirty years of his life on salt water. Captain and Mrs. Tripp have had a family of nine daughters, eight of whom are living. Socially he is a member of the Masonic fraternity and of the Knights of Abraham Lincoln.
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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.