William Dent, son of Robert and Mary Dent, was born in Stockton-upon-Tees, County of Durham, England, in 1850. His education was acquired in the penny schools of his native town and at night schools. In 1866 he entered the employ of the Stockton (Northeast) Railroad Company's shops as apprentice to learn the machinist's trade, serving four years, after which he fired four months and ran a locomotive eighteen months in the same employ.
In the fall of 1872 Mr. Dent took passage for Brazil, South America, where he again railroaded until the spring of 1873, when he came to the United States. Here he commenced his career on the Great Lakes, entering the employ of the Goodrich line, shipping as oiler on the steamer Muskegon for one season. This was followed by a season as second engineer on the same boat. In the spring of 1875 he shipped on the steamer Corona as second engineer, remaining two seasons; his next steamboat was the Cheboyan [sic], of which he was second engineer three seasons, and in the spring of 1880 he took the Queen of the West as chief engineer, continuing on her nine seasons. In 1890 he shipped on the steamer Cheboygan as chief engineer, holding this berth three years, and in 1893 he again took charge of the machinery of the Queen of the West. In 1894 he took the W.H. Harrison, an excursion boat plying between Buffalo and Niagara Falls, and in the spring of 1895 he shipped as second engineer on the steamer Pearl, which carried excursion parties to Crystal Beach, and in 1896 was appointed chief engineer of the steamer H.C. Hall, which he laid up at the close of navigation in Chicago harbor. During the season of 1897 he accepted the position of chief engineer on the steamer Corona, an excursion boat running from Buffalo to Woodland beach, and in the spring of 1898 he again entered the employ of the Goodrich Transportation Company as chief engineer of the passenger steamer Chicago. He has had twenty-three issues of license. The family residence is located at No. 324 Elk street, Buffalo, 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.