Capt. Bernard Doherty
Capt. Bernard Doherty

CAPT. BERNARD DOHERTY (deceased) was an extensive landowner and lumberman of Ashland, Wis., where he was engaged in the lumber business from 1889 until his death, Nov. 29, 1903.

Mr. Doherty was born Feb. 21, 1834, in Toronto, Ontario. His father William Doherty, an Irish farmer, emigrated to Canada when a young man. He and his wife, Catherine, also a native of Ireland, had a family of eleven children, of whom but three are still living, viz: Mrs. James Wall, of Green Bay; Mrs. Margaret Buckelwe, of Washington, D.C.; and Mrs. M.D. Feldsmith, of Iron River. The mother died in 1865, the father, a lifelong farmer, survived until 1871. Four of the sons did service in the Union ARmy during the Civil War. James was a sailor on the "Mound City," and was scalded to death at the battle of Fort Charles, Ark.; he had enlisted in the 2d Wis. V.I., but at the call for Naval Volunteers was transferred to the marine service. Charles enlisted in 1862 in the 17th Wis., V.I., and died in a St. Louis hospital from disease contracted while he lay in the rifel-pits during the siege of Vicksburg. John enlisted in 1863, in the 3d Wis. Cav., and was in the service during the entire war; he met his death in a fire in 1871, where his father and sister also lost their lives. Bernard Doherty twice recruited a company, helping to organize Company A, of the 21st Wis. V.I., but on account of injuries received by falling from a spar could not pass examination and did not go to the front.

Bernard Doherty first attended school in Toronto, but in 1841 he came with his parents to Milwaukee, and in 1849 the family moved to Fond du Lac. When quite young he started out in life as a sailor on the great lakes, and he rose from the place of man before the mast to the position of sailing master. In 1857 he built his first boat, a schooner, which he named the "Eleanor" after his girl bride. In 1867 he removed to Oshkosh, where he built the steamer "Lumbermen" in partnership with the late Hon. Philetus Sawyer, and ran her until 1871 on the Fox River. He then took her into the Mississippi River, where he sold her, and returning to Oshkosh built the government steamer :Nenah," in 1872, running her until 1880. He then removed to South Kaukauna, where he constructed the large government waterpower. After building this work he removed to Ashland and began the boating business in 1882. He built the steamer "City of Ashland," the first steamer ever built in Ashland, and ran her until 1887, when she was lost by fire, and the captain was compelled to swim for over an hour in the icy waters of Lake Superior. Chilled and saddened by the loss of one of his brave crew, he abandoned the water forever; and bought the Sheffield sawmill, taking up the milling business with the same zest that characterized every enterprise of his life. Until two years before his death he had an interest in the Murray mill, built on the site of his own mill, which burned in 1886. After that he gave his entire attention to his lumber interests. He was the owner of considerable land, owning a farm of 160 acres in Ashland County, and another of 430 acres on the Brule River. From 1882 he was the principal owner and gerneral manager of the rule River Improvement Co., having secured a charter on that river. In the same year he built two large dams on the Brule. Even after the athletic limbs were powerless, the active mind reviewed the changing scenes of his eventful life, and he still remained the motive power of his business.

In 1856 CAptain Doherty married Ellen Coughlin, daughter of Patrick and Mary Coughlin, both natives of Ireland. Patrick Coughlin was a farmer in his native country. He emigrated to America, where he died soon after landing in New York. His wife lived until 1881. They had a family of seven children, of whom only three are living. To Mr. and Mrs. Doherty were born the following named children: Edward W., who is the owner of a steam laundry in Grafton, N. Dak.; Erwin J., Edgar, Ella R. and Emma, all four deceased; CApt. John, a sailor on the Great Lakes, who served as a soldier in the Spanish American War; and Sarah M. Capt. Doherty was a Republican in politics. Fraternally he was connected with the B.P.O.E., Lodge NO. 558, of Ashland, which took entire charge of his funeral services, which were held from the residence on Seventh Avenue west, on Wednesday Dec. 2. Many beautiful floral emblems were sent to the house, and many of the old settlers were present to pay the last sad respects to the man they had known and esteemed for so many years. Mrs. Doherty, his noble self-sacrificing helpmeet for nearly fifty years, survives, and makes her home in Ashland County.

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