Captain Stephen Maitland Murphy
Captain Stephen Maitland Murphy, who, during 1898, closed his third season on the fine steel steamer Corona, one of the best of the fleet belonging to the Mutual Transportation Company of Cleveland, was born in Syracuse, N.Y., September 19, 1853, a son of Maitland and Ellen (Wall) Murphy, who removed from Canada to the United States, and located in Syracuse; shortly after the birth of our subject the family returned to Canada, making their home in Kemptville, near Prescott, where the father, who was born in Ottawa, died in 1863. The mother, who is now living in Buffalo, N.Y. at the age of sixty-eight years, removed with her family to Oswego, that State, where young Stephen attended school until he reached the age of fourteen years. In the spring of 1867 Captain Murphy's marine life commenced as boy on the brig Junius, out of Oswego, and after two months accepted the same position on the schooner Persian, remaining on her until the close of the season of 1868. The next spring he shipped in the same capacity on the schooner James Navaugh, closing the lake season on the bark Jessie Hoyt. That winter he went to New York City and, as ordinary seaman, joined the full-rigged ship Zima, hailing from New Brunswick, in the South American trade, and on her he remained until the spring of 1870, when he returned to the lakes, and shipped as seaman on the schooner Chandler J. Wells, closing the season as second mate with Capt. John Bowman. After laying up the schooner he went to New York and joined the ship Wild Hunter, of Boston, bound for Antwerp, Belgium, with merchandise, thence to Cardiff, Wales, for a cargo of railroad iron for New Orleans.
In the spring of 1871 Captain Murphy went to Chicago, and shipped on the schooner John T. Mott as second mate, remaining on her the full season, trading between Chicago and Kingston. Going to the Atlantic in the winter he shipped on the brig Clara Montgomery, plying in the West Indies trade. The next spring on his return to the lakes he was appointed mate of the schooner Lively. During the winter months we again find him a seaman on the full-rigged ship James B. Norris on a voyage to Havre, France, thence to New Orleans.
From this time (1873) Captain Murphy devoted all of his time to lake navigation, the first year as mate of the brig E. Cohen, with Capt. Daniel Golden, until June, 1874, when he joined the schooner F.C. Leighton as mate, with Captain Manning. In the spring of 1875 he was appointed master of the schooner Floretta, and sailed her seven seasons. When he joined her she had just returned to the lakes from a sea voyage, and brought the first cargo of sugar from the West Indies for a lake port, her load being discharged at Hamilton, Ont. During the seasons of 1881-82 he sailed the schooner Hartford; in 1883 he was master of the schooner White Star; 1884 mate of the steamer Oceanica, then master of the steamer Robert A. Packer; 1885 master of the steamer Clyde, of the Lehigh Valley line; 1886 master of the steamer Tacoma; 1887-88 master of the steamer Seneca; and 1889 master of the steamer Saxon, of the Menominee Transportation Company's fleet. In the spring of 1890 Captain Murphy entered the employ of the Mutual Transportation Company as master of the steel steamer Cambria, remaining on her three seasons. He then transferred to the Corona, and sailed her until the close of navigation in 1897, laying her up at Ashtabula harbor. He has been eminently successful in his steamboat experience, his bills of repairs and insurance being the smallest possible, and only subject to the cost of natural wear and tear of the vessels. He is one of the earliest members of the Ship Masters Association, having joined Buffalo Lodge No. 1, soon after its organization, and carried Pennant No. 129.
In 1875 Captain Murphy was united in marriage to Miss Catherine O'Neil, of Kingston, Ont., and five children, William J., Ella, May, Maitland, and Sarah T., have been born to them. The family residence is at No. 15 Parsons street, Ashtabula, Ohio.
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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.