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James B. Wellman (1866 - ??)
Born at Bayfield, Ont., Canada. Great Lakes sailor & millwright.

1899 biography. - Added Nov., 2009.

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


James B. Wellman was born in Bayfield, Ontario, Canada, April 2, 1866, and is a son of D.M. and Elizabeth J. (Boyle) Wellman. The father, who became mate of vessels before he retired from the lakes, was born near Algonac, Mich., in 1828, and the mother was a native of Canada. Mr. Wellman's grandfather on the paternal side was a German, and his grandmother a native of England. On the maternal side the grandfather was a native of Ireland, and after coming to America he took part in the war of 1812, and soon after the close of that struggle met and married Miss Ligget, a young lady of good family connection in Canada.

After his marriage, the father, D.M. Wellman, returned to the United States in 1870, locating in Port Austin, and removing thence in 1884 to Bay City, Mich., where he still resides. Besides our subject the other children of his family are Richard, who is a farmer; George A., who after sailing for some years, went to Wyoming and was appointed United States marshal in 1892, and during the progress of the cattle war between the cowboys and cattle thieves, he was waylaid and shot and killed by the latter; Mary Jane, now the wife of Fred F. Snellgrove; Electa, wife of C.A. McDonald, of Cincinnati, Ohio; Josephine, wife of Charles T. Ryan, of Saginaw, Mich.; Margaret E., wife of John Rafferty, of Chicago, and David M., who is a sailor on the lakes.

James B. Wellman, to whom this sketch is more especially devoted, after attending school at Port Austin until he was fourteen years of age, ran away from home and, after reaching Au Sable, shipped before the mast on the yacht Georgia, with Captain Burrington, but at the end of two months he stopped ashore in Bay City, Mich., where he found employment in the grocery and ship-supply store of Shepard & McDonald. In 1881 he went to Cheboygan as shipping clerk, and that fall he joined the schooner Experiment, going before the mast. This was followed by like duties on the schooner Home, in 1882, closing the season as fireman on the steamer P.W. Jenness. The next season he fired on the passenger steamer St. John, trading between Bay City and Port Austin. He passed the year 1884 on the tugs Annie Moiles, Gland Belle(sic) and Willie Brown. In 1885, while on the barge Annie Vought, bad weather was experienced and she broke away from the steamer, but succeeded in reaching Buffalo, December 4, deeply waterlogged, with her canvas blown away and deckload washed overboard, the crew being in great peril at times.

In the spring of 1886 Mr. Wellman entered the employ of Buttman & Rust as engineer in a sawmill, and remained with that firm until the fall of 1891. The next year he went to Lumberton, Miss., and ran an engine in a sawmill owned by Camp & Hinton, holding this position eighteen months, when he returned to Bay City, Mich., and closed the navigation season as fireman on the steamer George H. Parker. During the year of 1894 he fired on the Gabella J. Boyce and steamer Saginaw, followed by a season as second engineer on the steamer Maine. In the spring of 1896 he was appointed chief engineer on the Maine, holding that berth two seasons, and in 1898 he was placed as chief engineer on the steamer George H. Parker.

On May 30, 1888, Mr. Wellman wedded Miss Sarah L., daughter of James and Mary Costello, of Cortland, N.Y., and the children born to this union are Charles T.F., James C., Georgianna Veronica and Evaline Frances. The family residence is at No. 501 Boardway, Bay City, Michigan.

Additional Notes.

The death of James' brother, George, gained national attention, as he was a U.S. marshall during the cattle war era in Wyoming. A link to his biography, and what is available on the Wellman family members, is in the right-hand column.

    1880 Census, Port Austin, Mich.

  • Wellman, David M - head
  • Wellman, Elizabeth - wife
  • Wellman, James B. - son, b. 1866, Canada

    1886 Directory, West Bay City, Mich.

  • Wellman, David millwright, res 1201 Wilson.
  • Wellman, James B. - cooper, bds 1201 Wilson.

    1890 Directory, Bay City, Mich.

  • Wellman, David M. - Millwright Butman & Rust, res 303 Marsac.
  • Wellman, James B. - Engr Butman & Rust, bds 412 21st
  • Wellman, Josephine Tailoress, bds 303 Marsac.
  • Wellman, Richard R Millwright, res n e cor Jennison ave and 26th.

Related Pages/Notes

Related Pages:
Wellman, George A. bro.
{1867 Great Lakes Map}
People Referenced
Boyle, Elizabeth (mother)
Burrington, (Capt.)
Costello, James
Costello, Mary Mrs.
Costello, Sarah L.(wife)
Ligget, Miss.(g-mother)
McDonald, C.A.
Rafferty, John
Ryan, Charles T.
Snellgrove, Fred F.
Wellman, Charles T.F.(son)
Wellman, David M. (father)
Wellman, David M. Jr. (bro.)
Wellman, Electa (sis.)
Wellman, Evaline F. (dau.)
Wellman, George A. (bro)
Wellman, Georgianna V.(dau.)
Wellman, James B.(subject)
Wellman, Jamee C. (son)
Wellman, Josephine (sis.)
Wellman, Mararet E. (sis.)
Wellman, Mary Jane (sis.)
Wellman, Richard (bro.)
Wellman, Veronica (dau.)
Subjects Referenced
Algonac, MI
AuSable, MI
Bay City, MI
Bayfield, Ont.
Broadway Ave., 501
Buffalo, NY
Buttman & Rust sawmill
Camp & Hinton sawmill
Cattle war, Wyo.
Cheboygan, MI
Chicago, IL
Cincinnati, OH
Cortland, NY
Lumberton, MS
Port Austin, MI
Saginaw, MI
Sheppard & McDonald store
- Annie Moiles, tug
- Annie Vought, barge
- Experiment, schooner
- Gabelle J. Boyce, steamer
- George, yacht
- George H. Parker, steamer
- Grand Belle, tug
- Home, schooner
- Maine, steamer
- P.W. Jenness, steamer
- Saginaw, steamer
- St. John, steamer
- Willis Brown, tug
U.S. marshall
War of 1812
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.