Captain John Foley
Captain John Foley, who resides at No. 149 Waverly street, Buffalo, N. Y., was born in that city in 1841. His parents, Patrick and Annie Foley, were natives of Ireland, and soon after their marriage came to the United States; they were buried at Hamburg, New York.
Captain Foley commenced his seafaring life at the age of fourteen as an apprentice on the bark Morgan, owned by Mr. Cobb of Buffalo (long since deceased), and he remained on her for two seasons. In 1858 he shipped as seaman on the schooner Shook, owned by L. F. & S. Burgess, of Cleveland, Ohio, continuing on her until promoted to the position of first mate in 1861. During the Civil war, in 1862, he was promoted to the rank of captain, and took command of the schooner Albaran, when barely twenty-one years of age, holding this position of responsibility successfully and faithfully for nine successive years. In 1871 Captain Foley took charge of the schooner Moselle, owned by Mr. Francis, of Buffalo, carrying grain and coal between that port and Chicago. The following season he was captain of the bark Oneonta, then owned by C. Winslow, of Buffalo. From 1874 to 1879 he successfully sailed the tug Stannard, owned by Captain Gebhard, of Buffalo, and in 1880 became first mate of the steamboat New York, owned by Captain Galvin and George Farthing, of that city, remaining on her in that capacity until October 10, 1883, when she sprang a leak during a heavy northwest gale in Saginaw bay and foundered in thirty fathoms of water. The crew of seventeen were picked up by a Canadian schooner after suffering much from exposure and want of nourishment; one of the firemen, Frank Watson, was drowned. A pleasing incident connected with this shipwreck was the presentation by President Grant, to the captain of the unknown vessel, of a valuable gold medal, in recognition of his conduct and bravery. The mayor of Port Huron showed his appreciation by rebuilding his barge.
In 1884 Captain Foley sailed the schooner A. G. Morey, owned by John J. Griffin, of Buffalo, remaining with her until 1886, and the following year he shipped as first mate aboard the steamer Alpine, owned by W. W. Taylor, of that city, retaining that position until 1891. During 1892 he obtained the post of chief mate aboard the Oscar I. Huit, named after its owner, afterward shipping in the same capacity in the large steamboat Thomas Davidson, owned by Mr. Wolf, of Milwaukee, Wis., and from that time on he has had command of the James H. Shrigley, carrying grain between Buffalo and Duluth. In connection with the Stannard, Captain Foley surpassed all previous records for sailing craft of his class, making the distance between Chicago and Buffalo in three days and twelve hours. The Captain has had a most successful and remarkable career; following his course from boyhood to maturity it will be seen that he became mate while a mere boy, and was captain before he attained his majority, establishing by industry, honesty and ability, a name for himself among his employers and associates of which he has just cause to be proud.
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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.