Heritage \ Writings \

Charles H. Phillips (1847-?)
Maritime Biography.
Courtesy of "Links to the Past" website. (October 2005)

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



Charles H. Phillips, son of Jarvis and Jane Phillips, and a descendent of Capt. Juriea Phillips, of Revolutionary fame, was born in New Milford, Litchfield Co., Conn., in 1847. His education was acquired in the public schools of his native town.

He commenced his marine life on the steamship Lackawanna, returning to New Milford after a year’s service on her. In 1863 he went to Bay City, Mich., where he found employment in the sawmill of Smith & Thompson. In 1864 he shipped on the side-wheel steamer Columbia. This was followed by two seasons on the passenger steamer Ariel, plying between Saginaw and Bay City. In the spring of 1867 he was appointed chief engineer of the side-wheel steamer Cayuga, which berth he held two seasons, and in 1869 he was on the side-wheel passenger steamer Ajax. In 1870 he came out on the steambarge Trader, but closed the season as chief engineer of the propeller Buffalo.

In the spring of 1871 Mr. Phillips went down to Mobile, Ala., and was appointed chief engineer on the river steamer Vincent, which he ran between Mobile and New Orleans, closing the year on the steamer J. E. Eagle, which plied between St. Louis, Mo., and New Orleans. The next spring he returned to the lakes and ran the engines in Russell & Co.’s sawmill. In the spring of 1873 he shipped as chief engineer on the steambarge Oakland, followed by a season on the steambarge Benton. In 1875 he went to Au Sable and ran a mill engine for Loud, Gary & Co., remaining with that firm two years. The next three years he engineered the tugs Nellie Cotton, Ransom and Cora D., on the Saginaw River. In 1880 he opened a hotel in Alpena, and, being somewhat of a politician, he floated the first flag for Hon. Mr. Carsney, his candidate for Congress, and as his man won by a good length he kept his hotel going with a good patronage for two years. In the spring of 1882 Mr. Phillips engaged in running a locomotive on a lumber road with George Smith, retiring after two years of successful work. His next employment was at Omar, Mich., where he ran an engine for McGraw & Co. In 1884 he took out a patent for a paint, which was both fire and water proof, and after a year of good business he went to Alpena, Mich., and engineered the tug Wave. He was elected constable in 1886, and served the municipality in that capacity two years, adding to his labors the duties of a detective. In the spring of 1888 he shipped as second engineer on the steamer John C. Pringle, and the next season on the steambarge E. H. Jenks. In 1890 he came out as chief engineer of the side-wheel steamer Emerald, plying between Bay City and Saginaw. He then went to Ashland, Wis., and ran a wrecking tug, and in 1892 was appointed chief engineer of the river tug John Owen, transferring to the Frank W., of the same line, the following season. This tug was engaged in towing rafts between Georgian Bay and Alpena, Mich. In the spring of 1894 he entered the employ of E. O. Avery, and ran his mill engine one year, coming out in 1895 in the steamer Dickerson, but closing the season in the Maxwell. The next season he put in the machinery and ran the engine of the steambarge Cleveland, and in 1897 he came out in the steamer E. F. Gould. He then took the tug Thompson, and later the Boynton; this was followed by a period as second engineer on the steamer Newaga. Mr. Phillips is a charter member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, of Port Huron, Michigan.

He was united by marriage to Miss Emma Walters, of Rochester, Oakland Co., Mich., and two boys – John W. and Jarvis C. – have been born to this union.

Additional Notes.

    1866 - Michigan Marriages: Spaulding, Saginaw, Mich.

  • Charles H. Phillips (age 26) marries Emma E. Walter (age 19) on Feb. 12, 1866.

    1880 - Census: East Saginaw, Mich.

  • Phillips, Charles H., b. 1839, Conn.
  • Emma, wife, b. 1844 Mich.
  • John W., b. 1867 Mich.
  • Jarvis C. b. 1869 Mich.
Related Pages/Notes

1867 Great Lakes Map
(click to enlarge)

Related Pages:
None at this time.
People Referenced
Avery, E.O.
Carsney, Mr. (Hon.)
Phillips, Jane (mother)
Phillips, Jarvis (father)
phillips, Jarvis C.(son)
Phillips, John W.(son)
Smith, George
Walters, Emma (wife)
Subjects Referenced
Alpena, MI
Ashland, WI
Au Sable, MI
Bay City, MI
Green Bay, WI
Mobile, AL
New Milford, CT
New Orleans, LA
Omar, MI
Litchfield Co., CT
Loud, Gary & Co. mill
Marine Engrs. Bene. Assoc.
McGraw & Co. mill
Oakland Co., MI
Port Huron, MI
Rochester, MI
Russell & Co. mill
Saginaw, MI
Saginaw River
St. Louis, MO
Smith & Thompson sawmill
Cora D.
E.F. Gould
E.H. Jenks
Frank W.
J.E. Eagle
John C. Prinkle
John Owen
Nellie Cotton
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.