Engineer Arthur Armson is one of the most prominent and best qualified engineers sailing out of Port Huron. He is very popular in the marine engineers' fraternity, having been a charter member of the Port Huron Association, which was organized in 1884, and was chosen its first chaplain; he has also filled the office of financial secretary, and is at this writing serving his seventh year as treasurer. He is a son of John and Amy (Camp) Armson, and was born at Attleborough, Warwickshire, England, January 11, 1857. His parents were natives of England, removing, in May, 1862, to London, Ont., thence in October, 1864, to the United States, locating in Port Huron, Mich., where both passed over the silent river, the father on May 31, 1874, at the age of sixty-six years, and the mother on May 30, 1887, aged sixty-eight years.
Mr. Armson, the subject of this sketch, attended the public schools at Port Huron, finishing his education during the winter months at a private school for young men. In 1872 he entered the employ of the Phoenix Iron Works as an apprentice, and served four years, thus laying a good foundation to become a skillful machinist and engineer. After the expiration of this period he went to Cheboygan, and worked about six months in Mr. Perry's machine shop. In 1878 he applied for a marine engineer's license, passed a successful examination before the local inspector, and shipped on the tug Wesley Hawkins, now the James Baird, for a short time, and the next spring was appointed second engineer on the steamer M. F. Merrick, followed by a season on the steamer Burlington. In the spring of 1881 he was appointed chief engineer of the steamer M. F. Merrick, and the next spring was appointed second engineer of the tug W. B. Castle. During the year 1883 he worked in the Phoenix Iron Works, followed by a season as second engineer on the steamer Ira Chaffee, passing the winter in the machine shops of Fitzgeralds and the Phoenix Iron Works. In 1885 and 1886 he engineered the Canadian tug Jessie, working the winter of 1886 and 1887 in the shop of Samuel F. Hodge, of Detroit, followed by a season on the ferry steamer Omar D. Conger, plying between Port Huron and Sarnia, working that winter in the shops of the Phoenix Iron Works.
In 1888 he put in the machinery and brought out the new steamer Miami, and as it was part of his duties while working for the Phoenix Iron Works, he turned her over to the purchaser and returned to the shop, and put in the machinery of the steamers Pawnee, P. J. Ralph, and brought the Aztec out new in 1889, for the Marine Transit Company. His next steamer was the Toltec, in which he put the machinery, and was her engineer for three years, and in 1893 brought out new the steamer L. R. Doty, owned by the Cuyahoga Transit Company, remaining on her the entire season. He then returned to the shop to fit out the steamer H. E. Runnell, owned by the Jenks Shipbuilding Company. In 1895 he brought out new the steamer Linden as chief, and retained that berth two seasons. By this time the company had another steamer ready, and in the spring of 1897 he brought out the Black Rock, named after the town of Black Rock, below Buffalo, to which her cargoes were consigned, and ran her engines during the seasons of 1897-98. As Mr. Armson is industrious and thrifty, he works each winter in the machine shops of the Phoenix Iron Works. Besides being a member of the Marine Engineers fraternity, he is a Royal Arch Mason and a Knight of the Maccabees.
October 7, 1878, Mr. Armson was united in marriage to Miss Mary E., daughter of Peter and Ellen Mullen, of Port Huron, Mich. Two children have been born to this union, Albert J. and Ella Maud. The son, who is ambitious to advance, after receiving a liberal education in the public schools of Port Huron, took a course at the commercial college. He has adopted the same profession so ably followed by his father, and in the spring of 1894 he shipped as watchman on the steamer H. E. Runnels, and in 1896 on the steamer Linden as fireman; the next season he was oiler on the steamer Centurion, followed by a season in the same capacity on the steamer Chili.
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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.