Joseph P. Kohlbrenner
Joseph P. Kohlbrenner, a son of Joseph and Barbara (Smith) Kohlbrenner, was born on April 13, 1860, at Buffalo, in which city he finished his education at the age of sixteen years. The father of our subject was a carpenter by trade. His family consisted of three sons and one daughter, of whom Jacob was oiler of the Northern Light for the season of 1896; John is a plumber; the daughter, by name Lena, is now the wife of Edward Slout, a car conductor in the employ of the Buffalo Street Railway Company.
The subject of this sketch began at the bottom round of the ladder when starting his life on the lakes, acting as fireman on the propeller Roanoke, of the old Commercial line, for the season of 1879. The next three seasons he was in the same capacity on the steamer St. Louis and Avon, and for the season of 1883 he was oiler on the steamer H.J. Jewett, all of the Union Steamboat Company. In 1884-85 he was in Chicago harbor as fireman of the tug Union, of the Vessel Owners Towing Association; in 1886 was second engineer of the steamer Michael Grauh (both these boats being owned by S.K. Martin, of Chicago), and in 1887 of the Fred Mercur, of the Lehigh Valley line. In 1888 Mr. Kohlbrenner entered the service of the Lake Erie Transportation Co., becoming second engineer of the steamer Russell Sage, on which he remained the two seasons of 1888-89, when he was transferred to chief's berth in the A.L. Hopkins, of the same company. He remained on the Hopkins three seasons, of 1890-91-92 to middle of season of 1893, at the expiration of which time he was transferred to the same berth in the Russell Sage, continuing steadily on her until the close for the seasons of 1896-97-98.
Mr. Kohlbrenner was married at Buffalo, in 1890, to Miss Carrie Keller, and they reside at No. 397 Elm street. Socially he is a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association No. 1, and of the Royal Arcanum.
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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.