Captain Julian "Dick" Porter



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From Lorain Times Herald June 16, 1916


   This week a schooner, a representative type of vessels that are fast disappearing from the chain of lakes, passing before the mark of progress s represented by the steam propellers- sailed from Lorain on its last trip. 

   Last evening, a representative of the old school of shipmasters, those daring navigators who sailed, really sailed by aid of wind and sail, ended the long voyage of life and was gathered into the harbor of eternity by the command of the Master of all navigators. 

   Captain Julian "Dick" Porter passed away last evening at his home, 1144 W. Erie Ave. after an illness of 5 days and after several months of ill health. 

   Gently did the breeze die under the sails of the life craft of Capt. Porter.  The craft suddenly reached a calm, the frame quivered and death assumed command.  There was no struggle, no shoals, no big seas. The spirit, which had once unflinchingly faced storm and disaster was quiet.  The daring nature which had driven the "Three Brothers" into numerous harbors under full sail was quietly stilled.              


   Captain Porter was the son of Mr. & Mrs. Nathaniel Porter and was born in Lorain on St. Patrick's Day, 1846.  He had practically made his residence here continuously although many years of his earthly existence was spent n the waters of the chain of lakes.  From boyhood, he longed for the life of a sailor.  The longing was gratified.  He shipped early as a sailor before the mast.  Advancement came to him rapidly because of his love for his work.  Soon, he possessed his masters papers and then came his proudest moment when he sailed in his own vessel, the "J. U. Porter", a schooner widely known in it's day. 


   After years of sailing on the "Porter", Capt. Porter became the owner of the "Three Brothers", a schooner that was famous on all the lakes.  He and his bat became known in every port.  The high masts among the tallest on the lakes, were easily sitting rising above the horizon.  They knew no obstructions and it was common comment that wires were never too high for Captain Porter to tear down. 

   Clinging to his schooner, the deceased sailor would not give up the fight.  The modern means of lake transportation drove him from the ports where cargoes were rich.  He fought grimly and determinedly against great odds and finally but reluctantly, retired five years ago when he was appointed master of the Lorain Harbor by F. J. King, the mayor of the city.  He held the position continuously up to the time of death and was ever on watch on the docks and bridges in the performance of duty. 


   A pathetic incident in Capt. Porter's life came last week when the three masted schooner G. J. Boyce, sailed into Lorain Harbor.  The harbor master was back in his element again.  It seemed if he had been transplanted into his young manhood.  His steps were more sprightly.  He visited the Boyce a score of times, inspecting every foot of her.  "Here is a real boat." he said.  "This captain here is a shipmaster.  That fellow on that iron boat over there is a steam boatman.  He is not a sailor." 

   Capt. Porter was married in 1880 to Miss Elizabeth McCurry of Detroit.  He brought his bride to this city and here was born to them a family of five daughters, who with their mother, survive.  The daughters are Misses May, Clara, Helen, and Irene Porter, and Mrs. T. A. Peets.  Two brothers, Samuel Porter f Grand Rapids and Alex porter, 503 Washington Ave Lorain, two sisters, Mrs. Caroline Millar and Mrs. John McConnell both of Ashland survive.  Mrs. McConnell was a twin sister of the deceased navigator. 

   Capt. Porter was identified with the Knights of the Macabees.  He was also a member of St. Mary R. C. church.  The funeral services will probably be conducted from the church Monday morning at 8:30.  The Rev. John J. Johnson will be in charge.  The body will be buried in Calvary Cemetery."

donated and copyright 2002 Maureen Smith

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