Lives and Times in the Great Lakes Commercial Trade Under Sail

by Edward S. Warner and Colleen (Oihus) Warner

The lives and times of those who formed the lifeblood of the Great Lakes commercial trade under sail fell far short of any romantic version of the era of sail.1 Although Great Lakes sailors contributed to the vast individual and national wealth amassed during the post-Civil War period, they certainly were not, in any practical and immediate sense, significant direct beneficiaries of the era's prosperity. With the exception of those vesselmen who were also owners, benefits did not accrue to these individuals in proportion to their contributions.2 Rather, available evidence suggests that those working the vessels were, as a class, exploited in the interests of providing Lake transportation for a burgeoning economy and to the direct benefit of iron and steel kings, lumber barons, and like entrepreneurs who reaped the benefits of this relatively inexpensive transportation mode.

The life of the Great Lakes sailor was one of demanding and hazardous work with little pay. Periods of unemployment and unfavorable labor contracts only complicated an already difficult personal financial situation. Living conditions aboard the vessels were usually far from adequate, particularly for common seamen, although the table fare was generally considered satisfactory. These conditions, together with the loneliness that often accompanied the long sailing seasons, suggests that the life of the Great Lakes sailor, like that of the forest belt lumberjack and the Great Plains cowboy, stood in stark contrast to most "working class," largely urban, men and women during the Gilded Age.3

The commercial trade under sail in the Great Lakes experienced its greatest period of growth in the years immediately following the Civil War. By 1868, the number of sailing vessels on the Lakes had reached an unprecedented and never again equalled high of 1,855 with a combined gross tonage of about 294,000, whereas there were only 624 steam vessels at barely over 144,000 tons. Just thirty years later, only 960 sailing vessels totalling 333,700 tons remained in service, but steam vessels numbered 1,764 with a total of nearly 994,000 tons.4

The schooner was the major type of vessel under sail on the Lakes. Its rig was essentially fore-and-aft, allowing it to sail closer to the wind, to be brought about to the opposite tack with greater ease, and it was inherently less complicated than the more traditional square-rigged vessels, such as barks or brigs.5

In addition to the vessel's master, a schooner's crew most often consisted of a mate or first and second mates, a cook or steward, and seamen.6 Including masters, crews ranged from three, primarily on the small scows7, to ten on the large vessels. The complexities of handling square-rigged vessels, primarily barks, required that they carry two or more additional seamen than schooners of comparable size. For example, in 1872 the bark Ogarita carried, in addition to her master, a first and second mate, a steward, and eight seamen - a complement of twelve.8 On the other hand, in 1876 the schooner Our Son, a somewhat larger vessel, carried, in addition to her master, a first and second mate, a cook, and just six seamen.9

Available demographic evidence indicates that the individual who worked aboard Lakes vessels came from a variety of national and ethnic backgrounds and were overwhelmingly male. Masters certainly employed women, but exclusively in the capacity of cooks/stewards.10According to one estimate, by the season of 1869-70 there were just over 21,000 sailors on the Great Lakes, of whom nearly 12,300 were employed on sailing vessels.11 Captain Thomas E. Murray reported that around 1870 those manning the vessels "were principally English, Irish, Scotch, a few Welshman, with a sprinkling of Scandanavians [sic]."12 Although it is certain that the Scandinavians represented more than a "sprinkling," author Knut Gjerset, using convoluted assumptions and calculations, attempted to show that about 65 percent of the over 12,000 sailors were Scandinavians - a figure that is much too high.13 In all probability, the majority of Lake sailors were English, including those of Scottish and Irish descent; then by those of German, Dutch, and other European nationalities.14 Some of these people were "old stock" Americans, others were immigrants, still others were first or second generation Americans.

