The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Tues., July 25, 1876

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The Late Captain Starkweather and Captain John T. Van Alstine, shipmates, in England when the Queen was Married.

Captain John H. Starkweather, whose death, which we announced yesterday, occurred at Detroit last Thursday, deserves more than a passing mention, as we learn from Captain John T. Van Alstine of this city, that he lived in this city many years ago. In 1839 Captain Starkweather commanded a canal boat owned by Fitzhugh & Littlejohn of this city.

During that fall while going up the Oswego canal the boat struck a rock near Fulton and sunk with a cargo of flour. As it was too late to get the boat through after the repairs were made Captain Starkweather went to New York and there he met Captain Van Alstine. The two became quite intimate and shipped together in the brig Excel and went to Savannah, Ga.

Soon after they left the brig and joined the ship Harriet of Portland, then loaded at Savannah for Liverpool. In January 1840 the ship was lost at Maryport, firth of Salloway, an English port on the Irish Sea; but fortunately all hands were saved. Captain Starkweather and Van Alstine, with seven companions, jumped on the piers when the ship struck, while the other sailors remained on board and were saved.

Captain Van Alstine's leg was broken in getting ashore, and he was taken to the hospital and attended by his friend, Captain Starkweather. While they were in England Queen Victoria was married, Feb. 10, 1840. The two parted soon after, the American Consul at Liverpool finding a berth for Captain Starkweather on a ship going to New Orleans, and a berth for Capt. Van Alstine on a ship for New York.

In 1843 Capt. Starkweather returned to fresh water and engaged as a sailor on the lakes. He commanded soon after the schooner Alynwick; took the schooner Grand Turk to Europe, and afterwards fitted out the schooner Monitor. During his later days he was in command of some of the largest and best propellers on the lakes. Captain Van Alstine says of him, "No better or truer friend ever lived; he was as true as the needle. I loved him better than I could a brother."

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Tues., July 25, 1876
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Richard Palmer
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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), Tues., July 25, 1876