Captain Joseph Jackson
Captain Joseph Jackson is one of the "oldest heads," as marine men put it, on the Great Lakes, and one of those whose marine tuition began upon salt water. That he is a competent navigator goes without saying, for he has had charge of vessels in some tight places, and has brought his charges through safely. He was born in Cumberland, England, near Newcastle, in 1833, and was brought by his parents to New Brunswick in 1839, when he was barely six years of age. Anthony Jackson, his father, was a farmer, and went on a farm at Miramichi, New Brunswick, where he was quite successful.
Captain Joseph received a good education in the public schools at that place, and then he went to work on board the ships in the harbor, his duties being to help load the vessels and then assist the pilot to get them out to sea, coming back to port on the pilot vessel. This employment he followed until 1852, when he came to Toronto, Canada, and began sailing in earnest on the lakes, at which time he was nineteen years of age. First of all, Captain Jackson went for two months into the steamer Maple Leaf, running between Toronto and Rochester under command of Captain Colquolo, of Hamilton. Then he went into the schooner Almira, belonging to warfinger Gorrie, who at that time owned the Yonge street wharf. Capt. F. Crooks had charge of the Almira, and she traded on Lake Ontario and through the Welland canal to Lake Erie. Captain Jackson remained in the Almira three years, succeeding which he went as mate into the schooner Royal Oak, under the same master. In 1856 Captain Jackson went into the schooner John Potter, as first officer, again with Captain Crooks, and remained in her for nearly two seasons, or until she was sold in 1858. That vessel also traded through the Welland canal to the higher lakes, being employed mostly carrying staves from Lake Erie's north shore to Kingston and Garden Island, where they were rafted for Quebec.
Captain Jackson, that same year, after the sale of the John Potter, went to Buffalo and sailed out of there before the mast and as mate of the schooner J. F. Tracey, Captain Curtis. The following spring he sailed as chief officer in the schooner Merchant Miller, of St. Catherines, for a time, going about the end of June of 1859 into the employ of Mayor J. G. Beard & Sons as mate in the schooner Australia. During the latter part of that year he was mate in the schooner City of Toronto, one of the largest schooners on the lakes at the time.
Thus arrived the time for Captain Jackson's advancement, and he became captain of the schooner Australia in 1860, and sailed her until 1866, the year of the Fenian raid into Canada. Going out of the Australia in the autumn of 1866, he, with Captain Solomon and David Sylvester, bought the schooner F. R. Tranchemontague in partnership with Mr. Caleb Jiles, Captain Jackson remaining captain and part owner of her until 1871, when they made a deal and exchanged the Tranchemontague for the bark George Thurston. This vessel, under charge of Captain Jackson, sailed in the timber trade all the season of 1872. That winter they sold her and purchased the propeller L. Shickluna, of which Captain Jackson was master until the fall of 1889, when he abdicated in favor of his nephew, Captain Harry Osgood Jackson. Captain Joseph was still part owner of the steamer L. Shickluna when he collided and sunk in Lake Erie in the spring of 1897. After leaving the bridge of the Shickluna, Capt. Jackson sailed the steamer Eurydice off and between Toronto and different summer resorts. On one occasion in 1894 he exhibited his excellent seamanship by going to the rescue of the propeller Ocean, ashore at Frenchman's bay, about fifteen miles east of Toronto, and lightering her with the steamer Eurydice. Whilst the Eurydice was on her way back laboring under a heavy deck-load, a stiff gale sprang up from the west. Inch by inch the Captain fought his way up behind the island. People standing on the wharves watched the ship anxiously, and old sailors shook their heads, "He will have to jettison," they muttered, but he did not. He brought the ship into harbor and landed her safely on the windward side of the Geddes wharf in spite of the terrible broadside wind, only the wale having crushed a little. Never in all his long career has Captain Jackson encountered a serious accident to his vessel or to his men.
No children have been born to Captain and Mrs. Jackson, but they have raised and always treated as their son a nephew, Capt. H. O. Jackson, at the present time one of the best young navigators on the Great Lakes. Mrs. Jackson is a daughter of Mr. Jordon, of Port Robinson, and her mother was one of the halest old ladies in that part of Canada, being aged eighty years and five months at the time of her death.
In politics Capt. Joseph Jackson is liberal. He is a member of the Anglican Church. One of his favorite haunts is the little red office of Sylvester Bros. at the foot of Church street in Toronto, where he often relates interesting yarns to the many habitues of that cosy[sic] nook.
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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.