Captain Joseph Shackett
Captain Joseph Shackett, one of the most successful steamboat masters on the lakes, was born at St. Marys, Canada, April 30, 1838. He removed with his parents to the United States in 1842, locating at Buffalo, N.Y. His parents being very poor, he had no opportunities to acquire an education in early life, and was thrown upon his own resources when he was only ten years of age. He took passage in the spring of 1848 on the steamer New Orleans, and on reaching the St. Clair river he secured a berth as boy on a small bateaux sailing that stream.
In 1850 he shipped as cook on the schooner John Woods, and entered the service of Governor Jerome that winter, and the following spring as porter with Captain Frazier on the propeller Globe. His next berth was on the side-wheel steamer Minnesota, plying between Buffalo and Chicago. In 1853 he shipped on the brig Banner, finishing the season on the Minnesota, which ran on a rock at Amherstburg that fall and sunk, but was afterward recovered. In the spring of 1854 he served as deck hand on the passenger steamer Lady Elgin, which struck a rock at Manitowoc and sunk. She was raised, however, taken to Buffalo and put in dry dock. His next berth was that of cook on the schooner Stranger. In 1856 he shipped as wheelsman on the old ferryboat United, also on the tugs Lyon, Uncle Ben, Rescue and Forester in the same capacity until in the fall of 1857. In the spring of 1858 Captain Shackett was appointed mate of the tug John Martin, and the following spring mate on the tug Reindeer, closing the season on the R.R. Elliott. In 1866 he was appointed master of the steamer F. Park. He then entered the employ of Messrs. R.J. Hackett & Co., of Detroit, and sailed the steamer Constitution two seasons.
In the spring of 1870 Captain Shackett was appointed master of the steamer D.F. Rose, which he brought out new for Francis & Co., of Marine City, remaining in their employ nineteen years, having transferred to the steamer George King in 1874, and bringing her out new. During the time he was with this firm he gave the utmost satisfaction for the able and successful manner in which he handled his boats. In the spring of 1889 he was appointed master of the steamer Samuel Marshall. The three following seasons he sailed the steamer Samoa. His next steamboat was the Wotan, which he brought out new in 1893 and sailed six seasons.
It will be seen that Captain Shackett commenced his lake career in a humble position, but by close application and diligence he has been master of good business steamers on the lakes, and has the esteem and confidence of his employers, and of the marine fraternity in general. He is a member of the Ship Masters Association, and carries Pennant No. 98.
In 1860 Captain Shackett was united by marriage to Miss Mary Louisa Boutelyea, of Detroit. Twelve children have been born to the family, six of whom survive: Mary G., Charles J., William F., J. Matthew, John A., and May. The family homestead is in Marine City, Mich., where the Captain has acquired some realty.
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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.