Captain William Ellsworth Franklin
William H. Franklin, father of our subject, was born in Rochester, N.Y., who was a son of Elisha Franklin, who was a grandson of Col. John Franklin, of Wyoming massacre fame. He moved from Rochester, N.Y. to Hillsdale county, Mich., when he was yet young, later making his home on Mackinaw Island. In his earlier years he was a fisherman, and afterward officiated for several years, as master of the little schooner Shoe Pack, engaged in the freight and passenger trade. Some time prior to 1865 he retired from the lakes, and conducted a hotel in Elk Rapids, remaining in that business until 1870; in that year he moved to Northport, in the same State, where he also followed the hotel business until about 1891, when he retired.
Capt. W.E. Franklin, whose name introduces this sketch, received the better part of his education at the public schools of Northport, Mich. Laying aside his books at the age of fourteen, he went on the lakes, his first position on a vessel being the Cecelia. After one season on her, he went "before the mast" for three years on various vessels, and then in the spring of 1881 became wheelsman of the City of Grand Rapids for a season. In the fall of 1881 he went to Colorado, where, for the next ten months, he was employed as bookkeeper at Blackhawk, after which, in the fall of 1882, he returned to the lakes, and shipped on the T.S. Faxton, of Traverse City, remaining on her some three years, first as wheelsman, and later as mate. In 1886 he went as mate of the Grand Rapids, and sailed on her until 1891; in that year identifying himself with the North Michigan line, serving as mate of the Charlevoix until June 1st. same year. He then went to Detroit, and shipped on the Gazelle, a passenger steamer, plying between Traverse City and Mackinaw, being master of her during the balance of the season. In the spring of 1892 he was appointed master of the City of Grand Rapids, and sailed her two seasons - 1892-93; then in 1894 shipped as mate on the J.W. Westcott, a boat engaged in the iron ore trade, and remained on her one season. In 1895 he went again as mate on the Charlevoix, and in that capacity sailed on her until she was tied up. In 1896 he was made master of the Alice M. Gill, owned by William Gill & Sons, of Northport, Mich., and has remained with that vessel and in that same capacity ever since.
The Captain is proverbial for his carefulness, sagacity, and success as a mariner, never having met with an accident of any kind since he became master. He has made his own way upward, and well merits the confidence reposed in him.
On July 30, 1894, Captain Franklin was married to Miss Lillie Baldwin, daughter of Capt. George Baldwin, who was with the Hannah Lay Company some twenty-three years, and was one of the oldest and best captains on the lakes. Two children have been born to this union: Margaret and Baldwin. Socially, our subject is a member of the F. & A.M., affiliating with the Blue Lodge No. 265, Suttons Bay, Mich., and with the Chapter No. 102 Traverse City, Michigan.
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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.