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By the time Edward decided to join the RCS...
the Lot M. Morrill had already made herself a name...
Captain Landry was not the first captain to sail the Morrill...
If Edward did not return to Tonawanda...
Life on the inland sea proved to a very positive experience...



By the time Edward decided to join the United States Revenue Cutter Service he had recorded five navigational seasons of sailing on the Great Lakes.  The experiences were wide and varied.  He sailed on ships ranging from steam, propeller and sail.  He traveled on at least three of the lakes and possibly more, gaining an expert knowledge of each.  He also witnessed disasters, rescues and probably had first hand knowledge of those whom the Great Lakes had swallowed into her watery depths.  He may have even participated in some of those rescues.  Passing ships responded to distress signals from other vessels if they were able to be of assistance.  Many sailors and civilians were rescued from drowning when a ship responded to render aid.  Whatever the reason chosen, Edward wrote the precise date of his service in his day book.  Late into the navigational season he records, “Sept 1st 03 U.S.S. Cutter Morrill”.  This ship was to be his home, his life and shape the future of his destiny for the next five navigational years.  It would also be instrumental in helping to lay the groundwork for meeting a young woman named Margaret King. 

When Edward first arrived to report for duty on the Morrill, the year was 1903 and well under way.  And, while Edward’s sailing on a Revenue Cutter was shaping his destiny, the world was shaping the Revenue Cutter Service.  A telling year for the technology Edward and the world would soon encounter frames the fabric of events three years into the new century.  Beginning with January 19, 1903, the first west-east transatlantic radio broadcast is made from the United States to England.  The first east to west broadcast was already an accomplished feat occurring two years earlier in 1901.  The beginning of the summer July 1-19th is the first Tour de France.  Maurice Garin becomes the first person to win the event, an impressive accomplishment considering bicycle technology of the 20th century.  On July 23, Dr. Ernest Pfenning of Chicago becomes the first private owner of a Ford Model A car.  Just two months later on September 11, the first stock car event takes place at the Milwaukee Mile.  

 Not only technology was changing the world.  Baseball, the national pastime held the first modern World Series with the National League’s Pittsburgh playing against Boston of the American League.  Political and social events are also making the news.  The face of power is expanding and slipping into the arms of the opposite sex.  More threatening to some then war is their united call to equality by women.  On October 10 the Women’s Social and Political Union is founded.  This particular event directly and indirectly influenced the lives of many American women and the role they played in society and government.  Edward’s future wife was to be one of those women. 

Commerce and trade benefited directly from the political events of 1903 and involved the Revenue Cutter Service.  On November 18, The Hay-Bunau-Varilla treaty is signed, giving the United States exclusive rights to the Panama Canal.  The United States’ commerce was growing and the trade ships increased the flow of traffic on both the oceans and the inland seas.  

Finally, one last major event occurred in 1903 and this event changed forever the world into which Edward was born.  In addition, it influenced the branch of the military he had just joined, and the technological spin off it produced.  On December 17, 1903, assisted by the Life Saving Station keepers and crew, Orville Wright flew an aircraft with a petrol engine at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  This is the first documented, successful, controlled, powered, heavier-then-air flight.   The new 20th century modern world had arrived and landed on the doorstep of Edward’s 19th century Victorian/Edwardian world. 

When the United States Revenue Cutter Service was formed the world was a much different place then 1903.  Not immune to change, the Revenue Service was constantly being formed and reformed, melded and combined until it became what today is known as the United States Coast Guard.  However, not before engraving itself on the map of the United States’ military history and while journeying through a confusing historical path did it reach this identity. 

The birth of a nation gave rise to a busy, busy government struggling to find both identity and governmental form after winning the War for Independence.  The framework for the Revenue Service begins in 1789.  This was the year for “firsts” in the nation’s history.  The year 1789 gave us our first president, George Washington and the first Inaugural Ball.  After this, the serious business of forming the necessary branches of government took precedence over all other concerns, except for one national detail, which occurred later that year.  Within this context, on July 31, 1789 the new president approved an Act for the imposition of duties on the tonnage of vessels entering into the ports of the new country.  Duties are to be collected on all goods, wares and merchandise imported into the United States.  Of course, someone had to collect the duties and oversee the implementing of this new Act.  Since the Continental Navy was disbanded following the revolution, the country no longer had a navy.  This means the United States no longer had any armed marine force. Thus, the country had an Act, but nothing to back up or enforce the newly passed legislation.  This posed a problem that the government set out to correct.  Before creating a branch of government to deal with collecting duties, the founding fathers need a military.  In addition, they are faced with the problem of guiding all these ships with important trade goods into the ports of the new country.  Shipwrecks mean lost revenue both as trade and as duties collected. 

