John Elmer Padden
John Elmer Padden, one of the popular marine engineers sailing out of Chicago, has, by close study of works on engineering, and the timely application of mechanical principles, become more than usually proficient in his calling. He was born in Edenville, Midland Co., Mich., April 23, 1864, a son of John D. and Florella (Bardwell) Padden. His father was master of lake craft, and well known by some of the older masters of the present day. Among the vessels of which he was commander may be mentioned the schooner Black Hawk, which he brought out new and sailed until he purchased the scow Restless and became its possessor. During the last fifteen years of his active life on the lakes he owned and operated the tugs Onward and Gem on Portage lake. He also owned an interest in the steamer Lew Wallace, of which he was master when she was destroyed by fire in 1893. He retired from the lakes to his home in Onekama, Michigan.
John E. Padden, the subject of this article, acquired his education principally in Arcadia, Mich., where the old family homestead was located, and in 1880 joined his father as fireman on the tug Onward, transferring to the tug Gem, and later to the steamer Gen. Lew Wallace, taking out an engineer's license, and remaining on her until the fall of 1889, when he was appointed second engineer on the steamer Charles Reitz. In the spring of 1890 he joined the steamer Mark B. Covell as second engineer, holding that office two seasons. The next spring he helped fit out the steamer W.J. Carter as second engineer, and remained with her until July, then passed one month on the Edward Buckley and closed the season on the new steamer W.B. Ketcham, holding that berth three seasons. In the spring of 1896 Mr. Padden entered the employ of the Hines Lumber Company as chief engineer of the steamer S.K. Martin, holding that berth until the spring of 1898, when he was transferred as chief engineer to the steamer Santa Maria (a new purchase of the firm, and sailed by Capt. Walter D. Hamilton), an office he held for the remainder of the season.
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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.