Captain Peter Kilty
Among the able and enterprising men who are now engaged in navigating our great inland seas, the subject of this sketch holds a leading place, his ability and skill being so well known and appreciated that he has never been obliged to apply for a situation. While he is younger than many of our lake captains he has probably seen as long service as any, for he began as a boy of eleven to run a fishing boat of his own, and has always held responsible positions.
The Kilty family is of Irish origin, and Patrick Kilty, the father of Capt. Peter Kilty, was born in Dublin, Ireland, coming to America in 1837. He has been a sailor and fisherman throughout his life, and for many years he was employed in schooners on the lakes; while during the government survey of the lakes he had charge of the boats of the expedition. He is now living at Onekama, Michigan.
Capt. Peter Kilty was born in 1860, at St. James, Mich., where he remained until he reached the age of twenty years, his education being obtained in the local schools. Although the opportunities afforded were not of the best, he made good use of his time, and his subsequent reading and observation have made him a well-informed man. As has been intimated, his business ability became apparent at an early age, the fishing interest at his native place offering him an excellent chance to make a profit, while gaining practical knowledge of navigation. While still a boy he found occasional employment on schooners plying near home, and in all he had had about thirteen years of experience when he took the post of captain of a fishing tug at Lake Onekama for the season of 1889. Later he shipped as mate of the passenger boat Adrian, running between Manistee and Onekama, and he remained with this vessel three years, serving during a portion of the time as acting captain. He next took change of the passenger steamer John D. Doore for one season, and then spent six seasons as mate on the Petoskey, plying between Chicago and Petoskey. On February 12, 1896, he became captain of the Ann Arbor No. 1, the first government ferry to run across the lakes, and under his able management the boat met with marked success, as might have been anticipated by his previous record. On May 20, 1898, he accepted the position of master of the car ferry steamer Pere Marquette, the largest car ferry in the world, and owned by the Flint & Pere Marquette Railway Company.
The Captain is popular socially, and belongs to a number of marine associations as well as to the order of Foresters, at Frankfort. He was married in 1882 to Miss Mary Elizabeth Nackerman, of Marquette, Mich., and his pleasant home at Ludington, Mich., is brightened by three children: Alfred John, Claude P., and Mary Elizabeth.
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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.