William J. Slater
William J. Slater, the present chief engineer of the famous Gold Dollar Saloon on Main Street, Buffalo, was born at Buffalo, January 14, 1857, of Irish parentage, and passed five years of his early life in St. Joseph's College, that city, obtaining his education. He also attended the public schools for three years. His parents, Edward and Bridget (Brennan) Slater, were residents of Buffalo for forty-five years.
The subject of this sketch began active life as ferry boy on Buffalo creek in 1866, and in 1870 hired out as a wardroom boy in the United States marine service, aboard the United States revenue cutter Hamilton. After a year in this service he worked for three months at his trade in the Buffalo Boiler Works, and the following three years and a half as machinist in David Beli's shop. In 1875 he became fireman on the harbor tug Orient, and two years later went as second engineer on the steamer Missouri. Here he remained three months, and then became engineer on the Orient for two months, following this as second engineer on the Badger State, and in 1879 became chief of the Michael McGraw for the season. In 1880 he was in the tug William H. Upham, at Duluth, one season, and in 1881 was chief of the steamer J. C. Pringle. In 1882 he spent six weeks on the P. H. Ralph, the balance of the season working on the Newburgh; in 1883 he went to New Orleans and took charge of the tug Mamie Wood two months, and in February of that year went as oiler of the steamer Eldorado, on which he continued for eighteen months; she plied betweeen Algiers and New York City. In 1885 Mr. Slater went as second of the City of Galveston, which ran from Savannah to New York City, and on her remained two years, after which he went as second on the Arkansas from Galveston to New York City, where he worked six months. In 1888 he changed to the Ohio river, and was on the steamer Iron Age as second engineer for three months, starting from Pittsburgh. In 1889 he went to Chicago and acted as engineer on the Michael Shields, of the Vessel Owners Tug line, for one season, in 1890 working for Patrick Smith, of Cleveland, as engineer of the tug James Amadeus, one season. The next season he was second engineer of the steamer Newburgh; in 1892 was second of the P. J. Ralph six months, and the balance of the season on the E. B. Hale; the season of 1893 he was on the Arctic; for three months of the season of 1894 he was on the barge Ohio, and the balance of the year chief of the tug Sprague; during the season of 1895 he acted as chief on the Cormorant, as second on the Charles A. Eddy, for two months, and for three months as chief of the Iron Duke. In April 1896, he became chief engineer of the plant of the Camden Iron Works, at Buffalo, and on November 20, of that year, went to his present employment, that of chief engineer of the Gold Dollar Saloon, which operates an electric plant not only for its saloon but for adjoining stores.
Socially, Mr. Slater has been a member of the Independent Order of Red Men for five years, of the Catholic Mutual Benefit Association ten years, and is also a member of the National Association of Stationary Engineers, No. 151.
On October 30, 1878, Mr. Slater wedded Mary Kane. Their children are Edward, Esther, Mary and Edith. Mrs. Slater's brother, William E. Cane, was second engineer of the propeller Emily P. Weed, of the Lackawanna line, during the season of 1896.
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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.