 Lighthouses prior to 1789 were either privately owned, or operated by individual communities to serve the needs of sailors.  The local community whose needs they served paid for their upkeep, management, and operational expenses.  There were also no formal standards, rules or regulations to guide the lighthouse keepers.  In addition, they did not fall under the auspices of any government agency, except what the local community deemed appropriate.  To solve the military problem and in an attempt to improve the navigational guides the government on August 7, 1789 formed both the United States War Department and the Lighthouse Service.  The later was still under going change and debate the year Edward was born.  Change and debate about the Lighthouse Service continued well into the century Edward sailed as a member of the Revenue Cutter Service.

One month later the government acted to create an agency to oversee the new Act which imposed duties on tonnage and on goods coming into the ports.  On September 2, 1789, an Act of Congress established the Treasury Department.  The new government appointed Alexander Hamilton the first Secretary of the Treasury.  Of course, as with any country, national holidays are important in establishing one’s identity.  So, before the creation of a means to collect the duties, the government on the recommendation of President Washington and approved by Congress, set aside November 26,1789 as the first National Thanksgiving Day.  The government acted on the issue of collecting the duties one year later. 

On August 4, 1790 nine months after the government established Thanksgiving as the first national holiday, Alexander Hamilton had passed by an Act of Congress and with the approval of President Washington, money providing for the construction of ten ships.  These ships and their commanders are to operate under the Collections of Customs to enforce the laws dealing with the collecting of duties on imported goods.  This Act forms the basis for the early beginnings of the United States Coast Guard.  However, it will be several centuries before the world knows it by that name and then it will incorporate more then just a sailing fleet to collect duties on imported goods. 

Although the United States formed a War Department in 1789, the fleet of ten vessels constituted the first armed service to patrol the coastal waters of the country.    The United States Revenue Marine is their original title.  However, by the Act of February 4, 1863 it was designated the United States Revenue Cutter Service and from 1868 it has been known only by this title.  For six years, the Revenue Cutter Service ships were the only armed military vessels patrolling the waters within the jurisdiction of the coastal territories of the United States of America. 

The first ten vessels received another mandate in addition to collecting revenues from incoming ships.  This new duty gave shape to their ever-changing face and provided them with the motto, “Semper Paratus”, “Always Ready”.   On December 16, 1831, the Secretary of the Treasury informed the Collectors of Customs that it is appropriate for the Cutter Service to assist and aide in the rescue of vessels in distress off the coastal waters of the United States.   They are also to render assistance and provide help to the crews of those vessels when in need and when appropriate.  An act of legislation passed by Congress in the year of 1837, officially charges the Revenue Cutter Service to provide humanitarian assistance.  By then they had already been serving as the humanitarian arm of the military.  Even though they have expanded, merged with other government agencies, and undergone a name change, they are the only branch of the military designated by an act of Congress to save lives and provide humanitarian rescues both at sea and on land.

Eventually, the Revenue Cutter Service evolved into three areas of service; law enforcement; life saving and assistance; and military.  Within each area were broad duties encompassing everything from protecting runaway slaves to the rights of baby seals, enforcing anti slavery laws, and over seeing and enforcing the rules and regulations for regattas.  They are also required to participate with the U.S. Navy in wars and conflicts.  Although, it is not until January 28, 1915, when by an Act of Congress the United States Coast Guard is officially made a part of the military.  Every aspect of the works and rescues performed by the Revenue Cutters and the United States Coast Guard is recorded in the United States Coast Guard Record of Movements from 1790-1933.  The recordings are impressive and include the rescues of animals, women, children, men, sailors and vessels.   No maritime condition was considered too horrific or dangerous for those in service to take on the rescues and jobs required of them.  Reports of desertions from ships are rare.  Prior to the late 1800’s the log entries are much more descriptive in narrative details.  Yet, between 1915 and 1933, The Record of Movements records over 66,000 individuals rescued from disaster.  The total value of all the vessels assisted is over $700,000,000.  Over 368,000 people were on board these distressed vessels.  The years from 1915 to 1933 represent a very small span of time, only eighteen years out of the 143 years the Revenue Cutter Service was in existence.  

Edward’s first season with the Revenue Cutter Service was unusual because he enlisted late into the navigational season.    The Great Lakes navigational season is varied and ice determines the opening and closing.   If a lake froze, the cutters were not equipped to break through the extremely thick ice until the advent of the icebreaker ships.  Historically, cutters did do some light ice breaking as far back as the late 1830’s when steam engines gave them enough power to maneuver through ice.  The serious need for ice breakers occurred after the United States acquired the state of Alaska.  Keeping ship channels open has always been a problem and cutters took on this responsibility early in their history.  True icebreakers were not in existence until the early part of the 20th century.  When the Revenue Cutter the Bear patrolled the waters around Alaska it was the first ship built for the rigors of ice breaking, although still not considered a true icebreaker.  When ship hulls began to be built constructed of iron and riveted together, they were able to withstand the tremendous pressures of the ice as they plowed through opening up the ship channels.  Yet, it was not until the ships were made of steel that true icebreakers came into force.  The first steel ships of the United States Coast Guard continued to break open the ice, carving out channels for lake and ocean vessels.  Again, an Act was passed and designated by the president during the 1930’s making this operation the responsibility of the Coast Guard, something they had been doing if even in a limited capacity, since the 1800’s. 

