Murdock N. McDonald
Murdock N. McDonald, a young engineer of good repute, and one who has advanced rapidly in the line of his chosen work, and holds the berth of first assistant engineer on one of the most notable passenger steamers on the lakes, the North Land, is the descendant of a good old Scotch ancestry on both sides, his parents being Norman and Annie (McCrea) McDonald, of Stornoway, Scotland, where the subject of this sketch was born December, 1867. His parents are still living at the old homestead in that city. His opportunities for acquiring an education were limited to the public schools of his native place, and he was early apprenticed to the firm of McClelland & Co., in Stornoway, to learn the machinist's trade, turning to good account the seven years put in their employ, and becoming a thoroughly qualified constructor.
At this time a longing for a change of scenery and country coming over him, he took passage on a steamer bound for the shores of the New World, where he was to take his future welfare in his own hands. On landing in the United States he went directly to Duluth, Minn., and, in 1887, obtained the berth of engineer on the tug Maud S., which he retained four seasons, in the spring of 1891 joining the passenger steamer Hiram R. Dixon, of the A. Booth Packing Company. The next spring he shipped as second engineer on the steamer Nyanza, holding that berth two seasons. At the close of navigation, in the fall of 1893, he entered the employ of Burnett Iron Works Company, at Duluth, continuing in this position until the spring of 1895, when he joined the tug Charles M. Ritter, as engineer. He then purchased the tug Jessie Slyfield, and operated her in St. Louis bay and river, doing general towing until fall, when he sold her. On February 3, 1897, Mr. McDonald entered the employ of the Northern Steamship Company, as second assistant engineer of the passenger steamer, North West, plying between Buffalo and Duluth, remaining on her in this position till July, when he was promoted to first assistant on the same vessel; and in February, 1898, he was transferred to the sister ship, North Land, as first assistant, and on August 16, of the same year, was advanced to the position of chief engineer, holding it through the season. He has his eight issues of license as marine engineer.
Fraternally, he is a member of the Independent Order of Foresters, and of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association No. 78, of Duluth. Two brothers, William, who is a farmer in Manitoba, and Alexander, for three years a member of the engineer's crew of the North Land, came to this country a year following Murdock's landing in America.
On May 25, 1894, Mr. McDonald was united in marriage to Miss Della, daughter of John and Annie (McKay) McDonald, of Green Bay, Wis., but originally from Scotland, and though of the same name were in no wise related. Two children, Lillian and Murdock, have been born to this union, the son dying when but six months old.
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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.