Captain W. W. Wilkins
Captain W.W. Wilkins, the fourth son of Captain Benjamin and Anna (Backus) Wilkins, was born in Erie, Penn., on September 22, 1859, and received a liberal education in that city, passing one term in the high schools, sailing during vacations with his father, thus learning the elementary duties of the sailor's life, and in the spring of 1877 he shipped on the steamer Winslow, of the Anchor line, his father being in command. The following season he joined the India as lookout, being advance to the berth of wheelsman. In 1880 he received his license and was appointed second mate of the Arizona, with Capt. Ed. Mooney, in 1881 going as second mate with Capt. M.H. Murch in the Winslow, but closing the year as car recorder in the Lake Shore railroad yard at Erie. In the spring of 1882 Capt. W.W. Wilkins became second mate of the steamer Annie Young, with Capt. W.D. Waite; in 1883 was mate of the steamer China; 1884 mate of the steamer Idaho, of the Lake Superior Transit Co., remaining until the close of the next season with Capt. Alex Clark, and in 1886 he entered the employ of the Lake Michigan & Lake Superior Transit Co., as mate of the steamer City of Fremont, which plied between Duluth and the Portage, on Lake Superior, touching at other south shore ports. That fall he left the lakes for a time, and, after attending the funeral of his mother, he went to Minneapolis in a business capacity.
In the spring of 1889, however, Captain Wilkins returned to the lakes, shipping as mate on the steamer Samuel F. Hodge, but closing the season on the Lehigh Valley line steamer Henry Packer, with Capt. W.D. Waite. In 1890 he was mate of the Badger State, with Capt. J.H. Smith, until October, when he transferred to the steamer William H. Stevens, making two round trips, Duluth to Ogdensburg, laying up the steamer in Duluth on December 6. During the seasons of 1891-92 he sailed as mate on the steamer of John M. Nicol, with Capt. Albert Stewart; 1893-94 as mate of the Badger State, with Capt. James Kennedy; 1895-96 as mate of the steamer Boston, with Capt. Dugal Buie, taking command of the steamer the last trip on account of the illness of Capt. D. Buie. In the spring of 1897 Captain Wilkins entered the employ of James McBrier, of Erie, as master of the steamer Nyanza, of which he is still (1899) in command.
On August 22, 1891, Capt. W.W. Wilkins was wedded to Miss Hattie Saulsbury, daughter of Schuyler and Miranda (Force) Saulsbury, and the children born to this union are Anna Louise and Cameron Merle. The family home is at No. 1824 Myrtle street, Erie, Penn. The captain is a member of the Ship Masters Association, Buffalo branch, No. 1, his Pennant being No. 1045, and of the I.O.O.F.
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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.