D. B. Ramsey
D.B. Ramsey, chief engineer for A. M. Rothschild & Co., Chicago, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1851, a son of William and Minerva E. (Bassett) Ramsey, the former a native of Vermont, the latter of New Hampshire. At an early day his parents became residents of Cleveland, where the father was a member of the firm Walton, Hitchcock & Ramsey, stove founders. He died in that city in 1858, and his wife departed life in 1892.
The subject of this sketch was reared and educated in Cleveland, and at the age of fifteen years commenced learning the machinist's trade, serving a four years' apprenticeship under Dennis Holt, whose shop was on Center street, that city, and who is still a resident of Cleveland, now aged and blind. On leaving him, in 1870, Mr. Ramsey sailed from Cleveland as second engineer on the steamer Northern Light, engaged in the Lake Superior trade. He was next employed as passenger engineer on the first railroad built from St. Paul to Duluth, Minn., but in 1871 returned to steamboating, sailing as second engineer on the W. L. Whetmore, from Cleveland to the Lake Superior trade. In 1873 he was engineer on the S. E. Sheldon, engaged in the northern trade, and owned by C. L. Russell, of Cleveland, in whose employ he remained for five years. He was engineer on the passenger steamer Garden City, of the Northern Transportation Company, plying between Cleveland and Chicago and Ogdensburg. After two years spent upon that vessel he entered the service of the Western Transportation Company, of Buffalo, with which he remained for some time. He next sailed out of Buffalo as chief engineer on the M. M. Gregg, in the freight trade to all lake ports, remaining on her two seasons.
In 1886 Mr. Ramsey quit the lakes and came to Chicago, and took charge of the Western Electric Manufacturing Company, remaining with this company for three years. Being an ardent Republican, he then became interested in political affairs of the city, and was very prominent as a leader during Mayor Roche's administration. Later he went to Louisville, Ky., where he had charge of the Du Pont powder mill for one year, when he returned to Chicago and was appointed chief engineer for the Union League Club, where he remained for two years. The following four years he was employed as chief engineer of all the buildings belonging to L. Z. Leiter, and then accepted his position with A. M. Rothschild & Co., whose interests he has served most creditably.
Mr. Ransey is an inventor, in 1878 having built a small double marine engine of about six-horse power, which was on exhibition for one year in the old Exposition building of Chicago, and can be seen at the Engineers Supply Company, Chicago. The patterns, models and everything for this work were drawn by himself, and his engine possesses many points of great merit. In early life he joined the M. E. B. A., in Cleveland, and in 1871 was admitted to No. 4, of Chicago. He is also a member of the National Association of Stationary Engineers, of which he has been vice-president and treasurer for one term.
Mr. Ransey was married, in Cleveland, in 1873, to Miss E. A. Norris, of that city, and they have become the parents of three children: Clifford C., C. Russell and Mamie E. He is well known among marine men, and has seen many changes on the lakes since his inception into the craft.
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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.