Charles E. Harmon
Charles E. Harmon was born in Chatham, Ont., December 6, 1854, a son of George W. and Nancy (Sharrow) Harmon, the former a native of Erie, Penn., the latter of Canada. They were married in Chatham, Ont., after which they took up their residence in Chatham, where they owned the first brick building, the father conducting a shoe store in the same. He was also interested in schooners and sailed some, but suffered financial losses during the Bothwell oil excitement.
Charles E. Harmon acquired his education in the schools of Chatham. Late in the '60s the family removed to Wenona, now West Bay City, Mich., and in 1870 he shipped as fireman in the Ben Truesdell. The next spring he joined the Colin Campbell, as fireman, and in the fall went to New York City by way of the Erie Canal, as fireman in the side-wheel steamer Hudson, towing canal boats from Albany. On arriving in New York he shipped in the tug E. B. Jones, engaged in harbor towing. The next year he went to work on a farm in Catarraugus County, N. Y., but the following spring went to West Bay City, Mich., and joined the tug Nellie Cotton as fireman. Early in 1876 Mr. Harmon entered the employ of the Pinconing Railroad Company, as engineer, remaining three years, and in the spring of 1879 he took out engineer's license and was appointed to the tug C. M. Farrar, owned by R. Armstrong, transferring to the tug Ontario the next season, as chief engineer. In the spring of 1887 he returned to the Saginaw River, and from that time until 1892 he sailed as engineer in the tugs Charles Lee and Mildred (owned by Capt. Harry Shaw), after which he went to Tawas, Mich., and engineered the tug John B. Griffin. He also served as fireman in the tugs Hercules, Mendota and Moyles, on the Saginaw River. In 1892 he returned to Bay City and was appointed engineer of the tug C. W. Wells, which he ran until June 22, 1896, when he went to Duluth as engineer of the tug Medina, owned by C. S. Barker, a dredging contractor.
In the spring of 1897, Mr. Harmon entered the employ of the A. Booth Packing Company. He fitted out the passenger steamer C. S. Barker, which was under charter to convey a circus company to the different ports on the south shore of Lake Superior and the west shore of Lake Michigan until July 5. On August 29, of the same year, Mr. Harmon chartered the ferryboat Edna, and established a new route between Twenty-first avenue west, Duluth, and West Superior, doing fairly well until October 31, when he took out a party of Foresters, ran into the wreck of the old steamer City of Winnipeg and knocked a hole in the Edna, causing her to sink, without loss of life, however. He raised and repaired her, and putting her on the route again until November 18. In the spring of 1898 he chartered the stern-wheel steamer Henrietta, going as chief engineer. He engaged in the excursion business between Duluth, Superior and Fond du Lac, giving moonlight excursions. Mr. Harmon also holds first-class stationary engineer's papers.
Mr. Harmon is a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, No. 27, of Bay City, and filled the office of chaplain three terms. He was united in marriage with Miss Ida S. Hunter, of Grovesend, Ontario, and the children born to this union are: William D., Bertha Pearl, Robert D. and Walter Earl, two of whom are now deceased. The family homestead is at No. 205 East Fisher street, West Bay 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.