William Hay is one of the oldest and most prominent engineers sailing out of the port of Bay City. He was born in Banffshire, Scotland, July 29, 1835, a son of Peter and Mary (McConnachie) Hay. Mr. Hay's parents died in Scotland, when he was quite a young lad, and he was thus compelled to depend upon his own resources. He obtained but an elementary education in the public schools, and came to America in 1856, first locating in Guelph, Wellington Co., Ontario, where he secured employment as a teamster, engaging in kindred work until 1865, when he went to Wyandotte, Mich., and worked in a rolling mill. He then went to Tipton, Mo., on the Union Pacific railroad, returning to Grafton, Ill., where he stopped but a short time.
In the spring of 1867 Mr. Hay went to Bay City, Mich., and as the opportunity offered he shipped as fireman on the tug H. P. Smith. In 1869 as fireman of the tug Annie Moiles, finally becoming engineer, remaining in the employ of Mitchell & Boutell until the firm was dissolved. It was in the spring of 1874 that Mr. Hay was appointed engineer of the fine tug Laketon. He remained in her seven years, followed by four as engineer of the tug Music. In the spring of 1885 he was appointed chief engineer of the steamer A. Folsom. After assisting in putting in the machinery he brought her out new and ran her twelve consecutive seasons. Owing to the illness of his sister, a lady of advanced years, for whom he had provided a home, he did not join his steamer in the spring of 1898, the office, however, remaining subject to his convenience.
While he has been in the A. Folsom, he was concerned in the rescue of three people from a capsized yawlboat off Grand Marais, Lake Superior, and at the time of the foundering of the steamer California, between the island of St. Helena and the main land in a storm, he was instrumental in the rescue of four out of a crew of twelve.
Mr. Hay is a member of the Order of St. Andrews. Notwithstanding the fact that he is a bachelor apparently beyond redemption, he has provided himself with a homestead, over which his sister presided until her death.
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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.