Captain James McKerrall
Captain James McKerrall, of Cleveland, was born in Bangor, Ireland, in 1839. His father, also named James, was an ocean sailor, and died of yellow fever in the West Indies. The Captain commenced sailing at the age of twenty-one as steward of the bark Standard, an ocean vessel, later shipping on the Golden Era and the Lighting in turn, going to Melbourne, Australia, where he ran away to the gold diggings for three months. He next shipped on the Pioneer, a very speedy vessel, which held the record at that time of having made the quickest trip from Melbourne to the Line. Then he joined the ship America, making a trip to Appalachicola for cotton, and his next voyage was to Bombay as second mate in the Rosalia. On returning to England he engaged to go again on the ship America, which was waiting for orders, and he remained at his home in Bangor prepared to go when she was ready. When he received notice that the vessel was to sail Mr. McKerrall started for the point of departure, but he missed the boat that was to carry him there and the America sailed without him; soon afterward he learned that she was lost with all hands on the trip. Having missed this vessel he shipped on another belonging to the same line and made a voyage round the Horn and up to Puget Sound, to Australia and back to England, where he joined the ship Sir Jmsetgee Custegee, making the trip to Bombay. Following this he sailed in an opium clipper, returning to Bombay, and next sailed to Quebec in the ship Elmira, on the return voyage being driven by a furious gale into a harbor near Holyhead, and there going aground in sight of eleven other wrecked vessels. A tug was finally secured to tow the vessel to port, but before reaching it she seemed to drag heavily on the bottom, and it was found that a portion of the mizzen mast had gone through the hull of the ship when the masts went overboard. At the conclusion of this trip Mr. McKerrall returned to Bangor, where he married Miss Jane Phillips Hassan. They have had three children: William Hassan, who is a successful dentist, having an office on Euclid avenue, Cleveland; John, a machinist, and James, Jr., who died at the age of eighteen years.
Mr. McKerrall now made his last ocean voyage, going to Cadiz, Spain, on the steamer St. Patrick, with a load of convicts for Little Fish Bay, on the coast of Africa. The convicts planned to mutiny and seize the vessel, but their designs were discovered and the protetion of a British warship sought, the ringleaders being taken off their vessel. Our subject was at St. Paul de Loando on this voyage when the explorer Livingston left Africa for his home, a bent and grizzled old man. On the completion of this trip Mr. McKerrall brought his family to the United States, coming in the schooner William Topscott, and at once commenced life on the lakes. Joining the schooner Clayton Belle he sailed in her two seasons, becoming first mate. After serving a short time in a small schooner from Buffalo he became mate on the schooner George Sherman, the W. W. Arnold and the Empire State, in turn, later serving in the same capacity on the Southwest (three years), Edward Kelly (five years), E. Fitzgerald, Sophia Minch, Sunrise, bark Sunnyside and schooner Gilmore. At this time he made a trip to the old country to see his mother and father. Returning he remained on shore for three years, employed in Chicago, St. Louis, and Austin, Texas, and finally shipped as mate of the schooner Constitution, transferring from her to the schooner Mineral State as master, and subsequently serving as mate of the steamer James F. Shrigley, second mate of the Tuttle, and mate of the steamer H. B. Tuttle. This closed his sailing career, and he accepted the position with the Hill Clutch Works, of Cleveland, which he still retains, having charge of the store room of the works.
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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.