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Monday, June 24, 2013

Great Lakes: Captain Michael James Madden

Son of Jeremiah Madden and Mary Dunn
(1853 Canada - 1925 Detroit)

Michael was born in Ontario and was living with his parents Jeremiah and Mary in Ellice, Perth, Ontario in 1861. (1)  

About 1870 he came to Port Huron, St. Clair, MI.  He married Catherine (Kate) Beal before 1892 and they lived for many years at 1003 Kearney St.

Michael moved to Detroit where he died on 2 Jan 1925.  He is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Port Huron.

Again, there is a connection between Michael and the family of Thomas F. Madden.  Michael was the captain of the Lizzie Madden for at least the two years 1899 and 1900.  Is that the only connection?  Although Madden is not an uncommon name, the connections between the shipping Maddens are interesting.

Known facts:
  • Michael obtained his first license to pilot a boat in 1871.  This would most likely be a 3rd class license.  He was only 17 at the time. (Marine Record 8 Sep 1898 - List of those who have held licenses for over 20 years.)
  • In 1880 Michael a 26 year old sailor is living with his mother, Mary, in Port Huron. (United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Tenth Census of the United States, 1880. Washington D.C. National Archives and Records Administration, 1880 M   -605 p397D, ED 388)
  • 1884 M. Madden Captain (str) in Bay City - If this is the correct Michael, it puts him in Bay City right at the same time that Thomas F. moved there.  R.L. Polk & Co.'s Marine Directory - 1884  Vessel Captains
  • 1893 M. Madden was captain of the Newaygo. (This might or might not be Michael)
  • MJ Madden was Captain of the Lizzie Madden in 1899 and 1900. (23 Mar 1893 Marine Record p3; RedBook 1899)
  • In 1900 Michael and Kate were living in Port Huron (1003 Kearney) with three children and servant Annie Wright. Michael is listed as Captain of the steamer Baden? He is listed as emigrating in 1870 and was unemployed for four months of the year (the typical wintering season on the Lakes). (United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623-741, p4A,  ED 100)
  • From 1901 to 1909 Michael J was the captain of various vessels owned by JC Gilchrist.
    • 1901 Columbia (Redbook 1901)
    • 1902-1904 Wallula   (Marine Review 13 Mar 1902 p4; Redbook 1902-1904) 
    • 1905-06 Mecosta (name as MJJ) (Redbook 1905-6)
    • 1907-08 Thomas Maytham (Redbook 1907; Lynn's 1908)
    • 1908 Merida (ISMA-1908)
    • 1909 City of Genoa (hailing port of Vermillion) (Record of American and Foreign Shipping American Lloyds.)
    • 1910-1916 Listed in ISMA but no ship listed.
  • In 1910 Michael was listed as Captain of the Great Laker? in the census. (United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1910. T624-673, p8, ED112)

Michael and Kate had four children:
  1. John Albert Beal Madden b. Dec 1892 MI d. 1954 buried Mt. Hope Cemetery, Port Huron MI
  2. Eugenia Mary Madden Sep 1895 MI  
  3. Catherine Madden Oct 1898 MI - 1986
  4. Margaret Josephine 1901-1964
Read more at 
Maritime History of the Great Lakes

  1. Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Census Returns For 1861; Roll:  C-1064-1065. pg 24 Perth, Dist. 3 Ellice

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Ships - The Lizzie Madden

The Chenango, was originally built with two decks in 1887 by J. Oades & Frontier Iron Works for Cameron and Whitney. 175' long, 34' wide and with a depth of 13' and built of wood, the Chenango had a gross tonnage of 938.

On 11 April 1890 bound from Detroit to Buffalo with a cargo of wheat a fire was discovered next to her boiler as she approached Long Point on Lake Erie.  Passing steamers Eber Ward and Majestic towed her to the entrance to Erie (PA).  There she sat for two months before she was finally towed to
Buffalo. Insured for $55,000, it was estimated that the cost of salvage and rebuild would come to $46,000.

James Davidson a shipbuilder from Bay City purchased her and eliminating the second deck readied her for the lumber trade.  She was outfitted with a steeple compound engine.  Thomas F. Madden and partners purchased her in 1891 and she was reregistered as the Lizzie Madden (US 126431 - J Davidson Hull #44).

