Captain E. M. Peck
Captain E.M. Peck (deceased) was better known as a shipbuilder than a vessel master, although he was a thoroughly competent navigator, and commanded his own boat, the Fountain City, for four years.
Captain Peck was born in Otsego county, N. Y., in 1822, and in early life learned the trade of a ship carpenter, working at it for a number of years. Later on he removed to Cleveland and engaged in shipbuilding on his own account. While here he designed and put onto the lakes not less than one hundred steam and sailing vessels, many of them being actively engaged on the lakes at the time of his death. Among the vessels that he designed and built were the barks Naomi, Sunrise, Golden Fleece, Unadilla, C. P. Sherman, Daniel Stewart, and North West; the steamers Fountain City, Evergreen City, Idaho, Winslow, Meteor, Pewabic, St. Louis, R. J. Hackett and Forest City; the tugs E. M. Peck, Metamora and I. U. Masters; and the two revenue cutters Fessenden and Sherman.
Early in the 'seventies he left the shipbuilding business and organized the Northwestern Transportation Company, which operated a big line across Lake Michigan for both freight and passenger business. This company built the steamer Amazon, at that time the largest steamer on the lakes, and propelled by the first twin-screw used on fresh water. About this time Captain Peck made an innovation in the ore-carrying trade, which has since been followed to advantage by many vessel men. He towed the schooner Forest City, as consort to the steamer R. J. Hackett, loaded with ore, down through all the Great Lakes to Ashtabula from the Lake Superior mines. Prior to that time the product of Upper Peninsula mines had been moved in schooners and small barks, and the plan of towing by a steambarge worked a revolution in the methods of this particular line of lake traffic.
In 1845 Captain Peck was married to Susan E. Rogers, of Cleveland, Ohio. They had two children - one son and one daughter - both of whom died young. Captain Peck died May 8, 1896, after a brief illness lasting about ten days. Indeed he was actively attending to business affairs within a very short time of his death. When his death was announced suitable action was taken by local vessel men, and at the conclusion of the funeral ceremonies in Detroit his body was placed aboard his own steamer, the E. M. Peck, transported to Cleveland, and interred in Lakeview Cemetery.
Somewhat brusque in his manner, and not easily approached, Captain Peck was nevertheless a man of most kindly instincts, and of a very charitable disposition, as those who got to know him intimately soon discovered. His death was deeply felt by every vessel man to whom he was known. Captain Peck did his first work in the employ of Philo Moses, of Cleveland, upon the first boat sailing on Lake Superior in the interest of the Hudson Bay Fur Company. The timbers were framed in Cleveland, and taken by boat to the "Soo," then hauled by team across the land to the foot of Lake Superior, it being the first boat of importance on that lake.
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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.