Robert H. Neill
Robert H. Neill, of Cleveland, Ohio, who was chief engineer of the propeller J. W. Moore during 1896, received his early education and training with the view of following an entirely different calling from the one to which the greater part of his active life has been devoted. His father, Samuel Neill, was for a long period in charge of the gas works which applied a suburb of the city of Belfast, Ireland, and the son was brought up to be his father's successor. Therefore, on the death of the latter, Robert assumed his duties and held the position of superintendent for four years, when he came to the United States. He settled in Philadelphia in 1868, being then twenty-seven years of age, and the next year he sailed between Philadelphia and Chester, Penn., on the Delaware river, as fireman, on the steamer Chester. Soon after he removed to the region of the lakes and commenced his experience thereon, as oiler, on the propeller Thomas A. Scott, the passenger steamer Badger State and the propeller Commodore. He was second engineer of the S. D. Caldwell for two seasons, of the City of Fremont, the Wetmore and the Canisteo one season each, of the B. W. Blanchard four seasons, and then spent one season each on the Raleigh, the Rochester and the Continental. After this, for almost a year, he was in Denver, Colo., as superintendent of the Denver Gas Light Company, returning, however, to the lakes, and taking the position of second engineer on the Chamberlain and Republic. In 1884 he became chief of the Colonial, and he subsequently served as chief of the Specular (the first year she was a steambarge), Roumania, Pioneer, Alex, Nimick, Smith Moore, Fred Kelley, Oscar Townsend and J.W. Moore.
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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.