Registered Queries for April 1998

Downward Bound - Great Lakes Shipping Ancestors

GRAHAM posted by Fran Hindmarsh on Wednesday, April 1, 1998

Do you have names of the sailors on the schooner, "Jennie Graham", that sank in Lake Huron, near Sarnia, on 30 Apr 1872? I know the captain was Duncan GRAHAM and I suspect some of the crew may have been related to him. Any info much appreciated. Fran H.

CURRAN posted by Martha parker on Wednesday, April 1, 1998

John Curran (1954-1887,) captain of the Havana, was drowned when the schooner sank on 3 Oct 1887 off the shores of St Joseph, MI. John and his brother James, Thomas and Robert and their father James (1828-1910) all sailed the Great Lakes after they immigrated to Chicago in 1872. They were all born in Ballyhalbert Co Down, Ireland. Archibald Curran (1838-1906) was born in Ballyhalbert also and he lived on Amherst Island, Ontario, CAN and in Douglas, MI, Chicago and in Saskatchewan. He died in Douglas MI. I am interested in how the two famillies are related.

BAHR, BERRY, JOHN, WILHELM posted by Al Williams on Wednesday, April 1, 1998

John Wilhelm BAHR born 08 Oct 1836 sailed the Great Lakes from the time he was fifteen years of age until he was in his early thiries. That is all that is know of his expierences. Does anyone have a clue to anything pertaining to this person. Who was my great grandfather.

POTTER posted by Robin Potter on Wednesday, April 1, 1998

Looking for information on my g grandfather William Henry (W.H.) POTTER and his brother Alexander POTTER, both of Kingston,ON. Alexander POTTER was a sailor and later a master mariner. He was a mariner from at least 1873 to the early 1900's. William Henry POTTER's status is more unclear. His death certificate lists him as a captain and one of my uncles remembers seeing a certificate listing him as a master mariner. Would be curious to find any references to him as a mariner as I have only seen him listed under other occupations.

FRASER, WESTCOTT posted by Jeff Fraser on Wednesday, April 1, 1998

Searching for Zephirin FRASER who was a sailor on the Great Lakes 1870-1889. He was born in Three Rivers, Quebec and in 1880 was in Depere, Wisconsin (near Green Bay). He married Mary Jane WESTCOTT in 1879. Zephirin was a sailor on the Great Lakes before 1879.


Many of the surnames were in the US Coast Guard serving in the Great Lakes patrol,during/before WW II. Charles Garrow most recent memory. Son of Virginia Churchill & Isreal Garrow. Thanks for any & all help.

TOWNSEND posted by Pat on Wednesday, April 1, 1998

Townsend, John born about 1797 MD/NJ. John was listed on an 1870 WV census as a retired sailor/believed to have been a merchant seaman or on a riverboat. He lived MD/NJ/OH/WV. Any information on him would be very much appreciated. Thank You!

ARCHAMBEAU, FORTAIN, FORTIN posted by Debbie Thomas on Thursday, April 2, 1998

Israel M. FORTAIN b 1849, was reported to have been a whaleback captain on the Great Lakes. He married Melvina Archambeau, and had 4 children. They lived in Bell River, Canada. At some point they moved to Michigan, and both he and his wife died there. All four sons were sailors. The Fortain's are reputed to have descended from pirates. How can I check that? His son Israel was on the boat with his father and his brother Henry when someone shot off one of the boat's cannons. Israel Jr.'s leg was torn away on the side, between his knee and hip. Any way to find a record of this event? Son Henry Joseph Fortain was born in 1873 in Belle River. Family history says that he worked as a passenger boat captain on the Great Lakes until he married. One newspaper report is that he captained the Christopher Columbus, but the Great Lakes Hist. soc found no record of his name on the list of captains for that ship. Any help out there regarding this family? Who are they related to in Canada? What ships did they sail?

PHIMISTER posted by Marjorie Melenyzer on Sunday, April 5, 1998

James Phimister emigrated from Scotland and lived in Chicago in approximatly 1895. He worked on a ship on the Great Lakes as a ship's engineer. He moved to Cleveland, Ohio with his family in the late 1890's and returned to Scotland in 1901.

BOLS posted by Shirley Lynn on Monday, April 6, 1998

In May 1893 my great-grandfather Peter BOLS and his family entered the United States from Germany through Port Huron. Are there any passenger lists from that time? Could he have made that journey without entering either Canada or the U.S. before he disembarked at Port Huron? Any information as Port Huron being a port of entry to the U.S. would be appreciated. Thanks

BLANCHARD posted by Gordon Blanchard on Monday, April 6, 1998

Gordon H. Blanchard believed to have been born in or around 1895 was said to have worked on a ship and, according to my father, died as a result of an accident on a ship. It was reported that a boiler had bust or some part of it and Gordon was burned. He was said to have died as a result of this accident. According to the cemetery records of Hillside Cemetery, St. Clair, MI a Gordon H. Blanchard was buried 3-28-21 at age 26. I am wondering if there is any way to locate this person as having worked on a ship. The family had lived in the St. Clair, MI. area from mid 1800's. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Gordon

STRONG, TOBIN posted by Mike Strong on Thursday, April 9, 1998

Am looking for information on Mary Ann Tobin who came to the U.S from Canada. she was in a shipping accident and was one of the survivors. She settled in Warren Pa and married my grandfather, Phillip Strong. Time frame? About 1880-1890.

