William J. Gervin
William J. Gervin was born near Perth, county of Lanark, Ontario, March 18, 1849. His father was William Gervin, and his mother before marriage was Elizabeth Brooks. He had one brother, George Gervin, and in 1860, his parents having previously died, he went to Syracuse, N. Y., to live with his uncle, Thomas Gervin. He learned the trade of machinist, and in 1870 shipped as engineer of the tug Gates, of Oswego. For the next three years he was second engineer on the Northern Transportation Company's steamers Granite State, Young American and Cleveland.
He went to Detroit in March, 1874, and put in that and the next two seasons on the Winona as assistant engineer. For the next three years he was chief engineer of the Gazelle, and then worked one season as chief engineer of the Riversides, next becoming chief engineer of the Rhoda Stewart, on which he remained three seasons. Then he ran the engines of the Saginaw Valley for two seasons, and for the following two seasons he went on the Minneapolis as engineer. In 1887 he took charge of the engine room of the Smith Moore, and was with her that season and the next until she sank July 13, back of Grand island in Lake Superior. He then went out as chief of the Waldo Avery, and finished the season on her. For the next six years he was chief engineer of the Frank L. Vance, after which he transferred his services to the steamship Globe. >From July 11 to December 24, 1897, he was chief engineer on the steamer Crescent City, and in 1898 was chief engineer of the steamer Henry Cort of the Bessemer Steamship Company.
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.