Captain Charles B. Galton
Captain Charles B. Galton is a self-made man in the true sense of the term. His career on the lakes was begun as a poor boy, without money, influence or friends. Although still a young man he has taken high rank among steamboat masters, and attained to the command of one of our largest and finest steel freight steamers afloat. He is an officer of quick decision and force of character, and has won the confidence and respect of the firm for which he sails, and enjoys the honor of being invested with the command of the new steam- boats which come out under that management. He was born in February, 1860, in St. Clair county, Mich., a son of James and Margaret (Buck) Galton, and acquired his education in the public school, which he attended until he was seventeen years of age.
It was in 1877 that Captain Galton first adopted a lake-faring life as wheelsman on the tug George B. McClellan, with Captain Hiram Ames, going with the same captain on the lake tug Mocking Bird the next season. In the spring of 1879 he shipped as wheelsman on the steamer Empire State, with Capt. G.H. McQueen, being advanced to the office of second mate the following season, and remained with the same captain as second mate on the steamer James Davidson throughout the season of 1881 and 1882, being advanced to the berth of mate the next year. On September 28, 1884, the Davidson went ashore on Thunder Bay island in a heavy southeast gale, and went to pieces. After two nights peril the crew reached shore in the yawl boats. The next three seasons he sailed as mate of the steamer J.R. Whiting.
In the spring of 1887 Captain Galton entered the employ of Capt. John Mitchell, as mate on the steamer William H. Gratwick, and the next season was promoted to the position as master, and sailed her three seasons. On November 25, while on Lake Superior, he was caught in a fierce northeast gale, accompanied by a heavy snowstorm, known in the records as the great Thanksgiving storm which destroyed the breakwater at Marquette and washed away the lighthouse, and in which many vessels were lost. Notwithstanding that his vessel had lost her shoe and disabled her boiler, he made harbor at Marquette without further disaster, a feat requiring great skill and presence of mind. While master of the Gratwick, in 1890, he had the pleasure of rescuing the crew and schooner Hattie Estelle. In the spring of 1891 Captain Galton was appointed master of the steamer William F. Sauber, in which he owns an interest, and sailed her four successive seasons. In 1895 he brought out the new steel steamer John J. McWilliams, 3,400 tons register, for Mitchell & Co. In October he picked up the crew of the steamer Comstock, she being in a sinking condition. The crew consisted of five men and two women, who had taken to the yawl boat. As it was impossible for the boat to get alongside of the steamer, which had rounded to on account of the heavy sea running, the crew of the McWilliams had to lasso the unfortunates, and had them aboard with two lines, one by one. Captain McCarty, of the Comstock, had a leg and some ribs broken at the time. While this humane work was going on the schooner sank alongside.
In the spring of 1896 Captain Galton assumed command of the new steel steamer Lagonda, 3,647 tons, and sailed her three seasons or until he took charge of the new boat completed at the yard of the Globe Ship Building Company in 1898. For ten years he has been in the employ of the Mitchell Steamship Company, and in which he owns stock. He received his first license when he was twenty-one years of age, and has now his seventeenth issue. Since he has become an officer he has always had first-class steamboats, has never lost a day ashore, never lost a man or vessel, and never involved owners or insurance companies in loss.
On December 17, 1886, Capt. Charles B. Galton was wedded to Miss Maggie J., daughter of John and Margaret (Holland) Ritchie. The children born to this union are: John, Charles W., Edmonds and Edna, and the wife is a typical American mother. The family homestead is a fine modern structure on Water street in Algonac, beautifully situated and commanding an unobstructed view of the traffic on the St. Clair river.
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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.