BADGLEY, REALS posted by Houston Tracy, Jr. on Friday, April 10, 1998

William Hatch BADGLEY b 17 May 1839 NY, d 23 Jan 1909 Sherman Township, Mason Co., MI, son of Hatch C. BADGLEY and Maria REALS. He was a Private in 184th NY Infantry, Co. K. However, in his widow's obituary of the 1930's, he was shown as Captain BADGLEY. They did live at the Town of Schroeppel (now Fennelville), Oswego Co., NY and later moved to the shores of Lake Erie. I do have photos taken in the late 1860's of a young man dressed in a uniform a boatman/pilot of a wheelhouse, replete with long slender cigar in his mouth. My grandfather did mention someone in his background was a "river" boat pilot, but no mention of the Lakes. I can prove they lived on the Lakes, but not a navigible river. There is an H.C. BADGLEY living 2 lots from the Erie Canal in the Town of Mentz (now part of Port Byron) in Cayuga County, NY, however, he appears as Horace, a silversmith, not Hatch. And Horace's wife is Maria R., but her tombstone implies that she was born a WHITNEY, not a REALS. Any help in this matter appreciated. Was William BADGLEY a boat Captain ? On the Great Lakes or the Mississippi River ? Both ?

ROY posted by Annette & Virginia Garner on Friday, April 10, 1998

Bartholomew worked as a ship carpenter in Amherstburg, Ontario and Detroit between 1842 & 1863. Then moved the family to St. Clair, MI where he continued his employment as a ship carpenter. Looking for sources of ship building companies in the hopes of finding his name.

AVERELL posted by Norm Schoenmaker on Saturday, April 11, 1998

Charles AVERELL dob 1824, Captain on Great Lakes, lived in Bay County.

GOULD posted by Joy Bellew on Sunday, April 12, 1998

My Grandfather, Edward Preston GOULD, was the chief engineer on the ship called the "Sentinel". I have a picture of him on this ship. Would like any information on the ship or on my grandfather if possible. He was married in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November 11, 1893 and lived in Chicago in the early 1900's. Anything would be deeply appreciated! Thanks!

BALDWIN posted by James E. Hurst on Tuesday, April 14, 1998

I have been told since I was a small child that my g- greatgrandfather's brother George E. BALWIN (born England 1820's) was the captain of the Hannah Lee. I am doing a family geneology and writing a family history and would gladly accept any info on the Hannah Lee or Capt. George BALDWIN thanx Jim HURST

CARVIL, CARVILLE, RILEY posted by Peg Erbes on Tuesday, April 14, 1998

Looking for any information on my g-g-grandfather, Thomas CARVILLE (or CARVIL). He lived in Cleveland, Ohio, married Bridget Mary Riley and had three daughters before drowning off the Straits of Mackinac in 1850. Of course, family legend has him as the captain, heroically doing deck duty so his crew could relax! Any info on this gentleman would be greatly appreciated.

LORENTZEN posted by Kerry Lorentzen-Pritchard on Friday, April 17, 1998

I am looking for information on my Grandfather, Jack Emil LORENTZEN. He worked in the kitchen (galley!) of ships. He was born in 1885, and was supposedly a stow away that they put to work. Thanks, Kerry Lorentzen-Pritchard

FITZSIMMONS posted by Maureen Shelton on Friday, April 17, 1998

Thomas W. Fitzsimmons Born Ireland county Limerick 1817 Died Detroit 11/6/1882 Sailed in Ireland, Mexican American War, then settled in Detroit. Did surveying work on the Great Lakes at the time of his death the death notice stated he was a Capt. on the steamer Surveyor. Also spent in the Merchant Marine.

GEIGER posted by Lawrence J Geiger on Saturday, April 18, 1998

Larry Geiger was steward of the Medusa Challenger before retiring. Also sailed on the Ann Arbor carferries in the stewards dept. Sailed on the tug Purves and for Roen steamship also on their log tug on lake Superior I believe this was the tug John Roen no. 5. Had his own marine supply in Manitowoc Wisconsin for thirty years previous.

BAKER, SMITH, SUMMERFIELD, THOMPSON posted by Carroll Towner on Sunday, April 19, 1998

