Captain Thomas C. Herrick
Captain Thomas C. Herrick is one of the most prominent steamboat masters on the lakes, and has attained to his present good command by close attention to the business details of the position, and good seamanship. He was born in Toledo, Ohio, February 24, 1848, and is a son of Capt. Calvin and Margaret (Van Fleet) Herrick. He acquired his education as the youths of that day usually did, at the public schools of his native city.
In the spring of 1861 the desire, probably inherited from his father, who will be remembered by the older class of lake masters, to become a sailor and go down to the lakes in a ship developed itself, and he shipped as boy on the new schooner King Sisters, with Captain Dunegan. He transferred his services the following season to the A. Boody, also a new schooner. At the close of the season he entered the employ of M.I. Wilcox, the well-known Toledo shipchandler, and remained some months, but before the close of the season he shipped on the schooner Daniel S. Tilden.
In February, 1864, Captain Herrick, although but sixteen years of age, enlisted in the cause of the patriot against the dissolution of the Union, and served through the hottest period of the war in Battery H, First Ohio Light Artillery. His battery was doing good service in the Army of the Potomac, and he was with it in all the engagements in which it participated, including that of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, North Anna and the siege of Petersburg, which led up to the surrender of Gen. Lee at Appomattox Court House. After his surrender the battery returned to Alexandria, Va., where it remained until the Grand Review of the victorious armies at Washington. Battery H participated in this triumphal parade, after which it was transported to Cleveland, Ohio, where the men were mustered out of the service June 14, 1865.
Soon after finding himself once more a citizen, Captain Herrick shipped on the schooner Belle Waldridge, and during the three years that followed he transferred to schooners S.G. Hungerford, Miami Belle and M.L. Collins, in various capacities. In the spring of 1868 he turned his attention to steamboats and shipped as wheelsman of the propeller Pacific, which berth he held one season. The following year he shipped as wheelsman on the propeller Comet, plying between Buffalo and Green Bay, retaining that place until the fall of 1871, at which time he accepted a municipal position ashore, which he filled to the satisfaction of all concerned for eight years. In the spring of 1879 his old desire for the sailor's life returned to him in full force, and after two years in different steamers he entered the employ of the Wabash line as wheelsman on the steamer A.L. Hopkins, and in the spring of 1882 he was appointed second mate; after holding that berth two seasons he was made mate, which office he held two seasons. He then transferred to the steamer John C. Gault as mate, and remained on her five years. In the spring of 1891 he was advanced to the position of master of the steamer A.L. Hopkins, and sailed her three seasons. He was then made master of the fine steamer Russell Sage, which he sails at the present writing, and at the close of 1898 made up a period of seventeen years with the Wabash line.
Captain Herrick is an ardent member of the Ship Masters Association, and is a charter member of Toledo Lodge No. 9. In 1893 he was honored with the office of vice-president, and on the death of Captain Stoddard, who was president, he succeeded to that office. In 1894 he was elected president of the lodge, and filled the position with good judgment. He carries Pennant No. 826. He is also a member of long standing of the Odd Fellows fraternity, and the Imperial Order of Muscovites. He takes great interest in the Grand Army of the Republic, and is attached to Forsyth Post No. 15, in Toledo.
In September, 1894, Captain Herrick was wedded to Miss Etchberger, of Chicago, and the family homestead, at No. 3368 Cherry street, Toledo, is presided over by his charming wife in a most enviable manner.
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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.