Although from different national and ethnic backgrounds, all crew members were the same when it came to the "articles of agreement" - the basic labor contract between a vessel master and a crew member. Legislation enacted by Congress in 1790 forced vessel masters to ensure that each crew members' rate of pay (e.g.,$1.50 per day) and described the trip (e.g.,Chicago to Buffalo). But more importantly, the crew members were under obligation to obey all legal command sof the master or other officers and to perform any and all tasks assigned. Significantly, articles did not address working conditions and like matters.15

Although no formally prescribed wording for articles prevailed during the era of sail, the following excerpt, taken from a form book used in 1871, was typical.

          We, the undersigned, seamen and mariners. . . for and in consideration of the. . . wages hereunto set against the same, do hereby each of us severally and mutually agree
          with the master or owner. . . to perform all duties properly devolving upon good and faithful seamen and mariners, from the date and for the term of time as stated below,
          obeying each and every lawful command of the master and officers of said vessel, and attending with the strictest fidelity and attention to any ship's duty which may be
          required of us. . . 16

The articles of agreement weighed largely in favor of the masters. And, on occasion, crew members found it difficult to fulfill their "parts of the bargain." In 1873 the Toledo Blade reported the following incident:

          On the third inst, three sailors signed articles as seamen on the schooner Ottawa for a voyage to Buffalo and return. After arriving in this city they left the vessel, refusing
          to work longer. Complaint being made by Capt. Lynch, Master[,] Commissioner M.C. O'Conner arrested the men and brought them before United States Commissioner
          Osborne, this morning, who decided that the men were bound to fulfill their contract and ordered their return to the vessel, which was done.17

On the morning of October 7, 1889, while in the Rivers, the master of the schooner David Wallace found his crew three sailors short.18 He recorded the incident in his log:

          Three of my sailors refused duty this morning and went ashore without liberty, the[y] came on board a little before noon and wanted I should pay them off. I told them I
          could not pay them off until the[y] finished there trip. Then the[y] wanted that I would let them Sign Articles at one Dollar and fifty cents per Day. I told them the[y] had
          Signed articles once and that was enough for one trip, the[y] then went and got there bags and went ashore and Libeld the vessel. I then had to hunt up three men to take
          there place. I got the Scher Bonded.19

The crew members had, in the master's view, violated their agreement to serve for the designated round trip. Inserted in the log was a separate, hand-written copy of a writ obtained by one of the crew members, George Vickerson, from the U. S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, at Detroit. He brought suit against the David Wallace for $8.75 in wages he claimed were due for services as a seaman. The bond obtained by the master had the effect of releasing the vessel while the suit was pending. It is unknown whether the seaman or the master prevailed in this instance.

Throughout the age of sail on the Lakes, seamen, in particular, received consistently low wages. Masters usually quoted wages on a daily or monthly basis and paid their crews at the close of each trip. Within each sailing season, however, there were significant fluctuations based on the supply of and demand for sailors, the particular ports from which crew members shipped, the calendar times within sailing seasons, and the like. In late April of 1872, for example, seamen received $2.00 per day.20 Two weeks later, however, the Toledo Blade reported that "in Detroit men are scarce at $2.50 per day."21 Seaman's wages aboard the schooner Our Son ranged from $1.00 to $2.00 per day during the 1876 season.22 Twelve years later, seamen aboard the schooner David Wallace received from $1.00 to $1.75 per day.23 Although requiring more skills, seamen's pay was roughly comparable only to that common laborers, whose pay averaged $1.73 in 1872, $1.64 in 1876, and $1.56 in 1888. In contrast, house painters received average wages of $2.77, $2.48, and $2.87 during those respective years. Teamsters earned $1.97, $1.98, and $1.99, respectively.24

Masters, particularly in the early years, were often sole or part owners of the vessels under their commands and their compensation consisted of monthly wages and/or a share in profits. In turn, profits (or losses) depended on the availability of, and charter prices for, cargoes as well as wages paid to crews, the costs of river and harbor towing, and other operating expenses. The precarious nature of the Lakes commercial trade sharply affected vessel masters and owners. On June 20, 1878, Captain Oscar B. Smith, after unloading a cargo of lumber in his home part of Huron, Ohio, discovered that there was nothing to ship. With dismay, Smith wrote in his journal, ". . . as I cannot get a load from Toledo or Cleveland, I am holding in here. Vessel brokers and shippers write me that never before have times been as blue for vessels as now." Three days later, conditions had not improved: "I do not find any load yet that will pay expenses, and fear shall have to wait until harvest. Hope then there will be something to do." Finally on June 26, Captain Smith secured a charter to transport staves from Toledo to Buffalo.25

