Captain Albert Carrier Majo
Captain Albert Carrier Majo, who by industry and enterprise has established a reliable system of ferry service between Duluth and West Superior, which he operated on schedule time, has been a lake mariner since 1863, rising from boy to master to owner of vessels, and it may truly be said of him that he is by nature a sailor, taking a pleasure and interest in his profession. He is a son of William and Mary (Butler) Majo, both of good old Huguenot stock. His father was born in Assumption, Ontario, in 1818, and when six years old removed with his parents to Cape Vincent. After attending school the requisite number of years, he began sailing the lower lakes and soon became a skillful pilot, and sailed on various vessels until 1848, and in 1858 he retired to his homestead on one of the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence river, situated in Jefferson County, N.Y. where he now lives with his good wife at the age of seventy-eight years. The mother is a native of Kingston, Ontario.
Captain Albert C. Majo was born in Chicago, Ill.June 4, 1847, and attended a public school at Cape Vincent, N.Y. and Joliet, Ill., receiving a liberal education. In May, 1863, he realized his desire to become a sailor by shipping in the schooner Flying Cloud as boy with Capt. James T. Borland; he joined her again the next spring, closing the season, however, in the schooner Fleetwing. During the three following seasons he sailed on the Perry Hannah, Advance, Frank Crawford, Orkney Lass, Imogene and T. S. Skinner. In 1868 the Captain went to Wyoming, on the line of the Union Pacific railroad, where he engaged in getting out timber, ties, etc., to be used in the construction of the road. In the spring of 1870 he returned to Muskegon, Mich., and entered the employ of the Muskegon Boom Company, remaining with them about eight years, the first two as wheelsman in the tug Third Michigan, and transferring to the tug Miranda as master, thence to the Sport, the Ezra Stevens, and the new tug Ira O. Smith, all of which he has sailed with good results. In the spring of 1879 the Captain chartered the tug Maud Eccles and put her in the excursion business at Muskegon, using her at times to tow logs, and was very successful.
In the spring of 1880 Captain Majo purchased an interest in the tug Newell Avery, and engaged in harbor towing at Muskegon; in 1883 he became a member of the lumber firm of Gow, Majo & Henderson, and succeeded in doing an extensive business with good success financially for some years. He then sold a three-eighths interest to Messrs. Gow & Campbell. In the meantime he purchased an interest in the tug Colonel Ferry, and sailed her two seasons; and in interest with C. W. Brown, in the George P. Savidge, which he sailed one season in the excursion business out of Muskegon. The Captain then sold her, and in spring of 1888 purchased an interest in the tug A. C. Van Raalte, and after sailing her two seasons, he sold her to the Garden City Sand Co. and bought his partner's interest in the tug George P. Savidge, took her to Duluth, and after running her at that port one season traded her for Minnesota real estate. He again purchased the Savidge and sailed her until she was destroyed by fire in the fall of 1891. The next spring he went to Muskegon and bought the tug Comet, which he took to Duluth, but he went as master of the tug Estelle that season, assuming command of the Comet the next spring. In 1894, he sailed the steamer Lindrup as street-car transfer across the St. Louis river. in the spring of 1895 he purchased the tugs Hattie Lloyd and Belle.
During the winter of 1893-94 the Captain invented an ingenious means of crossing the St. Louis river by placing a boat on runners and attaching an electric cable and endless chain to each side of the river. In case the ice should break in the center of the river, the craft would float until it reached the farther edge, when it would again have recourse to its runners. This novel boat attracted much comment, and answered the purpose to a charm. This ferry scow or amphibian was twenty-six feet long and ten feet wide and thirty-six inches deep; six tiers of gunwales 4 x 6 inches, and a pine cabin covering the whole width, but leaving three feet at each end for deck. The two runners were shod in steel. The distance to be crossed was 1,300 feet, over which passed a cable attached to a twenty-horse power motor, geared to two three-feet drums. On March 15, the ice gave away 100 feet from the Superior shore, but the amphibian did all that was expected of her, sliding down into the water, floating about 150 feet and again mounting the ice near the other shore within 200 feet of the Duluth landing. Passengers soon became accustomed to this novelty, and felt no uneasiness in making the passage.
On December 8, 1875, Captain Majo wedded Miss Mary E., daughter of Joseph H. and Clarissa (Sunderlin) Parsons, of Madison county, N.Y., and the children born to this union were: William Parsons; Nina I. (who died young); Joseph H., and Helen Mary. The family residence is at No. 504 Fifth avenue, Duluth, Minnesota.
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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.