Captain Jacob McDowell
Captain Jacob McDowell has had numerous and varied experiences on land and water. He has served many years as master on the lakes, and in the Civil war he also won for himself the rank of Captain, thus giving the title a double significance. He is the son of Alexander and Maria (Smith) McDowell, the former of whom, a native of Ireland, spent the greater part of his life in America, dying in 1849; he was custom-house officer for many years at Kingston, Ontario. The mother, who was a native of New York State, died in 1871.
Captain McDowell was born April 12, 1834, at Cape Vincent, N.Y. Soon after his birth, however, the family removed to Kingston, Ontario, where they lived for fourteen years, on their return to New York settling at Oswego. Jacob received his education at the schools of Kingston, and then began the marine life to which he has since devoted so much of his time, shipping first on the Hudson as boy for a season, and going on the Annie Winslow for the same length of time. He then served in various capacities on different schooners until 1862, when he enlisted in the Union army, serving in Company K, One Hundred and Sixtieth N.Y.V.I., until August 5, 1863, when he received an honorable discharge at Palmyra, N.Y. During this time his life was marked with much distinction, for he was appointed first lieutenant in June, 1863 -- this promotion being closely followed by his captain's commission. He was in all the battles fought under Major-General Banks, and had the good fortune to escape from all unwounded, but was confined in Libby prison from the time of the battle of Cedar Creek until February 22, 1865.
Upon his return home Captain McDowell resumed his old occupation and shipped on the schooner Richards as mate, spending the following seasons on the Czar and James C. King as second mate. During the winter of 1869 he went to New Orleans and sailed a small schooner, and then returning to the lakes he took command of the Thomas Mott and John Webber for one season. Following this he visited South America, where he was employed on a yacht owned by the president of Peru, and visited all of the principal ports of the continent. Shipping next out of Liverpool, England, he made several trips to America as second mate of the Isaac Webb, and then served in the same capacity on a bark plying to the West Indies. Again he returned to the lakes and spent two years on the Angus Smith as mate, the three succeeding years filling the same berth on the Winslow, and the next season on the E.C. Hutchison. The following year he sailed the Moonlight, and during 1888 and 1889 acted as mate on the Queen of the West, transferring the next year to the Griffin to occupy the same berth, which he still holds.
Captain McDowell married Miss Annie Mullett, a native of Switzerland, and they have two children: Nora, who is married and resides in Cleveland, and Ada, who is still in school. The Captain is a member of the Equitable Aid Society of Pennsylvania and of the "Forlorn Hope". John McDowell, his brother, has been master on the lakes for many years, and also served in the Civil war. Another brother, Charles McDowell, has been connected with the First National Bank of Oswego, N.Y., for many years.
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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.