Captain F. J. Magle
Captain F.J. Magle is one of the most popular and best qualified masters of passenger and excursion steamers on the lakes. Always couteous and gentlemanly, he has made hosts of friends among the traveling public, and his handsome steamer, the American Eagle, is always well patronized during the summer months by pleasure seekers from all sections of the country contiguous to Sandusky Bay. Captain Magle is a native of Sandusky, having been born in that city January 31, 1838, son of John and Catherine (Mohler) Magle. His father was a well-known shipsmith, and ironed all the vessels built in Sandusky during his time, among which were the Castalia, Venice and Northampton. He died at the age of sixty-four, his wife living to the ripe old age of eighty-seven, and passing quietly away in 1896.
Captain Magle acquired his education in the public schools of Sandusky, which he attended until he reached the age of nineteen years, devoting the summer months, however, to the pleasant pastime of sailing yachts. In 1856, when but eighteen years of age, he sailed the yacht Wyoma and won the first prize in a race in which there were twenty-seven competitors, hailing from Toledo, Detroit, Cleveland and other ports. This was at a time when yachting was one of the fine arts, and the trophy won by young Magle was the greatest prize, intrinsically, ever given at Sandusky. He also sailed the fine yacht Jennie Lind, whose cabins were fitted up like a parlor in a palatial residence. He learned his skill and cunning in handling and trimming a yacht under the eye of Captain Charles Nichols, a noted yachtsman and sailing master of that time. The first boat Captain Magle shipped on regularly was the schooner Emeline, which he joined in the spring of 1853 as boy, going the next season with Capt. John Dyeron on the scow Hannah Salina, and in 1885[sic] with Capt. Sol. Phillips on the same boat. In 1856 he fitted out the Milan-built scow John C. Fremont, which he sailed that season, taking charge of the Wyoma, however, long enough to win in the great Sandusky regatta of that year. In 1857 he returned to Sandusky and took command of the sloop Harlequin, sailing her between that port and the islands, in the fish trade, until September, when he was appointed master of the H. C. Post, which he sailed successfully five seasons. The Post was then sold to Cleveland parties and in the spring of 1862 he went as mate with Capt. John Estes on the E. S. J. Bemis, on which he was engaged for two seasons.
In 1864 Captain Magle purchased a vineyard and fishery on Middle Bass island, for which he paid $2,800, and he devoted his energies to their culture for about eighteen months, when he sold his property for $7,500. In the fall of 1865 he bought ten acres of land and a fishery which occupied his time until 1872. He then went to Detroit and chartered the steamyacht Grace Truscott, running her until the passenger steamer Golden Eagle, in which he had an eighth-interest, was completed, in July, when he took command of her, plying between Sandusky and the Islands, Detroit and Toledo. He sailed her eight years, summer and winter. On one of his winter trips in 1875, between Sandusky and Put-in-Bay with passengers and general cargo, the steamer broke up the ice at Put-in-Bay so that it commenced to run out, and the boat on departing encountered the ice thirteen inches thick, in such volume that she sprang a leak and the pumps could not keep her clear. The captain blew his whistles long and loud to attract attention from the bay, put his passengers on the ice and stripped the boat, even to her gong and compass. He then reversed the engines and jumped through the gangway onto the ice. She sank in a short time, only the top of her smokestack being above water, but nine days after he raised her and took her to Cleveland, where she was repaired by Radcliffe and again put on the route. In the spring of 1880 Captain Magle brought out new the steamer American Eagle, a passenger and excursion boat possessing the best qualities of an ice breaker. She was put on the old route between Sandusky and the Islands, and Toledo, Cleveland and Detroit, on occasion also doing towing between Sandusky and Lake Huron, and Captain Magle is still in command of her. The steamer was run regularly summer and winter between Sandusky, Put-in-Bay, Middle Bass and Kellys Island, transporting wine, etc., and also carrying mail for a number of years, but of late years, on account of the falling off of business and the expense of fuel, she is laid up in January and started again in March. Captain Magle used her as a wrecking boat when the tug Samson was sunk at the northwest point of Point Pelee; she took her over and raised the Samson and made an effort to reach Cleveland with the tug, but the ice was so thick that he had to run under Kelleys Island to prevent the Samson from going to the bottom again. The Captain asserts that the American Eagle as an ice crusher is a success.
Captain Magle was united in marriage, on June 6, 1858, to Miss Nancy Sullivan, of Cooperstown, N.Y. The children born to this union are Katie, wife of Dr. Jordon; Elizabeth, wife of Alex. R. Bruce, clerk of the American Eagle; Carrie R., now Mrs. Lester Bruce, a school teacher in Ottawa county, Ohio; Mary and Jessie. The family homestead in on Put-in-Bay island.
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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.