William W. Tyler
William W. Tyler, of Cleveland, claims the distinction of being the oldest marine engineer in the iron-ore trade on the Great Lakes. He was engineer on the steamer Mary Jarecki, owned by Sheppard, Henry & Co., of Erie, which was one of the first steam vessels engaged in carrying ore from Escanaba to Lake Erie ports. There were several steamers in the same line, but all the engineers operating them have passed away, leaving Mr. Tyler the only one to claim the honor of being thus connected with the inception of the now immense industry.
This veteran engineer was born at West Point, N. Y., October 9, 1841. He was a son of Hiram and Mary (Mandigo) Tyler, the former a well-known contractor. The father was born May 4, 1803, and the mother September 13, of the same year. Of their other children Charles was born in 1831; Mary J., December 10, 1835; and Hiram on August 19, 1838.
William W. Tyler attended school in his youth, later learning the machinist's trade. His first sailing occurred about 1858, in vessels on the Hudson river. After several years of service on various crafts, he joined the schooner Oregon, spending the season of 1861 on that vessel, trading up and down the beautiful Hudson. The following year he went to New York and shipped as fireman on the Sandy Hook towboat Thurlow Weed. He remained on this vessel five or six years, becoming second engineer. Then for two years was second engineer of the Blanche Paige, when he served one year longer as chief engineer on the same boat, making short trips out of New York, following which he entered the employ of the David Cox at Sandy Hook, and was successively chief engineer on the steamers William Cox, Tontine, C. J. Saxe, and again on the David Cox. Then he entered the Gamecock line of the big ocean tugs, and was chief of the Gamecock, the F. B. Thurber and the Vim. Following this he became fireman on the side-wheel steamer Thomas Freeborn, and then joined the wrecking steamer Rescue, belonging to the Columbia and Coast Wrecking Company, after which he became chief engineer of the line, being placed in charge of the wrecker Lackawanna; and then came to the lakes at the instance of the same company to run the steamer Leviathan. After leaving the Leviathan he was engineer of the old propeller Sun for a time, and then entered the employ of Sheppard, Henry & Co., the firm previously referred to, with whom he remained eight years. He also served on the steamer Fred Kelley for the same employers.
After leaving this line Mr. Tyler acted as chief engineer of the Oscar Townsend, David W. Rust, and Selah Chamberlain one year each, and of the R. P. Ranney, which he brought out new, being on her three seasons; also was on the City of Cleveland, then new, for one season. Then he spent one year in the National Flouring Mills, making a trip to Philadelphia the year following to bring back to the lakes the steamyacht Peerless, a craft which had the first triple expansion engines on the lakes. Then he served another year in the Ranney, after which he brought out new the steamer Gladstone, and ran her three years, spending one year on the H. K. Devereux, one on the Gladstone and one on the new steamer Alva. Then he entered the employ of the Minnesota Company, and spent three years as chief engineer on the Matoa.
In 1869 Mr. Tyler married Miss Effie E. Ager, of Fishkill-on-the-Hudson, and they were the parents of six children, of whom but two are living: William Henry, born September 2, 1870; and Charles A., born September 22, 1876. Both are following the lakes, the elder son being a chief engineer, and the younger acting as oiler on the Matoa during the season of 1896. Effie E., Robert H., Elword and Clarence died in infancy. An uncle of Mrs. Tyler is Capt. John Watts, who sailed vessels, operating floating stores on the Hudson, and becoming immensely wealthy.
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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.