Men enlisted with the Revenue Cutter Service on a year-by-year basis.  A smaller skeleton crew stayed on the muster rolls when the navigational season closed. When the ice started to thaw in the early spring, this being anywhere from March into April the season would begin and navigation on the lakes by ships was possible.  The muster rolls reflect the variation in personnel from season to season.  Some names occur during the course of many navigational seasons and some names occur only once.  It is possible that for some men the allure of the inland seas as a member of the military was not what they anticipated.  Most of the men who enlisted with the Revenue Cutter Service were already seasoned sailors such as Edward and had varied experiences under their belts. 

Life onboard a Revenue Cutter was quite different then working the cargo ships.  Men were now a part of the disciplined military, not a rough working sailor.  There were uniforms, strict rules and regulations to follow.  Each Revenue Cutter sailor was required to purchase his own uniform.  This required purchasing two sets, one designated for the cooler weather, a darker color and one designated for the warmer summer months, white in color.   Although the uniforms were similar to the traditional Navy uniforms, they had a distinction that separated them from their military cousins.  There is no indication that women ever served in the Revenue Cutter Service. 

The Revenue Cutter Service was not without internal problems throughout its history.  Much like the Lighthouse Service, controversy surrounded the commissioned officers and the institution of the Revenue Cutter Service.  The problem started with the appointments of Officers and Captains as “favors” to individuals.  This resulted in many incompetent appointments (the same system was also an internal problem within the early Lighthouse Service).  Serious troubles developed within the Revenue Cutter Service due to the lack of standards.  By 1895, the New York Times reported in depth on the issue.  A cleansing of the roles was being enacted to weed out those who were not competent to serve.  By the end of the investigation, it was expected that at least forty officers would be found incompetent and asked to leave the service.  There were six vacancies listed and a board had been assembled to examine the cadets for those positions.  The article states the cadets first needed to pass a thorough physical exam.  After passing the physical, the candidates were to be administered a rigorous academic exam. This exam was so difficult many of the cadets would not be able to pass it.  The exam was to take place over the course of two days.  Each day would comprise six hours of questions.  These questions included intense examinations on the following subjects; math-geometry, algebra, trigonometry,-then grammar, writing, history, geography, physics, language, chemistry, literature, general knowledge and spelling.

 By the time Edward signed on with the Revenue Cutter Service eight years later, new standards and accountability shaped the men and the ships they sailed.  For the enlisted men such as Edward, these standards were to play an important role.  The nature of shipping was about to change with technology giving rise to a very different type of craft, the pleasure boat. 

 The rise of the middle class with the means to own small pleasure craft changed the landscape of the Great Lakes and rivers almost over night.  Previously, yachts were only affordable by the very rich.  Now, the middle class were able to own a smaller version of the larger yachts.  One of the newest craft and incorporating the very latest technology was the motor boat.   It was a sport that women and men could indulge in and one did not have to be a seasoned anything to participate.  Magazines were suddenly displaying the latest “yachting” wear for both men and women.  Dressing to the occasion the leisurely pastime became a means to show you were an up and coming member of the new affluent middle class.  It also gave rise to the concept of the “recreational boater”.   Boat clubs and yacht clubs sprang into existence offering an exclusive place to launch the new boat.   Structured similar to the country club, the average boater could now have a meal, drinks and the companionship of fellow boaters.  Members received titles of captain and mates.  Often these clubs were exclusive and by invitation only.  Upon an individual’s recommendation, a board determined the suitability of the person based on character, position in society and family connections.  Memberships sometimes passed on from father to son.    The Revenue Cutter Service added to the list another responsibility, policing the waters of the recreational boater.   This new requirement included rescuing the unseasoned sailor from the many recreational boating disasters occurring on the lakes and oceans.

 With the rise of the recreational boater came another form of entertainment, the regatta.  Once again, the Revenue Cutter Service roles expanded.  They were expected to police and enforce the rules of the national and international regattas.  The larger races took place on the Great Lakes and the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.  Regattas were not new to the 20th century.  However, their numbers and stakes at hand were increased during the first decade of the new century.  The Revenue Cutter Service played an important role in this activity.

During the later half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, the world was changing at a pace of unparalleled experience.  Much of this change was due to advances in technology.  Complicating this was national identity.  This was intertwined with technological developments.  Much as the “space” race during the 1950’s-70’s was a competition of technology and national identity between the Soviet Union and the United States, so were the national identities of world powers and emerging powers of the late 1800‘s and early 1900‘s.  Ship technology, not the space race was the impetus.  Separate from recreational boaters were the yachts and serious motor boats.  Often the industrial giants of the United States and the Kings and Queens of Europe owned these boats.  Major developments in ship technology such as radio and navigational aides were the direct result of the competition from these races and regattas.   

