Captain Alex Johnston
Captain Alex Johnston, a well-known and popular shipmaster, sailing out of West Bay City, formerly of Detroit, is so diffident about speaking of himself that it is difficult to render justice to his hospitable, upright, conscientious traits of character and disposition in an article of this nature. He cannot however, preclude the writer, who has the pleasure of his acquaintance, from saying that he is a courteous, companionable man, of fine physique, warm, sunny temperament, and generous to a fault. He was born December 11, 1856, at Moore, Ont., a hamlet on the St. Clair River, and is of Scotch-Irish descent. He received a liberal education in the public schools of his native place, and the studious habits acquired during his boyhood days are still retained, and it is therefore unnecessary to say that he is an unusually well informed man relative to general history, as well as the current events of the day. He has had no artificial influence to help him to obtain the position he now holds as master of a steamboat, but has secured it by his own merit.
Soon after reaching his majority Captain Johnston began his career on the lakes, his first boat being the Jupiter, on which he remained but a short time. He then held various berths, from that of sailor before the mast to the office of mate, up to the spring of 1894, when he was appointed master of the steamer Isabella J. Boyce, trading between Bay City and Chicago, and from Buffalo to Lake Superior ports. In the spring of 1895 he was appointed master of the steamer Sparta, engaged in trading to all ports on the lakes, which he has sailed with good business success for four seasons, including that of 1898.
Socially, the Captain is an ardent Mason of high degree, having reached the thirty- second, and is a Noble of the Mystic Shrine. He is also a member of the Ship Masters Association, and carries Pennant No. 1081.
In 1897, Capt. Alex Johnston was wedded to Miss Nettie S., the eldest daughter of Capt. William Neal, of West Bay City. The family homestead is pleasantly situated on South Dean Street, West Bay City, Michigan.
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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.