The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, NY), April 22, 1922

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Capt. Franklin D. Phelps Dies
Sailor and Boat Builder, 69, Expires at Chaumont
Constructed Many Vessels
Engaged in Building Fishing Boat At Time He Was Taken Ill
Death Comes Suddenly

(Special to the Times)

Chaumont, April 22. Capt. Frank Daniel Phelps, 69, boat builder and former Great Lakes and St. Lawrence river navigator, died last evening at 6 at his home in the old tollgate house by the bridge, following a short illness of hardening of the arteries. He had been in his usual vigorous health until recently and about his work as usual, being engaged in building a fishing boat when taken ill.

Captain Phelps was born in Chaumont, March 20, 1852, and this had always been his home. His father was the late Morris G. Phelps, who died in 1893. The father was also a boat builder and also engaged in the construction of bridges.

In early life Captain Phelps sailed the upper lakes and later Lake Ontario, sailing out of Lewiston and Charlotte and going down the St. Lawrence to Montreal. He was a skilled navigator and always delighted in telling of his experiences.

Although he won a reputation on the lakes as a sailor, he was possibly better known as a boat builder. Among the boats built by Captain Phelps were the John S. Parsons, the Jesse and the Hinckley, all of 400 tons capacity; the sailboat schooner Emma, of 326 tons, and built for his own personal use; two named after members of the family, the M.G. Phelps, named after his father, and the Franklin D. Phelps, named after himself; several hay scows, including the Northern Lights built for Captain Sheeley of Cape Vincent; the M.I. Wilcox, built for Graves & Brooks of Point Peninsula; the steamer Comet, now the Isabelle H. of Oswego, and the Hinckley. It will be remembered that the Isabelle H. was the boat commanded by Capt. Fred Baldwin of Dexter that last fall picked up a life boat containing the bodies of victims from the ill-fated steamer City of New York.

The Jesse is now at Poughkeepsie. The Hinckley is at Oswego. The Franklin D. Phelps is owned by Captain McDougall of Duluth, and the M.G. Phelps by Captain Hinckley of Oswego.

The boat building industry will be continued by Captain Phelps' brothers, Leon O. Phelps and Pearl Phelps of Chaumont,, who have been associated with him.

Mrs. Phelps died about eight years ago. There were no children. Besides his brothers, Captain Phelps is survived by three sisters, Mrs. Helen Morehouse of Dansville, Mrs. Cora Jackson of Camden and Mrs. Mary Huburtus of Chaumont.

The funeral will be held Monday afternoon at 2 from the home. Rev. J. Manley Spencer of the Presbyterian church officiating. Burial will be made here.

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April 22, 1922
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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.
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Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, NY), April 22, 1922