Sea Captains' Biographical Sketches
Captain Berends of the Transatlantic Steamship SS Auguste Victoria of the Hamburg America Line. GGA Image ID # 12e0a9f329
Biographies of many transatlantic sea captains and commanders from the 1880s through the early 1900s. You’ll find steamship captains from Cunard, White Star, Inman, Guion, Anchor, American, Red Star, CGT French Line, and many others.
Commanders of Trans-Atlantic Steamships - 1894. LOC 2018696845. GGA Image ID # 13ec62c0ca
Captain Albers, the commander of the flyer Fürst Bismarck, is one of the best known and most popular officers in the transatlantic service. He is the commodore of the Hamburg-America fleet. Captain Albers has a most notable record. He wears decorations from the king of Denmark for his gallant rescue of the passengers of the steamship Geyser.
Captain Barends is a typical German sailor. He is jovial, a pleasant companion, and a rigid disciplinarian when on duty. His passengers all admire him for his strict attention to duty and his cool, intrepid manner when faced with any sudden emergency.
CAPTAIN James Clayton BARR, of the Saxonia, dates his career in the Cunard Line back to 1885, and his first command in the fleet to 1896, when he took over the Catalonia, in which he served during the “ trooping” seasons of the South African War.
Captain Julius Barre of the SS Werra, North German Lloyd (1886)
Captain Julius Barre hails from Westphalia. He commanded the Werra until recently, but will soon assume charge of one of the company's new steamers now building.
Captain Samuel Brooks of the SS Arizona, Guion Line (1886)
Captain Samuel Brooks, of the Arizona, is another example of the colossal captain. He is a man of powerful frame, but scarcely so tall as Captain Murray. He is about five years the senior of the Alaska's commander, and wears a full gray beard most becomingly.
Captain Richard Bussius of the SS Werra, North German Lloyd (1886)
Captain Richard Bussius is commander of the Werra. Like Captain Barre, he is two years older than the Superintendent-Captain. He was born in Brunswick. He has a good voice, is fond of music, brimful of anecdotes, and is universally popular.
Captain John D. Cameron, of the Teutonic
In that, most masters of ships agree with him. From the Black Ball Line, Captain Cameron went into the White Star service. That was twenty-nine years ago. He has been in that service ever since, though not always in the Atlantic boats.
Fleet Commodore of the Cunard Line. Few bridge officers of today are as well known to the travelling public and none are better liked than the capable commander of the Aquitania who is just rounding out forty-one years of service on the sea, twenty-six as a Cunard officer.
Captain Henry Condron of the City of Chester, Inman Line (1886)
The Inman officers are all comparatively young men. Captain Condron, of the City of Chester, is about forty-two or forty-three years of age, and Captains Lewis, of the City of Richrnond, and Redford, of the City of Montreal, are perhaps still younger.
Captain T. Cook, Commodore of the Cunard Line (1886)
Captain T. Cook, the present Commodore of the Cunard Line, is another type of the reserved man who does not familiarize with his passengers. He is never coarse; and will answer a simple question in a simple way.
Captain Alphonse P.M. Perier d'Hauterive, SS Labrador, CGT French Line (1886)
Captain Alphonse P. M. Perier d'Hauterive, of the Labrador, is not an ordinary-looking man. He is rather tall for a Frenchman, and wears a full beard. He is of slight frame, but it is his eyes which make him rather conspicuous.
De Jousselin is a Vendean and a marquis. He is a fine-looking man, with excellent address.
De Kersabiec, as his name indicates, is a native of vine-clad Brittany. Like the wine of his country, he is sparkling, bright, and effervescent.
Few Cunard captains are better known than Commander Daniel Dow, whose retirement after forty-three years’ service afloat, has Just been announced. During his time he was in charge, on the bridge, of the Mauretania and the Lusitania, the Aurania. Umbria, Campania, Caronia, Carmania, Pannonia, Carpathia, Saxonia, Ultonia and Sylvania.
Captain E. Frangeul of the SS La Normandie, CGT French Line (1886)
Many captains are highly esteemed. This is especially true of Captain E. Frangeul, commander of La Normandie and Commodore of the fleet. Everybody likes him.
Captain Benjamin Gleadell of the RMS Celtic, White Star Line (1886)
Captain Benjamin Gleadell is another illustration of the silent type. He commands the Celtic, and as its chief officer has distinguished himself for thorough seamanship and bravery, as he has frequently done during the many years he has been in the service of the White Star Line.
Captain R. W. Grace of the SS America, Commodore of the National Line (1886)
The command of this fine steamer has been given to Captain R. W. Grace, who ranks as the Commodore of the line. He has been temporarily deprived of the guardianship of this youngest sea child of the National by her British Majesty's government.
Captain W. H. P. Hains of the RMS Aurania, Cunard Line (1886)
If you have ever crossed with Captain W. H. P. Hains, you will surely remember him. He is a tall, distinguished-looking man, with one of those faces that instantly prepossess you.
Captain John Hedderwick of the SS Furnessia, Anchor Line (1886)
Captain John Hedderwick, of the Furnessia, is different from both in appearance, and a sort of link between the two in his tastes. His strong right arm has escorted many a lady across slippery and rocking decks.
