Henry B. Burger
Henry B. Burger, the senior member and founder of the firm of noted shipbuilders, is a man who, early in life, attained to the technical and practical knowledge of his trade. He is considered one of the best shipbuilders on the lakes, and has the reputation of building the staunchest and finest fitted steamers afloat. It is from his yard that almost all of those well-built steamers, sailing under the flag of the Goodrich line, comes.
Mr. Burger is a son of Simon and Margaret Burger, and was born in Germany December 30, 1839. His parents came to the United States in 1847, and first located on a farm in Sullivan County, N. Y., where they remained until 1857, and where Henry was reared and attended the district school. Soon after that date he left home and went to Milwaukee, where he entered the employ of Wolf & Davidson, remaining in their shipyard for three years as an apprentice, attending school as occasion would permit. In 1866 he went to Menominee, Mich., to build the scow Menominee, and the years 1867 and 1868 found him at Manitowoc building the schooners Fleetwing and S. A. Wood, after which he worked on various vessels as carpenter, then under construction by that firm until 1872 in Milwaukee, and other places as foreman and boss builder for some time. He then returned to Manitowoc and built the schooner City of Manitowoc to the order of Jonah Richards, working under contract by the day as boss builder, which he followed by building the Blazing Star the same year. The next year, he built the tug William Richards and the schooner Henry C. Richards, and that winter he closed a contract and built the schooner C. C. Barnes, but to retrograde, during the winters, of 1872 and 1873 he entered into partnership, under the firm name of Rand & Burger, a combination which continued in force until 1885, when Mr. Rand died. The firm was then reorganized, Mr. Burger taking into partnership a nephew, George B. Burger, the business then being carried on under the firm name of H. B. & G. B. Burger, which firm is still in existence.
The vessels built by these firms and the dates of construction are as follows: Rand & Co. - schooner George Murray, 1873; schooner Thistle, 1873. Rand & Burger - schooner J. I. Case, 1874; schooner Lydia, 1874; schooner Jos. Duval, 1874; Lucia A. Simpson, 1875; John V. Jones, 1875; H. B. Burger, 1875; tug Frank Canfield, 1875; schooner Lottie Cooper, 1876; steamer Imperial, 1877; tug Nora Wheeler, 1877; barge Isaac Stephenson, 1879; barge H. Whitbeck, 1880; schooner Penobscot, 1880; tug F. M. Knapp, 1880; barge Sam Stephenson, 1881; barge A. A. Carpenter, 1881; schooner Olga, 1881; schooner Alice, 1881; steamer Thos. H. Smith, 1881; tug George Pankratz, 1882; tug C. M. Charnly, 1882; schooner Bert Barnes, 1882; schooner W. O. Goodman, 1882; schooner Government Dredge No. 2, 1883; schooner G. J. Boyce, 1884; tug Marinette, 1885; tug Richard Endress, 1885; tug J. C. Perrett, 1881; tug Minnie, 1877. H. B. & G. B. Burger - steamer Rand, 1886; steamer Haywood, 1877; schooner Lizzie Metzner, 1888; steamer Petoskey, 1888; steamer Fanny Hart, 1888; steamer City of Racine, 1889; schooner Cora A., 1889; steamer Isabella J. Boyce, 1889; steamer City of Manitowoc, 1890; steamer Indiana, 1890; steamer Eugene Hart, 1890; tug Harrison Ludington, 1890; tug George Cooper, 1891; steamer Emma Buckley, 1891; tug Violet H. Raber, 1891; tug Annabelle, 1892; tug Alice E. Shipman, 1892; tug Fearless, 1892; tug R. M. Cooper, 1893; tug Julia C. Hammel, 1893; steamer Lotus, 1893; steamer Sidney O. Neff, 1890; steamer Sydney T. Smith, 1895; tug Sedonie, 1897; steamer Iowa, 1897; rebuilt; steamer Georgia, 1898, rebuilt; tug C. W. Endress, 1898; tug Bradwell, 1898; tug Arctic, 1898, rebuilt.
On November 4, 1863, Henry Burger was wedded to Miss Mary Esslinger, daughter of Charles and Sophia Esslinger, of Manitowoc, Wis. Mr. Esslinger was appointed postmaster of that city by President Lincoln, and filled the office for twenty-four years, and is yet living and has attained to the ripe old age of eighty-nine. He was a lawyer and merchant and became a resident of Manitowoc in 1848.
George B. Burger, the junior member of the firm of H. B. & G. B. Burger, was born in Sullivan County, N. Y., on October 1, 1853. He is a son of John and Caroline Burger, natives of Germany. Early in life it was his good fortune to attract the attention of his Uncle Henry, and since then their interests have been identical. He has had the honor of being elected alderman of Manitowoc for two terms. Both members of the firm are highly respected in Manitowoc, and by their integrity and enterprise are considered to be among the best residents of that old shipbuilding city.
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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.