Cassius M. Williams
Cassius M. Williams, who was named in honor of Cassius M. Clay, is a native of Mackinac Island, Mich., having been born there in 1855. He is a descendent of Roger Williams, and is the son of Stephen and Nancy (Brookes) Williams, who removed to Cheboygan, Mich., where "Cash" (as the subject of this sketch is familiarly known) attended the public schools and made good progress in acquiring the rudiments of knowledge. In 1871, Mr. Williams entered the employ of the Benton Iron Works at Cheboygan, and by close application and industry for four years became a first-class mechanic and engineer. In the spring of 1875 he took out his first papers and sailed as chief engineer of the big tug Saugatuck, working in the Benton Iron Works during the winter. In the spring of 1876 he shipped as oiler on the excursion steamer Metropolis, out of Ashtabula, Ohio, remaining on her until September, when he went to work in the machine shop of Warren & Jones in Alpena. Later he was engaged in a machine shop in Duncan City, Mich., where he remained until, in the spring of 1878, he shipped as chief of the rivertug, Crusader. In 1879 he went to East Saginaw, where he was employed in Mr. Wick's machine shop, and was sent out by the firm to set up a new engine in a mill in Montcalm county, Mich., where everything being satisfactory, he was engaged to run the engine, remaining eighteen months. He then went to Point St. Ignace, Mich., and ran the engine in Colonel Stockbridge's mill until June, when he again shipped on the tug Saugatuck, at the close of the season going into the machine shop at Duncan City.
In the spring of 1882 Mr. Williams came out in the tug George Wood, and in 1883 he brought out the new tug Duncan City, running her until late in the season, when he went south. On returning in the winter he went to work in the boiler shop of W. M. Hess, and the following spring joined the tug Seymour, on the Sault river, after running her until September, he shipped as chief engineer of the passenger steamer Van Raalte, plying between Cheboygan and Sault Ste. Marie. In 1885-86 he also ran the Van Raalte, on the mail and passenger route between Petoskey and Manistee, Mich., for C. W. Caskey, and in the spring of 1887 he shipped as second engineer on the steamer Vernon, serving from August until the close of the season on the tug Sumner, of which he went as chief the next year. In the spring of 1889 Mr. Williams was appointed chief engineer of the steamer Stephen C. Hall, and in 1890 chief of the Chenango, owned by P.J. Ralph, of Detroit. The Chenango caught fire on her first trip, between Long Point and Erie, Penn., about 11 A.M., and the crew fought the flames until 5 P. M., when they were taken off by the Eber Ward and Majestic; the hulk was towed to Erie, where it was scuttled. Mr. Williams then went to Cleveland, and was appointed chief engineer of the steamer Henry J. Johnson, which berth he held until the close of the season of 1891, the following spring transferring to the steamer George Presley. This season he fitted out the E. B. Hale and made two trips on her. In 1893 he came out as chief engineer of the new steamer George Stone, on which he served until August, when he took his wife for a trip to England and South Wales, visiting all points of interest. On his return to Cleveland, in the spring of 1895, Mr. Williams joined the steamer John B. Lyon as chief engineer, and the following season was chief on the steamer John W. Moore, remaining on her but three months. He left the Moore in Chicago, and after returning to Cleveland took passage for New Orleans and shipped on the ocean-going steamer tug Elmer E. Wood, engaged in towing ships on the Gulf of Mexico, in the trade to and from New Orleans. He remained in that employ until February, 1897, when he came back to Cleveland and shipped on the steamer Superior.
Mr. Williams was united in marriage to Miss Annie Williams, daughter of Edmund and Sarah (Lewis) Williams, of Monmouthshire, Wales. The family residence is at No. 97 Allen street, Cleveland, Ohio. Socially, Mr. Williams is a Master Mason, belonging to Lodge No. 397, Harbor Springs, Mich., a member of the Knights of Pythias, of Red Cross No. 51, at Sault Ste. Marie, and of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association.
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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.