Regattas were also important to the military for another reason.  Many colleges and universities sported rowing and yachting teams.  In addition to the large Ivy League universities of Harvard, Yale, and Cornell, many smaller colleges also had sailing teams.  These educational institutions were responsible for producing future military and naval officers.  Sailing in university regattas provided a means for these young men to test and develop leadership skills, discipline and physical fitness.  All were qualities necessary for a cadet’s future military career.  

The stakes proved even higher at the national level and was one of the contributing factors leading to The Great War.  Up until the 20th century, Britain had maintained the greatest naval force.  The British Empire was in the beginning of its colonial and naval power decline opening the door to further competition from other European nations and the United States.  One of the strongest competitors for the world’s naval power was Germany.  Regattas became a way of showing at the national level the power and technology of ship building a country possessed, further strengthening national identity when winning these competitions.  Money could also be a factor as some of the purses won were quite large.  Prizes of $1,000 or more were not uncommon.  Whether for a silver cup or money, regattas were serious races with international competition shaping world events.   The new century also began with the introduction of the 1900 Olympics, as part of the World’s Fair.  Although surrounded by controversy, and its organization not well regarded, sailing was one of the events.  The future introduction of a regularly scheduled and organized Olympics would one day stir the emotions of national identity even higher.  The role of the Olympics, national identity and ethnic identification played a major role with the rise of Hitler and the next World War.  

The German Kaiser at the turn of the new century was determined to raise the stakes of national identity.  He wanted to see a German naval force rival that of the British and sought to capitalize on their decline.  Now, he would fill the niche left behind and the German people would have a true national identity.  In 1901, the Kaiser told an audience in Hamburg: “In spite of the fact that our fleet is not what it should be, we have gained a place in the sun for ourselves.  It will be my duty to see that this place in the sun remains in our undisputed possession, in order that its rays may fall fruitfully upon our activity and trade in foreign parts, that our industry and agriculture may develop at home and our sailing sports upon the water, for our future lies on the water.  The more Germans who go upon the water, whether it be in races of regattas, journeys across the oceans, or in the service of the battle-flag, so much the better it will be for us.”

Indeed much was at stake when regattas were participating at the local, national, and international level.  The Revenue Cutter Service was called upon to patrol, enforce and rescue those participants.  In some cases, enforcing strict rules meant averting the potential for international disaster.  The earliest reference to patrolling a regatta is recorded in 1899.  Both the cutters Sammuel Dexter and WM. E. Chandler participated in policing the event.  The Dexter patrolled the Yale-Harvard Regatta setting the stage for what would become an annual duty of the Revenue Service.  Between 1899 and 1925, thirty-nine Revenue Cutters were involved in patrolling, enforcing rules and rescues when necessary during the numerous yachting and boating races and regattas.  The thirty-nine ships included cutters sailing the United States boarders of the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes.  Even the cutter Bear one of the most famous of the Revenue Cutters left her Alaska waters to patrol the San Diego Yacht Club regatta.  Some of the most prestigious competitions included; the International Yacht Race, the Lipton Cup, the British International Trophy Races, the Third Annual Motor Boat Regatta out of Florida, the Intercollegiate Races, Houston Launch Club Regatta, the 1916 Speed Boat Races on the coast of Oregon, the 1916 Hydroplane Exhibition in North Carolina, and in 1923 the Navy Boat races.  Numerous university regattas between Harvard, Yale and Cornell occurred between 1899 and 1926 with the Revenue Cutter Service overseeing the events by patrolling the waters and enforcing the rules.  Implying there may have been previous problems during one of the races, one cutter is given orders to “strictly” enforce the rules.

The Kaiser also had another ocean traveling weapon up his sleeve, the Ocean Liner.  He was consumed with the idea that improved passenger ships would lead to greater national identity.  Developing the technology for these vessels was often done in secret.  This generated much competition among nations and boaters.  Ships designed and built to carry goods and transport the ever-growing numbers of immigrants were a direct result of the Kaiser’s fanatical preoccupation with his quest for a German National identity.  When these giant ocean liners sailed into the coastal waters of the United States, the Revenue Cutter Service ships were, “always ready” to assist with rescues should there be a need. 

