Captain William S. Dolloff
Captain William S. Dolloff is one of the old-time canalboat men. He was born at Utica, N.Y., in 1835, son of Stephen and Almira J. (Rude) Dollof, the former of whom was a native of Frankfort Hill, in the Mohawk Valley, N.Y., the latter of Washington county, same State. Stephen Dolloff was a butcher by occupation. He died in 1841, and his widow married William Burke, well-known to the early citizens of Buffalo as the general passenger agent of the old side-wheel steamers.
Captain Dolloff was educated at a town called Vienna, in the locality of his birthplace, and in 1846 he began to drive on the Erie canal, being engaged at that occupation seven consecutive years for John Traver, of Rochester, N.Y., the oldest canalboat owner in the business. At various times he worked in the same employ in other capacities, the whole period embracing twenty-one years.
In 1875 Captain Dolloff purchased the old canalboat Riverside and another of a similar build, and made them over into excursion boats which plied to resorts on the Niagara river with pleasure parties, carrying on that business for about two seasons, during the time when the old central wharf was the center of the forwarding business for Buffalo harbor. He was the first man to construct the device now commonly used for steering three canalboats joined together without the use of a rudder blade. The Captain has not been interested in the canal traffic since 1886, when he embarked in the hotel business at Chicago. He continued same for a period of five years, after which he returned to Buffalo and established a butcher shop at No. 143 Erie street, where he has since remained. He is a member of the Buffalo branch of the Canalboat Owners Association.
Captain Dolloff was married, June 2, 1855, at New London, Oneida Co., N.Y., to Miss Alvira J. Matkins, by whom he has four children: Ida, wife of Oscar Cook, a resident of Lewis county, N.Y.; William, a master and owner of canalboats residing at State Bridge, Oneida Co., N.Y.; Lottie, wife of Charles Selover, a Tonawanda boatman; and Addie, wife of Abel Sickler, a confectioner at No. 594 Broadway, Buffalo, New York.
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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.