The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), Sept. 23, 1894

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Capt. Hackett Dies Suddenly

Marine circles were shocked yesterday morning, to hear that Capt. Thomas H. Hackett, the master of the steamer Volunteer, had died that morning on board the boat, at 5 o'clock, probably of heart disease. He was along the docks the evening before, apparently in fair health and good spirits, but later complained of pain, and a physician was called, the latter considering the trouble ordinary neuralgia, and it passed off. His death took place in the morning and was without warning.

Capt. Hackett was 54 years of age, and was a native of Amherstburg, Ont. He followed sailing from his boyhood, and at the age of 21 entered the employ of Moore & Alger and commanded various vessel for them and their successors, Alger, Smith & Co. In 1882, while commanding the tug Vulcan, he was presented a gold watch and medal for saving several lives of passengers on the steamer Marine City, which burned off Alcona. Among the lives saved were those of E. W. Voight and his wife. On this occasion Engineer McCabe was also given a gold watch, and the rest of the crew silver watches.

Capt. Hackett left a widow and five children, Ralph, Thomas, Percy and Norman, the last being the well-known elocutionist, and a daughter Gussie. The family is left in comfortable circumstances, having a handsome home at 441 Fourth avenue.

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Though I don't know all of the relationships, the Hacketts of Amherstburg were a fixture on the Detroit River for decades. Capt. James Hackett, Thomas' grandfather, was an early lakes skipper and later (1830's-40's) light-keeper on Bois Blanc ("BobLo") Island, where he lived until his death in 1872. He commanded, among others, the brig DUKE OF WELLINGTON, one of the only full-rigged brigs ever to operate on the lakes and he was one of earliest navigators of Lake Superior. Thomas Hackett was the first master of the famous wrecker MANISTIQUE, though at that time she was a freighter. His son, Capt. Ralph Hackett, was killed in a tug accident in 1895 and Thomas' father was long-time lakes captain and fleet-owner Robert J. (Bob) Hackett. Capts. Andrew and Alex Hackett were also important figures in river tugs along the Detroit River and in the Canadian Lighthouse Service . Capt. Frank B. Hackett also owned a number of tugs and small steamers along the river and Capt. F.T. Hackett's fleet of wreckers hovered over Bar Point and the Lime Kilns for decades, waiting to assist the unwary or unlucky. Capt. Henry H. Hackett built small ships on the river and later at Owen Sound, Ont.
Date of Original:
Sept. 23, 1894
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Dave Swayze
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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Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), Sept. 23, 1894