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Captain Michael Maher (1853- 1932)
Great Lakes captain and owner of National Boiler Co. in Bay City.

Biography, 1899. - Added April, 2011.

History of the Great Lakes, Vol. 2. - by J.B. Mansfield, 1899


Although still a young man, has an eventful life on the lakes and in connection with lake interests, and at one time held the local inspectorship of steam vessels for the Port Huron district, to which he was appointed by President Cleveland in October, 1887, when but twenty-nine years of age. He is the son of Michael and Ellen (Woods) Maher, was born in London, Ontario, on December 12, 1858, and received a public-school education in Canada, in course of time coming to the United States. His first duties on the lakes consisted in passing wood in the side-wheel towboat Little Eastern, but it appears that he did not entertain a very high regard for the occupation, and he did not ship the next season. He found employment in the McKinnon boiler shop, where he remained two years, and in the spring of 1874 he shipped as fireman in the side-wheel passenger steamer Daniel Bull, the next year going as wheelsman in the passenger steamer Mason, plying on the Saginaw river. In 1876 he was clerk in the passenger steamer Cora Locke, coming out the following year as mate in the tug Cora B., and closing the season as mate in the riverboat Mason. In the spring of 1878 he took out pilot's papers, and having purchased the steamer Nellie Booth from Detroit parties, he took her to the Saginaw river and sailed her until August, when he sold her and shipped on the steamer Mason, holding that berth until the fall of 1879. The next season he secured engineer's license, but shipped as clerk in the steamer W. R. Burt, remaining in her until the fall of 1885. During the winter months, while in this employ, he helped repair and fit out the different boats of the line, in the summer sailing them or running the engine, as occasion required, filling this composite position with much satisfaction to all.

It was in 1886 that Captain Maher began to acquire vessel property. He associated himself with J. English and purchased the steamer Lucile, which he took to the Saginaw and sailed in opposition to the W. R. Burt and Mason, both of which steamers he and his partner purchased in July 3 and put on the route. At the close of the season the Captain sold his interests to Mr. English, continuing, however, as manager of the line, and in the spring of 1887, during President Cleveland's first term, he was appointed government boiler inspector for the Port Huron district, being succeeded in that incumbency by Frank Van Lon, on January 21, 1890. The same year Mr. Maher purchased a half-interest in the National Boiler Works, in Bay City, with his brother John, and assisted in conducting that industry until the fall of 1896, when he sold out to his brother, who now carries on the works alone. In April, 1890, Captain Maher purchased an interest in the steamer Sanilac and sailed her two seasons in the passenger and freight trade between Saginaw and Cleveland, putting in the winter months at the boiler works. In 1892 he bought the passenger propeller C. A. Forbes, which he sailed on the Saginaw river, selling her the next year and assuming command of the Sanilac. In 1894 he sold the Sanilac and as business was improving went to work in the boiler shop. During the year 1895 he put six furnaces under the boilers of the C. A. Eddy works in Chicago, and the next year devoted his time to the shop in Bay City with his brother, disposing of his interests that fall. During the season of 1897 Captain Maher sailed the passenger steamer T. S. Faxton in the passenger and freight trade between Saginaw, Bay City and Alpena; it is his object at this time to acquire a steamer adapted to the passenger and package freight trade. He has eleven issues of master's papers and nine engineer's licenses.

Captain Maher was married to Miss Sarah Kain, of Saginaw, on January 18, 1881,and they have one son, John Stafford. Their home is at No. 321 Adams street, Bay City, Mich. Fraternally, the Captain is a member of the Elks and the Ancient Order of United Workmen.

Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx - Feb., 2007.

Saginaw Daily News February 1, 1932 (Page 10)


(Special to The Saginaw Daily News.)

BAY CITY, Mich., Feb. 1 -- Capt. Michael Maher, 74, for many years a captain on Great Lakes freight and passenger boats and the owner of the National Boiler company here, died Sunday night at his home here after an illness of six months.

Captain Maher was well known to many Saginaw residents. A son, J. Stafford Maher, is now a resident of Saginaw. He lives at 616 Irving street.

Captain Maher was born Dec. 12, 1853, in London, Ont., and came to Bay City with his parents in 1865. Since that time he has made his home here. For many years Captain Maher operated passenger and freight boats on the Saginaw river and between Great Lakes cities.

On Jan. 13, 1881, he married Miss Sarah Kain, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Kain of Saginaw. Mrs. Maher died several years ago. In the year 1887, Captain Maher was appointed steamboat inspector for the Port Huron district by President Grover Cleveland.

Funeral services will take place from St. James church in Bay City, at 9 o'clock Wednesday morning. Rev. Fr. John E. Troy will officiate and burial will be in Calvary cemetery, Saginaw.

Related Pages/Notes

Related Pages:
None at this time.
People Referenced
Cleveland, Grover President
English, J.
Kain, Michael (f-inlaw)
Kain, Sarah (wife)
Maher, John (bro)
Maher, John S. (son)
Maher, Michael Capt. (subject)
Maher, Michael, Sr., (father)
Troy, JOhn E. Rev.
Van Lon, Frank
Wood, Ellen (mother)
Subjects Referenced
Alpena, MI
Bay City, MI
C.A. Eddy works
Chicago, IL
Cleveland, OH
Detroit, MI
London, Ont., Canada
McKinnon boiler shop
National Boiler Co.
Port Huron, MI
Saginaw River, MI
Saginaw, MI
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.