Captain Peter J. Irving of the SS Republic, White Star Line (1886)
Captain Peter J. Irving, of the Republic, is still another of the White Star's galaxy of quiet men, and yet he is the sort of officer that always favorably impresses those who meet him.
Captain John C. Jamison, SS St Paul, American Line (1897)
The American Line is comparatively a new departure, its inception dating only some two years back. But its newness is chiefly a matter of name, the International Steam Navigation Company and the Inman Line, of which it is composed, having been long in existence.
Captain G. F. Jeffries has served the Cunard Line since April, 1883, and, like other masters in the fleet, has passed through the various grades in the different services. Up to recently, he commanded the Ivernia.
Captain C. H. E. Judkins of the Cunard Line (1886)
He was highly esteemed by the company, but the bane of nine-tenths of the passengers who crossed in his day. Anecdotes innumerable are told of him, and all illustrative of his singular gruffness of manner.
On the arrival of the Deutschland at New York (September 20 1907) some considerable notier was taken of the fact that her commander, Captain Kaempff. was making his 175th voyage with the Hamburg- American line.
Captain Charles William Kennedy, RMS Germanic, White Star Line (1886)
Captain C. W. Kennedy commands a sister ship, the. Those who chanced to be passengers or crew on the Newcastle steamer Hurworth, when she started from Montreal for Rotterdam not many years ago, may perhaps remember Captain Kennedy and the Germanic with gratitude.
Captain Francis S. Land of the SS City of Berlin, Inman Line (1886)
If you are a believer in physiognomy, look at Captain Francis S. Land's portrait, and you will know him to be, as he is, a. man of the kindest instincts, and yet of the strongest force of character.
Captain Christoph Leist, Superintendent - Captain of North German Lloyd (1886)
He is a practical sailor in more ways than one. Added to his skill as a navigator—for he has been a captain in the company's service for seventeen years—lie has a complete knowledge of the art of ship- building.
Captain E. G. Lott of the Cunard Line (1886)
Captain E. G. Lott, another veteran officer of the Cunard Line, but now retired from service, was never harsh-spoken like Captain Judkins, but seemed almost equally averse to mingling with his passengers.
Captain Horatio McKay of the Lucania
Captain Haratio McKay, who commanded the Cunard liner Umbria during her recent eventful voyage, is a native of Stonehaven. He has been in the Cunard service for thirty-one years.
Captain Edward R. McKinstry, R.N.R., SS Germanic, White Star Line (1897)
I have commanded the Runic one voyage; the Britannic two voyages, and the Adriatic five voyages, while this ship —the Germanic- - was being re-engined. The rest of the time I have been in the Germanic.
Captain W. McMickan of the SS Umbria, Cunard Line (1886)
The social sailor is Captain W. McMickan, of the Urnbria. A pleasanter companion one rarely meets. You may sit in his saloon and watch his merry eye sparkle while he rattles off tales of the sea by the hour.
Captain R. D. Munro of the City of Rome, Anchor Line (1886)
Captain R. D. Munro is Commodore of the Anchor Line fleet, and commander of that great ship the City of Rome, which has grown to be known as the Leviathan of the Atlantic.
Captain George Siddons Murray of the SS Alaska, Guion Line (1886)
Captain George Siddons Murray commands the Alaska. He is a Scotchman by birth, and as big, robust a son of Caledonia as ever came out of the Highlands or Lowlands.
Captain Henry Parsell of the SS Adriatic, White Star Line (1886)
Captain Henry Parsell, of the Adriatic. is unlike all the other commanders of Messrs. Ismay and Imrie's fleet. He has a distinct personality about him which makes one glad to know him and likely to remember him.
Captain Hamilton Perry of the RMS Britannic, White Star Line (1886)
He is Commodore of the White Star fleet, though he looks by no means the oldest. He is about fifty years of age, the greater part of which was passed upon the bounding deep.
CAPTAIN POTTER, of the Etruria, joined the Cunard Line in 1886, and secured his first command, the Sylvania, ten years later. Since that time he has navigated. for more or less lengthy periods, a dozen or fifteen liners.
Captain James Price, Port Admiral at Liverpool, Guion Line (1886)
Captain James Price is distinctively an Atlantic veteran. He has crossed 'twixt shore and shore times without number. He has commanded all the crack "greyhounds" of the company, and has perhaps ferried ten thousand people over the wide stream.
Captain John Pritchard is master of the fast mail steamer Campania, one of the cracks of the Cunard Line. He has served the Company loyally and well in all grades since he first wore the lion badge, in April, 25 years ago.
Captain William G. Randle of the SS Westernland, Red Star Line (1886)
Captain William G. Randle, of the Red Star branch of the American Line, commands the Westernland. as Commodore of the fleet, Captain W. G. Randle, is a Pennsylvanian by birth. He was born and still has his home in that thriving little ship-building town on the Delaware River, Chester.
Captain Sir Arthur H. Rostron, K.B.E., R.D., R.N.R.
