William Kennedy was born in London, Ont., in 1844. At the age of two years his family removed to the old country, but three years later they returned to Canada, and settled in the pretty town of Kemptville, Ont., where young Kennedy received his early education. After leaving school he at once began learning the trade of the machinist, serving his time with Messrs. Davis & Doran, marine engineers of Kingston.
In the year 1863 he began his steamboat career as engineer on the side-wheel steamer William Fourth, running between Kingston and Dickinson Landing. This boat was owned by the Dominion Government, and was utilized as a tug. Mr. Kennedy then went on the steamer Boquet, running between Cornwall and Dundee. This boat was afterwards brought up to Toronto to go on the ferry service between the city and the Island. Mr. Kennedy remaining on her as engineer. Citizens of the Queen City who can look back on the Island ferry of thirty years ago, will remember the old side-wheel steamer, and also the famous monkey which Frank Jackman presented to Mr. Saulter, the owner of the boat, and which used to perch on the top of the old side-wheel house. This addition to the Boquet's crew was a source of rare delight to the younger generation. After leaving the Boquet Mr. Kennedy went on the tug Lily Franklin, which plied in Toronto harbor, and remained on her for four years, and then he shipped on the John S. Clark, and also a harbor tug. After three years service on this boat he went on the side-wheel steamer Watertown, which was engaged in the excursion service between Toronto, the Humber, and various other ports on Lake Ontario. Four years he spent on the boat, and then he joined the forces of the Merchants' line, running between Chicago and Montreal, and was on both their boats, the Cuba and Armenia, at different times, being in the service of this line for the lengthy period of nineteen years. Three years ago Mr. Kennedy went on the Persia, one of the most popular boats on the route between Hamilton and Montreal, Capt. J. W. Scott, the bluff and hearty old sailor and ever courteous host, being in command. Here he remained until the spring of 1898, when he again entered the employ of the Merchants' line as chief engineer of the propeller Cuba.
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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.