Capt. Daniel J. O’Driscoll

Capt. O’Driscoll

Capt. Daniel J. O’Driscoll (Sometimes seen as Daniel Driscoll) was born on 31 Oct 1831 in County Cork, Ireland. In 1846–1851 he was a British merchant service in the Mediterranean trade. He emigrated to America in 1850. On 1 Jan 1863 Daniel was awarded a Ship Master’s Certificate in Buffalo, Erie, New York. He mastered the D.O. Dickinson for 8 years in the late 1850s and early 60’s. He regularly sailed from Buffalo to Chicago and Milwaukee, typically with grains such as wheat and sometimes flour probably from the Sanderson Flour Mill.

A larger amount of wheat, by 360,000 bushels, was shipped from the port of Milwaukee during 1854 than from any other port on the Lakes, and this difference was increased during 1855 by over 1,000,000 bushels. The wheat of Wisconsin was from 3 to 5 cents more per bushel than that raised farther south, on account of its superior quality. During the period of the Civil War many of the southern markets were eliminated and trade was moved up the Mississippi to the Great Lakes. Milwaukee already being a strong port for the distribution of wheat grew even larger. It reached its peak about 1873. About this time, several large flour mills opened in Minnesota diverting much of the Wisconsin wheat west rather than east to Milwaukee. (For more information on Flour Milling see the Sanderson Flour Mills page.)

The D.O. Dickinson was a two mast, wood, schooner built in 1854 by the James M. Jones company in Milwaukee. It’s size 241 tons, 127.0 x 26.1 x 10.9. It’s official number was U6133. On June 15, 1858, the D.O. Dickinson collided with the schooner Miami off off Presque Isle, Lake Huron. Her bow, sprit and fore-topmast was damaged and had to be repaired. Her bulwarks stove was in. The rest of the ship was not seriously damaged. She was towed into Presque Isle by Capt. Pratt, of the Propeller Globe and soon after repaired.

The schooner now sits on the bottom of Lake Michigan. It was wrecked Oct. 18, 1869. At the time of the accident it was bound Oconto for Chicago. It was drove on the shoal and was wrecked over the following ten days. Her skipper at the time, Captain Cardwell, watched from a distant hill as she finally went to pieces in a storm.

Great Lakes shipping is a very seasonal business. It runs from April to November. The winter months November thru Early April or later, the lakes are so frozen that it is dangerous to attempt navigation. For two years Daniel was captain of the ship (1867-1868), “Sardinia” out of Buffalo. It was built in 1860, by Gordon Campbell out of Detroit. It’s official number was (22275). It was a wooden schooner, 137x26x12, 384 tons. It was damaged in a stranding near Oswego, NY, in 1864 and declared a loss near Fairport, OH, L. Erie, in June, 1866, with the loss of two lives. It was rebuilt and was damaged over the winter of 1866-67. In May 1867 it was repaired in Chicago. We imagine that Daniel took over sailing the vessel about this time. Its final voyage ended in a storm on 4 Nov. 1874 when it became stranded in fog and heavy weather on Cathead Point at the top of the Leelanau Penninsula of Michigan. It broke up in a later store when it was in the process of being salvaged.

Marriage to Sarah Hardy

Daniel O’Driscoll, son of Thomas O’Driscoll and Margaret Manning, married Sarah Maria Hardy, daughter of John Hardy and Mary B. ???, on 17 January 1857 at St. John’s Catholic Church in Milwaukee. Sarah was born on 21 May 1834 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. She was baptized on 14 Sept. 1834 at Sheffield Parish Church, Church Street in Sheffield by J Gibson.

By 1868 Daniel and Sarah were the parents of 4 children, Frances, Daisy, Mamie and little Tommy. During the winter of 1869, Thomas Davis died at the age of 10 months 15 days. We imagine the family was devastated at the lost of their only son.

Daniel the Harbor Master

It was about this time that Daniel gave up the sea life and in 1867 he became harbor master in Milwaukee. The harbor master was an elected officer of the city and part of the police force. The harbor master had all the powers of a policeman in the city. Daniel’s duties were as follows:

55. To preserve the harbor; to prevent any use of the same, or any act in relation thereto, inconsistent with or detrimental to the public health, or calculated to render the waters to the same, or any part thereof, impure or offensive, or tending in any degree to fill up or obstruct the same; to prevent and punish the casting or depositing therein of any earth, dead animals, ashes, or other substance of filth, logs or floating matter; to prevent and remove all obstructions therein, and punish the authors thereof; to regulate and prescribe the mode and speed of entering and leaving the harbor, of passing the bridges, and of coming to and departing from the wharves and streets of the city, by steamboats, canal boats and other crafts and vessels, and the disposition of the sails, yards, anchors and appurtenances, thereof, while entering, leaving or abiding in the harbor; and to regulate and prescribe by such ordinances, or through their harbor master or other authorized officer, such location of every canal boat, steamboat, or other craft or vessel afloat, and such changes of station in, and use of harbor, as may be necessary to promote order therein, and the safety and equal convenience, as near as may be, of all such boats, vessels, crafts and floats; and to impose penalties, not exceeding one hundred dollars, for any offense against any such ordinance;

56. To regulate and control the time or times, manner and speed of all boats, crafts and vessels passing the bridges over the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnick rivers, and the canals in said city.

57. To regulate construction of piers and wharves extending into Lake Michigan within the limits of said city; and to prescribe and control the prices to be charged for pierage or wharfage theron; and to regulate; prescribe and control the prices to be charged for dockage and storage within the city.

58. To lease the wharfing priviledges of the river at the ends of the streets
59. To authorize the taking up of the homeless children wandering on the pier.
60. To arrest, fine or imprision the indigent
More on these laws and guidelines can be found in the Charter of the City of Milwaukee.

By 1886 he was a sewer contractor in Milwaukee. In 1902 his occupation was a brick and pipe sewer inspector. The family lived at 572 7th Avenue in Milwaukee and the couple raised the following children:

Sarah died on 10 Dec 1890 at the age of 56. She was buried at the Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 13 Dec 1890. Daniel died 13 December 1918 and is buried at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Milwaukee.

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