Captain W. H. Larrabee Wood, Emma C. (Wife Of Captain W.H. Larrabee)
Captain W.H. Larrabee is a ship master who commenced sailing when very young, but eleven years having passed over his head. He was born in Colchester, Canada West (now Ontario), January 17, 1848. He is the son of Peter and Susan (Wright) Larrabee, and was brought to the United States when four months old. They located near Trenton, Wayne Co., Mich., where the lad grew up and attended the district schools until he was eleven years old, and still continued his studies during the winter months for some years after he commenced sailing. The Captain's paternal grandparents were originally residents of New York State, and his father was born on Walpole Island, and his mother in New York.
In the spring of 1859 he went out as cook on the scow Find Out, a craft with one spar, used in carrying wood on the Detroit river, and a boat not considered a monster even in those days of limited tonnage. The next season he shipped before the mast on the scow Joe Gates, followed by two seasons on the scow Annie, engaged in the lumber trade between Ecorse and Toledo. During his life before the mast Captain Larrabee shipped on many vessels, as do most of the up-to-date sailors. He sailed on the scows William Bartley, and Storm, with Capt. Nelson Little, the schooners Columbia, Forwarder, H. B. Steel, joining the Forwarder a second time as mate, then went on the Topsey, with Capt. Dan Sinclair, also was on the Lincoln Dall, and the Selkirk, with Captain Banford, going as second mate the second season, after which he connected himself with the schooner Evaline Bates, and was with her the year the ore docks at marquette were destroyed by fire, and when she carried the first cargo of ore consigned to Charlotte, New York. He was second mate of the brig Waverly two seasons, which was dismasted the last fall he was on her, after which she was cut down and converted into a tow barge.
In the spring of 1870 Captain Larrabee was appointed mate of the schooner Alva Bradley. The next spring he shipped as wheelsman on the new steamer J. S. Fay, closing the season on her as second mate, and in 1872 was appointed mate of the Lady Franklin. The next year he was made master of the towbarge Clifton, and sailed her for two seasons. She sprung a leak and foundered in September, about fifteen miles below Point Pelee, while in tow of the steamer Henry Howard. The Captain then desiring to command a vessel of his own, purchased the scow Senator, and sailed her five years, doing fairly well with her. In the meantime he formed a partnership with a friend, investing much of the money he had earned with his scow in manufacturing a new carriage gear. At the end of four years the Captain dissolved this partnership, asserting that it was out of his line of business, and returned to the lakes as mate of the steamer Ira Chaffee. He then shipped as wheelsman on the Bulgaria, closing the season as second mate; later on was second mate of the steamer Henry Chisholm; mate with captain Gaines on the steamer A. Folsom; mate of the steamer Osceola, in the package trade between Duluth and Port Huron; master of the schooner Swallow, which was lost on Sleeping Bear Point while in tow of the tug John Martin. In the spring of 1890 he was appointed master of the steamer Empire, and the spring following was in charge of the steamer Linden as master, and laid her up at the close of navigation.
The Captain is a lover of a good horse, and usually has one, which he enjoys caring for and driving during the winter months. Socially he is a Master Mason, a member of the Order of the Maccabees and of the Ship Masters Association, holding Pennant No. 911.
On April 25, 1872, Captain Larrabee, was united in marriage to Miss Emma C., daughter of Martin A. and Nancy C. (Hilliker) Wood. Two children were born to this union, Melvin A., and Maud E., who passed to the better land in 1887. Some years ago the Captain purchased a plot of land, comprising five acres, on Twenty-fourth street, Port Huron, Mich., upon which he erected a homestead, where the family now resides.
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.