The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Sat., Jan. 2, 1892

Full Text
It Occurred In His Store Early This Morning
While Talking He Leaned His Head on the Counter and Expired as Peacefully as a Babe Going to Sleep - Something About His Active Life

Captain Joseph L.D. Kimball, for nearly fifty years a resident of Oswego, and for sixty one years a sailor, vessel master and steamboat captain on the lakes, died suddenly this morning in his tobacco and cigar store, No. 55 East Bridge street. For ten days past Captain Kimball had enjoyed exceptionally good health. he retired last evening as usual and woke this morning at six o'clock, arose and dressed himself and went to his place of business.

He did not appear to be in ill health, but spoke pleasantly to the different members of his family before leaving the house. About seven o'clock the girl who cleaned out the store found Captain Kimball seated near the stove. He greeted her pleasantly and appeared cheerful. He asked after some domestic affairs and then relapsed into silence. The girl spoke to him and he appeared faint. For sometime he had been troubled with fainting spells and immediately she procured for him a bottle of ammonia. He took it in his hands and in a minute or two after set it carefully upon the counter. Then leaned upon the counter with his face in his hands and died as peacefully as a babe going to sleep.

When the girl was unable to arouse Captain Kimball, she called in Mr. F. E. Babbott. He, also, became alarmed and summoned Dr. Stockwell. When Dr. Stockwell reached the store he gave it as his opinion that Captain Kimball had been dead for some little time.

Captain Kimball was born in Ovid, Seneca county, December 29th, 1814. His father was a preacher. At the age of five years Captain Kimball went to Buffalo and lived with a gentleman named Camp, until he was 17 years of age. He then shipped as a boy on a schooner out of Buffalo. In 1838 he was mate in the schooner Winnebago with Captain Phealon. The next season he commanded the Winnebago which was his first vessel. He then went into the schooner Texas owned by Robert Green and in which Captain Kimball had an interest. The Plymouth Rock was his next and then came the schooner Northwestern. He sold his interests in the latter and after a year or two and went into the Grace Greenwood. Then came the Young American.

While on Lake Michigan in the latter in 1855, while Mrs. Kimball was on board, they were run down by big Black Hawk, and in less than fifteen minutes the Young American went to the bottom. He then brought out the schooner Dreadnaught. After that Captain Kimball went to Philadelphia to superintend the building of the tug Oswego intended for use on the Detroit river. When the Oswego was completed Captain Kimball brought her around to the lakes and took her to the Detroit river where for several years he was the commander. He then went into the first tug Winslow, burned in 1864, and afterwards took command of the new Winslow, built to take the place of the one destroyed by fire. The propeller Roanoke was built by the Winslows of Detroit, and Captain Kimball was interested in her as he was in all the vessels he ever sailed except the first. The Roanoke was one of the finest boats on the lakes in her day and Captain Kimball was her first commander.

After leaving the Roanoke Captain Kimball went into the bark D.S. Austin and early in the seventies took a load of spars around to Portland, Me. From there he went to New York and back to Portland. Disposing of the Austin Captain Kimball returned to tugging on the Detroit river and commanded and owned the Admiral Porter. In 1876 he retired from tugging, broken in health, and coming to this city went into the tobacco and cigar business as jobber and retailer, and has continued it since.

In 1844 Captain Kimball was married in this city to Miss Rebecca Thompson of Hinmanville,* and his wife and two sons survive him - Joseph of Chicago and Edward of this city. Captain Kimball had a wide circle of acquaintances on the chain of lakes and none knew him but to respect him. he was a man of most jovial and sunny disposition and made friends easily. He was also a prudent, careful man, and accumulated a nice little fortune.

The arrangements for the funeral have not been completed, but it will probably take place Tuesday. His death removes another of the old vessel captains who made Oswego their homes.

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Item Type:
*Hinmanville is on the Oswego River near Phoenix, N.Y., on the old Oswego Branch of the Erie Canal.
Date of Original:
Sat., Jan. 2, 1892
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Language of Item:
Richard Palmer
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Sat., Jan. 2, 1892