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When Edward entered the United States Revenue Service, the Lot M. Morrill had already made herself a name and was no newcomer to the Great Lakes.  Variations of the name would later be an obstacle for researchers and cause confusion in the records at the National Archives in Washington D.C.  Officially named the Lot M., the ship was referred to as the Morrill throughout her history.  The Morrill did not have a registration number assigned to her other then just, “U.S.R.C.S.”.  It was an iron hulled vessel and cost $72,600 when built by the ship builders Pusey and Jones in 1889.  The Morrill was commissioned on October 10, 1889 and decommissioned on October 19, 1928.  Her life did not end that October.  In 1928, Deepwater Fishing and Exploration Corp., (Antonio DeDomica) of New York, NY, bought the Morrill.  The name was changed to Evangeline and given the registration number of 22837.  Two years later spelled the end for the Evangeline.  In 1930, she burned at Rockway, Long Island and went officially off the books.

The Morrill and her crew did not begin on the Great Lakes.  On October 19, 1889, she sailed under orders to Charleston, South Carolina.  Her life on the salt-water coast of the southern United States continued from the Carolina's to Virginia and included winter cruising orders from Cape Lookout, North Carolina to Charleston, South Carolina.  Suddenly and abruptly patrolling salt-water coasts ended.  On March 24, 1898, the Lot M. Morrill was ordered to cooperate with the United States Navy.  The Morrill was going to war, the Spanish- American War.  When the war ended the Morrill, by executive order was returned to the Treasury Department and ordered to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  After being returned to the Revenue Cutter Service her principle sailing was within the inland seas of the Great Lakes.   Her journeys also included sailing to Baltimore, Maryland for repairs in 1912 and then onto Halifax, Canada and back to the inland seas.  In 1917, she was again temporarily transferred to the Navy for another war.  This time it was the Great War, only her services would not take her across the ocean.  At the beginning of December 1917 after being transferred to the Navy, the Morrill sailed into Halifax, Nova Scotia.  A tragic event occurred on December 6 when the munitions freighter Mount Blanc exploded in the Halifax harbor.  Considered one of the worst disasters of the 20th century the mishap killed 1,600 people and destroyed most of the town.  The Morrill lent rescue assistance and towed many of the vessels to safety in the harbor.  The crew also rendered assistance to the townspeople. Later, the Secretary of the Navy cited the officers and crew of the Morrill.  The citation commended them for their assistance in rendering help and aid to the people of Halifax. (The book, "Curse Of The Narrows", by Laura M. McDonald gives a detailed accounting of this horrific maritime disaster).  The Morrill continued patrolling the coastal waters until the end of the war.  The ship returned to the Revenue Cutter Service and sailed on the Great Lakes.  She was finally sold and decommissioned after serving thirty-nine years with the Revenue Cutter Service.

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Captain Landry was not the first captain to sail the Morrill.  He also was never Edward Herman (n)’s Revenue Cutter captain. However, the two formed a friendship beyond the decks of the Morrill.  Staley or Stanley, both variations occur in the census, was born in 1861 in Indiana.  His father, sometimes listed as S.F., or Sam, or Samuel F. Landry was a physician in Galveston, Cass, Indiana.  The 1870 census listed the family as; S.F. Landry, 35 years old, Emily Landry, 33 years old, Edward,12 years old, Staley (Stanley),9 years old, William, 7 years old and Otho (Otto), 5 years old.  The future, according to later census records did not include girls for the Landry family.  It is presumed the oldest son eventually followed in the footsteps of his father leaving the door open for Staley to pursue a different career path. 

Galveston, Cass County Indiana is located in the central part of the state.  It is157 miles to Chicago, 273 miles to Detroit, 198 miles to Toledo and 81 miles north of Indianapolis.  The county began to experience serious growth after the construction of the Wabash and Erie Canal. These two waterways opened up greater potential for trade and settlement.  Not being surrounded by water of any size except the canal, it is difficult to speculate the reason for Staley’s decision to pursue a sailing career.  However, that choice landed him in The United States Revenue Cutter Service.  His military career began as a cadet on August 4, 1885.  Three years later, on July 25, 1888, he is promoted to 3rd Lieutenant.  Four years later on January 28, 1892 he is ranked as a 2nd Lieutenant and finally on March 5, 1901 he is promoted to 1st Lieutenant.  On December 12, 1907, eight months after Edward was first assigned to the Horseshoe Reef Lighthouse, Staley M. Landrey is made a full captain in the Revenue Cutter Service.  His first ship to command as a captain is the U.S.S. Lot. M. Morrill.

 Captain Landry married sometime during his sailing career.  His wife Edna is typical of “sea captain’s” wives.  She is strong, independent and educated.  Both list their ancestry as “English” on the 1920 census.  Throughout their married life, they lived in the Detroit area.  Staley is always listed as an “Officer in the U.S.R.C.S” in the census records. The couple apparently did not produce children as none were ever listed in the census records.  When the 1920 census was recorded, Captain Landry was fifty-eight years old. 

