Captain Thomas Wilson
Captain Thomas Wilson was born in Fifeshire, Scotland, about 1840, and began sailing along the coast at an early age. He came to the lakes in 1855, and in 1856, during the one season, he had worked his way up from wheelsman of the Manhattan to second officer of that craft. The following season he shipped on the steamer Mineral Rock, where he remained until he became chief officer, and in 1863 he served as pilot and mate of the side-wheeler Illinois, in 1864 resuming command of the passenger and freight steamer Mineral Rock. For eight years Captain Wilson was in command of the passenger and freight steamer Meteor, on the route from Buffalo to Lake Superior, and for four years he did all the carrying trade of the Minnesota Iron Company; the first cargoes of rails had to be handled on the beach, this being at a time before docks and railroads were constructed. In 1873 Captain Wilson had built at St. Clair, Mich., the first boat of his present large line, and named her D. M. Wilson, after his only son, then a small boy. The Hiawatha and Minnehaha were shortly afterward built at Gibraltar, Mich., and the following large vessels, built to the order of the Wilson Transit Company, Capt. Thomas Wilson managing owner, have been constructed in sequence here given: Tacoma, Wallula, Kasota, George Spencer, Tower, Spokane, Missoula, Sitka, Yakima, Wadena, Olympia, Yukon, Yuma and W. D. Rees; a large steel steamer was completed for the season of 1897. Since 1875 Captain Wilson has remained on shore looking after his large vessel interests and controlling the movements of the Wilson Transit line fleet.
In 1872 the Captain married Miss Mary Morris, daughter of David Morris, who was the first man to ship coal out of Cleveland, and to them have been born three children: David, who died at the age of fourteen years; and Annabel and Mabel, who are now finishing their education.
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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.