Captain John F. Whelan
Captain John F. Whelan is one of the veteran tug men of Buffalo harbor. He is the son of Michael and Bridget (Fitzpatrick) Whelan, both of whom were born in Ireland, whence the father, who was a stonemason by trade, came to America about 1835, locating in Scoharie, New York.
Captain Whelan was born in Amsterdam, N. Y., December 22, 1842, and came to Buffalo to reside permanently in 1847. After four years spent in obtaining his common school education he began practical life, ferrying on Buffalo creek. This occupation he pursued until about fifteen years of age when he shipped out of Buffalo as cook on the brig Fox. Following that employment he served different capacities on different vessels until he became master of the schooner C. Y. Richmond, and later he was master of the Eliza Logan, A. Mowry and Matt Sherman. In 1868 he was made master of the tug Mildred, in Buffalo harbor, and during the seasons of 1869-70-71 was master of the tugs S.S. Coe and Old Jack, both of Cleveland, Ohio. From that time until the close of the season of 1896 he has been on Buffalo harbor tugs in the Maytham line for fourteen years, and in the Hand & Johnson line for eight years, except on special occasions when he made short trips outside, and during 1886, when he was appointed harbor master by the common council of the city. He was a charter member of the Harbor Tug Pilots Association.
In 1863 Captain Whelan was married in Buffalo to Bridget Ryan, a daughter of Timothy Ryan, a native of Ireland, but at that time a resident of Buffalo, and they have had the following children: William J., a marine engineer; Mary A., wife of C. H. Smith, a clerk in the employ of the Lehigh Valley Company; Jennie E., a stenographer for the Fertilizing Company at East Buffalo; Arthur, a plumber by trade, and on July 1, 1898, was appointed policeman for the City of Buffalo; Joseph, fireman with his father; John; Walter, who is also with the Lehigh Valley Company; and Loretta. Thomas Ryan, a brother of Mrs. Whelan, is a marine engineer and also holds master's papers.
William J. Whelan, eldest son of Captain Whelan, commenced his career as fireman with his father. he subsequently obtained the position as enginner on the tug Adams, and later was on the Alpha and on the Warren, the latter owned by Carroll Bros., in which he was engineer for 1896 and 1897. She was sold by the Carroll Bros. to the Buffalo Dredging Company, who retained Mr. Whelan in their employ. He was appointed chief engineer of the excursion steamer Gazelle for the season of 1898. He is unmarried and resides with his parents at No. 220 Efner Street, Buffalo, New York.
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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.