During the decade between1920 and 1930, Captain Staley Landry died.  Edna listed herself as “widowed” on the 1930 census.  She is now residing in a boarding house with other single, specialized, career people who record their occupations as, clergyman, Millner, writer, science practitioner, and orthodontist.  After the death of her husband, it seems the sea captain’s wife pursued a career in banking.  Edna’s listed occupation in the 1930 census record is bank manager.  Having thrown away her stay-at-home apron at age 55 years she entered a career not usually afforded a woman of that time.  Although women joined the work force two decades before during the Great War and were granted the Right to Vote the decade before, this was not an occupation many females could claim on the 1930 census.  

While the Lot M. Morrill was serving in the Spanish-American War, Staley was also serving aboard a Revenue Service Cutter, the Woodburry.  Holding the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, his designated position is the ship’s navigator. It is not known how or when Staley and Edward formed a close friendship. Yet, shortly after Edward’s appointment to the United States Lighthouse Service, he received a letter from Captain Staley Landry posted on January 3, 1908.  Edward had served only nine months into his first year with the Lighthouse Service as an assistant keeper at the Horseshoe Reef Lighthouse, Buffalo, NY.  The position of Master-At-Arms was opening up and the captain sent his request to Edward with the announcement the pay was to be increased if he accepted the offer.  Keeper Herman (n) must have declined for he did not leave the Lighthouse Service to return to the Morrill or to any other Revenue Cutter Service ship. 

Had he followed his friend the captain, Edward would have made the news.  On February 26, 1909, one year after Edward received the letter about the Master-At-Arms position, the New York Times posted an article about Captain Landry. The captain, now in charge of the Revenue Service Cutter, Mohawk was reported stranded.  A strong gale had been blowing and whipping up the seas off the Nantucket Shoals.  With a crew of 60 including officers and enlisted men, she came in too close to the shoreline and without warning met a dredger.  Trying desperately to avoid a collision the Mohawk struck on the Little Hogback, one of the rocks in Hell Gate.  No injuries were reported but it proved to be a difficult venture getting the ship rescued from the Little Hogback’s hold.  The captain and crew spent several harrowing days on wind whipped waters before she was released from the rocky summit.  

When Edward’s name first appears on the Morrill’s muster roll, he is not listed in a position of any authority.  The earliest photograph of him clearly indicates he is an “enlisted” sailor.  Determined, serious, disciplined and dashing, Edward lacked the cockiness and impish smile both his brothers display in their photographs.  These qualities would serve him well throughout his military and lighthouse careers.  However, his serious, disciplined nature was often mistaken for a lack of humor.   Because of his seriousness, along with his religious affiliation, he was often remembered as “puritanical” in his views and decision-making.  His niece remembers him as being a strict Methodist, although at the time her recollections may have been clouded by her age.  She was a teenager. 

The muster rolls are detailed in the descriptions of the ship’s workings and crew, much more then the ship’s logs.  Each enlisted man is listed by name, position and job, salary and length of stay on board.  An ethnic identification is given as well as a detailed physical description.  Edward is recorded as being tall, black hair, brown eyes and a dark complexion.  From the rolls, it appears he was one of the tallest on the ship and the only sailor listed as having a “dark” complexion.  Most of the men on the Morrill hailed from cultures long associated with the seas and sailing.  They came from Scandinavia, England, Ireland and areas around the Great Lakes as well as the coastal communities of the United States.  When Edward enlisted on September 9, 1903 the Morrill was based in Milwaukee and the ship’s captain was A.B. Davis.  Edward’s position on the muster roll is listed as seaman.  The time spent on the cutter was short for the navigation season ended in early December and Edward was discharged from the Revenue Service on December 7.  During his brief time at sea the Morrill was ordered to Cleveland, Ohio for 3 or 4 days of duty.  The record of movement does not specify what that particular duty entailed.  For the duration of Edward’s first experience sailing with the Revenue Cutter Service, neither the ship’s logs or the record of movement detail any unusual events.  It is safe to say, Edward enjoyed a smooth sailing those few months on Lake Erie. (Revenue Cutter Service history; www.uscg.mil./history/

Little is known what Edward did in-between the navigational season.  No records survive to tell whether he stayed in the area or left to spend winters in Tonawanda, New York.   However, in 1904, Edward again enlisted in the Revenue Cutter Service.  This time, he enlisted at the beginning of the navigational season.

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If Edward did not return to Tonawanda to his parent's home on Broad Street the life of a young dashing sailor would not be difficult to imagine.  There were two types of sailors, rough around the edges and gentleman.  Seaman Herman was probably a typical sailor, except he knew what he wanted in life.  For Edward this meant sailing on the inland seas and pursuing a rank higher than an enlisted seaman.  His maritime journey was a deliberate path to that end.  Helping to shape the choices made was his birth order.  He was the oldest son and therefore expected to be the role model for the younger siblings.  In many respects, he should have followed his father’s career.  Yet, there is no evidence to suggest this was a necessary step within the family. In fact, August himself had left a small community, bringing a new bride with him to a much larger town.  Indeed, none of the sons of August Hermann ever became longshoremen.