Roy A. Baker was a captain of ore boats that plied the Great Lakes. His youth was spent in Marine City and his sailing career began in his teens when he was hired as a deck hand. Over the years he earned promotions and for several years was captain of different ore boats, most notably, the "Regulus." The "Regulus" was distinguished by the red color of its hull, the white pilot house at the bow and superstructure astern; the black smoke stack banded in red. In 1927 the company that owned Capt. Roy Baker's ore boat sold to a Canadian firm. Demotions by the new owners followed and Capt. Roy Baker resigned rather than work his way to the top a second time. During the cold Michigan winters, when the Lakes froze over, many ships were "laid up" at major ports such as Chicago and Detroit. During the early years of their marriage, Capt. Baker and his wife Pearl stayed on board to "keep ship" until spring. In later years Capt. Baker sometimes took his children aboard for a summer trip. In the college town of In the college town of Spring Arbor, while Roy Baker was sailing on the "Regulus" and later when he traveled as an insurance agent, his wife managed the Campus Inn, a small grocery store and ice cream parlor. The business venture is not remembered for enormous profits. With seven Baker children and their friends, candy, cookies and ice cream were in great demand. Capt. Roy Baker was born 12 Aug 1884 in Cottrellville Township, Michigan. He married Pearl C. Smith. His parents were: Adeline Summerfield Thompson and Robert Baker. His father was a Ship Carpenter. Now that I have said the above, does anyone have any information on the "Regulus"? Better yet, has anyone come across any information pertaining to Capt. Roy Baker? He is my grandfather and I would really like to learn more about his days on the Great Lakes.

BARDEN, BURROWS, PORTER posted by Jo L. Wiggins on Tuesday, April 21, 1998

Christopher PORTER was sailing on a steamer on Lake Huron when the boiler exploded and he was very badly burned and died within a day or two. This was about 1868, and he was 29 yrs. old. His parents were Benjamin BURROWS and Hester BARDEN. If you know anything about this fire or the BURROWS family I would love to hear from you.

DAVIS posted by Bill Paeth on Tuesday, April 21, 1998

Does anyone have any information on Alva Cooley DAVIS in Great Lake Shipping. Family history states "that 'Coly' went west about 1850 and signed on as cabin boy on a freighter. He sailed on all the Great Lakes until 1854."

GEROW posted by Kathy Gerow Bowles on Friday, April 24, 1998

Looking for information regarding Loren L. Gerow and Finley Gerow - both of whom worked on a freighter sailing the Great Lakes as cooks, sometime during the 30's or 40's. Originally from Marine City, St. Clair County, Michigan.

posted by Bill Frame on Friday, April 24, 1998

I am looking for any information about the Jenny Weaver or the Duval, two masted schooners that sailed Lake Huron around 1915. They were owned by the Roberts and Frame Shipping Co.

FORTIN, GAULIN, GOLER posted by Lt. Col. Edward H. GAULIN on Sunday, April 26, 1998

Can anyone provide information on a shipyard or any of the vessels built at Gravelle Point (Cape Vincent), NY owned by Louis-Elie GAULIN, aka Louis Elias GOLER. GOLER, a young French-Canadian ships carpenter, worked in the yard at Garden island (Kingston, Ontario), but shortly after his marriage to Marie FORTIN of Kingston, he established his shipyard at Cape Vincent. Goler's yard was probably in operation from about 1830 to 1850 and, according to a local history, 25 vessels, mostly schooners, were built there. Goler captained one of the first he built. Several of his sons and sons-in-law were also ships carpenters. I have a list of the vessels and their masters, which I will post soon, but know more of them. Can anyone identify where the yard was located and exactly when it operated. I'd also like the details and disposition of the ships constructed at this yard. I have the genealogical data, which I will happily share. All of Louis' children retained the GOLER name, rather than GAULIN.

HILLA posted by david a binkley on Sunday, April 26, 1998

Carl HILLA Lighthouse Service or US Lifesaving Service, Cheboygan, MI 1930-40

LEACH, NUGENT posted by Jean McNamara on Tuesday, April 28, 1998

Would like information on "Star of Empire." From an 1888 Chicago obituary of Elizabeth Jemima (NUGENT) LEACH, 2 of her older sons wended their way on the "Star of Empire" in 1864. The LEACH & NUGENT families lived in Clarke & Hope Townships near Port Hope, Ontario. James & Elizabeth LEACH soon followed the sons & settled on a farm in Creston, Ogle Co. IL.

DANA posted by Kathy LaCombe on Tuesday, April 28, 1998

Many of my ancestors were Great Lakes shippers (owners, captains, sailors, etc.). They lived mostly in the Algonac, Marine City area. My Grandfather, Bert Dana was on the Superior City during the Storm of 1913. They just made it to safe harbor in the Detroit River when the storm hit. His grandfather, Capt. William Dana, first sailed on the Betsy, then built the Charles Howard. Also, he owned the Clyde (which he bought). He built the first three masted schooner on the Great Lakes (the Luther Wright). During the civil war, he was a sailor on the Philo Parsons, which has it's own interesting story. He also owned the Edith which was a passanger vessel, and the Fern, which was probably a tug. I have more info, but would like to know more, as I can't seem to find any Danas anywhere but the cemeteries. Please help!

HEMENGER posted by Kathy LaCombe on Tuesday, April 28, 1998

My Great great grandfather was Arthur Hemenger, who resided in Algonac, Michigan. He was the son of Amasa Hemenger who was the first doctor in Marine City and St. Clair County. Arthur owned a salvage operation and apparently lived in Bell, Michigan for a while where I think my great grandmother was born. Arthur died during a salvage operation in Copper Harbor. I don't know if he fell in and drowned or if his barge went down with him on it. His body was recovered and he was buried in Algonac. Please help me find more about him and his ancestry.

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