Captain Samuel Golden
The Captain is a native of Ohio, born February 10, 1855, at Bellevue, whence his parents removed to Corunna, Mich., shortly after his birth. When he was about nine years of age they removed to Bay City, where he resided until 1872, and at that place he obtained his common-school education. His first experience on the lakes was as porter on the propeller May Flower, shipping from Bay City in the year last named. He worked in that capacity only a month, and at the expiration of that time shipped a trip from Chicago to Buffalo on the Badger State, at the latter place going as wheelsman on the propeller Burlington for the rest of the season. For the season of 1873 he went as wheelsman on the steambarge Dunkirk, out of Bay City, and for that of 1874 was on the George King as wheelsman. In 1875 Captain Golden was wheelsman of the propeller Merchant until October 25, when she was wrecked on Racine Reef in consequence of thick weather. She was laden with 20,000 bushels of corn, and part of a deckload of pig lead and flaxseed, with her forward hold full of flour, and was bound for Milwaukee to complete her cargo. She was nine days unloading. The machinery was subsequently removed, but the hull went to pieces and became a total loss. For the rest of that season Captain Golden was wheelsman on the Dean Richmond. In the early part of 1876, for about two months, he was mate of the tug Laketon, of Bay City, which was engaged in towing logs, and, for about one month of this season, of the Cora Lock, a side-wheel passenger steamer running between Bay City and Point Lookout, touching at Pine Riffle and Augres river; the balance of season was master of the schooner R. T. Lambert, when only twenty-one years of age. For the season of 1877 he was wheelsman on the Montana and Potomac, of the Western Transportation Company's line; for that of 1878 of the Toledo, and for those of 1879-80-81 second mate of the Canisteo and Blanchard, and of the Dean Richmond until the middle of the season of 1884, spending the remainder of the latter season as master of the steamyacht Fero, the first ferry between Commercial street and Tifft farm. Captain Golden chartering the Fero, and opening the route. She made hourly trips.
During 1885-86 Captain Golden was mate of the Starrucca; in 1887 of the St. Louis and H. E. Packer; and for the seasons of 1888-89-90 was master, respectively of the Montana, Empire State, of the W. T. Co., and Newburgh, of the L. T. Co. In 1891 he was mate of the Florida, of the Lackawanna line; in 1892 of the Avon part of the season, finishing as master of the sidewheel steamer William Henry Harrison, an excursion boat plying between Buffalo and Slosser dock, Niagara Falls, now Echota, on which he also served for the season of 1893. The following season he commanded the steamer Idle Hour, a twin-screw excursion boat between Buffalo and Elmwood Beach, Niagara river, and in 1895 was master of the Island Belle, to the same resort, part of the season, and of the steamer Wyoming, of the Lackawanna line, the remainder of the season. In 1896 Captain Golden became master of the Enquirer, which is the champion steamyacht of the lake for fast running, having won the race with the Say When of Cleveland, owned by W. J. White, on the 13th day of June, of that year. She made the distance from Fairport to Cleveland, twenty-nine and one-half measure miles, in one hour and thirty-four minutes, thus averaging eighteen and eighty-three one hundredths miles an hour, and it was her first fast mile run. Edward Gaskin, the superintendent of the Union Dry Dock Company, was the builder and designer of the Enquirer, and Hershoff of the Say When. The result was a great victory for the Buffalo, because it was not thought that her vessel builders could produce a fast sailing steamyacht, and the idea of building the Enquirer was first suggested to Mr. Conners by Captain Golden. In 1886 the Captain invented a bearing indicator which is now in use on all the boats belonging to the Lehigh Valley Transportation Company, the Western Transit line, the Union Steamship Company, and, in fact, on the majority of the first-class boats.
Captain Golden was married January 12, 1887, to Ida Bordeaux, and they have the following children: Howard B., now (1898) aged nine years; Ida Frances, seven; Edna B., five, and Vera C., one. They reside at No. 223 Bird avenue. The Captain is a member of the Ship Masters Association and of Hiram Lodge, Buffalo Chapter, F. & A. M., of Buffalo, N. Y. In the spring of 1898 he began designing and making a Perfect Propeller Wheel, the first wheel ever advertised as a perfect wheel. There have been perfected and improved wheels, but this is the first one ever advertised. The following letter speaks for itself:
It is all that was promised for it. It really drives the boat faster and has positively done away with all vibration even when working the engine to its full capacity, and best of all it backs or stops the boat to the entire satisfaction of the three crews of pilots and engineers, and makes the boat handle with the greatest ease and safety, and I must say that I am more than pleased with the operation of the wheel.
John Golden, father of the Captain, was born near Cork, Ireland, was a shoemaker by trade, and came to America about 1848 or '50 at the age of fifteen. He was justice of the peace at Bay City, Mich., for about twenty-five years and later followed the profession of law. His wife, Elizabeth (Hearle), was born in Ohio, near Bellevue, and died in 1867. Her people were millers by trade. John Golden, a brother of the Captain, has sailed the lakes since 1879, and was master of the steamer Nellie for the season of 1896. Peter J. Golden, another brother, is engaged in the Progressive Cigar Store. Margaret Golden, a sister, is the wife of William R. Davidson, who was formerly a marine engineer, but is now chief engineer of the power house at Bellevue, New York.
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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.