Esten Larsen Bahle (1881-1946)

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Captain Esten Larsen Bahle
Born: 16 Mar 1881 Suttons Bay, Michigan
Died: 31 Jan 1946 Suttons Bay, Michigan
Father: Lars Esten Bahle
Mother: Olene Engebritson
Siblings: Maret Bahle
Jennie Bahle
Esten Larsen Bahle
Emma Bahle
Martin L. Bahle
John Lewis Bahle
Otto L. Bahle
Nellie Bahle
Thomas L. Bahle
Belle Bahle
Louis Bahle
Spouse: Laura E. Realpha Gronseth
Married: 31 Dec 1907 Suttons Bay, Michigan
Children: Lester Evans Bahle
Orville Bahle
Gordon Wallace Bahle
Realpha Beatrice Bahle
Kenneth Esten Bahle
Thelma E. Bahle


Ludington Daily News, February 1, 1946:


Capt. Esten Bahle, well-known Pere Marquette carferry master for many years, died Thursday afternoon at his farm home near Suttons Bay, following a long illness.

Capt. Bahle, who sailed on the carferries for many years, was first mate of the 17 at the time of the sinking of the first 18 in 1910, helping to rescue survivors.

When he retired six years ago he was master of the City of Flint.

Capt. Bahle is survived by four sons, Sgt. Gordon Bahle in France, Lester Bahle of Flint, Orville Bahle of Detroit and Sgt. Kenneth Bahle of Storey City, Iowa; two daughters, Mrs. Thelma Hagen and Mrs. Realpha Haakon, both of Northport, and several brothers and sisters.

The body is at Martinson funeral home in Suttons Bay.

Biographical Articles

  • Daily Globe, February 19, 1936
The Carferries of the Great Lakes, p. 3
  • Holmes, J. A., Directory Of Names Pennant Numbers And Addresses Of All Members Of The Ship Masters' Association of the Great Lakes April 1915
Appointment of Master:
Pere Marquette — Esten Bahle
Last week's question: The CITY OF FLINT 32 was launched in Manitowoc on November 27, 1929. Who was her first master?
Answer: Esten Bahle.

Ludington Daily News, February 26, 1946

Further Details of Captain's Life

Further details of the life of the late Capt. Esten L. Bahle, former master of the Pere Marquette carferries, who died recently at his home at Suttons Bay following a long illness, have been received by The News.

The Suttons Bay Courier report of his death said:

"For many years he was a captain of the Pere Marquette carferries and was widely known on the Great Lakes.

"He was born March 16, 1881, at Suttons Bay, his parents being among the first settlers of that region.

In those days the young boys often spent many hours at the lake front watching the sailing vessels ply Grand Traverse Bay.

At the age of 15 he started working on the old Milwaukee as wheelsman and lookout.

When that line was disbanded, he started working for the Pere Marquette in 1905.

During his many years there, he worked up to the rating of captain and later he became captain of the fleet.

"He was the first to set the record for more than 1,000 crossings of Lake Michigan.

He also is numbered among the few lake captains who sailed the lakes the year round. In 1939 he retired because of ill health, returning just once and that was to bring the City of Midland on her first run from Milwaukee to Ludington."


  • Marriage: Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925
Groom's Name: Esten Bahle
Groom's Age: 26 years
Groom's Birth Date: 1881
Groom's Birthplace: Michigan
Bride's Name: Laura Realpho Gronseth
Bride's Age: 26 years
Bride's Birth Date: 1881
Bride's Birthplace: Michigan
Marriage Date: 31 Dec 1907
Marriage Place: Suttons Bay, Leelanau, Michigan
Groom's Father: L. E. Bahle
Groom's Mother: Olive Engebrigthon
Bride's Father: L.J. Gronseth
Bride's Mother: Regine Amundson
Film Number: 2342678
Digital Folder Number: 4208658
Image Number: 335
Reference Number: v 3 p 275 rn 726