Captain Nicholas Gebhard
Nicholas Gebhard was born in Alsace-Lorraine in 1824. He began his life work as cabin boy at the age of ten years, in this country, with Captain Standard, with whom he remained one season, and then went in the same capacity with Captain Webster. Just previous to his embarkation on the lakes, however, he engaged in the sale of peanuts and oranges on the wharf at Buffalo. He was subsequently, during the early years of his career, second mate with Captain Baxter in 1848, and first mate three seasons with Captain Anderson during the years 1849-50-51. In 1852 he bought the schooner Congress of Ira Cobb, and was her master during that season. In 1853-54 he was master of the Charter Oak, following this service with two seasons in the propeller Sun, and one season in the propeller Niagara, as master also. From the Niagara he transferred to the Potomac, which he commanded three seasons, and for two seasons was master of the Badger State, and next went on the Nebraska, in which he owned an interest. In 1872 the propeller Cuba was built by Charles Ensign, and Captain Gebhard, who owned an interest in her, commanded her until his demise in 1885. In 1836 he was with Capt. Webster on Lake Superior, the vessel they were on being the property of the American Fur Company. In those days the crew wintered wherever they happened to be frozen in. There were no locks at the Sault St.[sic] Marie canal at that time, and the vessel alluded to was built at Port Huron, taken to Detour, carried overland on wagons beyond Sault St. Marie on the river, put together there and launched on Lake Superior.
The death of Captain Gebhard, which occurred at his residence on South Division street, Buffalo, on June 26, 1885, caused unusual sorrow in the circles where he was known, especially among the old-time friends and acquaintances connected with the lake traffic. About four weeks previous to the day of his death, when he arrived at Buffalo on the propeller Cuba, of which he was master, he complained of being ill. Despite the advice of physicians and friends he remained at his post, but on the trip was hardly able to be about and attend to his duties. When the propeller reached her destination he was taken home a very sick man, and paralysis, setting in a couple of days later, soon brought him to the end of his earthly career. Captain Gebhard had frequently remarked that he would never leave the Cuba until he was carried off, and it so happened. He was thoroughly devoted to his calling, which, by native ability, good judgment and industry, he had made a successful one. Always of an enthusiastic disposition and good- natured, he readily made friends of those he was brought into contact with, and in the dullest, hardest tmes he was always cheerful and hopeful. He was a man of the strictest integrity, and was never known to impose on any one in the slightest degree. Should any of the large number who served under him be disposed to give their estimation of him, it could only be to say that he was a competent master and careful sailor.
Captain Gebhard was in his sixty-second year at the time of his death. He left a widow, Mrs. Caroline (Ottene) Gebhard, to whom he was married at Buffalo in 1848. A brief record of their children, all of whom were born in Buffalo, is as follows: George Gebhard, born October 28, 1848, married Delia Wayland, of Rochester, N.Y., and by her had four children, named respectively - Edwin, Bertha, Minnie and Albert. Caroline Gebhard, born September 18, 1850, married William J. Miller, a grocer; they have one child - Wilbert. Catherine Gebhard, born September 20, 1852, married George W. Richert, an agent; their children are named as follows: Leo George, Beatrice Eugene, Edwina and George W, Frank R. Gebhard, a sketch of whom follows. Lawrence G. Gebhard, a sketch of whom follows. Edward Gebhard, born September 5, 1862, is unmarried. William A. Gebhard, a restaurant keeper, born March 3, 1866, married Elizabeth Kibler; their children are Genevieve and William.
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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.