When he was twenty years of age, William J. Cocklin, father of our subject, came to America from Ireland and settled in Jersey City. After a short residence in that place he removed to Komoko, Ontario, where his son, William Cocklin, was born December 28, 1854.
At four years of age William, whose name opens this article, removed with his parents to Port Huron, where he received an education in the public schools. At this time the family took up their residence in Bay City, and William began the life of a sailor. He first went on the City of Sandusky as waiter, and there remained throughout the season. The following year he went on the George L. Dunlap as waiter, and was then steward on the Huron. At this time he had a desire to take up a new branch of the work, and still remain in the marine service, so he went on the tug Stranger, as fireman, and after serving in that capacity on the I.U. Masters, Crusader and Quebec, he obtained engineer's papers, and in the spring of 1877 went on the John Owen as second engineer. After this, for a years and a half, he returned to the Crusader, and was in the Burlington for year as second engineer and one year as chief. In the succeeding years he served as chief on the John Martin, Justice Fields (now called Traveler), Margaret Olwill, Missouri, Araxes, John Prindiville and the steamer Ohio in 1891, Samson and M.T. Greene, in 1893, Progress in 1894, tug Samson in 1895, and in 1896 came on the George Farwell, thus having served as chief engineer seventeen years.
On December 19, 1875, Mr. Cocklin was married to Cornelia Eldridge, of Toronto, Canada. He is a member of the A.O.U.W., Detroit Lodge No. 6, and of the Marine Engineers Association of Detroit, Branch No. 3.
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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.