L. Sleno, a marine engineer of the first class, was born in Oakville, Ontario, June 20, 1850, son of Joseph and Eleanor Sleno. He removed with his parents to the United States in 1857, the family locating in Saginaw, Mich., where the father, who was a machinist, opened a shop which he conducted up to the time of his death, in 1879. The mother died in 1894. Mr. Sleno's oldest brother, Talbert, is a practicing physician of Jackson, Mich. His other brothers are Charles and Samuel, the latter of whom is a millwright.
After a few years' attendance at the public schools Leonard Sleno, then a well- grown lad of thirteen years, enlisted, in January, 1863, in the Twenty-seventh Mich. V. I., his regiment being at that time incorporated with the Ninth Army Corps. He joined his command in the field, participated in the battle of Halls Gap and many skirmishes, and was with General Burnside at the siege of Knoxville, Tenn. After the siege was raised he crossed the Cumberland mountains with his regiment, which was afterward made a component part of the Army of the Potomac and took an honorable part in the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, North Ann River, and the operations before Petersburg. During the hottest part of the engagement at Petersburg Mr. Sleno received a serious and painful wound through the right shoulder which incapacitated him for further service, and from the effects of which he has never recovered. He was taken to the Howard hospital, in Washington, where he was confined four months, at the end of that time receiving his honorable discharge from the army on account of his wound, and returning home he again took up his studies at the public school.
In 1866 Mr. Sleno entered the employ of Mr. McKenzie, of Saginaw City, to learn the machinist's trade, afterward going to work in a blacksmith shop with his father. In the spring of 1868 he was appointed engineer of the tug Barleycorn, subsequently serving in the same capacity in various tugs on the Saginaw river -- notably the Prairie Flower, Emma, Elizabeth White, Star No. 1, Challenge, Witch of the West, Fannie Tuthill and Kate Fletcher -- until 1878, when he entered the employ of Capt. B. Boutell as engineer of the tug Dixon. He followed with a season in the tug Sol S. Rumage, and in the spring of 1880 was appointed chief engineer of the lake tug Ella Smith, running her four seasons and transferring to the Peter Smith also as chief engineer, holding that berth another four seasons. In the spring of 1888 Mr. Sleno took charge of the steamer tug Traveler, formerly the Chief Justice Fields, and ran her three seasons. He then stopped ashore about a year to do repair work to the machinery of the line, after which he was appointed chief engineer of the large tug Winslow, retaining that position two seasons. In the spring of 1894 he was again placed in the Traveler, and after two years on her as chief, was transferred to the Winslow for two seasons. During the winter months of each year he is employed on repair work to the various tugs of the line and during the winter of 1897-98 he was engaged in overhauling the machinery of the notable tug Sweepstakes, which he takes charge of as chief engineer. By industry and thrift and the help of his wife Mr. Sleno has acquired quite a block of improved real estate in West Bay City, and a fine farm in Bangor township, about one-half mile west of town.
Mr. Sleno was married on December 23, 1871, to Miss Mary J., daughter of Robert and Hannah Hough. Their only daughter, Blanche, has attended the public schools of West Bay City, and graduated with the class of 1898. The family homestead is on the farm adjacent to West Bay City. Fraternally Mr. Sleno is a Master Mason, belonging to Winona Lodge, West Bay City; a charter member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association No. 27; a member of the Knights of the Maccabees, and one of the youngest members of the Grand Army of the Republic.
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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.