For a quarter of a century or more Mr. Wallace was identified with the history of the Great Lakes, and for quite the same length of time has his name been associated with some of the leading business enterprises of St. Joseph.
He was born March 7, 1835, in Dundee, Scotland. Mr. Wallace inherited and brought with him the characteristics which the Scotch seem to possess, and which makes everything they undertake a success. His parents, John and Mary (Reed) Wallace, were natives of Scotland, and when our subject was six years of age came to America and settled in Wayne county, Mich., where the father followed his trade, that of a molder. At the age of sixteen the son was apprenticed to learn the trade of a machinist, and for some years followed it. Later he sailed the propeller Montezuma as second engineer, under the command of Captain Titus, who was master of the steamer Erie when she foundered in Lake Erie. He became chief engineer of the same propeller, and was on her several seasons, when he put the machinery in the propeller Lady Franklin, commanded by Captain Hickie, and was with her several years as chief engineer. He next served in the same capacity on the propeller Ottawa, under Capt. John Warren. He then sailed on the Favorite, of which Nelson W. Napier was master. Mr. Wallace put the machinery in her, and worked on it through its construction in Chicago and at Howard, Wis., where the boat was built. He then went to Buffalo, and built the tug John T. Edwards, which was owned by himself and Mr. Edwards, and an interest in her was taken by Mr. Marion Barnes, and for some sixteen years the firm of Wallace & Barnes carried on the tug business about St. Joseph and Benton Harbor.
Engineer Wallace also embarked in other lines of business, and by carefully watching the details of each, and through good management and close application, he has become a successful business man, and one of the leading spirits of the city of St. Joseph, to whose growth he has contributed no small part of his energies. He had but limited educational advantages in his youth, but by self instruction and reading, and by coming in contact with the world, he has become a well informed man, and his opinions are highly respected.
He has served the people of St. Joseph creditably in different public capacities, having served as alderman of the city several times, and has been city collector, as well as city treasurer. He is a director in the Union Banking Company, and has other business connections, carrying on for many years an extensive lumber yard, and keeps builders' materials in stock, and a line of coal, wood, lath, etc. He is a most reliable man in all his business dealings.
In February of 1860 Mr. Wallace was married to Miss Alice, a native of Detroit, Mich., and daughter of James McMahon, of Irish nativity, and their union has been blessed with the following children: Lewis D., William G., Maud M., James, Alexis J., Edith A., Roy F., Dudley B., John, Jr., and Alice V. In politics Mr. Wallace is a Republican; socially he is a member of Occidental Lodge No. 56, A. F. & A. M.
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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.