Frank Ferguson is a member of what may appropriately be called a marine family, some of whose sons have lost their lives on the lakes while in the performance of their duties. He was born in Ashtabula, Ohio, October 7, 1862, and is the son of Capt. Israel and Marcia (Whelpley) Ferguson. The father sailed out of Buffalo, Ashtabula and Chicago for many years as master and mate of vessels, among which were the ancient schooners Atlas, Plymouth, Plow Boy, New Lisbon, Snow Drop and Zouave. In 1861 Captain Ferguson answered the call of the President by enlisting in the United States Navy, and on reaching the seaboard was assigned to duty on one of the gunboats of the blockading squadron, afterward transferring to the gallant little Monitor, in which he had the honor of serving in the historic struggle with the terrible Confederate ram Merrimac. He remained in the Monitor until the close of his term of service, when he received an honorable discharge, and on returning home he took up his old line of life as master of the schooner Industry, then owned by Capt. W.M. Humphrey. Some years later he retired from active life on the lakes, and settled on his homestead farm near Ashtabula harbor, where he still lives in the enjoyment of a ripe old age full of the honors due to a well-spent life. His oldest son, William, who followed the lakes, met his death by accident near Conneaut, Ohio, while mate with Capt. Stephen Lampoh on the schooner Alva Bradley, in 1884; Joseph, the third son, who was a marine engineer, was drowned from a yacht off Ashtabula harbor in September, 1888; George, the youngest son, follows the lakes in the capacity of fireman, with the promise of becoming an engineer of ability.
Frank Ferguson, the second son, received a liberal education in the public schools of Ashtabula. After working some time in the machine shops of McKinnon & Co., of that village, and in Mr. Nagle's boiler shops, at Erie, Penn., he shipped in the steamer Nebraska, remaining one season. In 1881 he joined the tug Fred & Will as fireman, and the next spring took a similar berth in the tug Tillinghast, operating out of Erie, Penn, following with a season in the tug Dexter, with Capt. George Fields. In the spring of 1884 he joined the tug Dragon, but closed the season in the C.M. Green. After firing the Cleveland tug N. B. Gates one season, he received engineer's license and was appointed to the steam lighter Youghiogheny, at Erie. His next berth was in the tug Janie Smith, as engineer, and for a season following he was in the tug Kunkle Bros., after that stopping ashore for about seven years, having been placed in charge of a hoisting engine on the dock at Ashtabula harbor. In the spring of 1896 he went to Fairport and took engineer's berth on the busy tug George R. Paige, which office he holds at this writing, in the employ of the American Transportation Company. He has ten issues of marine engineer's license. Socially Mr. Ferguson is a member of the Independent Order of Foresters.
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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.