William Wilson has been in the employ of the Anchor line for seventeen years consecutively, which is sufficient evidence of his capability as an engineer. He was born March 4, 1860 at Buffalo, a son of William and Mary (Donnelly) Wilson, the former of whom was a native of Scotland, the latter of Ireland. William Wilson, Sr., who was a ship carpenter in trade, died at Buffalo in October, 1890, while his wife passed away in February, 1893.
The subject of this sketch attended school in his native city, and commended his life work as messenger or errand boy for Theodore M. Moore, then superintendent of repairs for the Anchor line. Following that employment he went into the employ of Farrar & Trefts to learn the machinist trade, remaining the usual period of four years, and the winter succeeding was in the employ of the Buffalo Engine Works. In 1879 Mr. Wilson entered the lake service, beginning in the spring as oiler on the steamer Chicago, of the Western Transportation line, on which he remained until July 2, when he left her work in the same capacity on the steamer of China, of the Anchor line, for the rest of the season. Beginning with 1880 Mr. Wilson was second engineer of the Chigaco for three successive seasons, transferring from her to the India as chief, on which he remained seven consecutive seasons, and with the season of 1898 he closed a period of nine seasons as chief of the steamer Japan. During his time on the lakes, undoubtedly due to his carefulness and foresight, Besides the work above set forth Mr. Wilson has been steadily employed in shop work for the twelve winters ending with that of 1896-97.
Mr. Wilson was married, April 17, 1882, to Miss Julia McCarthy, by whom he has three children, two of whom are now living, Charles and Irene. Socially he is a member of the Ancient Order of Foresters.
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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.