Captain Peter Johnson
Captain Peter Johnson, master of the lumberbarge Isabel Reed, is an old salt-water sailor, as was his father before him. His surname is really Jensen, but when he first hired out for employment after coming to America his employer called him Johnson by mistake, and thus he has since been known. The Captain was born in Denmark in September, 1835. He first sailed in small schooners and brigs along the shore of his native country, as early as 1848, and from that year until his emigration to America he was in various salt-water craft to and from Liverpool, the East Indies, Spain, Newport, Wales, Melbourne, Australia and Bombay. In the spring of 1858 he came to this country and during April shipped before the mast on the brig Buffalo. After a season in this employ he went on the schooner Josephine in the same capacity, and remained with her until November, 1859. During the season of 1860 he was part of the time on salt water, in July returning to the lakes and going before the mast in the schooner M. F. Johnson. The seasons of 1861-62-63 he was with the schooner Josephine again, becoming second mate of her for the season of 1863. He was second mate of the schooner Boody for a couple of seasons, and then, in 1866, became first mate of the bark Clayton, continuing as such until July 4, of that year; on July 5, he was made master, and remained with her to the close of navigation. For the seasons following until 1889, he commanded in turn the following schooners: Despatch, of Detroit, one season; Josephine, eight seasons; Montana, of Detroit, four seasons; and the Mont Blanc, owned by Merrick & Eselstein, eight seasons. In 1889 he became master of the Isabel Reed, and still retained in that position during the season of 1896, living aboard of her as ship-keeper the winter of 1896-97.
Captain Johnson was married in 1861, to Miss Mary W. Strong, of Tonawanda, and they have the following named children living: Emma (1898), thirty-one years of age; Clara, twenty-nine: William, twenty-seven; Gertrude, twenty- three; and Aggie, eleven. The son William has been master of the lumberbarge Ben Hanson seven years in all, and for the last three years consecutively. Captain Johnson has been a Master Mason for over thirty years.
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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.