23 Nov 1907 Bay City Tribune
From 1891 to 1907 the Lizzie Madden worked throughout the Great Lakes with a variety of Captains and her comings and goings were reported in various newspapers including the Tonawanda News and the Door County Advocate.
  • 13 May 1893 (DCA)...  the steambarge Lizzie Madden was on it's way to Menominee to load lumber.
  • 1894 - Captain William Tomlin (8 Mar 1894 Marine Record p3)
  • 16 Jun 1894 .(DCA).. the Lizzie Madden was again on its way north. 
  • 14 Jul  1894 (DCA) .. the Captain was having trouble with the crew over wages.  
  • 26 Jan 1895 ..(DCA). The Lizzie Madden wintered over in Buffalo.
  • 1895 winter mooring JB Ketham (10 Jan 1895 p8 Marine Record)
  • 1897- 22 Apr - John Cowan had secured the Lizzie Madden and Noquebay for hauling lumber from Menominee to Buffalo at $1.25 per 1000 feet, one of the lowest rates ever reported. ( 22 April 1897 Marine Record)
  • (DCA) Towards the end of the season she ran on Strawberry Island in the Niagara River.
  • 1898 Wintered in Buffalo
  • 1899-1900 Captain MJ Madden  Port Huron, MI   chief engineer, George H Charlton. 
  • 25 Mar 1899 ..(DCA).  the Lizzie Madden was in for repairs.  
  • 22 Jul 1899 ....(DCA)  she ran ashore on Sand Island.
  • 24 Nov 1900 (DCA)... she was badly scorched by fire. 
  • 28 Dec 1901 .(DCA).. she wintered at Milwaukee.
  • 1901-1902 Captain D. Elliott and Casey Cuthbert took over as chief engineer. 
  • 1903 JM Lynn is listed as manager (1903 Blue Book of American Shipping:   Statistics of Shipping and Ship Building in America. Lists of Ship Owners, Ship, Engine and Boiler Builders, Naval Architects, Vessel Masters, and members of various organizations made up from the Navy and Merchant Marine. Particulars of American and Canadian Steam and Sail vessels with names and addresses of owners. Cleveland OH: Marine Review Publishing Co. 1903  p176)
  • 1905 - William J. Lynn ( MJ Lynn (manager) also on board Helped in Salvage of the Siberia. Buffalo Evening News 27 Nov 1905)
  • 20 May 1905 ... she found the body of the captain of the steamer H.B. Hawgood.
  • 1905 Nov 16. - Complaint was made against steamer LIZZIE MADDEN for being navigated from Duluth to Tonawanda with a fireman acting as second engineer.  Matter investigated November 27 and license of Wm. J. Lynn, master, suspended for 15 days.  Case also referred to the U. S. District  attorney and collector of customs for the imposition of penalties incurred.  REPORT OF THE STEAMBOAT INSPECTION SERVICE CASUALTIES, VIOLATIONS OF LAW, AND INVESTIGATIONS YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31,  1905 NINTH SUPERVISING DISTRICT LOCAL DISTRICT OF CLEVELAND, OHIO pg 387
  • 1907 Captain Ralph Pringle.
On 22 Nov 1907 the Madden left Bay City for Little Current, Ontario where a cargo of lumber was waiting.  Just as she cleared the river a fire was discovered.  Spreading rapidly the crew soon gave up fighting it and took to the life boats.  The crew was picked up by the Langell Boys and taken to East Tawas.  The burning Lizzie Madden came to a rest on Little Charity Island in Saginaw Bay.  On December 12 the werck was purchased and her engine and boiler were retrieved by Bay City Wreckage and Salvage Company.

Read more:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Also reported in Tonawanda

In trying to sort out family, tidbits of information continue to get in the way.  These three are among the unsolved references found in the Buffalo/Tonawanda area.

22 Nov 1875 - Buffalo Courier -  "Matters in Brief: Nothing has been learned of the whereabouts of Captain Madden, of the schooner [Ithaca], who disappeared suddenly three weeks ago."  This reference is too early to refer to any of the Maritime Madden's that I've tracked to date.  

Marine Record 15 Feb 1900 p2

Another interesting reference was an advertisement for a Ship Chandler's store opened in 1900.  A partnership between retired Capt. Jas. Madden and Mr. Dunn who had an interest in harbor tugs.  What makes the item more interesting is that no James Madden is found living in Tonawanda, or for that matter in Buffalo and no James Madden's were found Captaining ships on the Great Lakes before 1900. 

Is this a mistake and was John a part of this partnership.  He is not found as a Captain of ships in the late 1890s but he seems young to be referred to as retired.  It is surely another man.  Both this man and the previous might have been Captains of vessels in waters other than the Great Lakes.

Is Jack Madden John?  Is he perhaps the Jas. listed above?  Is this yet another Madden connected to Tonawanda?  Perhaps a military Capt. rather than a mariner?  Are we talking Menominee County in Wisconsin or in Michigan?  Both have communities called Menominee, both have had papers named the Herald.  I'm sure that the location could be solved with a little more research, but the background of Jack Madden is of much more interest.  Does anyone claim him?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Family: Captain John Madden

Son of James Madden and Anna Fitsimmons
( 1859  Albany NY - 10 Dec 1907 Tonawanda NY)

Like his brother, Thomas, John grew up working on the river in Albany.  He was still living with his father at the time of the 1880 census, and it is unknown when he settled in Tonawanda, NY or if he had lived anywhere else in the interim.

