William Sutton, who is well qualified for the position which he now holds as superin- tendent of the Globe shipyard, in Cleveland, was born in Milford, Pembrokeshire, South Wales, June 10, 1849, a son of James and Margaret (Simmons) Sutton. His parents removed to the United States in 1872, locating at Lockport, N. Y., to which city William had preceded them about one year. The father died in 1880, the mother following two years later.
William Sutton, the subject of this sketch, attended the public schools of Pembrokeshire until he was thirteen years of age, and then entered the shipyard of Allen & Warlaw as an apprentice, remaining with that firm six years. In 1868 he went to Chatham navy yard, in Kent, near London, and was employed on the general iron and steel ship work, notably for his work on the British warships Gladden, Sultan and Serapis, one year, after which he left the yard on account of a reduction in the force.
In the spring of 1869 he went to Cardiff, and joined the full-rigged ship Annie Combrey as carpenter, which was bound for Ancona, Italy, with coal, thence to Taganrog, Russia, a port on the Black Sea, where she took on a cargo of grain. On the return voyage, she was quarantined on the Bosporous for ten days, then passed on down to Constantinople, thence to Havre, France, arriving there soon after hostilities commenced between France and Prussia. The crew left the ship, and Mr. Sutton took passage on a channel steamer, and reached Milford, after an absence of nine months.
After recovering from the effects of rheumatism, which he had contracted during the voyage, he again went to work in the Chatham navy yards, remaining there until the spring of 1871, when he took passage on the steamer City of New York, bound for the United States. On arrival he went to Lockport, N. Y, and engaged in the construction of canal boats for use on the Erie Canal, afterward taking charge of a gang of men to plank the bottom and build locks on the new Welland Canal.
In 1882, after the completion of that work, Mr. Sutton went to Cleveland, and entered the employ of the Globe Iron Works Company, and worked on the great iron steamer Onoko, at that time the largest vessel afloat on the lakes, and the first iron steamer built in Cleveland. While on a visit to Lockport his mother died, and after the obsequies Mr. Sutton went to Jefferson, Ind., to work on government barges, which were being constructed for use on the Mississippi River. He was there during the flood of 1883, when the inhabitants passed from house to house in small boats, or vacated their premises entirely. The next spring he returned to Lockport, and engaged with the Pound Manufacturing Company, to go to the Isthmus of Panama to fit up the woodwork for dredges to be used on the proposed De Lesseps Canal. After six months he was disabled by an accident, and took passage for New York, going thence to Cleveland, where he again found employment in the Globe shipyard, assisting in the construction of the iron steamers William Chisholm, J. H. Devereux, Darius Cole, and the steel steamers of the Northern Mutual, Lehigh, Menominee, and the Minnesota lines, as general foreman. The steamers of these several lines are numbered among the best on the lakes, and Mr. Sutton's practical qualifications are recognized as being of a high order of merit.
In 1884 Mr. Sutton was wedded to Miss Ellen Nora Collins, the daughter of John and Nora Collins, of Lockport, N. Y. The children born to this union are as follows: Mary Margaret, John Francis (who died young), and Joseph Leo. The family homestead is located at No. 12 Woodbine Street, Cleveland, Ohio.
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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.