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Capt. Alfred Forrest (1851-?)
Born in Ontario, became Great Lakes sailor, resided in West Bay City.

1898 biography. (Added May., 2010)

History of the Great Lakes, Vol. 2, 1898


Captain Alfred Forrest, who for the last twenty years has been engaged in sailing large raft-towing tugs, is acknowledge to be one of the most successful of masters in handing millions of feet of logs, which are annual taken into the Saginaw river from Georgian Bay and lake ports.

Captain Forrest is the son of Capt. James and Mary A. (Field) Forrest, and was born in Sandwich, Ont., June 6, 1851. His father was a captain of lake vessels, although his first experience as a sailor was acquired on the Atlantic Ocean, he having served an apprenticeship in ships sailing out of London, England, making several voyages across the Atlantic Ocean. His first duties on lake going boats were before the mast and mate of vessels hailing from Kingston, Ont., among which was a passenger schooner. He also owned and sailed the schooner Gladstone, and was mater of the schooners Sweetheart, Hibbard, Comet, and bark Alice. He was also mate or master of many other vessels. He owned and sail the topsail schooner Elm Parks, which he lost at the mouth of the Chatham river. After retiring from active life on shipboard he was appointed keeper of the Colchester reef lightship, and when the boat went to pieces in a gale in November, 1882, he was drowned while bravely fulfilling his duties. His body was not recovered until June, 1883. He was sixty-two years of age at the time of his death. The grandfather who was James Bond Forrest, came to America soon after his son, James S; he was an officer of the British government, and during the Canadian rebellion of 1837 he was commissary and paymaster, with the rank of captain, and was stationed at Amherstburg, dying in Ottawa, Canada, in 1880, leaving his family in good circumstances. The grandmother, whose maiden name was Skelton, died about a year later.

Capt. Alfred Forrest has two sisters and four brothers: Eleanor G. is now the widow of Joseph A. Ouellette; James B. is a lake captain, and has sailed the Lurline for ten years (his wife was Miss Grace Sibley, of Sandwich, Ont.); Charles was wheelsman on the steamer St. Clair, and lost his live when she was burned off Houghton, Mich., in 1876 (there were but four saved out the thirty-two people on board the steamer); Fred D. is a lake captain and master of the steamer J. H. Pauley in 1898; Albert H. , also a lake captain sailed the yacht Sultana for Parks, Davis & Co., of Detroit and F. W. Wheeler's yacht Contaluta during the season of 1897; Matilda A., the youngest sister, is the wife of Roderick McKenzie, who is connected with Dunn's Mercantile Agency at Pittsburg.

After attending the public schools at Sandwich, Ontario, until he reached the age of seventeen years, Capt. Alfred Forrest shipped in the tug George N. Brady with Captain Slyfield, as wheelsman, closing the season in the tug Mayflower. He had, however, previous to this, sailed with his father in various vessels. The next three years he passed in the lake tugs Frank, Moffat, Samson, J. P. Clarke and M. I. Mills, and the Michigan Central car-ferry steamer Transit. In the spring of 1872 he was appointed second mate in the new steambarge Tecumseh, retaining that office two seaons. The next spring he shipped as mate of the Van Allen, plying between Toledo and Montreal, but in July he joined the steamer Nelson Mills, closing the season in her. In the spring of 1875 he shipped before the mast of the schooner Mary Hattie, but was soon promoted to be mate followed by two seasons as mate of the steamer Yosemite. In the sprint of 1878 Captain Forrest returned to West Bay City, and was appointed mate of the lake tug Peter Smith, engaged in raft-towing business for Capt. P. C. Smith. The next spring he was appointed master of the lake tug Sol S. Rumage, and sailed her three seasons, after which he again transferred to the Peter Smith as master, holding that office two seasons. In 1884 he took command of the lake tug Laketon. He then entered the employ of Captain Boutell as master of the tug Annie Moiles, finishing the second season in the Ella Smith. He then entered the employ of Boutell and Smith, and, after sailing the tug Niagara one season, he was appointed in 1888, master of the large lake tug Traveler, which he has sailed ten successive seasons. He put a new engine and boiler in her during the winter of 1897 and 1898, and gave her a thorough overhauling, making her one of the finest tugs on the lakes for log-towing purposes. He is generally employed during the winter months doing repair work to the different tugs of the fleet.

Fraternally he is a member of the Association of Masters and Pilots of Steam Vessels, and of the Knights of the Maccabees.

On February 15, 187, Captain Forrest was wedded to Miss Sarah, daughter of George and Agnes (Mears) Jessup, of Sandwich, Ontario. The father is an alderman of that place. One son, George Frederick, was born to this union; he was wheelsman on the steamer City of Venice in 1897, and in the S. J. Murphy in 1898. The family homestead is at No. 604 North Center Street, West Bay City, Michigan.

Additional Notes.

    1880 - Census: West Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • Forrest Alfred E. - b. 1852 Canada.
  • Sarah, wife - b. 1860 Canada.
  • George F., son - b. 1877 Mich.
  • Jessop, Alice M., sister-in-law - b. 1864 Canada.
Related Note & Pages

None at this time.
People Referenced
Boutell, Benjamin
Field, Mary A. (mother)
Forrest, Albert H. (bro)
Forrest, Alfred (subject)
Forrest, Charles (bro)
Forrest, Eleanor G. (sis)
Forrest, Fred (bro)
Forrest, Geroge F. (son)
Forrest, James (father)
Forrest, James B. (son)
Forrest, James Bond (g-father)
Forrest, Matilda A. (sis)
Jessup, Alice M. (sis-inlaw)
Jessup, George
Jessup, Sarah (wife)
McKenzie, Roderick
Mears, Agnes
Ouellette, Joseph A.
Sibley, Grace
Skeleton, Miss (g-mother)
Slyfield, Capt.
Smith, P.C.
Wheeler, F.W.
Subjects Referenced
Amhurstburg, Eng. Atlantic Ocean
Boutell & Smith
British Government
Canadian Rebellion
Chatham river, Can.
Dunn's Mercantile Agency
Georgian Bay, Can.
Houghton, MI
Kingston, Ont. Can.
Michigan Central RR
Montreal, Can.
Ottawa, Can.
Parks, Davis & Co.
Pittsburg, PA
Saginaw river, MI
Sandwich, Ont. Can.
Toledo, OH
West Bay City, MI
  • Alice
  • Annie Moiles
  • Chochester
  • City of Venice
  • Comet
  • Ella Smith
  • Frank
  • George N. Brady
  • Gladstone
  • Hibbard
  • J.H. Pauley
  • J.P. Clarke
  • Laketon
  • Mary Hattie
  • May Flower
  • M.I. Mills
  • Moffat
  • Nelson Mills
  • Niagara
  • Peter Smith
  • Samson
  • S.J. Murphy
  • Sol S. Rumage
  • Sultana
  • Sweetheart
  • Tecumseh
  • Transit
  • Traveler
  • Van Allen
  • Yosemite
  • WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.