John C. Clarke
John C. Clarke was born in Buffalo, N. Y., March 9, 1870, and was educated at Public School No. 36 of that city. His parents, George H. and Katharine (Cronin) Clarke, were residents of Buffalo, where the former holds the position as watchman at the Buffalo Water Works, but the latter is now deceased. Previous to accepting his present position the father sailed the lakes for thirty-five years, and gained an enviable reputation as a master thereon. There were six boys and two girls in the family, of whom William E. is now captain of the Geo. E. Farwell, and James is also sailing the lakes.
The subject of our sketch engaged in steamboating at the age of seventeen as watchman of the Raleigh, continuing on that boat for two seasons, and then wheeled on the Robert Mills and Helena the following season. The next season he divided, wheeling the Clyde and watching on the Tom Adams, succeeding which he obtained second mate's berth on the Toltec. The following season he was first mate on the Italia, in which he sailed one season and a half of the next, finishing same as first mate of the Scranton. In 1894 he was first mate of the D. M. Wilson, until she sank at Thunder Bay, and he was picked up with the balance of the crew, by the steamer Hudson. He started the season of 1895, as first mate of the Maytham, leaving her after two months of service to accept a like berth in the Chili, which was being brought out new. He served in her the balance of that and one-half of the succeeding seasons, engaging as second mate of the Saranac for the remainder. During the season of 1897, he was acting as first mate of the Chemung, one of the Erie railroad's twin passenger and freight steamers, which are conceded to be the finest and fastest steamers on the lakes plying between Chicago and Buffalo.
Return to Home Port
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.