Fred E. Wheeler
Fred E. Wheeler, a prominent marine engineer of Auburn, N.Y., was born at Ogdensburg, N.Y., May 4, 1844, a son of Elisha R. and Eleanor (Fowler) Wheeler. He acquired his education at the public schools, which he attended until the spring of 1869, when he decided to learn the machinist's trade, for which purpose he went to Oswego, N.Y., and entered the employ of the Vulcan Iron Works, serving an apprenticeship of four years.
In 1873 Mr. Wheeler took out a marine engineer's license, and was appointed to the tug Oneida, operating out of Oswego harbor. The following year he was made second engineer of the steamer Westford, and later he ran the engine at the mill of Farwell & Himes in Oswego. In the spring of 1877 he removed to St. Catherines, Ont., and ran the tug Kittie Hate on the Welland canal, remaining that season. After a season as second engineer on the steambarge Lothair, he was appointed chief and remained on her until the close of navigation, 1880. The next season he took charge of the machinery of the Alma Munro. In 1882 and 1883 he was in the employ of the Edge Tool Works at St. Catharines, and in 1884 he entered the employ of Muir Brothers, of Port Dalhousie, Ont., as chief engineer of the steamer Enterprise, and in 1885 became chief of the Albion, plying between Georgian Bay and Lake Erie ports, to Montreal, Quebec. In the spring of 1886 he shipped as chief of the steamer Van Allen, out of Port Hope, Ont.; and in 1887 as second on the passenger steamer Alberta, of the Canadian Pacific railroad, closing the season as chief of the steamer Niagara, of Toronto, Ont. His next steamboat was the Belle Wilson, which foundered in Thunder bay, Lake Huron, twelve miles off Harrisville, Mich., August 8. The crew took refuge in the yawlboat, and after being buffeted by the waves for six hours were picked up by the steamer M.M. Drake and taken to the Sault.
That winter Mr. Wheeler removed to Auburn, N.Y., and took charge of a stationary engine for the Auburn Manufacturing Company, holding that berth two years. In 1891 he took out an issue of American license, and fitted out the river tug Samson, owned by Bliss & Co., of Tonawanda, N.Y., on which he made one trip, being appointed chief of the steamer Ira Chaffee. This steamer was burned at the Sault in July, and he finished the season as chief on the passenger steamer City of New Baltimore. His next steamboat was the Sarah E. Sheldon. The seasons of 1893-94 were passed on the steamer Monteagle as chief engineer. Mr. Wheeler remained at Auburn during the following year in charge of the electric light plant of the Hemmingway Preserving Company, and of David Wadsworth & Son, manufactures of agricultural implements. In 1896 he went to Cleveland, and was made chief engineer of the steambarge Margaret Olwell, which position he holds at this writing. He has eleven issues of Canadian engineer's license, and eight of American issues.
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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.