The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Capt. James F. Allen
Cape Vincent Eagle (Cape Vincent, NY), 23 Jun 1910

Full Text
Capt. James F. Allen
Interesting Sketch of the Life of the Popular Steamboat Man - Commanded all the Folger Boats.

The Kingston Whig of June 23 contained the following concerning the late Capt. James F. Allen.

Captain Allen was born in Cape Vincent in 1840. His first marine experience was scowing on the river. In 1857 he became master of the scow Hannah Francis. His father moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1860, and he accompanied him. he worked in the shipyard of Peck & Masters.

In 1863, he served 100 days in the fortifications at Washington with the National Guard, that being the service period. During his service, Washington was attacked by the Southern General Early. Soon afterwards Capt. Allen went to Bridgeport, Ala., and entered the service of Uncle Sam, building two river boats, for the purpose of carrying provisions to Chattanooga, Tennessee. He was on one of the boats when it ran the blockade off Lookout Mountain. the southern soldiers, stationed on this hill, disabled the steamer's stack with their fire, but it was repaired, and the vessel delivered the provisions and made a safe return.

In the spring of 1865, Capt. Allen entered the service of the Erie Steamboat Company. In the winter he worked in the shipyard, thus gaining a good knowledge of vessel construction. In the fall of 1876 he returned to Cape Vincent and entered the service of the Folgers. The spring following he sailed the schooner Gazelle, belonging them, carrying lumber from the Rideau to Oswego. In the fall it ran to Toledo, carrying ore up and grain back.

The year following he was with his brother in the steamer Tom Martin. The Folgers bought the steamer Kearsarge and he took charge of her, sailing her for two years. The following year, he fitted out the schooner Prince Albert for the Folgers, and it went into the timber trade at Bay City, Mich.

In 1871, Capt. Allen came to Kingston, and bought a half interest in the tugs Franklin and Mixer from the Chaffey brothers. Later, the Folgers bought the other half interest. Capt. Allen also represented as local inspector for thirteen insurance companies, his duty being to see that transshipped grain went into standard river barges. Capt. Allen converted the tug Franklin into the Fred Folger. The tugs were then sold to the Dominion Wrecking Company. The captain then went back to sailing vessels, having charge of the Prince Albert, Brooklyn, and Watertown, in which the Folgers were interested. In the fall of 1880 or 1881, he was engaged at the Thousand Islands Park, laying out that place for resort purposes.

During 1883 and 1884, Capt. Allen was with the Calvin Company, in charge of its wrecking plant. In 1885, he sailed the steamer Annie Laurie between Cape Vincent and Alexandria Bay. From 1887 till 1909, with the exception of 1904, when he was in charge of Senator Fulford's steam yacht, Capt. Allen was with the Folgers, having commanded all the steamers of the White Squadron. he began with the steamer Pierrepont, and ended with that boat.

Capt. Allen had the reputation of being one of the most skillful and careful navigators on fresh water. He held lake as well as river certificates. He was a popular steamboat man, and all his friends are saddened over the thought that they will see him on the bridge no more. he has entered the last port.

The late Capt. Allen is survived by his wife and four sons, William, Mortimer and Garden, of Chicago, and Frederick, of Cleveland. He was connected with the First Congregational Church. In politics he was a liberal.

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Date of Publication:
23 Jun 1910
Richard Palmer Collection
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.2280256046725 Longitude: -76.4792633056641
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Capt. James F. Allen