Registered Queries for May 1998

Downward Bound - Great Lakes Shipping Ancestors

OADS, PARSONS, ROBINSON posted by Donald H. Gordon on Saturday, May 2, 1998

NOTE* THIS IS AN UPDATE Joseph PARSONS was born in Newfoundland on April 9, 1844. At the age of 14 he moved with his parents, presumably to Ontario, eventually settling in Kingston. In that city he married Sophia ROBINSON, and they had six children. He operated a coal and lumber yard in Kingston, and also was in the grain shipping business with the Richardson Brothers. He owned and sailed a schooner, "Herbert Dudley", named for his first two sons. About 1892 he moved the family to Detroit, where he was associated with Walter Oads in the shipbuilding and transport business for many years. Altogether, he had four sons, all of whom became involved in Great Lakes shipping, and all of them had their master's papers: Herbert PARSONS was associated with ships until he went into other business ventures. Dudley R. PARSONS was Superintendent of Great Lakes Engineering Works in Ecorse at the time the South American was launched in February, 1914. Joseph W. PARSONS was Captain of the "Calcite" (1) until his death in 1929. George K. PARSONS (my grandfather) was in and out of Great Lakes shipping off and on throughout his life. Joseph PARSONS, after retirement, built a 25 foot sailboat while the family was living in Alpena - at age 77 - and set out on August 7, 1921 for Mackinac Island. He perished in a storm off Hammond Point, 12 miles northwest of Rogers City. His body was found two weeks later, and transported back to Detroit on his son's boat, "Calcite" (1) for burial. Any information about any of these PARSONS will be gratefully received.

HART posted by Donald H. Gordon on Saturday, May 2, 1998

Frederick Closson HART was born in 1848 in Detroit, son of Welcome Washington HART ("W. W."), who was a ship owner in that city. Growing up around his father's boats, Fred HART began his career on the lakes at age 14. The first volume of the Beer's History contains a brief biography of him. (I was alerted to that by someone who read my original query on this site!) Incredibly, at age 19, in 1867, he was in command of his own boat, the "John P. Ward", and after that he sailed many others. He is probably best known for having commanded "The Michigan", a very large schooner, and the first (and only??) one with a double deck. Later he was Marine Superintendent for the J. Emery Owen Transportation Company. After that, I believe, he became involved with the mergers that eventually gave birth to the creation of the D & C Lines (Detroit and Cleveland Navigation Company). I would appreciate any information about Fred C. HART, or any information about the creation of the D & C Lines, and his involvement with that company. Also, a more remote possibility: If anyone knows anything about the shipping business in Detroit during the first half of the last century, that might connect to the life of W. W. HART, it would be like "discovering gold"!

PURDY posted by Kenneth L. Keith on Sunday, May 3, 1998

Interested in hearing form anyone with information or might have served,or Company exec or guest or next of kin that knew my grandfather Capt. Ezra Davis Purdy. The boats were to our knowledge, "Frank Rockerfeller"(Meteor), "James B. Neilson","Henry C. Frick","Isaac L. Ellwood","John W. Gates","George W Perkins","Elbert H. Gary","Norman B.Ream","Henry Phipps","William J. Filbert","Alva C. Dinkey", "William B. Dickson","J.P. Morgan Jr.","William P. Palmer","Percival Roberts Jr.","Richard Trimble","D.M. Clemson","Robert C. Stanley",and "Irving S. Olds." He also served as President of the Shipmasters. Thank you, Kenneth L. Keith

ANDREWS, DONIHOO, DONIHUE posted by Suzanne Frantz on Wednesday, May 6, 1998

Seeking any information on CAPT. JACOB L. S. ANDREWS, of Newport (now Marine City) Michigan, and who died in Racine, Wisconsin in 1851. He married LAURA DONIHUE of St. Clair County, Michigan in 1843 & he is listed as "Captain" in a genealogy published in 1902. Also looking for any references to any DONIHUE's who may have sailed the Lakes 1840 - 1900. Thanks!

GORMAN posted by Kathy Johnston on Wednesday, May 6, 1998

I am searching for information about a Charles GORMAN who was lost at sea during the early 1800's. According to family legend, he was from Genesee County, N.Y., perhaps around Caledonia, N.Y. If you know of any sources or newspapers that might list ships' passengers or death notices, please let me know. He was related to my ancestor, Marguerite GORMAN.

NOONAN posted by Jackie Ferrari on Thursday, May 7, 1998

Frederick J. Noonan native of Chicago went to sea most probably on the Great lakes in 1908 at the age of 15. By age 18 he was serving on the British ship the Crompton which he joined in Tacoma. I would like to trace his career before and after the Crompton.

