Captain Calvin Herrick
Captain Calvin Herrick, one of the old-time ship masters out of Toledo, is a son of James and Martha (Sharpstein) Herrick, and was born in Richmond, Ontario Co., N.Y., January 19, 1819. In 1823 his parents removed to Ohio and located at Maumee. Here the father carried on the business of blacksmithing for a short time, when he removed to Waterville, and while the subject of this sketch was still a lad, his parents returned again to New York and settled in Livingston county. Here young Herrick remained until sixteen years of age, when he went to Perrysburg and assisted his brother Elijah in transporting merchandise by team from that place to Providence.
In 1837 Captain Herrick commenced his career in lake navigation by entering the employ of Capt. Curtis Perry, going on the schooner Caroline, on which he sailed until 1845, the last two years as mate. In 1845, he was appointed master of the schooner Kentucky, owned by D.B. Smith of Maumee, holding that position eighteen months. For two years following he was mate of the propeller Globe, commanded by Capt. Henry Wetmore, after which he served two years as master of the schooner Alvin Bronson. In the spring of 1852 he became master of the steamer Henry A. Kent, which he sailed successfully until she was destroyed by fire May 18, 1854. He then sailed the steamer Sciota for two years, and later the propeller Potomac, which he brought out new; also the Queen of the Lakes and the Chicago. He then retired from active service to the lakes.
In 1856 the marine insurance companies along the lakes formed a board of lake underwriters for mutual protection, and employed men in the different divisions of their territory to inspect vessels and report their condition, and upon recommendation Captain Herrick was employed by the board as marine inspector, his district extending from Toledo to Cleveland. This position he held for several years, and subsequently engaged in a similar capacity for the fire and marine and mutual insurance companies. For many successive years he was appointed harbor master at Toledo by the city council, a position he filled most acceptably.
On December 3, 1846, Captain Herrick was united in marriage to Miss Margaret Van Fleet, daughter of Jared Van Fleet, one of the early settlers of Lucas county. Seven children were born to this union, four of whom are now living, the others having died young. Those who survive are Thomas C., now master of the steamer Russell Sage; Mattie E., now Mrs. Elmer Shields; Clara, now Mrs. Charles Beard, and Anna, who became the wife of John Swigart.
Captain Herrick, who died August 14, 1897, retired from active business life about twenty years ago. He was of a kind and genial disposition, and enjoyed the respect and esteem of all with whom he had had any business or social relations. It will be seen by this sketch that he had for many years led a busy and useful life during the early days of lake and river navigation. The Captain's family reside at No. 3368 Cherry Street, Toledo, Ohio.
Return to Home Port
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.