Captain Charles G. Perkins

by Edmund Starling, 1886


CAPTAIN CHARLES G. PERKINS, the subject of this sketch, was born in the City of Zenia, Green County, Ohio, on the sixteenth day of March, 1837. His education was obtained from the Public and High Schools of Cincinnati, Ohio. During his boyhood days he entered a hardware store as clerk, and continued in this line of business for perhaps two years. This life was not exciting enough for him--his quick, active mind needed more lattitude, something more stimulating, more comprehensive, more outstretching, therefore, the remainder of his life to the beginning of the Rebellion, was devoted to railroading and steamboating. During the year 1861, having gained an experience in river navigation that entitled him to a first position among men of marine life, he enlisted in the U. S. Navy, and was soon after appointed Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Commander, with the rank of Captain, in the army, and placed in command of the U. S. Gunboat "Brilliant." The "Brilliant" was actively engaged in the service of the government up to April, 1865, patrolling the Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers. She was frequently anchored in front of Henderson, and, no doubt was the means of saving the town from the incursions of prowling bands of thieves and plundering combinations of irrespoinsible men. Captain Perkins held frequent interviews with the better people of Henderson, and, so conservative was he in the construction of Naval orders and official duties, he soon won the confidence of the people, who were glad to have his protection at all times, and were equally chagrined when he was removed to other fields of service. His effort was to respect and protect, not to suspect and destroy. He was mainly instrumental in capturing and returning many runaway slaves, and by this conservative, honest course, he made a friend of every man in the town. Much of Captain Perkin's war history will be found elsewhere in this volume.

On the seventeenth day of November, 1863, at the family residence, in the Town of Henderson, Captain Perkins was married to Miss Annie Terry, daughter of Nathaniel D. and Sarah Terry, and granddaughter of Captain Robert Terry, a noted pioneer of this county. The fruits of this union have been seven children, J. Roy, Sarah, Lizzie, Ella, Charlie, Mamie and Eddie, all of whom are now living except the eldest son J. Roy, who was lost in the explosion and sinking of the steamer "La Mascott" in the Mississippi river, below St. Louis, October 5th, 1886. This young man, one of the most promising known to the business and social circles of home, had just attained to his majority, and but a few weeks prior to his loss, had accepted the first clerkship of the ill-fated steamer. His death came like a cyclone, crushing hearts with a relentless fury that knows no limit. Father, mother, sisters, relatives and friends stood aghast at the dreadful reality. He was the idol of the household, the first born, and his taking away was like the tearing asunder of every affectionate chord that makes love doubly pure and sweet. He fought manfully for his life, but to no purpose, the cold, cruel waters claimed him as its victim, and thus perished a noble, brave, accomplished young man entering the zenith of his life. In 1866, Captain Perkins purchased the Steamer "News Boy," and ran her in the Henderson and Evansville Packet trade for a year or more, when he sold her and purchased the "Mollie Norton." In 1868 he formed a partnership with Captain A. O. Durland, of Evansville, under the firm name of Durland & Perkins, and a short time afterwards entered into contract with the St. Louis & South Eastern Railway Company, for transferring their cars between Henderson and Evansville. In 1869, they sold the "Mollie Norton" and purchased the towboat "Le Clare" No. 2, and two railway barges. During the winter of 1869, the "Le Clare" was lost in the ice, and then then purchased the "Belmont." In August, 1884, this boat was caught in a hurricane at the head of Henderson Island and capsized. An account of this terrible disaster will be found elsewhere. They purchased the "Maggie Smith," and she was lost in the ice. They then purchased the "Jennie Campbell" and "Iron Cliff." The "Cliff" was sold, the "Campbell" is still running. The firm built the "La Mascott" for the St. Louis and Cape Girardeau trade , and she was lost October 5th, 1886. They then built the "New South," a large, handsome and fast boat for the St. Louis & Ohio River trade. She is now running between St. Louis and Paducah, having made her first trip July 4th, 1887. The firm is also the owner of the Steamer "Frank Stein," running between Evansville and Cannelton, Indiana. Captain Perkins, in addition to what has been enumerated, is largely interested in several large and paying enterprises, notably, a wholesale drug house in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Withers, Dade & Co., Ten Barrel Sour Mash Distillery, and the Henderson Buggy Co., of which is a President. In 1883 he built his magnificent residence on Green street. he is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and has served as Eminent Commander of his Commandery. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church. Captain Perkins is a staunch advocate of morality, a man of fine morals, open-handed benovelence[sic] and great breadth of charity. He is in the prime of life and the friend and patron of every worthy social and business movement; a man of fine physique, commanding respect everywhere, and is one of the fewest number of men brainy enough to deport himself in wealth as he did in indegent[sic] circumstances. Captain Perkins enjoys his wealth, honestly gained, in a home surrounded by a happy, loving, bright, intelligent family.

The History of Henderson County, Kentucky by Starling 1887 page 749-51;

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