FOX, WORTHY posted by Ken Fox on Friday, May 8, 1998

Looking for information on the Steamer "CITY OF MACKINAC or MACKINAW" My GF John W. Fox may have been a crewman on it. I am not sure of the date of the census but one of them around 1900 shows a John Fox as Employee of this steamer. George Worthy could have been on this ship also. John W. Fox died in 1906 in St. Paul, MN. He was supposedly born in Germany. I think he was about 22 at that time. 1895-1903 era. Thanks Ken

BAIRD, BROWN, PARSONS, SMITH posted by Lillian Black on Tuesday, May 12, 1998

Seeking information about William and Ann Jane Smith Baird of Grand Haven, Mi. On 1870 and 1880 Census records with children, William, John, Hercules, Edith. In 1880 grandson(?) born 1877 in Scotland is with them. Our father was grandson of the Bairds and was born in 1877. He was orphaned by the sinking of the ALPENA in 1880 on Lake Michigan. He was told his mother Jennie(Jane)Baird Browne and his father, Frank Browne were drowned when the ship was lost in October 1880. He was raised in an orphanage and was not sure of his father's full name. The Bairds were supposed to have worked with the Life Saving Service in Grand Haven and one was a Lighthouse Keeper. They also ran the Michigan Exchange whatever that was. Hercules Baird(Hart Baird) was on sailor. And we have found that there was a garbage scow HERCULES that went down on the same night as the ALPENA. Also another ship sank that was captained by a Frank Browne so we are very confused. My father died at age 92 here in Kansas.

ELLSWORTH, ELSWORTH posted by Cheryle Andes on Tuesday, May 12, 1998

I am looking for any information on Abram Ellsworth, who was listed as a sailor, tug captain on the Great Lakes. He had two sons, George and Lawrence. 1870 census shows them living in Cleveland, George being born in Canada, Lawrence born in New York (all about 1851-1856). George and wife are thought to be born in England and came down though Canada (Nova Sko). Any help that I can get would be greatly appreciated.

COOK, VANNORMAN posted by Barbara Blake- Krebs on Thursday, May 14, 1998

I am looking for information on men who were engaged I gather in both lumber and shipping from Hamilton, Ont., Canada in the 1850s and later. I have a citation from an 1851 business directory which reads: "Cook, H., & Co., Hamilton, lumber merchant, oak lumber, Cook's Wharf." I believe that the first name of this Cook is William. The other is Abner Van Norman. I have references to his lumbering and shipping in an 1850 published diary of his wife. But only in 1881 do I have a city directory listing him as "Shipper, Wentworth St., between Main & King" I am trying to determine if this COOK is my ggrandfather, and I am particularly interested in learning whether any sons of Abner E. Van Norman were involved in shipping. Would also like to know their principal export and/or import locations. Appreciate any info.

QUESNEL posted by Bob QUESNEL on Monday, May 18, 1998

QUESNEL, Etienne (Stephen) - began working on St. Lawrence & Great Lakes in 1857, spent 20 yrs. on passenger & freight ships (Canada). To Minn. abt. 1880. Born 9/20/1830, St. Anicet, Que. Canada. Want info. on ships and his position & when/why left, etc.

YOUNG posted by Kristi Wainscott-Moen on Tuesday, May 19, 1998

Looking for William Young who was a merchant sailor out of Rochester, NY or Geneva, NY. He died off the coast of China and was burried at sea. This would have been somewhere around 1865 - 1880. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated!

COLLINS posted by joan van fulpen on Thursday, May 21, 1998

I am searching for my uncle Albert COLLINS. He was a merchant marine on the Great Lakes before war broke out. Then, like so many others, he went to sea where he was killed off the coast of Hawaii. I believe he was born app 1900. Died 1945 or 1946.This is the only information I have to date except his parents were Emma Bacon Collins and Benjamin Collins.

FIELD posted by Peggy B. Perazzo on Monday, May 25, 1998

Seeking info. on or descendants of Frederick FIELD (born 1820 in Dorset, VT.) and his brother, Charles FIELD (bn 1824 in Dorset, VT). Frederick FIELD was the first man to ship Vermont marble from the Dorset, VT, quarries to Chicago, IL. in the 1860s. He opened the first marble factory on La Salle Street near the river. Prior to opening the marble factory, Frederick FIELD taught one of the ward schools in the winter of 1843 or 1844. His brother Charles joined him in the marble and continued shipping Dorset Marble to Chicago. He left Chicago to return to live in Niles, Michigan, at his branch office prior to 1870.

COSTELO, MCCANN posted by Kathleen Davis on Wednesday, May 27, 1998

Laughlin McCann and Mary Costelo were newly-wed's in 1851, when they took the "Mayflower" a wooden passenger and package freight steamer to,Ohio. It hit ice and sunk, they survived by hanging on to ropes and wreckage. Would appreciate anything, anyone's family stories of this wreck, photos of wreck or "Mayflower", other records or info.

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