Lewis Allison, president of the Chicago branch of the Marine Engineers Association, is one of the well-known marine engineers of the lakes. He was elected to that presidency in January, 1898, succeeding John Reif. The association now numbers 130, and Mr. Allison became a member in 1889.
He was born near South Bend, Ind., September 29, 1860, the son of David and Ruth (Springer) Allison, who were born and married in Ohio, subsequently removing to Indiana, thence to St. Joseph and to Benton Harbor, Mich., where they died, the father in 1895 and the mother in 1897. By trade David Allison was a carpenter. Lewis was reared and educated at Benton Harbor. He began sailing on the lakes in 1879 on the schooner Corey, and later in the same season on the propeller Skylark. The young man was then but nineteen years old, and in 1880 he came to Chicago and entered the machine shop of Robert Tarrant. Here he remained until 1883, and when he again entered into the lake navigation he was well-fitted for the branch with which he was to be connected.
After quitting the shops he first went to Geneva Lake, where he was on a pleasure boat until August, then became engineer of the tug W. H. Wood, owned by the Enterprise Stone Company. He remained on the Wood during the season of 1884. In 1885 he engaged as oiler on the steamer H. J. Jewett, and remained aboard this boat for two seasons. During the season of 1887 he was second engineer on the steamer St. Louis, from Buffalo, and the following season filled the same position on the steamer Roswell P. Flower, of Milwaukee, until the Northern King came out, when he finished the season as second engineer of that boat. In 1889 he assisted in putting the machinery into the steamer America, and was her second engineer for a time and later of the steamer Seneca, from Buffalo, and belonging to the Lehigh Valley line. In 1890 Mr. Allison became engineer of the Seneca, and continued in that capacity for two years. In 1892 he was appointed engineer in the Inter Ocean line, and is now in their employ.
Mr. Allison was married at Chicago, in 1890, to Miss Carrie Thorsen, daughter of T. Thorsen, a merchant of Chicago, who died in 1893. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Allison: Irene Ruth and Charlotte Marguerette. Mr. Allison is a member of the Independent Order of Foresters, and he is esteemed one of the successful and able engineers of the lakes.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.