For sailors, steady employment as reasonably predictable wages was rare. Normally, masters did not retain all crew members - notably seamen - between trips, once they had completed unloading the vessel. If the master had not arranged or could not readily obtain a subsequent charter, or if he engaged in a "standoff" with shippers in the hope of a better charter rate, crew members found themselves unemployed. Such situations forced sailors to either wait it out, so as to sail again with the last vessel, or to locate a different one. John Treiber, a German immigrant who worked aboard the vessels during the 1872 season, aptly described the difficulty of finding steady employment and adequate pay. In one of his letters to his wife Mary, Treiber wrote:

          . . . I would come home Now if it wass Not for the mony but it is Coming in so slow[;] times ar Not as good as I thaught they would bea[.] thear ar so many sailirs that it
          is very hard to git a chance to go in any thing[.] I ant going to Do Near so well as I thought I should. . . I hav to go befor the mast[;]26 it is impossible to git any thing betir[.]
          you sea I lost very Near too days this time and you No it takes mony to stop in Chicago so I think I will have to make A Nothir trip in the same vesil[.] I Dont know Whear
          she is going yeat[;] eather Bufalo or Thruw the Canall[.]27

Early in the 1873 season, financial conditions forced Treiber to shift from working as a seaman to employment as a "lumber shover" at Oconto, Wisconsin:

          I got hear Friday[;] I went right to work[.] I hope I shall Do well heare[.] I thing I will for I Dont want to sahle any more if I can help it[,] fore sailors ar as plenty as blackbirds
          and wageis ar low beafore the mast and I could Not git any thing Els[,] fore I got in to chicago to Late fore any thing Els so I maid wone trip and I thought I could Do beatir
          here. . . 28

As it turned out, Treiber did not do very well loading lumber at Oconto after the initial three or four weeks. In desperation, he returned to his position as a seaman late in the 1873 season.

Much of the work required of sailors in the Lakes commercial sailing fleet was very hazardous. Serious injury and loss of life resulted from the lack of safeguards aboard vessels, the inexperience of sailors, the improper loading of vessels, and the uncontrollable weather conditions on the Lakes. In September 1883, the master of the schooner John R. Noyes, in port at Cleveland, suffered what appeared to be a fatal accident:

          Captain Michael Murray of the schooner John R. Noyes, of which he is principal owner, got his left leg caught in a bight of rope, and had his leg torn off below the knee.
          He was unaware of this position until a tug pulled on the line. The prospects are against his recovery. Captain Murray is sixty years of age, and has spent almost his entire
          life on the inland lakes. His home is Oswego, N. Y., where he has two grown-up daughters.29

In describing the circumstances surrounding the gruesome injuries sustained by seaman W.A. Jones in 1888, the Duluth Tribune revealed the truly perilous nature of life on the inland seas:

          A probably fatal accident occurred yesterday morning. W.A. Jones, a seaman of the Moravia, loading wheat at elevator B. slipped and fell head foremost down into the
          hold sustaining severe internal injuries from which he will probably not recover.30

Since sailing vessels required work aloft in the rigging while underway, the possibility of falling a distance from thirty to eighty feet was very real. An 1867 newspaper recorded that a crew member aboard the bark Unadilla fell to the deck from a topsail yard and "was instantly killed."31 While under tow toward the Soo in company with the schooners Morrell, Exchange, and City of Chicago, the master of the schooner Monitor recorded that "a man fell from the Morrlls[sic] gaff Topsail."32

