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James Corrigan, Sr
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Birth: May 1, 1849, Canada
Death: Dec. 24, 1908
Cuyahoga County
Ohio, USA

Husband of Ida Belle, father of Nettie Rieley, Jane, James Jr., and Ida May. Grandfather of Mary Rieley. Lost all but son James when the family's yacht Idler capsized on Lake Erie July 7,1900. Died aged 79 from complications following an appendectomy.

He founded the Corrigan-Ives Steel company in the early 1890s.

Captain James Corrigan, was one of the largest individual vessel owners on the lakes. As a young man he was employed in an oil concern and soon commenced to make experiments in oil on his own account, but in the summer months turned his attention to sailing.

In 1867 he sailed the schooner Trial, plying between Cleveland and Port Stanley in the oil trade. On one of his trips an episode occurred which portrays his humanity and the courageous spirit with which he has been endowed. The day was stormy and the waves were running high. Captain Corrigan, after having been on watch many hours gave the helm in charge of a young sailor named Cummings, of Oswego, and turned in, leaving most of his clothing on. He soon heard the cry "man over-board," and on reaching the deck he could just discern his helmsman struggling in the wake of the vessel, having been washed overboard by the heavy sea. The only boat on the schooner was a small one, flat-bottomed and square ended, which was launched with Captain Corrigan in it. He pulled away and rescued young Cummings, but the two were not able to regain the schooner, as she was not put about or hove to. About dark after the utmost exertions for fourteen hours to keep the boat afloat, they were picked up by the schooner George J. Whitney, Captain Carpenter, and taken to Detroit. The schooner Trial, which had come to anchor off Fairport, was picked up by the propeller Dean Richmond, and towed to Cleveland. Captain Corrigan was given up for lost, as for three days nothing of his whereabouts was heard.

In 1872 he had another experience. It was on a day that a portion of the Cleveland City waterworks crib was destroyed by the waves, before the breakwater was constructed. Captain Corrigan was riding at anchor on the Canada side in his schooner yacht Jane Anderson. The wind was blowing at the rate of sixty miles an hour, and the cable chain parted. The Captain made sail, shaped his course across the lake and sailed her into the river at Cleveland, his arrival being witnessed by scores of excited people on the shore. The yacht came inside the piers laying over almost on her beam ends.

It was in the spring of 1872 he commenced to take interest in lake matters, and has since owned the schooner Massilon, Algeria, Hypogriff, Niagara (765 tons), steamer Raleigh (1,165 tons), schooner Lucerne (727 tons), Tasmania (930 tons), Northwest (960 tons), Polynesia, and finally, in 1884, he commenced to purchase steamboats of the larger class, consisting of the Australasia (1,539 tons), the Bulgaria (1,496 tons), Caledonia (1,486 tons), the Italia (1,570 tons), and the Roumania (1,486 gross tons). In 1896 he became the pioneer of the present largest class of vessels, and had built to his order the Amazon (3,600 tons) and Poynesia (3,562 tons), and Australia (3,745 tons).

Captain Corrigan also interested himself in the oil business during the year 1872, and in a short time was in possession of and operated the largest refining works in the country (outside of those owned by the Standard Oil Company), several of which were on Walworth Run, Cleveland. He also owned the Excelsior, Doan, Chase and Commercial Refineries. He was the discoverer of the process for the manufacture of mineral seal oil, which was the first oil ever used successfully in railroad cars, and of the machine oil known as cylinder oil; these oils are of 300 fire test. He also has a process of refining parafine wax. The Standard Oil Company adopted their process for refining lubricating oils from Captain Corrigan. He finally leased his refineries to that company and later sold out to them, taking considerable stock in the transaction.

In 1881 he and his brother John went to Austria, Hungary, and purchased a large tract of oil-producing territory, including the estate of Prince Sterbei, who associated with them in the enterprise; they established two refineries, one in Grybow, not far from Crakow, and the other at Kolomea, Austria, their last refining operations being at the latter place. They remained in Austria three years, with their principal operations in the province of Galicia, and as neither of the brothers could speak the language of the country, they were compelled to employ interpreters.

In 1883 Captain Corrigan turned his attention to Lake Superior iron mines, and at various times held controlling interests in the Queen Buffalo, South Buffalo, Prince of Wales, Dunn, Crystal Falls, Sunday Lake, Iron Belt, Aurora, Atlantic and Franklin.

He also invested in the River Furnace and Dock Company of Cleveland, Ohio, and two other furnaces, which are located in Pennsylvania.

The family homestead was at No. 1340 Wilson Avenue, Cleveland, the summer home at Wyckliffe, Ohio.

Most information from History of the Great Lakes. Volume II
by J. B. Mansfield, ed.

Family links: 
  Ida Belle Allen Corrigan (1855 - 1900)
  Jane Anderson Corrigan (1877 - 1900)*
  Nettie Belle Corrigan Rieley (1878 - 1900)*
  James W Corrigan (1880 - 1928)*
  Ida May Corrigan (1885 - 1900)*
*Calculated relationship
Lake View Cemetery
Cuyahoga County
Ohio, USA
Plot: Section 11 Plot 168
Created by: Mary Blank Szekely
Record added: Apr 28, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 19122973
James Corrigan, Sr
Added by: CypressGreen
James Corrigan, Sr
Added by: Mary Blank Szekely
James Corrigan, Sr
Added by: Mary Blank Szekely
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