Heritage \ Writings \

Captain John McLachlin (1842-?)
Maritime Biography:
Born in Dunwich Twsp., Ontario. Worked for Boutell line in Bay City, MI.
  • Courtesy of "Links to the Past" website.
  • History of the Great Lakes, Vol. 2 by J.B. Mansfield
    Published Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co. 1899.



    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.

    Related Pages/Notes

    1867 Great Lakes Map
    (click to enlarge)
    Related Bay-Journal Pages
    None at this time.
    People Referenced
    Boutell, (Capt.)
    Campbell, (Capt.)
    Fitzgerald, (Capt.)
    McBride, Alex (Capt.)
    Abner (brother)
    Alice (dau.)
    Angus (brother)
    Annie (McIntyre, wife)
    Archie (father)
    Archie (brother)
    Archie (son)
    Catherine (McLellan, mother)
    Colon (brother)
    Duncan (brother)
    Henrietta (dau.)
    Isaac (brother)
    John (brother)
    Lachlin (brother)
    Ward (son)

    Rummage, (Capt.)
    Varner, John (Capt.)
    Visier, (Capt.)
    Thompson, J. (Capt.)
    Subjects Referenced
    Argyle, Scotland
    Bay City, MI
    Chicago, IL
    Cleveland, OH
    Dunwich Twsp., Ontario
    East Indies
    Ekfried twsp., Ontario
    Elgine County, Ontario
    Erie, PA
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Knights of Maccabees
    Master Mason
    Michigan Log Towing Co.
    Middlesex Co., Ontario
    Milwaukee, Wi
    Port Burwell
    Toronto, Canada
    Unionville, MI
    Annie Moiles (tug)
    A. Shade (schooner)
    Avery (tug)
    Cora B. (tug)
    Ellington (schooner)
    Emerald (tug)
    Fitzgerald (schooner)
    George Laidlow
    Howard (tug)
    Indian Maid (schooner)
    Jennie P. Mack
    Keystone State (steamer)
    Lookout (schooner)
    Morning Star
    Music (tug)
    Niagara (tug)
    Queen City (steamer)
    Sea Gull (tug)
    Three Bells
    Traveler (tug)
    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.