Sitting on his veranda at Essex, New York cooled by the breezes from Lake Champlain and listening to the calls of the sea gulls which he could not see, Captain "Wally" Mock, in his blindness, was hovered over by his bride of fifty years ago as they quietly celebrated their golden wedding day.

A more picturesque character of shipping on the waters of Lake Champlain is not available as he from boyhood, has taken everything the old lake could pile up in the way of rough weather, even to the point of losing this schooner, the Nelson W. Fisk, the last of it's kind to sail Lake Champlain, as well as the whimsical calms which left him and his beloved wife sitting in the middle of the lake awaiting wind to help or hinder progress. As the Nelson W. Fisk sank his life was saved by his son as in spite of a lifetime on the water it has to be said that he can't swim a stroke to this day.

Blind the past two years and presently incapacitated by illness, the spirit of a sailor of the old school, who worked at shipping when a sailor's experience and cunning meant not only success, but life itself, is buoyant and memories which should be recorded in book form call forth reminiscences which would read like those in Moby Dick. He was a sailor from birth, learning it's cunning from his father (Joseph V. Mock) and uncles (John Leroy Mock and Thomas Henry Mock).

The owner of four schooners, one of which was lost in a storm, Captain "Wally" recalls the, at times, perilous voyages from Isle LaMotte,when his craft was loaded to the gunwales with stone to be delivered at Burlington with which to build the breakwater now in use, after which he set sail to deliver freight from Canadian points to Whitehall.

It was at Burlington fifty years ago that he was united in marriage with Lillian Dague, of Port Kent, daughter of Noah and Serafine Morrow Dague, and following their nuptials they boarded his craft, which he piloted off down the lake, while his bride prepared their wedding feast in the galley. It was the same port which he put into a year later in his Schooner Nancy aboard which his son, Harold J. Mock first saw the light of day, the motion of the waves of Lake Champlain, setting in motion the boat on which he was born.

Captain Mock pridefully recalls his ownership of four schooners, Adirondack, Montgomery, Nancy and the ill-fated Nelson W. Fisk which he owned and sailed on Lake Champlain, and can recall the names of all of the boats sailing the lake in that ERA.

But when the order of propulsion of water craft was changed and stepped up for faster travel, Captain "Wally" kept abreast of the times. He was pilot aboard the side-wheel steamers, the Chateaugay and the old Ticonderoga of the Champlain Transportation Company's line and was the man chosen to pilot the steamer Vermont from the lake through the Champlain Canal and the Hudson River to New York City for repairs. He was captain of the Roosevelt which plied between Cumberland Head and South Hero Island and captained the tugboat Triton, which plied between Whitehall and St. Johns, P.Q. He was also skipper of the Marquita and the Passtime of the transportation company.

In years gone by he piloted the Eloise, a small pleasure passenger boat which ran between Port Douglas and Burlington, via Willsboro Point. And when in Burlington he built and sailed an iceboat and carried passengers over the ice of the lake during the winter.

So much has been said about the groom of yesteryear that the bride, who shared his experiences, has been neglected. A fine, devoted mother, her children and husband occupied her lifetime in the small world in which she lived aboard ships. She is active and still does all work in their home and for her anniversary treat she persuaded her husband, who when he found out urged her to do it, to allow a fishing trip to the Four Brothers Islands and off she, 73 years old, went with her son Harold, for "the evening catch". With a broad smile the captain let it be known that as a successful fisherman she has no equal.

Captain "Wally" Mock, 76 years old, and his bride, 73 years old, have lived full lives, envied by many. Their home, until very recently, has been afloat on the loveliest lake in the world, communing with the stars in the stillness of the night with no distraction but the possible whimper of a babe. And now, with memories of the past dominating their lives, as they are wafted along the twilight hours of life, they welcome their children and four great grandchildren when they visit their cottage situated close to their beloved Lake Champlain. Besides their son, Harold J. Mock, who lives in Essex, they are Parents of two daughters, Mrs. Frank Schmitt of New York and Mrs. Harold Tart of Essex.

Cards, flowers and visitors crowded their cottage Wednesday and all their offspring gathered there in the late evening hours in family communion.


Final resting place for James Wallace Mock and Lillian M. Mock is in Keeseville, New York.