The schooner Maggie Thompson capsized during a squall in July of 1888 - the result of being "top-heavy and insufficiently ballasted." A prominent marine newspaper briefly sketched the sad history of the Maggie Thompson:

          The vessel has been a particularly unfortunate one in all but one respect - she has netted her owner, A.C. Hayward, of Chicago, a fortune. . . In the fall of 78, while in
          the middle of Lake Michigan, owing to the criminal carelessness of an unskilled helmsman, her main boom jibed accross [sic] the top of her cabin, sweeping Captain
          Andrew Nelson and his mate into an angry sea, and drowning them. Since then, five men have lost their lives on the ill-fated craft. Some were swept overboard by
          seas washing accross [sic] the deck of the vessel, others crushed their lives out from aloft, the last one perishing miserably in the Chicago River while endeavoring to
          free the schooner's yawl from the davits.33

In most cases, a serious injury meant immediate unemployment and only modest hope of adequate treatment and care, perhaps with the exception of some masters with private means. In response to the plight of injured and infirm seamen, the United States Congress established in 1798 a system of marine hospitals for seamen in the trans- and inter-ocean trade.34 It was not until 1843, however, that they extended protection to the coasting trade, which included the Great Lakes.35 Eventually, the federal government constructed and opened marine hospitals in Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago.

Ironically, the marine hospital system required seamen to relinquish part of their already meager wages as premiums to qualify for medical services. These "hospital dues," as they were often termed, amounted to twenty cents per month beginning in 1843. Subsequent raises in the premium doubled it to forty cents per month by 1870. This assessment against seamen's wages, although repealed in 1884 in favor of funding from duties on tonnage, was too late to benefit many of those who served aboard vessels under sail.36 The number of those vessels had dropped to 1,333 from a high of 1,855 in 1868.37

Although the inland seas took the lives of many sailors, occasionally a life was given. In 1867, the Toledo Blade disclosed the deaths of eight Lakes sailors;38 however, it also announced the birth of a baby born to a seaman's wife aboard the schooner Mark H. Sibley. The vessel's master delivered the infant while the schooner was on Lake Erie in route to Cleveland from the Welland Canal.39

Living quarters and conditions aboard the vessels were, for the most part, primitive. The after-cabin served as lodging for vessel masters, mates, and cooks/stewards. Although rather modest, these quarters far surpassed those provided for seamen who lived "before the mast," an often dark, damp space below deck ahead of the foremast known as the forecastle.

Thomas Murray, who worked aboard vessels in the Lakes merchant fleet recalled, with disdain, that

          In 1870 I do not believe that there was a water closet on any sailing ship on the Great Lakes. Some may have had a few aft, but not a single one for the forward crew.
          This condition continued up to 1880. The men lived in a little forecastle down forward, under conditions most unsanitary. When there was any old junk aboard the
          ship, there seemed no other place for it but forward with the sailors. The air was so bad that a lamp would scarcely burn, and there was not a single room sufficiently
          tight to keep water out in a head sea or when it rained. When heavy seas were encountered or it rained the men went to bed with their oil skins on to keep dry.40

Long after retiring from the inland seas, mariner Neil Palmer remembered, with little affection, the miserable accommodations provided for seamen:

          The sailor's home on board ship was up in the forecastle, a dark and dirty hole, with bunks in the wings, like in the lumber camps. A stove was out of the ordinary,
          and in all my sailing I can state that I have never been shipmate with a stove. No artificial heat was known on board the vessel except the stove in the cook's galley.
          In stormy weather you could. . . see the water coming through her seams.41

One the very few bright spots in life aboard many Lakes sailing vessels was the table fare. Although salt pork, potatoes, and flour comprised the basic ingredients for most meals, fresh meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables were fairly regular supplements on many vessels.42 Moreover, during the era of sail sailors could freely obtain fresh water in open water simply by sending a bucket or barrel over the side. The relatively short trips undertaken by Lakes vessels allowed for the acquisition and storage of fresh foods. In the trans- and inter-ocean trades, characterized by lengthy voyages, sailors had to consume fresh foods early in the trips and carefully ration fresh water. Of course, the culinary abilities of the individual cooks determined whether victuals on Lake vessels were more or less palatable.

