A Very Highly respected Artic Sea Captain who chose to live in a White World rather than that of Slavery...A Mulatto and Our Hero
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Bishop Healy

Captain Michael Augustine Healy

First person of color to command a ship in the U.S Government and of Mulatto Ancestry








His Brother....Patrick Francis Healy ....Click here

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USS Bear 1874




Michael Augustine Healy

Of Mulatto /Mixed Race Heritage

(September 22, 1839 -August 30, 1904),


Born in Macon, Georgia, was an American captain in the United States Revenue Cutter Service (predecessor of the United States Coast Guard).

Following US Secretary of State William H. Seward's Alaska Purchase of the vast region in 1867, Healy patrolled the 20,000 miles of Alaskan coastline for more than 20 years, earning great respect of the natives and seafarers alike. After commercial fishing had depleted the whale and seal populations, his assistance with introduction of Siberian reindeer helped prevent starvation among the native Alaskans.

Nicknamed "Hell Roaring Mike", Captain Michael Healy became the first Mulatto-Afro/ American to command a ship of the United States government. One of his commands, the USRC Bear, was an inspiration used by author Jack London. Commissioned in 1999, USCGC Healy was named in his honor.


USCGC Healy ..Bears His name.. .Built in the New Orleans Ship Yards Ironically


Michael Healy was the fifth of 10 siblings born near Macon, Georgia in 1839 [1] to an Irish immigrant plantation owner and his common-law wife, an African American former slave. Born in 1795, Michael Morris Healy emigrated from County Galway in Ireland in 1818 and eventually acquired 1,500 acres of land in Jones County, Georgia, across the Ocmulgee River from the market town of Macon. He became among the more prominent and successful planters, and came to own 49 slaves for his labor intensive farming enterprise. [2]

Among these was a girl named Mary Eliza Smith (or Clark), who he took as his wife in 1829. [3] Mary Eliza Healy has been described in various accounts as both "slave" and "former slave" and as both mulatto and African American. Under common practice in the United States which was later termed the "One-drop rule", persons of any amount of mixture of Caucasian and African racial heritage were generally considered to be black or African American (using modern terminology). [4] By that criteria, both their mother and all of the Healy children, were considered African Americans regardless of what they looked liked.


The common-law marriage of Michael and Mary Healy violated a powerful taboo of 19th-century America: marriage between persons of different races termed miscegenation. Despite this, most of the children of the Healy family of Georgia, all but one of whom survived to adulthood, achieved noteworthy success as adults.[5] Michael and two of his brothers were destined to achieved notable firsts for African-Americans, although Michael's career took a much different path from any of his brothers and sisters.

Laws in Georgia prohibited education of blacks, whether they were slaves or free. Such anti-literacy laws were especially common in southern states following the violent Southampton Insurrection led by Nat Turner in 1831. To overcome the potential harm of these and other potential obstacles to his children, the father made arrangements to send his children to northern states to attend school as soon as each was old enough.

The oldest son, James, born in 1830, was sent to Flushing, New York in 1837 where he attended a Quaker school. He was later transferred to another Quaker school in Burlington, New Jersey. Progressively, several of James' younger brothers followed him in this path. However, the arrangements at the Quaker schools were not without some problems for the boys. In addition to racial issues, the fact their family back home in Georgia owned slaves was in conflict with Quaker principles.

While traveling, the senior Michael Healy met John Bernard Fitzpatrick, the Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Boston and learned of the new Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts, which was at that time accepting children of grammar school age. In 1844, James was transferred to Holy Cross, joined by three of his younger brothers, aged 12, 10, and 8. Michael, who was 6 years old, enrolled at Holy Cross in 1849.[6]

All four of the older brothers graduated from Holy Cross. Hugh decided to go into business in New York, but was killed in an accident at age 21. Michael's three other older brothers each entered the priesthood. James Augustine Healy was ordained in 1854 as the first African-American priest in the Catholic Church. He later became the first African-American Catholic bishop in the United States when he was named the second bishop of the Diocese of Portland in 1875.[7]

Patrick Francis Healy became a Jesuit, became the first African-American to earn a PhD, and was named a dean at Georgetown University in 1866. At the age of 39, in 1874, he assumed the presidency of what was then the largest Catholic college in the United States. Alexander Sherwood Healy was also ordained as a priest, and also obtained his docorate degree.[8] He became an expert in canon law, and served as director of the seminary in Troy, New York and rector of the Cathedral in Boston. Sherwood, as he was known, used his musical talent to form the Boston Choral Union which helped raise funds for a new Cathedral.[9] However, his career was cut short by an early death at age 39.[10][11]

All three of Michael Healy's sisters attended parochial schools in Canada, and afterward, each became nuns. Not long after Martha, the oldest, left her convent to marry. Josephine joined the Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph, and Eliza the Congregation of Notre Dame in Montreal, where she later reached the level of Mother Superior. [12][13][14]

