Captain Luman P. Cole
Captain Luman P. Cole, of the tug E.E. Frost, of the Owen's Tug line, was born in Medina county, Ohio, August 24, 1840. He is a son of Solomon and Sarah (Tryon) Cole, the former of whom was of Dutch descent, and the latter of English ancestry. The great-grandfather of our subject was a native of Holland, was married in that country, and after the birth of five of his children emigrated to the State of Pennsylvania, taking up a tract of 1,300 acres of land, which he purchased of the Holland Land Company, and which lay two and a half miles below the present site of the county seat of Bradford county, Pennsylvania.
Solomon Cole, the grandfather of our subject, inherited the 1,300 acres of land above mentioned, and lived there until some time in the 'thirties. He was the father of eleven children - seven sons and four daughters - the names of some of whom are as follows: John, Stephen, David, Solomon, Sarah, Elizabeth.
Of these eleven children, Solomon Cole, father of our subject, was born in 1802 or 1803, and lived on the old homestead until he was married, his father having divided his estate among his children, giving each 100 acres. The share falling to Solomon lay directly across the Susquehanna river from Wysox, Penn. He was well educated, first in the common schools, and then at Philadelphia and at Harrisburg, and selected the Methodist ministry as a means of doing good as well as a means of earning a livelihood. For eleven years he followed the ministry of this Church, and at the end of this period, having for some time previously reflected deeply on the meaning and interpretation of the Bible, and on the facts and relations of life, became a Universalist in religious belief, but never preached after leaving the Methodist Church. In 1824 he married Sarah Tryon, daughter of David Tryon, of Brockville, Canada, who was a descendant of David Tryon, a great-great uncle of whom was at one time a general in the British army. During the war of 1812 his wife's father, David Tryon, was arrested for harboring his brother Daniel, who belonged to the American army, was tried, convicted and sentenced to be shot next morning at ten o'clock; but during the night in some mysterious way he was enabled to escape, and came to the American side, settling at Hulberton, N.Y., where he bought a farm and lived until 1826, the year after the Erie canal was completed, and the waters of Lake Erie united with those of the Hudson river. The children of Solomon and Sarah Cole were seven in number, as follows: Ada, born in 1825; Benjamin R., in 1827; David W., in 1830; Charlotte Ann, 1833; Oscar O., in 1836; Elizabeth, in 1838; and Lumen P., August 14, 1840. All of these children were born in Pennsylvania except the subject of this sketch, who was born in Medina county, Ohio, his mother being there at the time in connection with some legal business in which she was interested.
Some few years after the birth of our subject his parents removed to a place called Horse Heads, in Chemung county, N.Y., lived there a couple of years, and then moved to Geneva, N.Y. His education was received in the common schools and in the academy at Geneva, the desire of his parents being to prepare him for the study and practice of med- icine. To this course he was very much opposed, so much so that he ran away from home to become a driver on the canal. After driving on the Chemung canal one season, and losing his wages, he went home, poorer in purse and far more poorly clad than in the spring, but his parents were not reconciled to his giving up the study of medicine, and he was not reconciled to its study, so he went down to the steamboat docks on Seneca lake and secured work at six dollars per month on a schooner under Captain Morse, remaining until the next April. At this time, in the spring of 1853, his brother David being sick in Buffalo, he and his mother went to that city to care for him, and a short time afterward he actually began the study of medicine under Dr. Gray, remaining with him until the death of the Doctor's wife, which broke up his studies, because of the breaking up of the Doctor's life for a time. Therefore he returned to Geneva, and when the season of navigation opened went to work upon the canal. The next year he entered the employ of Edward Gallagher, a canal man, running a boat for a Utica line, and who was afterward an assemblyman for nine terms. After working in different capacities for a few seasons he took command of his brother's boat, the Cayuga, on which he remained until 1858, when he bought a half interest in the boat and continued to run her until 1861. Buying a place at Canastota, he made that village his home until 1862, when the military company to which he belonged was ordered out from Syracuse, but for some reason did not go to the front.
After being in several places, including Washington, New York and Baltimore, he went to Alexandria, Va., and into a government transport on the Potomac river, remaining on that boat for two or three months during the years 1862-63, and balance of time in the quartermaster department, after which he returned to Seneca Lake, where he purchased an interest in a canal boat. In 1865 he bought an interest in his brother's boat, the J.A. Carmichael, and commanded her during that summer and the season of 1866, when he sold out and went to steamboating on Seneca lake, after which he took charge of a boat for the Morris Run Coal Company. In 1867 he removed to Buffalo, and 1868 began running a boat, the Lon Eads, for Capt. George Fairfield. In 1869 he was captain of the tug J.C. Anthony, and ran her two season. In 1871 he built the tug Dave & Mose, selling her at the end of two years, and then went into a billiard room for a gentleman in Buffalo at $1,000 per year. During the year 1875 he ran the tug Fairfield, in 1877 the tug Game Cock, and in 1878 the tug Hercules. He then, in company with his brother Benjamin, bought a hotel on Central wharf, which contained thirty-five rooms, and ran that two years, when he sold his interest to his brother. In 1880 he ran the tug Donaldson; in 1881 the tug H. Smith; in 1882 the Fairfield, and in 1883 the Donaldson. During the following two years he was in the West and South, Chicago, St. Louis and New Orleans, after which he began working on the tug Lone Star and was superintendent of the line, which he commanded until 1894, when he was transferred to the tug Trenton, on which he remained until 1896, when he changed to the E.E. Frost, of which he has been captain ever since.
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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.