Captain Robert Chestnut
Captain Robert Chestnut, the courteous and popular master of the passenger and freight steamer Cuba, was born in Kingston, Ont., in 1852, a son of Samuel and Mary (Dunlop) Chestnut. Two of his brothers, James and Henry, follow the same calling, the former as engineer of the Walter L. Frost, of the Ogdensburg Transportation Company, and the latter as master of the steamer Melbourne, of the Montreal & Chicago Shipping Company.
Robert Chestnut attended the public schools of his native city until he commenced sailing, which was in the spring of 1869, on the side-wheel passenger steamer Kingston, plying between Montreal and Hamilton. The following season he joined the propeller Dalhousie, which plied between Chicago and Montreal; in the spring of 1871 he shipped as wheelsman on the steamer Georgia, and in 1872 on the side-wheel steamer Corinthian, running between Hamilton and Montreal; in 1873 he engaged as wheelsman on the prop- eller Canada, of the Montreal Transit line, between Montreal and Chicago, holding that berth four seasons. In the spring of 1877 Captain Chestnut was appointed mate and pilot of the propeller Lake Erie, of the Lake & River Steamship Co., of Hamilton, Ont., retaining that office for three seasons; in 1880 he became mate and pilot of the propeller Dominion, between Toledo and Montreal. The following season he was made mate of the side-wheel passenger steamer Hastings, which ran between Kingston and Toronto. His next boat was the Norseman, a passenger steamer playing on Lake Ontario between Charlotte and Port Hope, of which he was mate, remaining on her two seasons. In the spring of 1884 he was appointed mate of the steamer Prussia, which was engaged in the passenger and freight business between Montreal, Port William and Duluth, and in 1885 became mate of the lake tug James A. Walker. In 1886 he transferred to the Niagara, which was engaged in the lumber trade between Manistee and Quebec, holding mate's berth on her four years, and in the spring of 1890 he was appointed master, sailing her four years. His next command was the propeller Lake Michigan, which he sailed between Montreal and Duluth, and the following spring he was returned to his old boat, the Niagara. In the spring of 1896 Captain Chestnut entered the employ of the Montreal & Chicago Shipping Co., as master of the passenger and freight steamer Cuba, which position he holds at this writing. He has always enjoyed the utmost confidence of the people for whom he has sailed, and conducts his steamboats to their destination without accident or mishap.
In 1877 Captain Chestnut was united in marriage with Miss Mary La Mont, of Aberdeen, Scotland. They reside at No. 2 Center street, St. Catharines, Ont. The Captain is a Master Mason, belonging to Maple Leaf Lodge No. 103, of St. Catharines.
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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.