History of the Great Lakes, Vol. 2 by J.B. Mansfield
Published Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co. 1899.
CAPTAIN JOHN MCLACHLIN
Captain John McLachlin, who has been engaged as master in the tugging business
out of Bay City, Mich., for many years, was born in Dunwich Township, Elgin County,
Ontario, on September 1, 1842. He is the son of Archie and Catherine (McLellan)
McLachlin, the former a native of Argyle, Scotland, the latter born in Canada, of
Scotch parents also from Argyle. At an early age Archie McLachlin commenced the
life of a seaman out of Glasgow, serving an apprenticeship of five years and visiting
many European ports, including in his voyages one to the East Indies. When but
nineteen years of age he came to the United States, and stopped at Erie, Penn., for
a short time. He had no comprehensive idea of the magnitude of the lake commerce in
those days, but seeing the steamer Queen City, owned by Mr. Reed, lying at the dock,
he shipped on her and found himself well satisfied to remain in the lake region.
About this time Chicago was in her infancy and cargoes destined for that port were
unloaded into scows to be discharged on the docks. Mr. McLachlin was mate in the
steamer Keystone State and among other notable steamers the Western World and
Louisiana, remaining in the Reed employ about twenty years. His family consisted
of eight sons: Duncan, John, Archie, Angus, Abner, Colon, Isaac and Lachlin. The
eldest, Duncan, who was a vessel captain, sailed the schooners A. Shade and Indian
Maid, and was mate of the Three Bells, of Toronto, and the Hubbard, of Sandusky.
In the spring of 1861 John McLachlin left home and went to Cleveland, where he
shipped with Captain Rummage as boy in the Winslow, remaining with her two seasons,
the second as seaman. In the spring of 1863 he went with Capt. John Varner as
second mate in the schooner Ellington. His service during the next eight seasons
was as follows: On the bark Jennie P. Mack, of Port Burwell, with Capt. Alex McBride:
as wheelsman in the Morning Star, with Captain Visier; with Captain Campbell, in the
George Laidlow, a saltwater barkentine, owned by Mr. Taylor; on the schooner Hubbard,
of Sandusky, two seasons; on the schooner Lookout, of Milwaukee, with Capt. J.
Thompson, two seasons; in the schooner Fitzgerald, with Captain Fitzgerald. In 1870
he accepted a lucrative position in a lumber camp at Unionville, Mich., where he
remained ten years. In the spring of 1880 Captain McLachlin went to Bay City, Mich.,
and entered the employ of Captain Boutell as master of the tug Sea Gull, and during
the fifteen years of his service with Captain Boutell has transferred from one tug
to another as occasion required, sailing the tug Cora B., again as master on the Sea
Gull three seasons, as master on the Annie Moiles, mate on the lake tugs Music,
Emerald, Traveler and Niagara, and as master of the tug Annie Moiles in 1897. The
three intervening seasons he was in the employ of the Michigan Log Towing Company,
as master of the tug Avery two seasons and of the tug Howard one season.
On November 9, 1870, Captain McLachlin wedded Miss Annie McIntyre, of Ekfried
township, Middlesex County, Ontario, and they have had four children; Archie, who
is a captain of the tug Charley O. Smith; Ward, who is a mate on the same boat;
Henrietta, and Alice. Socially the Captain is a Master Mason and a member of the
Knights of the Maccabees.