Captain Nelson J. Wigle
Captain Nelson J. Wigle, commander of the steamer Lakeside, was born on the old homestead farm near the town of Kingsville, Essex Co., Ont., in the year 1859, attended school in his native place, and assisted in working the farm until he was twenty-one years of age. Having always been fond of the water, he had gained considerable experience in the various craft in the vicinity of Kingsville, so that when he attained his majority he gravitated quite naturally toward sailing. His first venture was on the steamer Reporter, running between Pelee island and Kingsville, and by natural ability, perseverance and faithfulness to duty, he gradually worked his way up on different vessels until at length he was appointed first officer of the J. W. Steinhoff, now known as the Queen City, on which he remained two seasons. Then he was offered and accepted the position captain of the fine passenger steamer City of Dresden, which ran between Detroit the Lake Shore and Sandusky, Ohio, and he was retained in command of her for nine seasons, during which time he had many trying experiences. In the frightful storm of September 4, 1882, the same in which the propeller Asia was lost with all on board save two, the City of Dresden had an exciting time. She was tossed at the mercy of the winds and waves, and for three days was supposed to be lost, but good seamanship prevailed, and Captain Wigle, though with much difficulty, ran his boat under the lee of Pelee island, where she lay until the weather moderated.
In the year 1888 the steamer Lakeside was built, and Captain Wigle was at once put in command of her, continuing as her master until 1891. In 1892 he was captain of the Garden City, a fine side-wheeler, and in the following year he was appointed Toronto manager of the Niagara Falls line of steamers, a pool of boats which comprises the Empress of India, Garden City and Lakeside. In 1893 he resumed command of the Lakeside, on which he still remains, and his ability as a master and hearty courteous manner to all with whom he comes in contact have made him one of the most popular commanders on the lakes. In 1889, shortly after the Lakeside made the first trip of the season, Captain Wigle ran her into Rondeau with a load of passengers, and all on board witnessed the foundering of the schooner Louis Ross, off Point aux Pins, Lake Erie. Captain Wigle at once manned his lifeboats and going in person with his men succeeded in rescuing every one on the ill-fated vessel. The Lakeside is a very popular boat with passengers and shippers; she is always the first to open the season and the last to give away to the rigors of winter and is noted for being at all seasons strictly on time.
Captain Wigle is married, and resides with his family on North Williams street, St. Catharines. Fraternally he is a Mason in good standing.
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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.