Captain W. A. Collier
Captain W.A. Collier is one of the best known tug men on the lakes, and he has attained his present prominent position by skill, integrity and close application to business. He was born in Peninsula, Ohio, December 31, 1854, and in 1866 came to Cleveland with his father, Major Miles J. Collier, who earned an enviable war record as first lieutenant in the Second Ohio Cavalry. He served three years with that regiment, resigning to accept the appointment of major in the Twelfth Ohio Cavalry, and he in active service until the close of the war. He was, however, detached to serve on Major-General Blount's staff. After coming to Cleveland he engaged in the marine supply and grocery business.
Captain Collier's first experience on the lakes was on the tug Charles Castle, and was followed by engagements on the tugs Tom Maytham, W. D. Cushing, C. G. Curtiss and Dreadnaught. His first appointment as master was on the tug George W. Sigerson, from which he went onto the tug Charles Castle, serving on her four years, and in 1886 he was given command of the tug Tom Maytham, on which he remained two and a half seasons. In 1889 he was made manager of the Vessel Owners Towing line, with five tugs under his direction - the Tom Maytham, C. G. Curtiss, American Eagle, Dreadnaught and Florence. He owned an interest in the Maytham and Curtiss. In the winter of 1892 the Vessel Owners Towing Company was formed, the complement of tugs being the William Kennedy, Chris Grover, Alva B., H. L. Chamberlin, Joe Harris, Tom Maytham, W. D. Cushing, Dreadnaught, Allie May and C. G. Curtiss, and Captain Collier was made manager of this line. At this writing he is a stockholder, secretary and treasurer, director and general manager of the company, and is giving good satisfaction in every capacity. He holds the same relative positions in the Ashtabula Tug Company, which was incorporated in 1896, and controls the tugs William D., Sunol, Kunkle Brothers, John Gordon, Red Cloud and Kittie Downs. He also fills the offices of manager and director of the Cleveland Dredge Company, operating dredges on the south shore of Lake Erie and doing a general contracting business. This company was also incorporated in January, 1896.
Fraternally Captain Collier is a Knight Templar Mason, a charter member of Pearl Tent, Knights of the Maccabees, and a member of the Uniformed Rank, Knights of Malta, ranking as colonel on Major-General White's staff. At the present writing he has served several years as grand financial secretary of the Ship Masters Association of the Great Lakes, having been elected to this office January 21, 1891, the date of the formation of the Grand Lodge at Buffalo.
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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.