Captain James W. Millen
Captain James W. Millen, president of the Lake Carriers Association for 1897, is one of the best known of the active vesselmen in Detroit. His robust form and genial, smooth-shaven face are familiar to the patrons of the Star lines of steamers, as he has been wont to sit under the awnings over the freight shed at the foot of Griswold street, on hot summer afternoons and watch the departure of the steamers for Toledo and Port Huron.
Captain Millen was born at Millen's Bay (called after his father), in the township of Lyme, Jefferson Co., N.Y. In the year 1850, while yet a boy, he began sailing, his first berth being on the schooner Pathfinder. He was on this vessel three years, the last year being as mate, and was then on the Montezuma one year, and on the Sovereign of the Lakes one year. In 1856 he went on the schooner Flying Cloud, where he remained three years-two years as second mate and one year as mate. At the end of that time he went back to his old boat, the Montezuma, and purchasing an interest in the schooner, sailed as her master from 1859 to 1866. In the latter year a new schooner, the Montpelier, built by Sam Johnson, at Clayton, N.Y. made her appearance, and he was master of this vessel three seasons.
Captain Millen purchased a third-interest in the tug Samson in 1869, and for four seasons operated her on a the Detroit river. The new tug Niagara came out in 1873, he owning an interest and commanding her for six seasons. In 1880 he purchased an interest in the Detroit Transportation Company, which company owned a line of boats which operated in the Lake Superior iron ore trade. Captain Millen sailed the Iron Age during the season of 1880, and the Iron Duke in 1881. He retired from the lakes in 1882, and has since been contented to let others do the sailing, while he attends to the business end of the many enterprises in which he has become interested.
To the general public Captain Millen is best known through his connection with the Star lines of steamers, but to vesselmen his interests in freight traffic are probably more important. He is at present general manager of the Red Star line, owning the steamer Greyhound, and of the White Star line, owning the steamer City of Toledo. He is president of the Buffalo and Duluth Transportation Company, director and manager of the Duluth and Atlantic Transportation Company, secretary and general manager of the Hamtramack Transportation Company, and treasurer of the Swain Wrecking Company, besides being a member of the firm of Parker and Millen, vessel and insurance agents. With all these varied interests to keep track of he is necessarily a busy man, yet always finds time to greet an old friend or make a new one. He was elected president of the Lake Carriers Association in 1897. In September 1897, the Captain was appointed a commissioner of the water board, and in January 1898, he was appointed a member of the board of public works, being a commissioner. The former office he resigned in March, 1898. Both appointments were made by the mayor.
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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.