Philip J. Minch
Philip J. Minch, one of the earlier vessel men on the lakes, was born in Blankenheim, Hessen-Cassel, Germany, May 14, 1820. In his native country he learned the trade as shoemaker, which he followed for a livelihood until coming to this country in 1840. Landing in New York he came directly to Ohio and located at Vermilion, where he established himself in his trade. Soon after his arrival in Vermilion he married Miss Anna C. Leimbach, by who he had eight children, four of whom died between the ages of one and six years. The others were as follow:[sic] Mrs. Catherine Hassenflue, Charles P., Peter G. and Mrs. Sophia Steinbrenner. Mrs. Hassenflue died at the age of twenty-nine, after eight years of married life, leaving four children, one son and three daughters, who were taken home, some by their grandparents and others by their uncle. The son, John W. Hassenflue, is now a practicing physician at White House, Ohio. The daughters are all married. Charles P. Minch died at the age of twenty years, his death being a severe blow to his parents. Peter G. Minch was drowned when the steamer Western Reserve was lost in 1892. Mrs. Steinbrenner, who lives at No. 90 Kinsman street, Cleveland, Ohio, is the only surviving member of the family.
Philip J. Minch continued in the shoemaking business until he had so far prospered as to be able to engage in shipbuilding. The first boat he built was the scow Linden, which was capable of carrying about fourteen cords of stone, and Mr. Minch went on board of her as captain, and continued to manager her about two years. He built other boats, among them the schooners C.J. Roeder, I.W. Nicholas, Burton Parsons, H.J. Webb, Charles P. Minch, Fred A. Morse, Samuel Mather, George H. Warmington and Sophia Minch, all of which were constructed at Vermilion. After living thirty-five years at that place, he removed to Cleveland, where he died June 20, 1887, aged sixty-seven years, one month and six days. After coming to Cleveland he began to build steamboats, among these being the John N. Glidden and the A. Everett, the latter of which was lost in the spring of 1895, on Lake Huron. Mr. Minch was interested in the building of the Onoko, and was made managing owner, which position he help up to the time of his death.
Peter G. Minch, mentioned above as lost when the steamer Western Reserve went down, took charge of his father's business when the latter died. He was born January 9, 1842, at Vermilion, where he received his early education, and began sailing on the lakes when he was but fourteen years of age, being engaged thus in the summer season and attending Oberlin College in the winter season for three or four years. At the age of twenty-one he was in command of the schooner Burton Parsons, and afterwards of the schooners H.J. Webb and George H. Warmington. In 1880 he was made master of the A. Everett, the first steamer he commanded, and he continued on her until the steamer William Chisholm was built, in 1884, when he transferred to her, sailing her up to the last illness of his father. He was called home about a month before his father died, and took charge of his affairs. Soon afterward he build the steamer Philip Minch, which came out in 1888, and is a fine, large boat; her length is 275 feet, beam 40 feet, 8 inches; depth of hold is 22 feet; her gross tonnage is 1,988. He next built the steamer Western Reserve, which was constructed by the Cleveland Ship Building Company, and was at the time the largest of her class on the lakes. Her keel was 300 feet long. She sank August 30, 1892, the crew taking to the lifeboat, which remained afloat until the next morning, when it capsized in the breakers, and all were drowned but one man, Henry Stewart, who lived to tell the tale. Among the lost were Peter G. Minch, wife, son and daughter, and Mrs. Minch's youngest sister, Mrs. Jacob Englebry, and her twelve-year-old daughter. Mr. Englebry is a merchant at Vermilion at the present time.
Peter G. Minch was married December 20, 1866, to Miss Anna A. Delker, daughter of Henry Delker, of Vermilion, Ohio, and they had seven children, as follows: One that died in infancy, Philip J., Anna E., Hattie S., George H., Charles H. and Florence E., the two last named being the ones drowned as above mentioned. Mr. Minch was a member of the Lake Carriers Association. He was uniformly successful in his business, and at the time of his death he was managing owner of the following vessels: Steamers Onoko, William Chisholm, J.H. Devereux, J.N. Glidden and A. Everett, and the schooners Sophia Minch, H.J. Webb, Fred A. Morse and George H. Warmington. Since then the Fred A. Morse was lost in a collision.
The Minch Transit Company was organized in August, 1893, for the purpose of managing the steamer I.W. Nicholas, the members of the company being Philip Minch, J.B. Guthrie, William Gerlach, Robert Wallace, and H.D. Coffinberry, the latter of whom is president of the company, and Philip J. Minch, secretary and treasurer. The Nicholas Transit Company manages all the rest of the vessels above named.
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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.