Thomas H. Welsh
Thomas H. Welsh takes high rank among the chief engineers on the Great Lakes, than whom there is no better class of skilled mechanics afloat. He has in a remarkable degree, that evenness of temper, keenness of insight, good judgment and steady, even poise which enable him naturally and easily to carry out the duties of an engineer in charge of the complicated machinery of a modern steamboat like the Centurion, which he has engineered successfully for two seasons, and to which he has been assigned for the season of 1898. He is the son of Thomas and Mary (Burns) Welsh, and was born in New York City, January 29, 1852. His education was acquired in the common schools, after which he went to work in the shop with his father, who was a machinist and a blacksmith, and had followed the course of empire to the West, locating in Sarnia, Ontario.
It was in the spring of 1873 that Mr. Welsh, the subject of this sketch, began his career on the lakes, shipping as fireman on the Canadian steamer Ontario, of the Beatty Transportation Company, holding that berth two seasons, followed by a season as oiler on the same steamer. He then applied for and received engineer's license from the Canadian Government, and in the fall of 1877 was appointed second engineer on the Ontario. In 1878 he moved to Port Huron, and as he had been born in the United States, he took the examination and was granted a license by this government, and was appointed second engineer of the steamer Sanilac, retaining that berth three seasons. During the seasons of 1881-82 he was second engineer of the steamer Saginaw Valley. This was followed by a season on the steamer Walter L. Frost in the same capacity, and in the spring of 1885 he was advanced to the position of chief in the Walter L. Frost, and engineered her four seasons.
Mr. Welsh passed the season of 1890 as chief engineer of the James R. Langdon, and the next spring took charge of the machinery of the steamer Iosco, which office he held until the spring of 1896, when he was appointed chief engineer of the fine steamer Centurion, remaining in her until the close of the season of 1897 and laying her up. Mr. Welsh is an industrious and zealous worker, and during the winter months he is usually engaged in superintending repair work on the various steamers moored at Port Huron.
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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.