Captain William H. Solmes
Captain William H. Solmes, master of the steamer Corona, one of the fine vessels belonging to the Niagara Navigation Company, of Toronto, is a sturdy lake sailor of the best type. He was born January 16, 1850, in the township of N. Marysburgh, Prince Edward County, Ontario, and he still resides at the old homestead in that country, that valuable holding having become his own.
The Captain secured a solid education in the public schools of his native country, and early took to the water, his first venture on the lakes being as cook in a Canadian schooner trading principally on Lake Ontario; this was in 1863. For three years he had charge of the galley, and it is a good voucher for his ability as a chef that neither the captain nor any of the crew during those years suffered any indigestion or dyspepsia. Later he shipped before the mast and eventually became mate on several schooners, sailing until 1873, when he abandoned the lakes for a couple of years. In the year 1866 he was with Captain Taylor, of Kingston, the present inspector. Until 1875 the Captain was in California and Nevada, where he held a position with Mr. John McKie in the Hale & Norcross mine; coming back to Canada, he resumed sailing in that year and continued for a time in different schooners, finally transferring to steam vessels in the Montreal trade. In 1876 he was on the steamer Alexander, succeeding which he was mate of the propeller Oswego Belle, and for eight years following he was mate of the steamer Empress of India, leaving her for his first command, the steamer Rothsay. He was next on the steamer Merritt, and subsequently he took charge of the steamer Empress of India, sailing between Port Dalhousie and Toronto in the passenger and fruit, carrying trade. Leaving her he went into the employ of the Niagara Navigation Company, in command of the Chicora, plying between Niagara Falls and Toronto. When this company built the new steamer Cobila he was put in command and sailed her two years, until she burned in Lewiston in 1894. The following season the company had the steamer Corona constructed and Captain Solmes has been captain ever since she was launched in 1895.
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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.