John A. O'Mara
John A. O'Mara is a steady, quiet, unobtrusive man, and a careful, capable engineer. He laid the foundation of his success in his chosen line by dint of industrious attention to details, and a thorough mastery of the fine points of his trade. Beginning life at the lowest round of the ladder, he has reached his present position with the Northern Steamship Company by reason of steady habits and a close attention to his various duties.
Mr. O'Mara is a son of Patrick and Katherine (Flanery) O'Mara, the former of whom has been steward in the employ of the Anchor line for a period of ten years. Patrick O'Mara has four sons besides John; Frank J., a letter carrier; Henry, a casket maker; James, a bricklayer; and George, a machinist by trade, who was oiler on the steamer Susquehanna, of the Anchor line, for the season of 1895.
The subject of this sketch was born at Buffalo December 24, 1865. In addition to a common-school education received at Public School No. 4 of that city, he attended the school of the Sisters of Mercy on Fulton Street and also St. Joseph's College. Immediately succeeding his school days he found employment with the Buffalo Express Company as elevator boy, at which occupation he remained six months. From the Express he went to the Courier as mail boy, and then fed the respective presses of the Express, Telegraph and News. In 1880 he began a period of five years at learning his trade in David Bell's shop, after which, in 1885, he entered the service of the Anchor line of steamers as oiler on the Conemaugh. In the early part of the season of 1886 he was still oiler on the Conemaugh, but finished it as second engineer of the Gordon Campbell, of the same line. During the first two months of the season of 1887 he was in the employ of the Eagle Iron Works, which he left to accept second engineer's berth in the steamer Fred Mercur, of the Lehigh Valley line, and closed the season in that service. In 1888 he was second engineer of the E.P. Wilber for three months, and for the remainder of the season was second engineer of the steamer Clyde, also of the Lehigh Valley line. In 1889 he was second engineer respectively of the Clyde and H.E. Packer. In 1890 he fitted out the Fred Mercur, and then became second engineer of the Virginia, of the Goodrich Transportation company, between Chicago and Milwaukee, which he brought out of Cleveland new. The Virginia was laid up at Manitowoc, Wis., in the fall, and Mr. O'Mara closed that season, first with two trips as second engineer of the Chemung, and the remainder of the time as second of the Oswego, both of the Erie railway line. It was in 1891 that he first entered the service of the Northern Steamship Company, and during that season he was second engineer of the North Star, for the four succeeding seasons -- 1892-93-94-95 -- occupying chief's berth in the same steamer. For the seasons of 1896-97-98 he was chief engineer of the Northern King.
Mr. O'Mara is a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, Lodge No. 1, of Buffalo. He was married at Buffalo, in 1884, to Miss Annie G. McClure, and they reside at No. 799 Elk Street, Buffalo, New York.
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.