Of all the concerns that befell the Great Lakes sailor, possible the most burdensome was that of loneliness. On the surface, it might seem that the matter of separation from loved ones was inconsequential. Trips such as those from Chicago to Buffalo with grain or from Duluth to Cleveland with iron ore often required only six or seven days, whereas trans- or interocean trips required weeks, even months. Those persons dear to Lakes sailors, however, generally lived in areas beyond the port cities. Even if they did reside in those cities, the vessels upon which particular crew members served may have seldom or never touched those ports. Moreover, even when ashore, most sailors could ill-afford to transport loved ones to their temporary locations. As a result, many sailors found themselves absent from family, with little personal contact, for the entire sailing season - a period between six and eight months.

After an absence of two months, itinerant sailor John Treiber sent a heartfelt letter to his wife: "Dear Darling['] and how ar you[?] weall[,] I hope and thinging of mea[,] I hope[,] for I am thinging of you all the thime and the tim that I shall sea you[.]" The couple arranged a trip to meet one another, with Mary coming from their home in Charlotte, Michigan, to Chicago by rail. The uncertainties of John's work, however, foiled their plans to meet:

          Now My Love[,] fore your Coming to sea mea[,] you will have to Come to Chicago and I Exspect you hear in wone weak from to moro[;] that will be the 22 of
          this month[.] Exspect wea shall be a back hear by that time[.] wea ar going to Manistea and if I am hear I will try to meat you at the traine[,] but tont Depend upon
          it for wea ma Not git hear by that time so you will have to go to the home and you will bea all Right[.] I hav told them you wear coming and they will take Car of
          you[,]. . . I sind you som mony with this[;] you will want fifteen or twenty Dalers So you wont bea short of funds if I should Not bea heare[.]43

As it turned out, Treiber's vessel returned to Milwaukee rather than to Chicago and his wife failed to reach their destination, as well.44

Timothy Kelly, master of the schooner C. L. Johnston during the 1872 season, found himself weather-bound for several days in Georgia Bay during a cold mid-November. Married less than two year and anxious to continue on his way home to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Kelly described his feelings in the vessel's log - "Never so lonesome and discouraged."45

Masters, particularly those who were sole or part owners of the vessels they commanded, had some recourse to the matter of loneliness. If space and other conditions permitted, vesselmen sometimes took wives and family members aboard with them.

There were some drawbacks to taking family members along on trips. Captain Oscar B. Smith's wife and one of his children sailed with him on board the schooner La Petite during July of 1876 for a trip from Cleveland to Port Robinson, Ontario. Rough seas made for a miserable trip, as Smith recorded in his journal: "It freshened up during the night from the northeast, making quite a lump of the sea. My wife and Edna are both sick."46Their bad luck held, for on the return trip with a load of cement and salt from Buffalo to Sandusky, Smith noted that they had "wind fresh from the westward, making considerable sea. Edna and her mother being seasick, I stopped under Long Point at anchor. . ."47

Unfortunately, there were times when masters paid the ultimate price for having loves ones on board.. Just after arriving, with difficulty, in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in a gale, the master of the scow-schooner Mishicott recorded the tragic news of the day:

          The wind blowed a gale the whole day and news came from Port Washington that the scow Silver Cloud capsized between that place and Sheboygan. She was
          loaded with lumber and cedar posts and started to leak so bad that they could not keep her with the pumps. The captain went down in the cabin to see about his
          wife and child and while he was down there the scow capsized and drowned the three of them in the cabin. The other three sailors clung to the rigging and was
          saved.48

In the very primacy of the era of sail, harbingers of new and innovative technology loomed on the horizon. New challengers forecasted great changes for Lakes commercial transportation as early as 1873:

