Captain Alexander Clark
Captain Alexander Clark is a prominent and popular citizen of Buffalo, N.Y. He was born May 4, 1844, at Orillia, Ontario, where his parents, Capt. Alexander and Christina (McKerl) Clark, first located on coming to America from Scotland, about the year 1840. Captain Clark, Sr., was a salt-water navigator in the full sense of the term and sailed full-rigged ships and brigs for many years. After his arrival in America he purchased several lake vessels as years passed, until at the time of his death he possessed quite a fleet. His children, Robert, Alexander, John Hugh, Donald, Ann and Mary, were all born in this country.
Captain Clark removed to Buffalo with his parents when quite young, and received his education in the public schools of that city, attending same until his desire for the life of a sailor led him to ship with his brother Robert, before the mast on the schooner H.G. Jones, remaining on her that season. In the spring of 1857 he shipped on the schooner T.G. Scott as seaman, following this service by a season on the brig George M. Able. In the spring of 1859 he was promoted to the position of lookout on the steamer California, and the following season became wheelsman on the same steamer. In 1860 he wheeled on the steamer Kentucky, and the two following seasons he held a like berth on the steamers Araxes, Equator, Eclipse, Euphrates, and Toledo. In the spring of 1863 Mr. Clark was appointed second mate of the steamer Omar Pasha. The following season he sailed as second mate of the steamers Pittsburg and Oneida. In the spring of 1865 he was made mate of the steamer S.D. Caldwell, and in 1866 of the Idaho, on which he continued in that berth for five years. In the spring of 1871 he was appointed master of the steamer Navarino, of the Goodrich Transportation Company, and was in command of her when she was destroyed in the Chicago fire, which created great havoc among the shipping in the harbor at that time. After the loss of his steamboat Captain Clark finished the season as first mate of the old Empire State. In the spring of 1872 he again entered the employ of the Western Transportation Company, as master of the steamer Badger State, which position he held for thirteen years. In 1885 he transferred to the steamer Idaho as master, remaining two seasons on her, and then entering the employ of Messrs. Leopold & Austrian he was appointed master of the passenger steamer City of Fremont, plying between Chicago and Lake Superior ports. His next boat was the Russia, which he sailed until August, 1890, closing that season as master of the steamer Scranton. In the spring of 1891 he purchased an interest in the steamer Robert Mills and sailed her two seasons, with good profit to himself and to other owners.
In 1893 Captain Clark stopped ashore and united with Messrs. Galvin and Boland in the ship brokerage and vessel insurance business in Buffalo under the firm name of Galvin, Clark & Boland. This firm existed but one year, being succeeded by the firm of A. Clark & Co., which is doing business at No. 75 Main street, Buffalo. In 1894 Captain Clark also purchased an interest in the Buffalo Ship Chandlery and Supply Company, of which he is financial manager, and to the affairs of which he devotes much of his time. His career on the lakes has been a remarkable one, and by his energy, seamanship and business qualifications he has acquired a good competency, both in real and personal property. He was instrumental, among the first, in forming the Ship Masters Association, which has become so popular with the steamboat masters on the lakes. In 1886 he became interested in the Excelsior Marine Benelovent Association in Buffalo, the nucleus of the present association, and he was chosen first grand president, holding that office nine consecutive years, during which time he established branches at Port Huron, Chicago, Cleveland, Bay City, Detroit, Toledo, Milwaukee and Marine City. It will be seen, therefore, that much credit is due to Captain Clark for the organization of the admirable system of lodges which form the Ship Masters Association. He is a Knight Templar Mason and a Noble of the Mystic Shrine.
Captain Clark, by his first wife, had one daughter, Annie Christina, now Mrs. Edward J. Lannan. In 1892 he married for his second wife Miss Nellie H. Green, of Buffalo, sister of Capt. James Green, of the steamer Scranton, and Capt. John Green, of the steamer Russia. One daughter, Henrietta Frances, was born to this marriage. The family residence is at No. 96 Plymouth avenue, Buffalo, New York.
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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.