The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
A Loss To the Lakes
appeared in Daily Inter-Ocean (Chicago, IL), 31 Mar 1881, p. 3

Full Text
A Loss to the Lakes
The Dead of Captain E. P. Dorr, the Marine Manager of the Aetna



In paying a tribute the the late Captain Charles P. More of the Aetna Insurance Company of Hartford, Conn., a few days since, THE INTER OCEAN spoke of the dangerous illness of Captain E. P. Dorr, the general manager of the lake marine Business of the Aetna, whose employee and assistant Captain Morey was.It was also announced that Captain Dorr was at Port Royal, S.C., to recuperate. A brief dispatch in THE INTER OCEAN yesterday morning conveyed the sad intelligence that the change of climate and scene had not wrought the improvement hoped for; that Captain Dorr had passed away from this life to the better one.


to Mr. J. Goodwin of this city, the general agent of the Aetna Company here, was dated Port Royal, S. C., aboard the United States steamer New Hampshire, March 24. The letter had Captain Dorr's signature, but was not in his own handwriting. In this letter he said they were having cold, windy weather at Port Royal, and he remained in bed to avoid, if possible, taking cold; and that he intended going to Aiken, the same State, where the weather was much better.

While Mr. Goodwin was reading this letter in his office on Tuesday to George L. Chase, Esq., President of the HartfordFire Insurance Company (which company Captain Dorr, in connection with his other business, represented at Buffalo), the following telegram was received:

BUFFALO, N.Y., March 29.

"J. Goodwin, Esq., Aetna Insurance Office, Chicago:

I have just received a dispatch announcing that Captain Dorr died at 4 o'clock this morning, at Aiken.


Mr. Flint is the first official under Captain Dorr in the latter's office, and headquarters at Buffalo.

The deceased leaves his aged wife and three sons and a daughter. George and John Dorr are in the Captain's offices at Buffalo, and Frank Dorr is in other business. The daughter is Mrs. Viele, wife of a well-known attorney in Buffalo Mr. Frank Dorr, the youngest of the sons, married Miss Noms, of Chicago, two or three years ago. The late Captain was the owner of real estate in Buffalo and other property, and leaves a snug fortune. He also carried considerable insurance on his life.

Captain Dorr was 64 years of age, and


He started out as a boy aboard ship, spending many years on salt water, and trading to all the ports of the world. By study, close application, and watchfulness, he became a learned navigator, as well as an experienced one, and while yet comparatively a young man became a commander. Years ago he came to the lakes, and after his marriage he celebrated his wedding tour by bringing his then young wife on a trip up the lakes to Chicago on his own vessel. He was a great wrecking master in his time, and was so known everywhere. Some time after retiring from the water--somewhere about 1860--Captain Bagnell, the general manager of the small business the Aetna Company was then doing on the lakes, died, and Captain Dorr succeeded to the position and made it a great and responsible one. The captain originated the classification of hulls on the lakes for insurance purposes, and greatly elevated and improved the standard of our lake craft. For years his register was used by all the insurance companies doing business on the lakes, and, at his direction and under his immediate supervision, the Aetna has always made a hull register of its own. The late Captain Charles P. Morey and Captain Rounds, who now again succeeds Captain Corey, were Captain Dorr's right hand men on the hull survey. The Aetna register for 1881 is now being completed by Captain Rounds.

Captain Dorr is credited by everyone as one of our lake pioneers and as


He greatly extended the business of the Aetna Company, and to him more than any one else, is due the present standing of the Aetna among the great companies of this country.

He was foremost in every movement for the benefit of the lake marine, and brought about many reforms and urged and brought about great government improvements. Captain Dorr was first to urge the St. Clair Flats Ship Canal, now an established fact; also the blasting and clearing out of the dangerous, rocky Lime Kiln Crossing in Detroit River. He was also among those who laboured for the enlargement of St. Mary's Canal, connecting the other lakes with Lake Superior, and improvement now nearly completed, admitting the passage craft drawing fifteen and a half and sixteen feet of water. He was always labouring for the betterment of the condition of things along the lake water routes--full government surveys, thorough charts, new lighthouses, beacons and buoys on reefs and in bad places, etc., etc. He greatly aided THE INTER OCEAN fighting the odious free ship bill, and took a strong position against the outrageous Canadian wrecking law, which prevents American tugs from going to the assistance of American vessels in distress in Canadian waters.

In a word, Captain Dorr


and spared no effort or expense to advance and improve it. He was a standing member of the National Board of Trade from Buffalo, and has occupied various positions of trust and honour.

Personally, the deceased was a genial, generous open hearted gentleman, and thousands of friends and acquaintances will learn of his death with sincere regret.

In insurance, marine, and commercial circles yesterday, everybody had a kind word to say of Captain E. P. Dorr, and regret to express at his loss. In common with the rest, the writer of this article condoles with the family on their terrible bereavement.

Media Type:
Genealogical Resource
Item Type:
Date of Publication:
31 Mar 1881
Last Name(s):
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Geographic Coverage:
  • South Carolina, United States
    Latitude: 33.56042 Longitude: -81.71955
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.88645 Longitude: -78.87837
  • Illinois, United States
    Latitude: 41.85003 Longitude: -87.65005
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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A Loss To the Lakes