          Parties engaged in the iron business at Cleveland are building barges and will hereafter tow their iron ore from Lake Superior in these cheap freight carrying
          crafts and will not depend upon sailing vessels for their supplies [or ore]. Buffalo parties are doing the same thing, and will soon have their barges ready for
          service. The fact is, the barge system is becoming popular, because it is more reliable as to time and cheaper in the long run than the old system of sailing.49

Many of the new barges were actually schooner-barges, designed to be sailed as well as towed behind steam barges or tugs.50 And transporting bulk cargo by barge was not always more reliable than the "old system," owing to mechanical failures, tows breaking apart in heavy weather, varying loading/unloading schedules for the tow's components, and the like.

In spite of evolving Lake transportation technology, sailing vessels remained active. Some received new rigging, and others became schooner-barges. Also, ever-larger vessels continued to come off the ways. Perhaps of greater significance to the nature of the Lakes trade, transportation and other commercial companies now owned the new (and converted) schooner-barges, replacing the tradition of sole or partial ownership by vessel masters, thus relegating them to the category of wage earners along with their crews.51

By the late 1880's the halcyon days of the Lake trade under sail were over. Even as early as 1888, the sighting of a craft with sailing rig elicited commentary:

One of the unusual sights of Duluth harbor last night was the approach of a schooner, the Chris Grover, under sail. There are so few sailing vessels on the lakes, and such a small proportion of them run to Lake Superior that a ship under sail is an unusual sight. Only 14 percent of the shipping of the lakes, and a much smaller percentage of total tonnage, is propelled by sail.52

The life of the Great Lakes sailors was a test of financial, physical, and emotional endurance - one of seemingly unrelenting hardships. Surviving letters, diaries, journals, vessel logs, and newspaper accounts reveal their discouragement with the low wages and all the fear of unemployment. The appalling living conditions, particularly "before the mast;" the unfavorable articles of agreement; and the hazards inherent in the architecture and operation of sailing vessels tested the stamina of Lakes' sailors. The isolation from loved ones was surely, for some, the hardest test of all.

Perhaps an old sailor in the Detroit Marine Hospital best refuted the romanticism of the Great Lakes sailing ships and the idyllic sentiment of "going off to sea." In June 1888, reporters from the Detroit Free Press visited the overcrowded facility. There they found John O'Leary, who poignantly revealed the reality of life on the inland seas:

          John O'Leary, aged 80 [is] a fine old man who spent fifty years before the mast, a service which does not seem to recall much pleasure to the old man's
          memory, and he does not hesitate to say that if he had his life to live over he would not be a sailor. . . Any boy who contemplates running away to sea
          would do well to visit the Marine Hospital and see how unromantic is the real life of the toiler of the sea.53

Notes


1Crews. . . found stimulation and fun in the neat handling of their ship on the long easy run and in the quick crises that were always blowing up on the Lakes." See Harlan Hatcher, The Great Lakes (New York: Oxford University Press, 1944), 215. Another writer referred to the era of sail as "the romance and picturesque beauty of the old days on the Lakes." See James Cooke Mills, Our Inland Seas: Their Shipping and Commerce for Three Centuries (Chicago: McClurg, 1910), 186. In noting that some crewmen were former salt water men, one author wrote that "Altogether it was an attractive life to men accustomed to the lonely voyages and the hard conditions of deep water sail." See Walter Havighurst, The Long Ships Passing (New York: Mac Millian, 1942), 66. go back

2In the usage contemporary in the age of sail on the Lakes, the term "vessel" denoted a sailing craft rather than a steam-propelled one; likewise a "vesselman" was the master of a vessel. go back

3See, for example, Lewis C. Reimann, When Pine Was King (Ann Arbor: Northwoods, 1952); and Andy Adams, Log of a Cowboy (Williamstown Corner House, 1975), the latter originally published in 1904. go back

4J.B. Mansfield, ed., History of the Great Lakes, Vol. 1 (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1899), 439. go back