John married Theodora Strong on 8 Jan 1894 in Tonawanda, NY with his brother James Madden in attendance. Dora's sister Isabella had married Michael Madden of Saginaw some years before.  At this time no connection has been found between Michael and the family of James Madden of Albany.  We are looking for a direct male line descendant to provide a DNA sample.

While Thomas handled the ship logistics and James handled the lumber side, John was a respected Great Lakes Captain.  It appears that they worked together throughout their lives and owned some ships in partnership.  At least one reference was found to "Madden Bros."
North Tonawanda Evening News 31 Oct 1900

Newspapers and ship directories throughout the Great Lakes area give information on the ships he sailed and throw in a few hints about his personality.  For example, the Tonawanda Evening News on 26 May 1904 reported that "The genial Captain has a new supply of jokes."

It appears that John and Dora lived with her mother and brother in a house at 409 Niagara Street, which was just one street from the Niagara River waterfront.  The house is still standing today, although it is possible that changes have been made.  Eliza was a widow and William H. Strong, also a ships Captain, never married.  With eight months of the year spent on the lakes, shared accommodations made sense.

John has not been found as the Captain of any particular ships before 1901 and family references said he was a pilot.  It is unknown at this time when he first was in charge. In 1901 J Madden was Captian of OW Blodgett's Sophia Minch. In 1902 of SR McLaren's AA Carpenter.  It is possible these two listings are for a different J. Madden.  We do know for certain that from 1903 to 1905 he was Captain of the Mautenee, in which he held 1/3 interest.  He is also listed as the owner manager of the Tracy J. Bronson in 1901. (1)  
North Tonawanda News

The New York Red Book 1906 p162
Like his brother James in Ashland, John became involved in the politics of the town he lived in,  and beyond.  He served on the Health commission, was a member of the Hose Company and ran for Assemblyman in 1903 losing with 44% of the vote.

North Tonawanda Evening News
24 April 1905
John's wife Dora also became involved in the shipping business.  Like many of the shipping wives, she was listed as one of the owners of the vessels.  In fact they were both part of the Strong Transportation Co. of Long Island that was formed in 1900.  That year, John and William H. Strong were sued by William Misner (married to another sister, Clara Strong) over ownership of the N.K. Fairbank (which had been re-enrolled as the Eliza H. Strong).  In the appeal to the court case (NY Court of Appeal 1905 v24)  it was shown that John had transferred his rights, title, and interest to Dora prior to 27 May 1899, he was released from the suit.  William Strong who had similarly transferred his interests to his mother was not.  The suit which had been brought to recover a fair share of the 1899 seasons profits and William was not excluded because he was manager of the vessel that year.

This is not the only ship that John might have had an interest in. He may have had partial interest in the HJ Webb, ownership was sometimes stated as TF Madden and sometimes as John F Madden.  In addition to the Tracy Bronson there may have been others, including the Mautenee.

John began the fateful year of 1905 first in directing the rebuilding of the Fred Meyer and then as Captain of the Mautenee which along with the Noquebay was in tow of the Lizzie Madden.  They arrived in port in N. Tonawanda on June 4th with a load of ore, John stating that the lumber in the northern lake ports was still too green to ship [Buffalo Express 4 Jun 1905].  

North Tonawanda Evening News
13 Nov 1905
Mary N Bourke
The terrible hurricane blowing through the Great Lakes before dawn on 20 October 1905 sank the Mautenee along with many other vessels. John, fortunate enough to save his life and crew, but without a ship, was available to bring the Mary N. Bourke home after yet another brother-in-law Capt. Phillip Heppner  (husband of Emma Strong) was injured.

Shipping on the lakes was not an easy life.  The strain of lost ships, lost cargos, and family discord takes its toll.  John, like his brother Thomas, died too early.  He passed away unexpectedly on 12 Dec 1905 at the age of 46 in his home in Tonawanda.  He is buried in St. Francis Cemetery.

North Tonawanda Evening News 12 Dec 1905
Dora lived to the age of 69.  She died quietly in her home on 6 Feb 1940 and is buried next to John in St. Francis Cemetery.  They had no children.

(1) 1901 BlueBook of American Shipping, Marine and Naval Directory of the United States. p107  Although the entry states he lived in Tonawanda it is assumed he is the same John that is listed in Bay City as owning one schooner.

Thank you to the Historical Society of the Tonawandas and St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church for their help in researching John Madden. 

See Old Fulton NY Postcards.for newspapers.