William F. Dempsey
William F. Dempsey was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1851, and is one of five brothers, all of whom were marine engineers and machinists, the father also being a marine and locomotive engineer and machinist of superior ability.
The subject of this sketch attended a private school until he was about sixteen years of age, when he went as an oiler on the steamer Northern Light. He afterward shipped on the steamer Messenger, plying between Cleveland and the islands. He then went as second engineer on the barge Vienna; later going as chief on the tug Champion, then on the Oswego, P.L. Johnson and Hickox; and worked on the machine shops off and on during the winter. He served an apprenticeship of seven years in the Lake Shore boiler and machine shops, and was with the Cleveland Ship Building Company, after which he took a position in the Brush Electric light Works, in order that he might obtain a knowledge of the working of an electric plant. In 1887 he engineered the Annie L. Craig, plying between Buffalo and Duluth, and it was at this time that he noted the fact that the towns Eagle Harbor, Eagle River and Copper Harbor were almost depopulated by the great number of emigrants landing at these places and sent there by a European agent to take the place of the natives working in the mines, the boats on this line carrying from ten to thirty every trip.
At the time of his first trip to Duluth, that city of great possibilities, at the head of Lake Superior, contained no hotels, and stumps were standing in the middle of what were supposed to be streets. After some time spent in this service, he went tugging on the Amadeus and Tuttle out of Cleveland harbor. Shortly after he received his appointment to the fireboat J. L. Weatherly, as assistant, then to the Clevelander as chief, serving on her until she was laid up for some alterations; then he took charge of the machinery of the John H. Farley and brought her out new. When the Clevelander was again ready for duty he was transferred to her where he has been ever since. Mr. Dempsey has been in service on the fireboats ten years and has given good satisfaction. He has been the means of saving lives of several persons from drowning in the river, also from being crushed under the wheels of railroad cars.
On June 2, 1880, Mr. Dempsey was united in marriage to Miss Lucy A. Walker, of Cleveland, and nine children have been born to them: Mary Frances, Lucy Adelaide, Veronica Marie, Frank Leo, Joseph Richard, Sarah Helen, William Ignatius, Jr., Edward James and Eugene Vincent.
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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.