Charles W. Draper, Sr.
Charles W. Draper, Sr., was born in Detroit, Mich., February 22, 1850. He commenced his sailing career at the age of twelve, acting as cook on different sand scows for two seasons. In 1864 he shipped as fireman on the small barge Nevada. She was a small scow, with a 10 x 12 engine, plying between Mount Clemens and Detroit, and was capable of carrying forty cords of wood, Captain Tucker commanding her. He worked as fireman on her until 1866, during the winter doing carpenter work. For the next two seasons he worked before the mast on the wood scow Rosa, plying between Detroit and Swan Creek. In the spring of 1869 he shipped on the propeller City of Detroit, which was trading between Buffalo and Chicago, remaining one trip as deckhand and then went firing her, putting in the season on her, and reshipped the next season, remaining, however, but half the season. James Rocket was her chief, under the command of Captain Austin. The second season she ran between Duluth and Chicago, hauling all the rails and equipments for the Duluth & St. Paul railroad. At that time there were no docks in Duluth, so she had to lay-to out in the lake and unload by lighters. He left her in June, 1870, and shipped as fireman on the Brockway, then under the command of Capt. Rankin Rools. On November 26, she and her consort, the schooner Montpelier, in charge of Capt. James Mellin, were wrecked on a reef in Lake Huron, seven miles from Point Edwards on the Canadian shore. They were on the reef two weeks, when they were pulled off, and stayed in Sarnia harbor two days, when they were brought to Detroit, where they were repaired. They did not go out again that season, Mr. Draper keeping ship on the tug all winter.
On January 10, 1871, Mr. Draper was married, and in the spring re-shipped as fireman on the Brockway and stayed on her the whole season, in the winter working for the Detroit Ship Yards. In 1872 he went to work for Chandler Bros, doing joiner work, and stayed in their employ five years, and while there put in some work on the Chauncey Hulbert. In the spring of 1877 he fired on the steambarge Annie Smith and the tug Quail, and in the winter worked at his old trade as carpenter. On April 13, 1878, he was appointed patrolman on the Metropolitan Police Force of Detroit, where he remained three years and nine months and did excellent work, being liked by everybody, but in the spring of 1882 he got the lake fever, and went as engineer on the John Owens, under the command of Capt. Phil Young, where he stayed one season. In 1883 he shipped as engineer of the steambarge James Davidson, and in October she was wrecked on Thunder Bay island. The life-saving crew got the Davidson's crew safely to the station, where they remained three days and were brought home by the tug Winslow. He then went engineering for the P.H. Kling Brewing Company, of Detroit, and in 1884 went engineering on the tug Seawing, remaining on her the entire season. In 1885 he was engineer for Peter Henkle at his wholesale grocery house, and in the spring ran Edwards Henkle's pleasure yacht Lucille. In the spring of 1886 he shipped as engineer on the steambarge Escanaba; 1887, engineer of the Chauncey Hulbert; 1888, of the passenger steamer Remora, plying between Detroit and Sandusky; on the tug Bennett, which was owned by J. & T. Hurley, and was sold to the Craneberry Lumber Company, of Wisconsin, and he had charge of the work rebuilding her, after which he took her up north to her owners, where he remained one season. In 1890 he was engineer of the wrecking tug Henry W. Johnson, working there one season; 1891, engineer of the barge Henry Houghton, remaining three months, and then went to work again for Peter Henkle, where he remained until 1893, then going as engineer for the Detroit Electric Light & Power Co. Remaining in this employ one year, he went to work for the Detroit railway, starting with them when the first brick was laid for the power house, where he has remained as first assistant engineer 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.