James H. Countryman
James H. Countryman, a young and ambitious engineer, learned the rudiments of his profession under the instruction of Thomas Welsh, an engineer who was most ably qualified to teach that branch of mechanics. As our subject was an apt scholar his skill and ability do credit to his instructor. He was born in Oswego, New York, May 28, 1865, a son of William and Catherine (Singleton) Countryman, also natives of that city. He acquired his education in the public schools of Oswego, attending the same until he reached the age of sixteen years.
In the spring of 1881 Mr. Countryman determined to follow the lakes for a livelihood, but after a season as cabin boy in the side-wheel steamer Ontario, plying on the lake of that name, he remained ashore three years as clerk in the store of H. L. Hart & Co., of Oswego, undue paternal influence having been brought to bear upon him, perhaps. However, in 1885, he again essayed the steamboat life, this time shipping as fireman on the steamer Walter L. Frost, of the Ogdensburg Transit Company, Thomas Welsh being the chief engineer. He retained that laborious berth four seasons, but in the spring of 1890 was promoted to the engine room as oiler, and in 1891 he received his license as second engineer, and was appointed first assistant on the steamer Josephine, where he remained until 1892. He then entered the employ of the Crescent line as second engineer of the John V. Moran, holding that position three seasons. In the spring of 1895 he was appointed chief engineer of the steamer John V. Moran, now of the new Union Transit Company, and was in charge of her machinery for some time.
Socially, Mr. Countryman is an ardent member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association No. 43, of Port Huron, Mich., and was much gratified when Congress defined the status of the marine engineers as officers of American vessels, and guaranteed to them the rights enjoyed by any other class of American citizens.
Return to Home Port
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.