Lorenzo Willix is the fifth son of George and Caroline (Brower) Willix, and a highly respected marine engineer. His four brothers were also marine engineers, and all held responsible positions, excepting Obadiah, who died in October, 1885, after having served on many good steamboats. George W., the eldest brother, is chief engineer of Mr. Drexel's large and well-appointed yacht Alcedo, out of New York; Wellington is chief of Mr. Merrell's private yacht Mindora, out of Boston; Daniel B., after sailing a number of years, retired from the lakes and went to work in a machine shop in Watertown, N. Y.; and Lorenzo, the subject of this sketch, is first assistant of the steamer Governor Smith, of the Ogdensburg Transportation Company.
The father of this family of marine engineers was a patriot of the Civil war, he having enlisted in a New York regiment. While on Staten Island he was injured so severely as to necessitate an honorable discharge. He and his wife were born in Canada, and removed to the United States in the year 1852, locating at Alexandria Bay, where Lorenzo attended the public schools, and later on attended the Ives Seminary at Antwerp, N. Y., and the Rockford, Ill., thus acquiring a very liberal education, which fitted him to assume charge of the school near Theresa, N. Y. , about fourteen miles from Alexandria Bay.
His boyhood having been passed in yachts on the water about the Thousand Islands, the desire for the life of a sailor soon gained the ascendancy, and in 1881, after the necessary preparations he accepted the position of engineer on the steamyacht Clarence; this being followed by three years in a like position on the steamyacht General Franklin. He passed the season of 1885 as engineer on the yacht Victorino, and that of 1886 on the yacht Sirius.
In the spring of 1887 Mr. Willix shipped as engineer on the tug John Martin, out of Ogdensburg, followed by a season on the tug G. D. Seymour. His next berth was on the steamer Newburgh, of the Lackawanna line, as first assistant engineer. He then entered the employ of the Ogdensburg Transportation Company as first assistant engineer of the James R. Langdon, transferring in the spring of 1896 to the Governor Smith.
Socially, Mr. Willix is a Knight Templar Mason, of the Ogdensburg Commandery, a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, an Odd Fellow of What Cheer, Iowa, and of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association. His residence is at Alexandria Bay, 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.