Captain Charles A. Lyman
Captain Charles A. Lyman, of the tub Nyack, is one of the best known lake men of Milwaukee. He has numerous appointments to test his bravery in saving of human life on the lakes, and has always proved equal to the occasion. The Captain began shifting for himself when a lad of ten years, while his father was helping to fight the battle of his country on Southern fields, and he thus early cultivated that spirit of self-reliance and readiness, which is essential to the success of a master.
Captain Lyman was born in Carthage, Jefferson Co., N.Y., in 1853, the son of Lucius Lyman, also a native of New York and by trade a millwright. The father removed in 1860 to Spring Lake, Ottawa county, Mich., and the following year entered for three years in a Michigan regiment. Returning home at the expiration of his services, he then continued his trade as millwright. Charles A. was one of nine children. He received a good common- school education at Spring Lake, and while learning quickly and easily, he had an active temperament, and as a boy was soon able to take care of himself. For eleven years he was on harbor tugs in Grand Haven, doing harbor and wrecking work. For two years he was master of the tug Johnson at Grand Haven. He then went into the tug Batchelder, and had her for five years. He was also captain of the tug Arctic and of the Myrich, and was one winter in the Thompson, of Port Huron, breaking out the ice at Grand Huron. When the Michigan was lost, it was Captain Lyman who saved the crew. It was one of his most hazardous experiences, because of the shifting of the ice and the blocking of his tug he was out for nineteen days. The captain now wears a souvenir watch presented him by the Michigan crew. He saved the crew of Gen. H.E. Paine, which went down in the Grand Haven harbor. He also rescued all hands from the schooner Anna Tomine, and took the schooner Jessie Martin off the beach, saving all but one of the crew. He has resuscitated several drowning persons, and altogether has one of the best records in life saving on the lakes. At 2:30 A.M. October 27, 1898, he picked up the schooner Aberdeen in distress, having on board eight men. Her cargo consisted of 76,000 bushels of barley, and the valuation of vessel and cargo was $80,000; he towed her to Grand Haven harbor safely but with great difficulty.
After leaving the tug service Captain Lyman went on the Carrie Ryerson, a passenger boat plying on Muskegon Lake. Leaving the Carrie Ryerson, four years later he went as mate on the City of Racine, on the Goodrich line, Captain John Gee. Remaining three and a half years, he was in 1893 appointed master of the tug Crosby, towing barges. The next year the same company bought the Nyack and made him captain of her, a position which he has since held. The steamer Nyack in 1894 ran between Muskegon and Milwaukee, and in 1895 between Chicago and Milwaukee, since then between Grand Haven and Milwaukee.
Captain Lyman has been very successful in his work on the lakes. He is one of the most prominent members of the Milwaukee branch of the Ship Masters Association; is also identified with Lodge No. 29, F. & A.M., of Grand Haven. He was married in 1874 to Miss Mary Kelley, of Spring Lake, Mich., and has two sons, Howard and Herbert (twins). They are song writers of great promise, and popular as vocal musicians; for two years they have been on the road illustrating their songs with the vistascope, the entertainment constituting one of the principal attractions of a prominent theatrical company.
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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.