Alexander Anderson is one of the substantial and enterprising citizens of Marine City, Mich., and has attained notable prominence among the builders of good, stanch steamers and sailing vessels of the present day. He was born in the township of Goderich, Huron county, Ontario, October 30, 1845, and is the fourth son of William and Mary (McGarvey) Anderson, the others being James, William and John. The parents were natives of Glasgow, Scotland, where they were married. They took passage to America in the year 1826, and first located in Toronto, residing there about two years, after which the family removed to Goderich township, where the father went into business. The mother's brothers were all sea captains, sailing out of Glasgow many years, and were fairly successful.
After attending the district schools Alexander Anderson engaged himself to learn the trade of carpenter and joiner, and when he had mastered all the details of the business became a contractor and builder, continuing eight years in that line. He then entered the employ of J.J. Hill and assisted in the construction of the barge Sol. Gardner, the Abercorn, N.K. Fairbanks and other vessels, until 1880, when he built the steamer J.P. Donaldson, 521 tons. In 1882 he constructed the passenger steamer R.J. Gordon, 186 tons; in 1883 the J.W. Westcott, 522 tons, and in 1884 hauled out and rebuilt the Sol. Gardner and the barge Brake, and overhauled various other vessels in the yard of Robert Holland. He then went to West Bay City and built the steamer William Stevens, in F.W. Wheeler's yard, engaging that fall in James Davidson's yard, on the construction of the Bulgaria. After the completion of that contract he returned to Wheeler's yard and started the schooner Frank D. Even. In 1889 Mr. Anderson returned to Bay City and built for Mr. Holland the steamer P.J. Ralph, 964 tons, in which he owns an interest, also hauling out and rebuilding the Edward H. Jenks. He then purchased the steamer Tempest No. 2, which had been burned on the St. Clair river near Algonac, took her to Marine City, hauled her out and gave her a thorough rebuild. His next steamboats were the Newaygo and Frank W. Fletcher, 936 tons and 495 tons respectively, built in 1890 and 1891; the Alexander Anderson, 738 tons, built for N. Mills and Capt. Harvey J. Kendall in 1892; the Wotan, 886 tons, built for Heard Holstein in 1893; the schooner Biwabik and speedy steamer Unique, 1401 and 381 tons respectively, the next year, followed by the steamer George Farwell, 758 tons; in 1896 be built the tug Thomas Thompson from the keel up. At this writing Mr. Anderson is constructing a steamer to be named the Isaac Lincoln, to the order of A.F. Pierce, of Fremont, and others, to ply in a special trade between Fremont, Ohio, and other ports.
Mr. Anderson was married in July, 1865, to Miss Mary McCann, daughter of John and Mary (Dunn) McCann, of Sacket's Harbor, N.Y., where her father was a well known shipbuilder. The children born to the union are Mary and Helen, the latter now the wife of Capt. John Jenkins, master of the steamer W.H. Sawyer. The family homestead is on Main street, in Marine City, Mich. Fraternally Mr. Anderson is a Master Mason and a member of the Ancient Order of United Workman.
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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.