Captain Thomas Jones
Captain Thomas Jones is a man of keen foresight, energy and thrift. He has advanced from humble circumstances to a position of affluence without the power of money or influential friends to assist him. He is a man of domestic tastes, simple in his habits, and devoted to his family. He has been prosperous, and by his industry accumulated a competence. He was born, in 1844, at Everton (near Liverpool), England, and came to the United States in 1854, landing in New York without a cent in his pocket.
All other opportunities failing, Captain Jones commenced his seafaring life on the ship Parthenia as boy, and remained in that capacity for five years, at $5 per month. He then shipped on a vessel bound for Mobile, Ala., thence to Liverpool, remaining on her one year. On his return to Philadelphia he took a berth on the bark Chester, bound for Boston. In 1856 he stopped ashore and went to Newburyport and did chores for his board with the family of Capt. H. Graves, the Captain sending him to the public schools during the year he remained with him. He afterward passed an examination for the high school, having attended night schools three years at Newburyport. In 1857 he joined a fishing expedition to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, remaining two years in the mackerel fishery. In 1859 he went to New York and shipped as seaman on the Oroondatos to Mobile Bay, this service occupying one year. His next voyage was on the same ship from Mobile to Liverpool, thence back to New Orleans, making two round trips, and in 1861 was in New Orleans when Fort Sumter was fired upon. His ship then sailed with a cargo of cotton to Gibraltar for orders, and she was consigned to the Rothchilds, discharging cargo at Barcelona. His next voyage was to Odessa, Russia, via Constantinople, where the ship took on a cargo of flaxseed for Antwerp, and he secured a berth on the full-rigged ship Alarm, for Sunderland, England, leaving the ship on her arrival in order that he might take a vacation and see some of the country contiguous to that port. Returning to Antwerp, he took a berth in the full-rigged ship Ashburton, one of the swallow-tailed packets, for New York. He then transferred to the ship Flora Southard, bound for Havana, Cuba, thence to Ramedios, where she loaded sugar consigned to New York parties. In 1863 he shipped on the Narragansett, New York to Liverpool, the passage occupying twenty-seven days. He then shipped on the Australia, of the Black Star line, Liverpool to New York; then on the Harriet, New York to Antwerp; then on the Dorcas C. Yeaton, Antwerp to Portland, Maine. The same year he made one trip as second mate on the ship Eudoras, Portland to Matanzas and return. He then shipped as second mate on the new bark Norton Stover, after which he served in various capacities on several ships. In 1864, during the Civil War, he enlisted in the Navy of the North, at Portland, Maine, and was assigned to the gunboat Ashculot, of the blockading squadron, with the rank of second gunner of the Long Tom, forward, and captain of the foretop. He remained in the naval service until the close of the war.
In 1866 Captain Jones went to Cleveland and shipped on the schooner Wavetree, transformed into an American vessel as a precaution against seizure. He shipped before the mast, and laid up the schooner in the fall. On the 7th of December he arrived in Cleveland, and on the 13th shipped as second mate on the bark J. E. Ward, of New York, for a voyage to Havana, taking on sugar for Philadelphia. He returned to the lakes in 1867, and shipped on the brig Commerce for four trips, and then transferred to the schooner Wavetree, which went ashore on Lake Huron and was abandoned. He worked in a rig loft until the following spring, when he went as second mate of the Plover, afterward being appointed mate of her. His next boat was the John L. Grosse, which he laid up in ordinary, and went as second mate on the schooner Ironsides. In the spring of 1869, he shipped as mate of the topsail scow S. B. Conklin, with which he remained the full season; in 1870 he shipped as second mate of the schooner J. F. Card one season, then mate of her three seasons, until August 4, 1873; followed by a season as second mate on the schooner John Martin. He then purchased an interest in the schooner Wake Up, which was subsequently lost, after which he went as second mate on the schooner John Martin, on which he sailed two seasons. This was the turning of the tide in his favor, and it began to grow in the confidence of vessel owners. His next boat was the schooner J. F. Card as master, remaining two years, and was then appointed to the Escanaba, on which he sailed as master for three seasons, followed in 1879 on the schooner Alva Bradley one season; 1880 on the schooner John Martin five seasons; 1886 on the steamer Sarah E. Sheldon two seasons; 1889 on the steamer Nahant three seasons; 1892 on the steamer Iroquois, four seasons, laying her up December 20, 1896, thus rounding out a period of forty-two years from boy to master.
He is a Knight Templar Mason and a member of the Ship Masters Association, carrying Pennant No. 168, and has been treasurer of the association since 1892.
Captain Jones was united in marriage with Miss Nancy E. Smith, of Marengo, McHenry Co. Ill., in 1884, and one daughter, Ruth F., has been born to them. The family residence is at No. 256 Franklin Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio.
Return to Home Port
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.