Heritage \ Writings \

Capt. Lewis E. (1862-?)
Maritime Biography -- Born in Village of Wenona (now Bay City), MI.
Courtesy of "Links to the Past" website. (Oct. 2005)

Note: Some paragraphs have been shortened for easier viewing of data.

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



Captain Lewis E. King, who has been principally identified with the lake marine as master of tugs during the past eighteen years, numbers among his ancestors many master mariners.

His parents were Capt. George W. and Phelemon King. The father, whose marine life extended over many years, was eminently successful, he acquiring many vessels during the time when the ordinary schooner could pay for herself in freights in a short time, lumber carrying at that time being paid for at the rate of from $7 to $9 per 1,000 feet. His first investment was in the Traffic, a small ferryboat which he built and operated on the Saginaw River, and the first steam ferry ever in use in that locality. Among other vessels of which he was owner were the tugs Tiger, Hercules, Haight, T.M. Moore, George B. Dickson, the steamer Bradbury, and towbarges Saginaw, Globe, Roscius and Montmorency. He retired from active business life in 1894, and two years later passed to the harbor of eternity, his death occurring at the old homestead, which was erected in 1860, in West Bay City, Michigan.

The subject of this article, Lewis E. King, was born on the old homestead August 20, 1862, the town being then known as Winona, and here he attended the public schools until he reached the age of eighteen, completing his education by graduating at the high school.

He sailed with his father in different vessels during vacations and readily learned the business. In the spring of 1880 he was placed in charge of the tug Haight, owned by his father, and sailed her two seasons, when he was transferred to the tug T.M. Moore as master. In the spring of 1883 he was appointed master of the tug Dickson, the largest in the line, and sailed her five years.

Captain King then went to Detroit and entered the employ of Capt. S. B. Grummond as master of the lake tug Oswego. In 1889 his father purchased the steambarge Mary Pringle, and the Captain succeeded to that vessel, sailing her until she was sold.

In 1891 he went to Duluth, Minn., and was engaged by Captain Inman as master of the tug J.L. Williams, on which he remained until August, when he was transferred to the iron tug Record, and sailed her until the spring of 1892, using her as an ice breaker in the bay. He also looked after a part of Capt. Alex McDougall's whaleback fleet in winter quarters at Duluth.

During the winter of 1893 Captain King opened a ship broker's office in the Polladis building, Duluth, associating with him J.H. Norton, and were known under the firm name of King & Norton. This company purchased the steamer Otego, and the Captain sailed her until August, when he became a member of the firm of Smith, Fee & Co., who established a tug line in opposition to Capt. B.B. Inman, and operated the tugs Pathfinder, A.C. Adams, Ed Fiske, Jr., and J.W. Eviston, the Captain acting as manager of the line. These tugs passed into the hands of Captain Inman by purchase after three months, and Captain King again assumed command of the steamer Otego.

In the spring of 1894 he went to Cleveland, and sailed the tug Joe Harris for the Vessel Owners Towing Company; the next year acting as night or day dispatcher at the dock.

In the spring of 1896 he returned to Duluth, and again entered the employ of the B.B. Inman Tug line as master of the tug J.L. Williams, being transferred to the L.L. Lyon, and sailing her until the close of the season of 1897. During the winter he again went into the vessel brokerage business with J.H. Norton, their office being at Nos. 504 and 505 Torrey building, Duluth, and devoted their time to the purchase and sale of vessel property. This partnership, under the name of J.H. Norton & Co., still exists, and they now own the tugs Minnie Karl and McRey, which have been furnished with new engines and boilers, and used in the log-towing business. In the spring of 1898 Captain King was appointed master of the lake tug Bob Anderson, in which he is still engaged.

Socially, he is a member of the Ship Masters Association, and carries Pennant No. 415, and is a member of the Knights of the Maccabees.

On August 20, 1882, Captain King was united in marriage to Miss Margarette, daughter of John and Annie Prebster, of Bay City, Mich., and they have one daughter, Marie, who is a pupil in the Lakeview public schools. Captain King and family reside in Lakeview, Minn. Mrs. King's father is a millwright by trade, and with his family still occupy the homestead in Bay City, Mich., which he built in 1862, when he settled at that place.

Additional Notes:

    1870 - Census: Bangor, Bay, Bay, MI.
    King, George - b. 1831, Canada
    Philoman, wife - b. 1841, canada
    George, son - b.1850, Canada
    Fred, son - b. 1852, Canada
    Charles, son - b. 1855, MI
    Cornelia, dau. - b. 1857, MI
    Lewis, son - b. 1862, MI
    Julia, dau. - b. 1863, MI
    Mary, dua. - b. 1864, MI
    Minnie, dau. - b. 1867, MI
    William, son - b. 1868, MI
    Ralph, son - b. 1870, MI
    Edwards, Nancy - b. 1846, Canada

    1880 - Census: West Bay City, Bay, MI.
    King, George - b. 1831, Canada - sailor
    Philoman, wife - b. 1841, canada
    Louis, son - b. 1862, MI - sailor
    Minnie, dau. - b. 1867, MI
    William, son - b. 1869, MI
    Ralph, son - b. 1874, MI
    Grace, dau. - b. 1877, MI
    Alace, dau. - b. 1879, MI
    Kittie, dau. - b. 1880, MI

    1894 - Census: Bay City, Bay, MI.
    King, Louis E. - b. 1862
    Maggie, wife - b. 1864
    Marea, dau. - b. 1883

Related Notes & Pages

1867 Great Lakes Map
(click to enlarge)
Related Bay-Journal Pages
None at this time.
People Referenced
Edwards, Nancy
Grummond, S.B. Capt.
Inman, B.B. Capt.
King, Alace (sis)
King, Charles (bro)
King, Cornelia (sis)
King, George W. (father)
King, George (bro)
King, Fred (bro)
King, Grace (sis)
King, Julia (sis)
King, Kittie (sis)
King, Marie (dau.)
King, Mary (sis)
King, Minnie (sis)
King, Phelemon Mrs. (mother)
King, Ralph (bro)
McDougall, Alex Capt.
Norton, J.H.
Prebster, Annie Mrs.
Prebster, John
Prebster, Margarette (wife)
Subjects Referenced
Bay City, MI
B.B. Inman Tug line
Cleveland, OH
Detroit, MI
Duluth, MN
First steam ferry
J.H. Norton & Co.
King & North firm
Knights of Maccabees
Lake View, MN
Lake View school
Polladis bldg., Duluth
Saginaw river
Ship Masters Assoc.
Smith, Fee & Co.
Wenona (vil.), MI
West Bay City, MI

Vessel Names:
Bob Anderson
Geo. B. Dickson
J.L. Williams
L.L. Lyon
Mary Pringle
Minnie Karl
T.M. Moore
Internet References
Links to the Past
Online book, "History of the Great Lakes," Vols. 1 & 2, by J.B. Mansfield.
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.