William Harvey Newcomb
William Harvey Newcomb, formerly secretary of the Associated Boat Owners, was born in Lewiston, Niagara Co., N.Y., September 22, 1840, a son of John and Sarah (Record) Newcomb, the latter being a daughter of Jedediah Wilbur Record and wife. In the fall of 1840 John and Sarah Newcomb moved to Oneida county, N.Y., where the father followed farming and civil engineering, as he had done previously for some years. Somewhere between 1840 and 1845 he went to Kansas with his two eldest sons, and others, and in Osage county, that State, followed surveying lands for the government, and remained there thus occupied for about nine years, at the end of which period he died, in 1851. He and his sons had, at one time, about five thousand acres of land in that county. His two eldest sons were Artemus and Alexander. After his death they went to Nebraska, and with the permission of the United States built a bridge across the Platte or Nebraska river, and charged toll to all parties going to Black Hills or coming from the West over the bridge. They are also now dead. The other children are John and Sarah and Althea, and William H., the subject of this sketch. Mrs. John Newcomb, the mother, died in 1883. She had moved in about 1845 to Palmyra, N.Y., and lived there with her two youngest children until 1850, when she moved to the town of Farmington, Wayne county. William Harvey Newcomb moved to Hartland, a short distance north of Lockport, New York.
William H. Newcomb attended the district or common school in Palmyra and Hartland, and then himself returned to Palmyra, where he entered a butcher shop, in which he spent four years. Then going on the canal as driver, he worked in that capacity for one season, after which for two seasons he was helmsman on the canal. He then ran a canal boat for the Western Transportation Company three or four years, and in 1863 went to the town of Elma, N.Y., where he bought a farm of 100 acres, also embarked in the lumber business, at the same time carrying on his farm. He bought timber, cut it up into lumber and wood, and shipped all to Buffalo market.
In 1872 Mr. Newcomb removed to Buffalo where he opened a ship chandlery and a grocery shop at Black Rock, and continued business there until 1880, when he built his present store at the foot of Henry street, Buffalo, where he carries on the same business he formerly did at Black Rock, in the meantime being and still is quite extensively interested in the boats on the Erie canal.
In September, 1895, Mr. Newcomb, Captain Gillson, L.P. Smith and Mr. O'Rourke organized the Boat Owners Association, having an office in Spalding's Exchange Building, at the corner of Main street and the Terrace, Mr. Newcomb being made secretary of the association, which office he held until the dissolution January 1, 1898. Politically he is usually a Democrat, but is in no way bound by party ties, being capable of sustaining what to him for the time being appears to be the best politics and the best men. He and his family attend the Methodist Church.
Mr. Newcomb was married June 13, 1861, to Miss Hannah McHenery, daughter of Dennis and Sarah (Smith) McHenery, and they have the following children: Edward, who married Miss Mary E. Grogan, of Buffalo; William H., who married Miss Jennie Redner, of Buffalo; Emory W., who married Miss Carrie Roth, daughter of Nicholas Roth, and has one child named La Vergne; and Emma M., who resides at her father's home. Mr. Newcomb lives at No. 428 Seneca street, Buffalo, New York. He has been one of the successful men in life, having started entirely empty handed, and is in every respect a self-made man. >From a long experience in the needs and necessities of the canal, he was largely consulted by Mr. Aldrich and his assistants, in the repairs and improvements made on the canal from time to time. Mr. Newcomb is one of the largest canal boat owners on the canal.
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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.