Captain Elmer W. Craine
Captain Elmer W. Craine, of Manitowoc, is one of the youngest captains on the lakes, but his ability and skill have already won him an enviable reputation. A believer in heredity might point to his case as an illustration of that theory, as his ancestors have been for many generations associated more or less closely with marine interests, and his grandfather was a teacher of the science of navigation.
The ancestral home was at Douglas, in the Isle of Man, and Thomas Craine, our subject's grandfather, resided there throughout his early manhood. He was a man of unusual mental gifts, and his fame as an instructor in navigation was wide-spread. In the fall of 1842 he came to America, locating first at Painseville, Ohio, and after residing temporarily at various places he removed to Sand Beach, Mich., where he was among the earliest settlers. Craine's Point, in that vicinity, was named in honor of this family. After his arrival in America he gave his attention to fishing on an extensive scale, and at one time he owned several boats which were engaged in that business on the lakes. He and his wife, whose maiden name was Esther Gellon, had eleven children, as follows: John, William, Daniel P., Charles, Margaret, Mary, Ann, Lydia, Nessie, Jane and Elizabeth.
Capt. Daniel P. Craine, the father of our subject, is a native of Painesville, Ohio, but during his boyhood accompanied his father to Sand Beach. The steamer Northerner, on which the trip was made was sunk near that point. He assisted his father in the fishing business until his marriage, and for some time afterward he ran a boat belonging to the latter, being engaged in fishing along the lakes from Traverse Bay to Pentwater, Mich., where he made his home. Later he bought the schooner Souvenir and engaged in the lumber trade, which he followed until the vessel was lost in 1872, with all on board, including Charles Craine, master, a brother of Daniel P. Craine, owner, who was at the time sailing the schooner North Star between various ports on Lake Michigan. For some time he was employed as a captain on various sailing vessels, viz.:- the bark Hamilton, the Souvenir, the North Star, the Beloit, the Moses Gage, the Lottie Wolf, a schooner; the James Mowatt, built by Wolf & Davidson, but in the spring of 1888 he took charge of the steamer Thomas Davidson, then newly launched. When the Fred Pabst was built he became the first captain, and in 1891 he left that boat to take charge of the Ferdinand Schlessinger, a new boat, of which he has ever since been captain. He is regarded as one of the most reliable and successful masters on the lakes, having never met with but one accident. His wife, Elizabeth Underhill, a native of Detroit, Mich., is a descendant of Queen Elizabeth, of Holland, and is also related to the family of Anneke Jans. They have had three children: - Nellie, deceased; Elmer W., the subject proper of this sketch, and Arthur, a bookkeeper in Chicago.
Elmer W. Craine first saw light March 17, 1865, at Pentwater, Mich. His mother died when he was nine years old, and as his father took him with him on his trips he had but few school advantages. His reading and observation have enabled him to gain a good store of information on general subjects, and since his marriage he has taken a course in Devlin's Business College, at Bay City, Mich., thus securing a practical business training. He remained with his father until he reached the age of nineteen when he shipped as second mate on the schooner Pewaukee, in which he sailed during the season of 1884. He then went as mate with his father on the James Mowatt, remaining during the seasons of 1885, 1886 and 1887, and in 1888 he was second mate on the steamer William H. Wolf, under Capt. Edward Thorp. In 1889 he was made master of the steamer George H. Dyer, now the Hennepin, and during the next two seasons he was master of the William H. Wolf, then the largest boat on the lakes, while he was at the time the youngest captain. In 1892 he had a position in a hotel in Chicago, and in the following year he went to the Pacific coast, where he spent a season as first mate on the steamer Libbie Thompson, a Puget Sound steamer, plying on the coast as far north as Juneau. In 1894 he returned to the lakes and during the summer and fall was employed as mate on the steamer Josephine, under Captain Massie, and the Fred Pabst, under Captain Young. In 1895 and '96 he served as mate with his father on the Ferdinand Schlessinger, and in 1897 he became captain of the steamer John Duncan. In the winter of that year he was captain of the Pere Marquette, and during season of 1898 was master of steamer John Duncan.
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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.