W. A. Esson
W.A. Esson, manager of the Toronto Ferry Company, is a gentleman whose innate energy has ever made his services in active demand, and who courteousness has gained for him many friends. He was born, in 1868, in Aboyne, fourteen miles from Balmoral, the Queen of England's Scottish home. Aboyne is on the River Dee, thirty miles west of Aberdeen. Mr. Esson's father is the Rev. Prof. Alexander Esson, head master of the parish school at Birse, in Scotland, and during the year 1899 celebrated his jubilee, having been at Birse fifty years.
Manager W.A. Esson was thoroughly educated in the schools of his birthplace, went through the grammar schools in Aberdeen, and then graduated from Aberdeen University, after a five-years' course, from 1884-1888, in the latter institution. During his school career Mr. Esson also took a prominent part in athletics, and played for Aberdeenshire Rugby foot-ball team, at the time champions of the North of Scotland. Private Stewart, of the Forty-eighth Regiment of Highlanders, at Toronto, champion of the world in the Military Athletic Tournament held in Great Britain, in June, 1897, Jubilee year, is a schoolmate of Manager Esson, and at that time both men were continually vieing with each other in feats of strength.
Having finished his education Mr. Esson came to Canada, in the summer of 1888, and went into the engineer department of the Canadian Pacific railway, under civil engineer W.T. Jennings, a most clever man in the profession. First Mr. Esson was out on the Don branch of the C.P.R., then on the construction of the Detroit extension, between London and Windsor. Afterward he had charge of the Esplanade work in Toronto for the C.P.R., under W.T. Jennings and H.W.D. Armstrong. This work was about completed at the beginning of May, 1890, when Mr. Esson received a favorable offer to become manager of the Toronto Ferry Company. Accordingly he resigned from the C.P.R., and has been manager of the Toronto Ferry Company ever since.
Mr. Esson is a nephew of the late John Esson, one of Toronto's well-known contractors. One of Mr. John Esson's works was the building of the old Union Station at Toronto. Manager W.A. Esson is also a nephew, on his mother's side, of Prof. William Barrick, L.L. D., late of Kelvinside Academy, Glasgow, Scotland. Professor Barrick used to be rector of the celebrated school at Dollar, and received his degree of the L.L.D., for his valuable work in the compilation of Greek history and lexicons of the same language, his books having become the standards in various schools in several parts of the world.
That Manager W.A. Esson has done good work for the Toronto Ferry Company, there can be no doubt, for every since his inception the business has been run in a methodical way. The public learned that they could depend on a regular service to Toronto Island, no matter what sort of weather prevailed, and the result is that the popularity of Hanlan's Point as a summer resort has greatly increased. Since Mr. Esson's advent the Point has undergone remarkable changes for the better, one of the greatest improvements being the construction of the magnificent bicycle race-track, and baseball and lacrosse oval. The quarter-mile track is noted all over the continent, and has been the scene of some of the fastest racing ever done. Another special improvement is the enlarging and refitting, in modern style, of the "Hotel Hanlan," as well as the exquisite beautifying of the gardens and grounds around it. M.A. and Fred Thomas, father and son, and managers of the hotel, are two of the best known hotel men in Canada. Many Americans spend their summers at the "Hotel Hanlan," because they find it situated on one of the most delightful spots on earth.
Personally, W.A. Esson is a well-liked man, by both the public and his employers, and callers at his neat little office at the Point are numerous. During the season Mr. Esson lives at the "Hotel Hanlan," so that he can be right at the center of activity, where the steamers Primrose, Mayflower, Thistle, Shamrock, Kathleen, Island Queen, Mascotte, J.S.L MacEdwards, Luella, John Hanlan and Truant land the multitude of pleasure seekers. Mr. Esson is still a single man.
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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.