Robert Chestnut Jr.
Robert Chestnut, Jr., son of Robert and Elizabeth (Carr) Chestnut, was born at New York City, October 3, 1861, and when a year old his parents moved to Oswego, NY, where he attended school until he was twelve years of age, when he went to California with his father, where they remained for two years, after which they returned to Oswego, where the subject of our sketch remained until 1877, when he went to Chester, Penn., and served a four years' apprenticeship in the shop of John Roath, machinist. He subsequently went to Fulton, NY, and spent a year in a machine shop there, then back again to Oswego, where he was employed in the Kingford Iron Manufacturers' shops until the spring of 1884, at which time he began steamboating, as assistant, part, and chief engineer for the remainder of that season on the steamer Ontario. In 1885 he served as second engineer on the St. Lawrence, plying on the St. Lawrence river, and the following season in a like capacity on the Woceken (which steamer was lost on Lake Erie in 1893), leaving her, before the close of the season, to enter a machine shop at Syracuse, NY, where he remained until the season of 1889, when he again commenced steamboating as second engineer to Dan Doyle on the Hecla, remaining on her for that and part of the season of 1890, when he was appointed chief engineer of the W.L. Frost, of the Ogdensburg Transportation Company, and after two seasons on her was assigned to the H.R. James, spending three seasons on her as chief, and then transferred to the F.H. Prince, of which he has been chief ever since, including the season of 1897, making seven consecutive seasons in the employ of the Ogdensburg Transportation Company, during which time, or previous thereto, he has never been in a collision or wreck.
Mr. Chestnut's father was for many years an engineer of salt-water steamers, and during the war was engineer of the Sachem (which was chartered by the government for service during the conflict), and is now local boiler inspector of steamboats at Oswego, New York.
In July, 1882, Mr. Chestnut wedded Miss Bertha M. Pratt, a daughter of George Pratt, a merchant of Pulaski, NY. They have two children, Maude and Henry, aged fourteen and ten years respectively. He is a member of the Syracuse Lodge No. 109, Cynosure Encampment No. 14 and Canton No. 6, Syracuse I.O.F. also Acacian Lodge No. 705, Ogdensburg, F & A.M. The family residence of Mr. Chestnut is at No. 89 Knox Street, Ogdensburg, New York.
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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.