Captain C. M. Hearnes
Captain C. M. Hearnes will be recognized as perhaps one of the oldest masters now in active service on the lakes. He was born on the Isle of Tonto, Lake Ontario, in 1821, while his parents were traveling on the way to Oswego, N. Y., and for a number of years it was an undecided question with the Captain whether he was an American citizen or not. In order to remove any doubts he took out naturalization papers, which he still holds as curios. His school days were limited, as he commenced sailing when but eleven years old as cabin boy on the passenger packet Lord Byron, plying between Oswego and Kingston, Ont., and touching at intermediate ports, with his uncle, who was part owner of the boat. In the spring of 1833 he went as cook on the same packet, and the next season he was cook on the Charlotte, transferring from her to the schooner Adams.
His next berth was before the mast on the schooner Tom Willett and Cleopatra, and following this he was engaged in like service on the schooners Richmond and Albany, out of Oswego. He then removed to Cleveland, out of which port he shipped before the mast on the schooners Elizabeth A. Ward, Jenny Lind, Walter Joy and Havana, in turn, the next spring making one trip on the John Grant. The last named vessel capsized in Lake Erie, off Erie, and the crew were picked up by the captain of the schooner (on which Captain Hearnes' fellow townsman, Capt. George Warner, was sailing before the mast), and taken on to Buffalo. In the spring of 1847 Captain Hearnes sailed the Henry Ainsworth, and the next season was appointed mate of and fitted out the schooner Leland. The Trenton was his next boat, and from her he went to the Oneida, which was considered the smartest craft on the lakes. He was then appointed second mate of the brig Courtland, which went ashore in the Cut on the way up from Buffalo, but she was soon floated and continued her voyage. The Captain subsequently went as mate on the schooner General Harrison; before the mast on the Henry Crevolin and the brig Maryland, and the following season shipped as mate with Captain Cramer on the schooner Huron.
In 1848 Captain Hearnes remained ashore and engaged in the shipyard of Tisdale & Johnson, for whom he worked eight years. Having acquired some capital during this time he purchased the schooner Industry and sailed her four years in the grain trade between Cleveland, Buffalo and Oswego; she struck and went to pieces on the piers at Cleveland harbor, while Captain Fish was sailing her. He then bought the schooner Sergeant, which he sailed ten years. His next boat was the schooner J. R. Pelton, which he owned and sailed nine years, and after disposing of her he stopped ashore for about a year. In the spring of 1886 he purchased the schooner Rival, which he has sailed off and on for the past ten years, laying her up at the close of the season of 1896 in the Cuyahoga River, Cleveland, thus rounding out a period of sixty-four years as boy, man, and master of sailing vessels on the lakes. Captain Hearnes is still active, comparatively strong and enjoys good health. The schooner Lady I. Robbins, which went ashore at Little Sodus, was at one time owned by him. In 1832, while sailing with his uncle in the Lord Byron during the first year of the cholera plague, they were quarantined off Oswego for one day and one night, and this boat was the first ever quarantined on the lakes.
Captain Hearnes was united in marriage on December 25, 1847, to Miss Adelia Fish, of Jefferson county, N. Y., and they had three children; Capt. Charles N.; Ida E., now Mrs. Lisle Caldwell, and Eddie, who died young. The family residence is in Scoville Street on the west side, Cleveland, Ohio.
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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.