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Monday, July 1, 2013

The Ships - The HJ Webb


Historical Collections of the Great Lakes (1)
The H.J. Webb, a wood hulled schooner with 3 masts,  was built in 1869 by Isaac W. Nicholas at Vermilion, OH U.S.  167 feet long, and 28 feet wide, It had a gross tonnage of 431, and a load capacity of 410 tons. At launch the owner was CP Minch and under Captain WJ Trainer the vessel plied the ore trade between Escanaba to Cleveland.

  • In 1871 the HJ Webb, Schooner, lost her rudder post on Lake Huron. Marine Disasters on the Western Lakes during 1871, Capt J.W. Hall 
  • 1874 Captain Dayton began sailing the steamer Seneca, afterward the H. J. Webb, of which he was also owner, remaining with her until December, 1877, when she was burned in the Bloody Run slip in Detroit river, taking fire from sparks from a planing-mill, and becoming a total loss.
  • In 1894 the owner of HJ Webb was listed as John Madden of Bay City. (Around the Lakes 1894, Detroit Dry Dock Co. Cleveland, OH: Marine Review Print 1894)
  • In 1895 HJ Webb is listed in Annual List of Merchant Vessels as being based in Albany NY. 
  • In 1895 John F. Madden is listed in the Bay City Directory(2).  He is not found in any other available volumes.  Thomas F. is listed with occupation of lumber. 
  • In 1899 the Captain of the HJ Webb was John Ryan.
  • In 1900 the HJ Webb with home port listed as Albany, NY was owned by John F Madden. Our John is John J.  so who is John F. It doesn't seem feasible that the name is listed incorrectly in the ship's registry, so it doesn't seem likely that John F. is the same man as John J.  Yet, I can't find other evidence of John F as a ship's Captain in either Bay City or Albany.  Ideas and comments are welcome!!
A year later the vessel was removed from service with the following notation: Stranded on Larch Island, North Channel, Georgian Bay, November 11, 1901 and became total loss. The photograph above shows the H.J. Webb under way on the Great Lakes. 


  1. Historical Collections of the Great Lakes
  2. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.  Bay City, Bay, Michigan 1895


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