Captain for the Cunard Line and was the master of the ocean liner RMS Carpathia when it rescued the survivors of RMS Titanic which sank on April 15, 1912 after striking an iceberg.
Captain Ruser has received various decorations, among them being the Order of the Red Eagle. Fourth Class, which was bestowed in recognition of his efforts in the South Pole Expedition.
Captain S. Santelli of the SS Amerique, CGT French Line (1886)
Captain S. Santelli is next in order. His ship is the Arnérique. Though holding a commission in the French navy, he has served as a merchantman in the company's service for years.
Captain Redford W. Sargent, SS Indiana, American Line (1886)
Captain Redford W. Sargent commands the American Line steamship Indiana, which runs between Liverpool and Philadelphia. He is only a young man now, but he carries a sailor's head on his thickset shoulders, and knows every wave of the sea as well as he knows every rope of his ship.
The King made Captain Schulke a knight of the Albrecht Order. Last year Captain Schulke was appointed to command the new S. S. Cincinnati, which ship has just returned from her first grand tour of the Orient.s
Captain John J. Small of the SS Anchoria, Anchor Line (1886)
Captain John J. Small, of the Anchoria, doesn't look like Captain Munro, but the same general description will fit both. He is of nearly the same age, of the same short, thickset figure, and has a weather-beaten complexion and grayish beard like Munro.
When he joined the Cunard fleet, he had a spell as chief officer on the Atlantic routes, and was given his first command, the British Queen, in 1887. Afterwards, he commanded, in turn, vessels of the Line in the Mediterranean, the Boston, and the New York services.
Captain James Sumner of the SS Egypt, National Line (1886)
Captain James Sumner has been in the employ of the company ever since it was established, and has made a name for himself as a thorough sailor and a pleasant man which seems to grow and expand with each succeeding year.
Captain Thompson, SS Georgic, White Star Line (1897)
Captain Thompson of the Georgic, another of the White Star boats, but one that is chiefly engaged in the cattle trade, is in very general agreement with Captain McKinstry on one point.
Traub is looked upon as a wonderful mathematician. Unlike the others, he does not care to mingle much with the passengers.
Captain Patrick Urquhart of the Lord Clive, American Line (1886)
Captain Urquhart is a few years the senior of Captain Sargent. He has served his company as a commander for eleven years, but his life on other seas runs far beyond his term upon the Atlantic. He was for many years in Papayam's Greek service.
Captain H. Vogelgesang, of the Hamburg America Line
He has successively commanded the Allemania, Cyclops, Holsatia, Gellert, Silesia, Rhaetia and Hammonia. He completed his one hundredth round trip as captain on the Hamburg Line in 1891.
Captain Frederick Watkins of the SS City of Chicago, Inman Line (1886)
The minute you set foot upon the deck of the City of Chicago you will like Captain Frederick Watkins. All his sailors like him, and it is much the same quality of polite consideration which has made him one of the most popular of all the transatlantic captains. In his uniform he looks every inch the sailor.
CAPTAIN R. C. WARR is another of those grand old seafarers who prefer to act, rather than to talk of themselves. He commands the Caronia, one of the largest and best equipped ocean liners afloat, and he has just completed a quarter of a century's successful service in the Cunard fleet.
Captain J. B. Watt, Cunard Line (1907)
Capt. J. B. Watt has been appointed to the command of the new Cunard line turbine steamer Lusitania, which is one of the mammoth liners now being completed. Capt. Watt joined the Cunard company in 1873 and has passed through every grade of command. Among the vessels he has commanded are the Umbria, Etruria, Lucania and Campania.
Captain Wilhelm Willigerod of the SS Ems, North German Lloyd (1886)
Captain Wilhelm Willigerod, who formerly commanded the Ems, and will control one of the three new steamers which Messrs. John Elder and Co. are constructing, is the oldest of this group of captains.
The Work of a Sea Captain
I will briefly describe one of my winter voyages on board the White Star steamer " Germanic," and the public can then decide if the life of a commander is as princely and luxurious as many seem to imagine.
The Master Of A Transatlantic Liner - His Arduous Cares And Responsibilities - In Absolute Control Of A Great Vessel's Voyage Across The Sea With Two Thousand Souls On Board. By Maximilian Foster - Richly Illustrated with 12 excellent quality photographs.
There are few positions in the world where the responsibility is so heavy as that of the captain of such a ship. He must be prepared for every emergency—for the thing that often happens and the thing that never happened before—and he must take on his shoulders not only the consequences of any blunder of his own, but also the blunders of his subordinates.
The Great Atlantic Liners - 1895 Article by George Holme
Ships that are floating palaces and monstesteamers of fifty years ago, the record holders of today, and the racers of the future are machines of the oceans. The first steamship to cross the ocean was an American boat, the Savannah. Plus the Captains that make it all possible:
- Captain Cameron of the Teutonic.
- Captain Parsell of the Majestic.
- Captain Hains of the Campania.
- Captain McKay of the Lucania.
- Captain Watkins of the Pans.
- Captain Jamison of the New York.
- Captain Albers of the Fürst Bismarck
- Captain Barends of the Augusta Victoria