Captain M. F. Morgan
The Scotch-Irish race, combining as it does the brain and brawn of the "canny Scot", with the warm heart of the Irishman, has furnished to America a high type of citizen- ship, many of the leaders in various lines of effort tracing their descent from that noted race. The subject of this sketch, who is one of the ablest captains on the Great Lakes, possesses the best characteristics of the race, as his successful career demonstrates, and the following account of the manner in which he has made his way to the front in his chosen work will be of interest.
He was born April 22, 1866, in Eagle, Wis., the son of Mr. And Mrs. Frank Morgan. His father was born in the North of Ireland, and on coming to this country located for a time in Lowell, Mass., and later removed to Eagle, Wis., thence to Milwaukee, being engaged for about thirty years in these places as a grain trimmer. As the Captain went to Milwaukee with his parents during his childhood, his early school days were spent there under the instruction of the teachers in the Catholic parochial school, where he laid the foundation of a good practical education. The life of a seaman on the lakes impressed him, even in childhood, as desirable, and when he was but ten years old he ran away from home to take a position as cabin boy on the Corona, plying between Chicago and Milwaukee; but after two months his parents found him and compelled him to return home. In the following spring he secured a position as cabin boy on the Sheboygan, on which he remained during the season. After spending seven or eight years as cabin boy he was transferred to the deck department, starting as watchman on the Menominee, and continuing throughout the season.
The following summer was spent on the Depew, under Captain Raleigh, and the next change was to the Ludington, where he spent his first season as a wheelsman, and his second in the position of second mate, Captain Raleigh being in command during both seasons. For the next two seasons our subject was second mate on the steamer Chicago, and so well did he fill this responsible post that he was engaged as first mate on the steamer Muskegon, under Captain Carus, with whom he passed one season. In the following year he took a similar position on the City of Fremont, under Captains Coughlin and Kirtlan, remaining until January 15, 1895, and in the spring of 1895 was made captain of the A. B. Taylor, of Grand Haven, running between Michigan City and Chicago. This post he held until November 23, 1895, when he returned to the employ of the Hurson Transportation Company as captain of the City of Fremont, of which he had charge until February 1, 1896, and three days later he was appointed captain of the F. P. & M. No. 1, which he ran until the following April. Soon afterward he again took charge of the City of Fremont, with which he remained until January 1, 1898, and on February 14th he returned to the F. P. & M. No. 1, remaining on her till the first of April, when he resigned to bring out new the steel steamer America, built at Detroit for the Chicago and Michigan line. He was granted master's license in 1895, and his record is in itself an evidence of ability and skill in navigation, as he has never had any disaster of importance.
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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.