Captain Jacob F. Hector
Captain Jacob F. Hector, from the land of the ancient Vikings, who, as tradition and history teaches us, were the most hardy and victorious rovers of the sea during the early ages, is now a dignified and courteous master and navigator of an American passenger steamer on Lake Superior, and is eminently qualified to fill this position to the pleasure of his passengers and the satisfaction of the owners. However high roll the waves of the greatest of lakes the Captain never hesitates to run into them, and thus during the eight years he has had command of the steamer Hiram P. Dixon, he has never missed a trip. He was born June 19, 1848, in Hammerfest, near North Cape, the most northerly part of Norway, and is a son of Christian F. and Caroline (Holmgren) Hector, both Norwegians. The father was a master mariner and fisherman of the North Sea, and owned several small fishing sloops. The family left Norway in 1865, and came to the United States, locating in Chicago, where the mother died in the fall of the same year. The father survived his wife until August 1877, when he passed away at the age of sixty-four years.
Previous to leaving Norway Captain Hector acquired a public-school education, and also finished his first experience as a mariner on the North Sea in his father's fishing sloops. He was an expert boatman, and such was his skill that he rode out a winter storm in 1864 off the isle of Wardo one night, when several vessels and eighteen men had perished in the harbor. After locating in Chicago with his parents he found employment in a chair factory, and later in a planing-mill on South Water street. It was on February 14, 1870, that he went to Duluth, where he engaged in the fishing business with the tug Fred and Will, and several boats which he and Mr. McLean had purchased, the firm name being Hector & McLean. In 1878 they met with a misfortune in the loss of their tug, which was destroyed by a fire on the Apostle island, after which they purchased the tug Siskiwitt. The Captain was manager of the business and conducted it until 1879, when, during the summer of that year, the firm name changed to Cooley, Hector, & McLean, and continued in operation until 1882 when business was discontinued and the outfit sold. Captain Hector then purchased the tug Amethyst, and engaged in fishing and general towing, until 1887. He then opened a grocery store, and during the summer made a visit to Fargo, N. Dak., but not finding his hopes verified he returned to Duluth, and entered the employ of A. Booth as mate on the passenger steamer Hiram R. Dixon, having to go to Baltimore, Md., after her, and with Captain Wheeler in command took her to Portland, Maine, where Captain Hector assumed Command, and brought her up to Duluth. The next year he joined her as mate. In the spring of 1890 he was promoted to be master, and has sailed her on the route between Duluth and Port Arthur ever since. He has fifteen issues of license.
In October, 1871, Captain Jacob F. Hector was wedded to Miss Charlotte Caroline, daughter of Peter J. Sampson. The children born to this union are Jacob Siverine, and John Frederick, both of whom died young; and Fred Christian, Clara Marian, Stella Charlotte Josephine, Johny Arthunder, and Pearl Leonara Hector. The family homestead is at No. 1017 East Third street, Duluth, Minn. Socially, the Captain is a member of the American Association of Masters and Pilots of Steam Vessels, and of the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
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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.