Captain John Miner
Captain John Miner, one of Detroit's best known masters and vessel owners has been sailing on the lakes over fifty years, forty-two years of which he continuously owned and commanded vessels.
Captain Miner was born in Montreal in the year 1831, and removed with his parents to Detroit, Mich., in 1834. At the age of fourteen he went on the lakes, and at the age twenty he built the sloop Sweeper. He thereafter, in succession, built, owned and commanded the Michigan Flower, Storm, Whittlesey, J.B. Chapin, schooner Kate Hinchman, bark John Miner; beside these he built three for others, owned with others the Victory, Star and brig Concord.
After the schooner John Miner, he purchased and commanded the large and powerful tug William Goodnow, with which for a number of years he was engaged in towing, through the rivers and lakes, vessels and rafts, some of which were record breakers for large and heavy tows. He subsequently owned and was master of the following named steamers and schooners: The Magnet, steamers Benton, Mary Mills, schooner George Worthington, steamer Henry Howard, schooner Morton, steamer Empire, schooner John S. Richards. He then designed and built the fast passenger propeller Skater, which after commanding two seasons he sold.
In all these years he has not lost a man by accident, nor any of the twenty-two boats commanded by him. His reminiscences of the early days of sailing, and his exper- ience on the lakes are most interesting. It can be said for the Captain that he has never been addicted to the use of tobacco or liquors of any kind, and in his business dealings he has always been most conscientious and honest. With just pride he has always been much interested in the art of fancy ice skating, in which his ability has been excelled by none in his days as is testified by many prizes, such as medals and other trophies won by him in contests. In this he has earned a high reputation through- out all the principal cities of the United States and Canada, and though well advanced in years he practices every winter, and is so surprisingly skillful as to be always an attraction to the public.
He is now interested in a patented skate, capable of the most efficient speed. He was also the inventor of the balance rudder, so extensively used on steamers, besides several other patented improvements.
In 1851 Captain Miner was married to Miss Julia Busha, of Grosse Isle, Mich., and they have living three children, now all married (the younger son John, then twenty years old, died in 1891); Capt. Frank J. Miner, who was on the lakes for a number of years, is at present in business in Detroit; the daughters are Mrs. Jennie Parker and Mrs. Ida Seidler, all residing in Detroit.
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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.