5Most of the sails on a square-rigged vessel are hung from yards or spars set at right angles to, and which swivel on, the vessel's mast. The sails (actually rectangular) are fastened to the yards at their top edges and usually at their bottom edges. It is nearly impossible to sail these vessels in a direction that is less than 90 degrees from the direction of the wind; that is, the wind must be blowing from a direction perpendicular to or at some direction from behind the vessel to sustain forward motion. By contrast a fore-and-aft vessel most of the sails have their leading edges fastened to the masts and lower (and often upper) edges fastened to spars (booms and gaffs), which can be hauled in toward the center of the vessel. It is possible to sail these vessels in a direction that is considerably less than 90 degrees from the direction of the wind. The amount of gear - cables, lines, and blocks - required to handle yards is significantly greater than the gear required to handle booms and gaffs. go back

6If only one mate was present, the term "mate" was normally used; if two were present, they were designated either "mate" and "second mate" or "first mate" and "second mate." The terms "cook" and "steward" were usually used interchangeably on Lakes sailing vessels; and, cooks were obligated to perform seamen's tasks when "all hands" were required. "Seaman" was a specific designation and those individuals performed the widest range of tasks, were subject to the will of officers, and were normally paid the least. Although "seaman" was often used generically, "sailor" was the better term. go back

7They were scow-schooners; that is, vessels with scow hull construction, but with schooner (fore-and-aft) rigs. go back

8Bark Ogarita log, 1872. Original in the private collection of Robert J. MacDonald, Erie, Pennsylvania. go back

9Schooner Our Son, financial account, 1876. Microfilm copies in the Institute for Great Lakes Research, Bowling Green State University, Perrysburg, Ohio. Merchant Vessels of the United States (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1892) listed the Ogarita at 604 gross tons (p.210) and Our Son at 720 gross tons (p.213). go back

10This is based on an analysis by the writers of the names of 490 crew members comprising a post-1865 subset in a database of 843 names. The writers extracted their information from vessel logs and financial accounts, journals and diaries, United States Life Saving Service Wreck reports, and other first records. Hereafter referred to as a crew members database. See also Patrick Folkes, "Cooks and Ladies' Maids: Women in Sail and Steam on the Great Lakes in the Nineteenth Century," Freshwater, I (Spring 1986), 24-30. go back

11Knut Gjerset, Norwegian Sailors on the Great Lakes (Northfield: Norwegian-American Historical Association, 1928), 75. go back

12Thomas E. Murray (Capt.), "Some Recollections," Inland Seas, II (January 1946), 28. The article is a reprint of an address delivered by Murray on March 5, 1914. go back

13Gjerset, Norwegian Sailors, 75-76. go back

14Crew members database. go back

15"An Act for the Government and Regulation of Seaman in the Merchant Service," July 20, 1790, 1 U. S. Statues at Large, 131-135. Originally enacted to cover ocean commerce to and from the East coast, the legislation became applicable to the Great Lakes through judicial interpretation. See, for example, Wolverton vs. Lacy February, 1856, District Court, Northern District of Ohio, Federal Cases 17, 932. For more particulars, see Martin J. Norris, The Law of Seaman, 4th ed. (Rochester: Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Co., 1985), Sec.6:1-38. go back

16Schooner W.S. Lyons, financial accounts, 1871. Original in the Great Lakes Historical Society, Vermilion, Ohio. go back

17Toledo Blade, May 16, 1873. Clippings Scrapbook in the Institute for Great Lakes Research, Bowling Green State University, Perrysburg, Ohio. Hereafter referred to as IGLR Clippings Scrapbook.
go back

18"The Rivers" referred to the Detroit River/Lake St. Clair/St. Clair River passage. go back

19Schooner David Wallace, log, 1889, entry for October 7. Original in the Canal Park Marine Museum, U. S. Corps. of Engineers, Duluth, Minnesota. go back

20Toledo Blade, April 29, 1872. IGLR Clippings Scrapbook. go back

21Ibid., May 13, 1872. IGLR Clippings Scrapbook. go back

22Schooner Our Son, financial accounts, 1876. Microfilm copy in the Institute for Great Lakes Research, Bowling Green State University, Perrysburg, Ohio. go back

