William Clancy (deceased), who was one of the prominent marine engineers sailing out of the port of Buffalo, was born in Limerick, Ireland, March 13, 1846, and with his parents emigrated to this country in 1852. After residing at Montreal for about fifteen months they came to Buffalo, N.Y., which place has since been their home.
Mr. Clancy's first practical employment was with David Bell, in his machine shops, where he remained about thirteen months, going to New Albany, Ind., and there engaging as a machinist until 1867, when he began his steamboating career as oiler on the Michigan, on which he remained two seasons. He followed this with about six months in the same capacity next season on the Commdore[sic] Perry, and next went on the steam barge Oakland, serving as her second engineer the following season, and the subsequent one as her chief. The season of 1872 found him on the Mary Jarecki as her chief, and in the early part of 1873 he was second on the S.B. Graves, finishing that season and winter in the Detroit Machine Shops. In 1874 and part of 1875 he was chief of the Plymouth. In 1877 he began an eleven-years term of service with the Western Transportation Company as second on the Buffalo, which berth he held for six consecutive seasons, and was then promoted to chief on the Empire State, where he remained five seasons. In 1889 he went on the Tioga as her chief, and followed with a season each on the Fred Mercer and Robert Packer, remaining ashore the next year and then going on the Germanic as chief for one season. He closed the season of 1896 as chief of the Cormorant. In addition to the services above mentioned Mr. Clancy was second on the Queen City one season, and chief of the Araxes one season during his lake experience. All the intervening time, especially the winters, he spent in the South, on various Southern rivers - the Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, Ohio and Red rivers. He had twenty-eight issues of license, including those received in the South. He had the usual experience of a tried lake engineer, but had no serious wrecks of any kind until 1897, the nearest approaching such being on Lake Huron when the Jarecki was blown ashore, and Mr. Clancy opened her seacocks and flooded her to prevent her pounding herself to pieces. In the fall of 1897, on November 6, Mr. Clancy came to his death by the foundering of the steamer Idaho, of which he was first engineer. A terrific storm came up and about three o'clock in the morning the men all saw that they would all be drowned. Two only escaped, and they were picked up by a steamer after they had clung to the mast for twenty-four hours. Mr. Clancy's body has never been recovered. He held the confidence of his employers, and the respect and good will of all his acquaintances.
In 1878 Mr. Clancy was married at Buffalo to Anna Murphy, of Ireland, and they resided at No. 82 Goodrich street, Buffalo. In fraternal affiliation Mr. Clancy was a Knight of Honor and formerly a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association.
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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.