John Metke was born in November, 1855, in Buffalo, N. Y., son of Frederick and Minnie Metke. He spent his early life attending the public schools of his native city, and then learned the carpenter's trade, at which he served an apprenticeship of three years. Old Lake Erie, lying so near the doors of his birthplace, offered him a good opportunity to extend his travels. He therefore went down to the docks and shipped on the steamer Russia as fireman, continuing on her three seasons. For about five years following he remained ashore, engaged at his trade in the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg railroad machine shops, but in 1887 he again took up the life of a sailor, shipping as oiler on the steamer Badger State, of the Western Transit line, on which he remained three seasons. In 1890 he took out his first engineer's license and was appointed first assistant engineer of the steamer Fountain City. In 1891 he transferred to the steamer Montana as first assistant, and in 1892 to the Olympia in the same capacity. In the spring of 1893 he shipped on the Yuma as first assistant, finishing the season on the Barnum, which was sunk by collision the following summer. In 1894 he went on the steamer Cormorant, and in 1895 he was made chief engineer of the excursion steamer Nellie, plying between Buffalo and Edgewater Park with pleasure parties, retaining this position until the close of navigation in 1896. He is a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, of Buffalo.
Mr. Metke was united in marriage in 1880 to Miss Elizabeth Eva Ciemer, of Buffalo, N. Y. The children born to this union are named, respectively, John G., Carrie E., Lillian, George, Edward, Minnie, Robert and Nelson. The family residence is at No. 30 Mathews street, Buffalo, New York.
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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.