23Schooner David Wallace, financial accounts, 1888. Original in the Canal Park Marine Museum, U. S. Corps. of Engineers, Duluth, Minnesota. go back

24Clarence D. Long, Wages and Earnings in the United States, 1860-1890 (New York: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1960), 135-136. go back

25Oscar B. Smith (Capt.), "The Schooner La Petite," Inland Seas, XXVI (Summer 1970), 102-117; (Fall 1970), 198-214 ad 223-228; (Winter 1970), 275-292. The article is a transcription of Smith's journal for the period of May 26, 1876, to July 13, 1878. go back

26"Before the mast" denoted the quarters for seamen in the forecastle, a space below deck ahead of the foremast. Richard Henry Dana, Jr. popularized the term as the title of his now-classic personal ocean voyage narrative Two Years Before the Mast, first published in 1840. go back

27Letter from John Treiber to Mary Treiber, October 17, 1872, in the Treiber Family Papers, Archives and Historical Collections, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. go back

28Ibid., June 8, 1873. go back

29Cleveland Herald, September 25, 1883. IGLR Clippings Scrapbook. go back

30Duluth Tribune, May 25, 1888. IGLR Clippings Scrapbook. go back

31Toledo Blade, October 13, 1867. IGLR Clippings Scrapbook. go back

32Schnoor Monitor, log, 1873; entry for August 21. Original in the private collection of Robert J. McDonald, Erie, Pennsylvania. go back

33Chicago Inter-Ocean, July 23, 1888. IGLR Clippings Scrapbook. go back

34"An act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen," 1 U.S. Statutes at Large, 605, July 16, 1798. go back

355 U.S. Statues at Large, 602, March 1, 1843. go back

3623 U.S. Statues at Large, 53, June 26, 1884. go back

37Mansfield, History of the Great Lakes, 439. go back

38Toledo Blade, February 28, 1867. IGLR Clippings Scrapbook. go back

39Ibid., May 4, 1867. IGLR Clippings Scrapbook. go back

40Murray, "Some Recollection," 28. go back

41Carl A. Norberg, "Early Days on the Great Lakes: Nels Palmer Recollects," Inland Seas, XXXIX (Fall1983), 157. This article was based on recollections recorded in 1930. go back

42Based, for the most part, on an analysis of available vessel logs and financial accounts. go back

43Letter from John Treiber to Mary Treiber, July 14, 1872 in the Treiber Family Papers, Archives and Historical Collections, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. go back

44Ibid., July 25, and September 6, 1872. go back

45Schooner, C.L. Johnston, Log, 1872, entries for November 17 through 22. Original in the Manitowoc Maritime Museum, Manitowoc, Wisconsin. go back

46Smith, "The Schooner La Petite," 106. go back

47Ibid., 107-108. go back

48Diary of Captain Soren Kristiansen, Lake Michigan Schooner Captain, 1891-1893, (Iron Mountain: Mid-Penninsula Library Cooperative, 1981), 19-20. go back

49Toledo Blade, April 24, 1873. IGLR Clippings Scrapbook. go back

50See various entries in the volumes comprising John O. Greenwood's "Namesakes" series, particularly the three volumes covering 1900 through 1929. For example, see John O. Greenwood, Namesakes, 1900-1909 (Cleveland Freshwater Press, 1987). go back

51For a good first-hand account of the operation of a schooner-barge during the 1889 and 1890 seasons, as recorded by her master, see Oscar B. Smith (Capt.), "The Schooner D.K. Clint," Inland Seas, XXXVIII (Spring 1977), 22-29; (Summer 1977), 121-127; (Fall 1977), 215-218 and 227-232. go back

52Duluth Saturday Evening Journal, June 9, 1888. IGLR Clippings Scrapbook. go back

53Detroit Free Press, June 17, 1888. IGLR Clippings Scrapbook. go back

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