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Remembering
Ernest Matteson
Ernest Matteson
1929 - 1974

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Matteson Captains of the Great Lakes

from: "History of the Great Lakes, Vol 2" by J. B. Mansfield
Published Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co. 1899

Captain David W. Matteson

Captain David W. Matteson, of Marine City, Michigan, has a record of over thirty-six years on the Great Lakes. He was born in Oswego, N.Y. in 1839, son of Capt. Sylvanus Matteson, an expert ship carpenter, who sailed for eleven years and then returned to work in the shipyards.

David W. Matteson spent his early years on a farm, beginning his sailing career in 1859 in the schooner O. V. Brainard. In 1860 he was on the schooner Lively, remaining on shore part of that season. He was in the schooner Stephen A. Douglas when she foundered off Point Betsy, Lake Michigan, on October 30, 1862; this vessel was lost after she had been pumped out and floated, a false bulkhead which had been fitted in her hold to confine the water, giving way and causing the pumps to choke. The accident occurred while the tug Leviathan was towing her to Milwaukee, and all on board escaped with the exception of the cook, who was lost, the crew being taken to Chicago in the propeller Plymouth; Captain Matteson returned to Oswego in the schooner Thornton. The next season he served in the schooner Republic, in 1864 being employed in turn on the bark Margaret R. Goff, the schooner Yankee and the schooner Idaho.  The next season he helped to fit out the schooner Eagle Wing and served in her for some time during the summer, remaining on shore part of the season. During the next few years he served as follows: 1866, schooner Ida; 1867, schooner Winnie Wing; 1868, brig St. Joe; 1869, mate of the tow barge Forester; 1870 master of the Forester; 1871, master of the schooner John F. Rust; 1872, master of the schooner C. G. King; 1873 to 1877, inclusive, master of the schooner L. C. Butts. Subsequently he sailed the barge Gardner and the schooners Hoag, Spademan, A. T. Bliss and Nellie Mason. He brought out new the schooner Alverson, sailing her for two years, after which he commanded the barge Godfrey three years, became mate of the steamer Birckhead for part of one season, second mate of the steamer William B. Morley, and mate in the Everett and Norwalk. The season of 1896 was his second year in the last-named vessel.

Captain Matteson in 1862 married Miss Mary Watson, of Oswego. They have had three children, Adele, Eva and Emma, of whom Eva is the only one now living; she is the wife of W. T. Young.


 

Captain E. F. Matteson

Captain E. F. Matteson is thoroughly devoted to his calling, which he has followed during all of his active life. He was born March 3, 1856 at Oswego, N. Y., where his father first saw the light in 1833, living there the greater part of his life; he died at Marine City, Mich., May 24, 1888.

Captain Matteson removed with his parents to Marine City when he was seven years of age, and at that place received his education in the public schools. In his seventeenth year he began his marine life by shipping as seaman on the C. G. King, on which he remained one year, and in the seasons closely following he served on the Dayton, Brainard, D. K. Clint, D. L. Young and Charles Spademan. In 1875 he began steamboating as wheelsman on the P. H. Birckhead, serving in this capacity one season, and he was subsequently employed in the Bay City, J. W. Westcott and Heckley, in 1886 becoming second mate of the last named boat. Succeeding this he was on the William Chisholm for two seasons as second mate and from that boat went to the J. H. Devereux, as mate, on the Mariska as second mate, and on the Newago, W. H. Gilbert and E. M. Peck as mate, finally shipping in that capacity on the Norwalk, on which boat he has remained until the present time; he was given command of her in 1895.

Captain Matteson was married, May 25, 1881, to Miss Jessie Robertson, whose brother Henry R. Robertson, has been steward on the lakes the greater part of his life. To this union has come three children, viz.: Susie A., born June 4, 1882; Verne E., born March 31, 1884; and Alta G., born August 9, 1888, all of whom attend school. Fraternally the Captain is a member of the I. O. O. F. and of the K. O. T. M.

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