James Kehoe commenced his marine life when quite young by running away from home and going to New York City, where he shipped in the schooner yacht Idler. He passed three pleasant summers as boy on this vessel, and returning to Chicago with her, has since become a reliable and skillful engineer. He was born in Chicago on March 2, 1864, a son of Moses and Ellen Kehoe, both natives of the "Emerald Isle," who, on coming to the United States, first located in Minnesota, afterward removing to Chicago where James attended school.
It was in 1879 that he again took up his life in Chicago, and that spring found a berth as boy in the schooner James Couch, spending his leisure time in various yachts about Chicago harbor, becoming a skillful yachtsman. In 1881 he entered the employ of the Vessel Owners Tug line, and became fireman on the tugs Rebel, Blackball, Hood and Taylor, remaining with that company several years. He was also fireman in the lighter McCormick. During the winter months he worked in the machine shops of John Mohr & Son, and McCormick's boiler shop, later entering the employ of Capt. J. H. Dunham, remaining about three years as engineer of the tugs Fashion, T. T. Morford and Mosher. In 1892 he was appointed engineer of the tug Dixon, engaged in preparing the grounds for the World's Fair, and the next year was appointed engineer of Alison V. Armour's yacht Gryphon, which, after cruising on Lakes Superior and Michigan, he took to New York harbor and laid up. Returning to Chicago he was appointed second engineer of the steamer Rhoda Emily, and in 1895 he joined the tug Alpha, of the Illinois Dredge Company, as chief. In 1896 he became chief engineer of the steamer E. G. Crosby, of the Lake Michigan Car Ferry Company, running her two years. In 1898 he was transferred to the steamer J. C. Ames, a powerful boat of 557 tons operated by the same company in connection with the Wisconsin Michigan railroad between South Chicago and Peshtigo. During his experience as engineer for these companies he has given the utmost satisfaction.
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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.