Captain John J. Killelia
Captain John J. Killelia is a son of James (a native of County Galway, Ireland) and Elizabeth (Brennen, a native of Kilkenny, Ireland) Killelia. The former was one of the soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the Civil war in America, his death occurring in Salisbury prison in the year 1865. He was a private in the Second New York Heavy Artillery, Company A.
The subject of this sketch was born in Oswego March 2, 1854. He attended school in that city, and commenced life on the water at the age of ten as a ferry boy on the Oswego river, continuing in that occupation up to the age of fourteen, when he sought employment on the Erie canal as driver, a position which he retained for a continuous period of eight years. In 1878, having concluded to try the lakes, he shipped as boy on the brig Saxon, but after a short time returned to the Erie canal as steersman, and remained steadily until the close of 1879. From that season until 1895 he was owner and master respectively of various canalboats and tugs, and master for the seasons following: Canalboats Fort Sumpter, one season; Killelia, one trip; Olympus, master for three seasons; James H. Rich, master six years; William S. Dego and Read the Judge, one year; Canal tugs John Howell, master one year; Ella B., master part of a season; Charles E. Brady, the remainder. He also purchased the canal tug Deloss Graves, ran her for a while and then placed her machinery in a new hull now known as the James Kennedy, of which he was master seasons of 1895-96. During the winter of 1895-96 Captain Killelia was foreman of the tug Eli Shriver, employed on the canal work. During the season of 1897 he was master and owner of the tug James Kennedy, and for about a month of 1898, when he sold her.
Captain Killelia was married in 1887, at Oswego, to Miss Rosa O'Grady, by whom he has one child, Cora. In social connection he is a member of the Catholic Mutual Benevolent Association and of the Hibernian Order. The Captain has been one of the successful men on the Great Lakes.
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.