John N. Gretzinger
John N. Gretzinger was born at Fairview, Hancock Co., W. Va., January 12, 1868. He attended the public schools of that village until he was fourteen years old. Upon leaving school he went to work in his father's tannery, where he acquired his first knowledge of steam engineering and soon became engineer of the shop, taking care of the boilers and engine, steam pumps, steam heating system, etc., and making his own repairs. He began to study books and mechanical papers on steam and steam engineering, and by diligent study acquired a good general knowledge of the subject. He became more interested in the profession, and was looked upon as a well-posted young man. He had charge of different stationary engines until he was about twenty-one years old, when he entered a machine shop at Wellsville, Ohio, and where he remained until offered a position in Pittsburg, where he served three years in the engineering department of the American Iron and Steel Works. He then got the idea that he would like to have some experience as a marine engineer, and in March, 1893, he asked for a few days' vacation, which was granted. He kept his own counsel, and he set out for the Great Lakes to see if he could not get a position as oiler on board some ship to work himself up to marine engines. Being a perfect stranger to all marine men he considered his chances for such a position very slim, but fortunately he secured a position as oiler on the steamer City of Cleveland. He at once returned to Pittsburg, resigned his position there and made preparations to go on the lakes, accepting a position as oiler on the City of Cleveland, of the D. & C. line, where he remained two seasons, passing the examination and getting government license for marine engineer in February, 1895. Soon after he was promoted to the position of first assistant engineer of the new steamer City of Mackinac, which position he has held for the past four seasons. His entire life, it might be said, since a boy of thirteen years old, has been devoted to steam engineering in one branch or the other. He takes an interest in all matters pertaining to steam engineering, and is a man much devoted to reading and study.
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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.