Captain James Edgecomb
Captain James Edgecomb, who is now living retired in Buffalo, was born in that city August 18, 1836, and received his education in her public schools. At the age of fourteen he shipped on the steamer Wolcott and later on the John Owen, running between Detroit and Toledo. In 1850 he went as deckhand on the Arrow, and afterward on the Southerner with his father as mate, serving in that capacity three years. In 1853-54 he worked ashore in Cleveland and the following year was employed on several vessels out of Chicago and Milwaukee. He spent much of his time at first on sailing vessels. The Captain also sailed as mate of the Tonawanda, and as second mate of the Mayflower.
In 1859 Captain Edgecomb obtained master's papers, and sailed on the propeller Nebraska, and then in the Colorado, serving as master of her for four years and as mate for two years. He then shipped as mate on the propellers Blanchard, Newburg and James Fisk, of the Union Steamboat Company, and when the Cumberland, of the Winslow line, was brought out he was placed in command. Subsequently he was transferred to the Raleigh, of the same line, as master, and in 1890 engaged in the service of the Northern Steamship Company as mate of the Northern King, in which he was employed five years. He then became mate of the Northern Light, of the same line, and while he was in this position, the boat, when at anchor in a fog on the St. Clair river, was run into by the steamer Pope, the latter striking the Northern Light on the port bow. The force of the blow carried so far to starboard that on the return roll, as she righted, Captain Edgecomb was thrown from his feet, on the bridge, sustaining several injuries to his side. This accident was the cause of his permanent retirement from the lake, after a career of nearly fifty years. He is one of the few survivors of the old lake pioneers who sailed the lakes before the rivers were bouyed or lighted. E. A. Dobbins, of well-known life-saving fame, with his personal friend, also Captain Perew, and many other prominent lake captains.
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.