Michael apparently preferred a more adventuresome life than his older brothers. Before he was 12 years old, both parents had died. His oldest brother James became something of a surrogate parent. However, despite considerable effort, he was unable to convince Michael to follow a similar career path. Unhappy and rebellious at Holy Cross, he was sent at the age of 15 to a seminary in France. However, he fled the school the following year. [15]

Captain Healy's Exploits

In England, he signed aboard the American East Indian Clipper Jumna as a cabin boy in 1854. However, he quickly became an expert seaman. Soon thereafter, he rose to the rank of officer on merchant vessels. [16]

In 1864, Michael Healy returned to his family in Boston. He applied for a commission in the Revenue Cutter Service and was accepted as a Third Lieutenant, his commission being signed by President Abraham Lincoln. [17][18]

In 1865, Michael married Mary Jane Roach, who was the daughter of Irish immigrants. Mary Healy is recorded as a durable and supportive wife who traveled with her husband. Despite 18 pregnancies, she bore only one child who survived, a son named Frederick who was born in 1870. [19]

The Healy's

Under US Secretary of State William H. Seward, during the administration of President Andrew Johnson, in 1867, the Alaska Purchase took place. The huge territory, with 20,000 miles of coastline, was initially called by many skeptics "Seward's Folly". [20]

Lieutenant Healy made his first trip to Alaskan waters in 1868 aboard the USRC Rush. He attained the rank of Captain in 1880. By 1882 he was given command of the USRC Thomas Corwin and was thoroughly familiar with the Bering Sea and Alaska. The Corwin's responsibilities included liquour enforcement, protection of seal and whale populations protected by treaty, delivery of supplies, mail and medicines to remote villages, the return of deserters to merchant ships, the collection of weather data, rendering of medical assistance, search and rescue, enforcement of federal laws, and exploration work. [21]

During the last two decades of the 19th Century, Captain Healy was essentially the federal government’s law enforcement presence in the vast territory. [22] In his twenty years of service between San Francisco and Point Barrrow, he acted as: judge, doctor, and policemen to Alaskan natives, merchant seamen and whaling crews. [23] The Native Americans throughout the vast regions of the north came to know and respect this skipper and called his ship "Healy's Fire Canoe". [24]

Healy operated in an eerie echo of what would become the mission of his Coast Guard successors a century later: protecting the natural resources of the region, suppressing illegal trade, resupply of remote outposts, enforcement of the law, and search and rescue. Even in the early days of Arctic operations, science was an important part of the mission. Renowned naturalist John Muir made a number of voyages with Healy during the 1880s as part of an ambitious scientific program.

During visits to Siberia across the Bering Sea from the Alaskan coast, Captain Healy observed that the Chukchi people had domesticated reindeer and used them for food, travel, and clothing. [25] With the reduction in the seal and whale populations from commercial fishing activities, and to aid in transportation, working with Reverend Sheldon Jackson, a Presbyterian missionary and political leader in the territory, Healy helped introduce reindeer from Siberia to Alaska to provide food, clothing and other necessities for the native peoples.

This work was noted in the New York Sun newspaper in 1894. [26] Captain Healy's special compassion for the native population was expressed in many deeds and in his standing order: "Never make a promise to a native you do not intend to keep to the letter."[27]

Captain Healy retired in 1904 at the mandatory retirement age of 64. [28] He died on August 30, 1904 in San Francisco of a heart attack. [29] He was buried in Colma, California. [30] His African-American heritage was still unknown to the public and the government at the time.




One Persons perspective on Captain Michael Healy, the Mulatto

This amazing story of Captain Michael Healy should capture the attention of All Americans...The Son of a Slave who within all rights was born White..His Farther a White Man and the son of a Mulatto slave......From a child this person felt an urge to be free and nothing in the world would stop him ..It was Racism that dominated America and stood in his way but He was determined to push on to achieve his dream as a seaman..His fate should, He not succeed surely, meant the worst of consequences..

Though He passed on to the White Race his achievements were extraordinary bar non..His Color did not make a difference at all..From President Lincoln to the Finest Naval Men in the history of America his achievements were acknowledged. At one time He was the most famous of Naval Captains in this Country..He was admired by all and his accomplishments were known by all...He is to this day a hero and friend to the Native Alaskan Indians, for His introduction of the Siberian Reindeer, ensured their survival .

.Nothing greater than One can do, is to look out for the survival of His fellow Man...It is said that He was a heavy drinker but considering the Life he Chose it seems very easy to understand....He Was a Mulatto and the "One Drop Rule" forbade him to take his Rightful position in life...

Throughout the History of America, People of Mixed Race ancestry have made insurmountable achievements and accomplished much when put to the test....He deserves more than respect he deserves to be remembered for his Loyalty and commitment given to his Country of birth...We Mulattoes are achievers and no One can take that away


Augustine/Comeaux...Creole / Mulatto and Mixed Race American


The Tragic story of a Celebrated Irish/Mulatto Family that has now been Re-classified as African/American...America ought to be ashamed of itself..... Click here




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