Francis Harringer, who for five years has been chief engineer on the propeller Northern Light, and has served on the Great Lakes for almost a quarter of a century, is one of the most successful marine engineers in service. Throughout his life he has been a resident of the city of Buffalo.
Mr. Harringer was born on Tenth street, near Carolina street, in that city, May 27, 1857, a son of Franklin R. and Mary A. (Dunn) Harringer, the former of whom was born in Alsace-Lorraine, of German parents, and when an infant was brought by his father, George Harringer (who was a flax farmer by occupation), to Buffalo, and there he remained a lifelong resident. He became a marine and stationary engineer, and spent several years on the lakes, but during the remainder of his working life he found employment on land. He died May 24, 1874, his widow, Mrs. Mary A. Harringer is still living. The family of Franklin R. and Mary A. Harringer consisted of six sons and four daughters, of whom the following are now living: Francis; Mary A.; who married Edward Haley, of Buffalo; Catherine, wife of Frederick Burr, of Buffalo; Joseph, a boilermaker and tug engineer; Thomas, assistant engineer on the Northern King; Ellen, who married Paul Menda: and Margaret. All of these survivors, except Joseph, reside in Buffalo.
Frances Harringer, our subject, received a good common-school education at Buffalo, and besides the benefits of the public schools he received a three-years' training at St. Mary's College, on Broadway. He was by nature and inclination a student, and took good advantage of the opportunities that thus presented themselves to him. After leaving school he worked in the Shepard Iron Works, on Illinois street, where he remained for three and one-half years, thoroughly acquiring the machinist and engineering trades. When work was slack he found employment as a dock hand on the tugboats, and thus acquired a familiarity with the line of work that was to become his future occupation.
In 1875, Mr. Harringer became fireman on the propeller Prairie State, under John Durr, chief engineer, and in the following winter worked in Sherman S. Jewett's stove works. In the season of 1876 he went on the steambarge Fletcher, under Chief Jacobs, and while there during the following season of 1877 he received his license as second engineer. Excepting one trip on the propeller Olean, the season of 1878 he spent on tugs. During the season of 1879, he was second engineer on the Colorado, and in 1880 he was on the Olean. In 1881 he was again on the Colorado, in July of which year she blew up, killing six men. The balance of the season he served on the John D. Griffin.
In 1882 Mr. Harringer was chief engineer of the propeller Huron City, until August when he quit her, to bring out the propeller Scotia, on which vessel he remained as chief engineer until she was lost on Keweenaw Point in November of the same year. In 1883 Mr. Harringer went to Erie to fit out the Philadelphia, as second engineer. He made one trip, and then ran a steamyacht up and down the river for a time, finishing as chief engineer on the Annie Young, and was with her the next season also. In 1885 he made two trips on her, then resigned to become chief engineer of the steambarge Nahant, was with her until September, and finished on the Fred McBrier. In the following season he went into the D.J. Foley, as chief engineer, and from September finished on the Waverly. During the seasons of 1888 and 1889 he was on the Newsboy, and on the Fountain City during 1890, while in 1891 he was chief engineer of the Gypsum. In 1892 he began work on the Lehigh line, then a part of the Northern Steamship line. For five seasons he has been on the Northern Light as chief engineer, the boat in which he commences service with this company, although at various times he has been in other vessels of the same line.
Socially, Mr. Harringer is a member of Lodge No. 1, M.E.B.A., and has been connected with the organization since 1882. He was married to Miss Mary E. Farrell, daughter of Patrick Farrell, who lost his life in the propeller Globe in Chicago. Mr. Harringer resides at No. 272 Front avenue, Buffalo. He is in every sense of the term a self-made man, and is one of the most successful engineers on the Great Lakes.
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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.