  What was expected is rooted in the psychology and sociology of the society Edward grew up in, a society based on community values.  If an individual did not follow the rules of the community, they were on the fringes of society.    This strict code of compliance defined the family.  Thus, community values intertwined with family values.  There was room for dissension and eccentricity up to a point.  Beyond that undefined point which everyone in the community seemed to know, an invisible line separated the acceptable from the unacceptable.  When a family or an individual within the family crossed that invisible line, the family was “marked” and outcast from the supportive structure of the community.  Often, this carried over into the next generation and the community from which Edward emerged into adulthood was no exception.   Tonawanda produced its own families of unacceptable “outside the line stepping” box of no return.  While beer drinking was the accepted norm, there were strict community guidelines.  Public displays of intoxication were not acceptable.  Children who “acted up” beyond the confines of acceptable behavior, (this gave quite a leeway for boys at least) were labeled as incorrigible and were generally thought to embody their family’s values.  Like thin onion skin paper, it was traceable and seemed to carry over into the next generation.  

It is likely Edward thought about this invisible line.  He had two choices, and two roads to follow.  Whether he chose the route or the young woman he pursued chose it for him, Edward followed a path that ultimately led him to a young woman much grounded in her Methodist religion.  Her name was Margaret King.  She was not the first dalliance Edward encountered while sowing his oats.  In 1906, Edward received a postcard from another woman.  That correspondence revealed quite another side to the serious, disciplined Revenue Cutter sailor.  However, Edward’s acknowledgment of a letter Margaret wrote is the first of the many postcards they shared. It is also the earliest from a non-family member in the carefully saved collection of correspondences. 

How and when Edward first met Margaret remains a mystery.  If he stayed behind after the close of the navigational season, he may have met her at a social function offered to the sailors of “good reputation”.    Edward was not a Methodist, so it is unlikely they met at a church function.  Lutheran churches were quite prevalent around the area of the Great Lakes Edward sailed.  Therefore, he would have had access to their Sunday services and social functions.  How committed their relationship is not known.  However, when Edward returned to the Revenue Cutter Service and sailed again on the Morrill, Margaret King wrote him letters.  It may be that Edward left Milwaukee at the end of the navigational season to stay in Detroit over the winter of 1903.  When the U.S.S. Morrill went into commission for the new navigational season on May 4, 1904, Edward once again signed on as a seaman.  On May 9 they set sail for Sault Saint Marie to resume the “season’s work”.  Margaret, by this time, knew Edward well enough to write him a lengthy letter.  On July 26, 1904, Edward bought a postcard with a rendering of the “soo” locks.  It was addressed to; Miss Margaret King, #17 Pine Street, Detroit, Mich, with the message; “Your letter at hand.  With Best Regards, Edward H”.  

The navigational season of 1904 not only found Edward with a love interest, but a new rank as well.   Edward received a promotion, the rank of coxswain. On November 1, just twenty-eight days before the season’s end Edward was awarded the new rank.  During the course of duties that summer, the Morrill traveled to Chicago.  A major event was taking place and the Morrill was responsible for insuring it went smoothly.  The event was the T.S. Lipton Cup Regatta.  Held on August 5, the regatta was Edward’s first major event aboard the Morrill.  The crew performed their duties well.  On August 22, they received thanks for “efficient services” performed during the Lipton Regatta.  Edward no doubt was pleased to learn the ship would not return to Milwaukee at the end of the navigational season.  On November 30, he learned they would be laying up for the winter in Detroit.  Edward’s return to Detroit was also a return to the city where Margaret lived.  This must have been welcome news for Miss Margaret King at #17 Pine Street. 

There is no other correspondence from Margaret in the collection until Edward writes a brief postcard to her.  The postal date is October 19, 1907, to Miss Margaret King; now back in her home town of Hudson, Michigan.  By this time, Edward had left the Revenue Cutter Service.  He is now a handsome young lighthouse keeper at the Buffalo Life Saving Station.  Formally and briefly written, Edward asks her how she is doing and tells her he will write soon.  The card is signed, “E. M. H.”  It is difficult to piece together what transpired from Miss Margaret’s first post to her return back to Hudson, Michigan.  Is Edward having second thoughts about the relationship?  Did he tell Margaret they were no longer meant to be together?  Margaret had moved to the big city of Detroit to pursue a career.  Hudson was not a large town by any standards.  The area surrounding Hudson was mostly agricultural.  Margaret lived her childhood on a farm.  She is a strong, independent person, the type that marries ship captains and lighthouse keepers.  She is also very committed to her Methodist faith.  Did she place demands on Edward that forced him to make a choice between his Lutheran roots and her Methodist church?  Is she back on the farm of her childhood to mend a broken heart?  Since no correspondence exists to tell us, only speculation about the nature of the events fuels the imagination.  And, a very telling postcard from a woman named Cass remains to complicate the love story between Edward and Margaret. 

