Captain Anthony G. Gallagher
Captain Anthony G. Gallagher, who is one of the old-time lake pilots, and who passed many years of his sailor life in the employ of the old Northern Transportation Steamboat line in the best days of its usefulness and pride and, although now sixty-four years of age, is strong and active, both in body and mind. He has a very retentive memory and discourses interestingly about the steamboats and skippers of that famous line, and the fate of each.
Captain Gallagher is a son of Patrick and Ann (Maloy) and was born in 1834 in County Mayo, Ireland. In 1842, after the death of his father, he removed with his mother and two sisters to America, locating in a locality in Canada where he found employment carrying water for a gang of canal laborers at twenty-five cents a day. Two years passed in this way, after which he drove a team for Richard Oxford, receiving for this service $4.00 per month and board.
After passing a number of years in various occupations, Captain Gallagher went to Ogdensburg, N.Y., and in the spring of 1860 entered the employ of the Northern Trans- portation Steamboat Company as porter on the fast side-wheel steamer New York, and running between St. John, New Brunswick and New York, and one of the speediest boats on that line. In 1861 he made four round trips as lookout and wheelsman on the propeller Vermont, with Capt. Alva Shaver to Montreal. His next boat was the propeller Ontario, on which he remained three seasons as wheelsman. The machinery and boiler of the Ontario were then put into the propeller Lowell and he became her wheelsman, then sailed on the propellers Prairie State with Capt. H. Williams; the Louisville and Granite State with Captain Caldwell, and the Ontario in various capacities from wheelsman to mate. When the Northern Transportation Company discontinued business Captain Gallagher went to Cleveland and found employment as oiler in the roundhouse of the Cleveland & Mahoning Railroad Co., where he remained until the spring of 1867, when he shipped as mate with Captain Jones on the schooner Wild Rover for the season. In 1868 he made one trip on the bark Maria Martin, with Captain Trotter, transferring to the schooner Correspondence, with Captain Jeffers, and was on her part of the next two seasons. In 1870 he entered the employ of Capt. Patrick Smith as master of the tug James Amadeus (afterward sunk off Point Pelee), operating out of Cleveland harbor, remaining with her three seasons. In 1873 Captain Gallagher retired from active service as a sailor to enter the employ of the Lake Shore Railroad Company, with which he remained twelve years as brakeman and yard conductor. He then went to work for the Valley Railroad Company as brakeman, yard conductor and assistant yardmaster, and later was placed in charge of the Valley railroad bridge at the West river steel crossing. During these many years of active life on lake and rail Captain Gallagher has given the utmost satisfaction, and has always been considered a steady and trustworthy man. He has been a devotee to total abstinence from intoxicants for twenty years.
The following incidents are quoted as some of the many experiences which befell the Captain during his life as sailor: He was in the employ of Captain Caldwell, master of the ill-fated propeller Louisville, when she burned to the water's edge in the St. Lawrence river opposite a point on the Canadian shore. She was rebuilt in Ogdensburg, N.Y., the next season, loaded with a cargo of broom-corn, placed again in charge of Captain Caldwell, who had for his chief engineer James Lord, an old-time engineer on the lakes and railroads (and to him is credited the fastest time ever made on a trip out from Louisburg), and when between Chicago and St. Joe the propeller again took fire and was completely destroyed. He recalls the City of Superior when she went to pieces at the head of Lake Superior. Her engines were brought to New York by the Northern Transportation Company, and one placed in the City of Boston, one of their line, and which was afterward sunk in a collision with one of their own boats in the Straits, opposite Mackinaw. She was raised and brought to Cleveland and rebuilt and finally went ashore on the south shore of Point Bertschy, a total loss. The other engine was put into the Empire, also belonging to the N.T. Co. Some years prior to the above mentioned events he was witness to the loss of the J.W. Brooks, another of this company's boats. She was lost round about the False Duck and other islands at the entrance to Lake Ontario, and all on board went down. The body of her captain was afterward picked up in a lifeboat between Sacket's Harbor and Stony Point. The hull of the Brooks came up a few years after, when she was repaired, and the engines of the old William the Fourth placed in her, and she is now running to Hamilton and other lake ports. He saw the Maniken make her first trip from the Soo into Lake Superior, before the canal was built, and it was a novel sight. The boat was placed upon wooden rails and rollers, somewhat after the fashion of house-moving of the present day, and with the assistance of ropes and two horses was conveyed to its home upon the waves. The steamboats North Star, propeller Iron City and Northern Light were the next boats to pass into Lake Superior within the Captain's recollection. The propellers S.D. Caldwell, Ontonagon, Penack (the latter sunk in a collision with the propeller Meter between Thunder Bay and Detour). Likely Belle and Ironsides were among the Lake Superior boats in the Captain's younger days. Another reminiscence of his early days is the colliding of the side-wheel steamer Atlantic (commanded by Captain Shadrick) with the propeller Ogdensburg. The suicide of Captain Case (master of the propeller Michigan of the N.T. Co.) who hung himself to the outer end of the yardarm of the bark Mariner, one of the coldest nights ever felt, is another one of the eventful happenings in the Captain's sailing life.
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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.