The summer of 1906, the Morrill traveled to the western Great Lakes.  The journey begins late into the navigational season on June 22, 1906, when the Morrill receives her commission for service.  Edward, now promoted to the rank of Master-At-Arms, had for several years, been a member of the regular all year around crew.   The spring begins with Edward in the hospital.  Before the start of the navigational season, the muster roll for 1906 lists Edward’s hospitalization.  On March 22, he entered the hospital.  The ship records do not record the reason.   His discharge from the hospital occurs four days later.  Apparently, Cass is not aware Edward is in the hospital.  She addresses her postcard to “Mr. Edd Herman, U.S.S. Morrill, Detroit, Mich”.  Margaret never referred to him in such familiar terms.  She always uses the formal, “Edward”, as did he when signing their correspondences. 

Cass chose a postcard with a scene of an idyllic summer on the Grand Canal, Belle Isle Park, in Detroit, Michigan.  Young couples float lazily down the canal while men and women picnic on the shore.  Cass mails the postcard from Detroit, presumably because she is in Detroit.  It is a hastily written postcard from both the handwriting and a carelessly affixed postage stamp at an angle on the back.  Her message to Edward; “Dear Edd, We are feeling lonesome to see you-call some time” and is signed, “ever yours L 127 Cass D-”.  From the message, it is obvious she and Edward had a previous relationship. Perhaps they shared a summer outing together. The romance may have included picnicking on the Belle Isle Park.  While lazily floating down the Grand Canal in a canoe, the young sailor and his love share an afternoon remembered long after the season’s end.  Only it was the one remembering who now writes she is “lonesome” for her sailor.  There survive no other written messages from Cass and none exists from Edward in response to her postcard.  The faded ink of a single correspondence is all that remains to tell the lost story of their relationship.  A secret, locked in the picture of the century old postcard, still waits for a lover’s key to release its meaning.  In the end, long after Cass sent her postcard, Edward chose Margaret.  She not Cass, captured a sailor‘s heart.  Eventually, they would marry, spending a lifetime together living at two lighthouses on the inland seas, a long, long way from Detroit and Cass D.

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Life on the inland seas sailing on the Morrill proved to be a very positive experience for Edward.  The new navigational season of 1905 started late and with a new captain.  Captain T.D. Walker placed the Morrill in commission on July 1, 1905.  Her first assignment of the new season is to participate in the 50th anniversary celebration of the opening of the Sault Saint Marie Canal.  Scheduled to take place on August 2 and 3, the two-day event included numerous military and naval ceremonies.  After the Morrill’s participation, the cutter is to set sail for Toledo and Cleveland, Ohio.  From Cleveland the Morrill sailed to Buffalo, New York.  An expectant family no doubt awaited Edward’s brief return home and a visit to Tonawanda.  As though a foretelling of his future life, Edward sailed from Buffalo, New York to Sandusky, Ohio.  Both places were the home or close to the home of the two lighthouses, he is to serve eventually.  The last order of the season is to “enforce” the rules of a regatta taking place near Detroit. 

Edward held the rank of coxswain for less then a full navigational season. During the 1905 navigational season Edward received a promotion to Signal Quarter Master.  Captain T.D. Walker apparently was impressed with Edward so that on October 1, 1905, he is promoted to the rank of Master-At-Arms.  He receives a pay increase to $40 per month. He was by now considered a member of the permanent crew, remaining with the ship throughout the winter months. 

The 1906 navigation season opened late again for the U.S.S. Lot M. Morrill.  Captain T.D. Walker placed the vessel into commission on June 22, 1906.  It is another busy season for the cutter and her crew.  They begin with orders to sail from Niagara Falls through lakes Erie, St. Claire and Huron and on to the Straits of Mackinac. From there they are to start up Lake Huron.  By October 3, they are in Erie, Pennsylvania after acquiring a new captain during the month of August.  The new Captain E.C. Clayton stayed with the ship until her decommission for the season.  He is the last captain Edward sailed with on the U.S.S. Lot M. Morrill.

 When the 1907 navigational season opened the following May, the Morrill was without its former Master-At-Arms. Edward received his appointment to the United States Lighthouse Service. His letter of appointment dated May 4, 1907 instructed him to report for duty on May 11, 1907 to the head keeper at the Horseshoe Reef Lighthouse.  Situated in the Buffalo, New York harbor his first lighthouse was one of the most dangerous on Lake Erie.

This time his journey was going to include a career change and marriage.  Exchanging the deck of a ship for the deck of a lighthouse, Edward would spend that first year learning the duties of a lighthouse keeper.  Then, bringing the woman he loved for so many years home to the Buffalo harbor, they would venture down a path few have ever traveled.




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