Engineer William Fetting
Engineer William Fetting is one of the most prominent marine engineers on the lakes, and has rapidly attained a position in the front rank of his profession. Although a young man he is chief of one of the larger class of lake steamers, with a variety of complicated machinery. He was born in Marine City, Mich., on May 27, 1868, and is the son of August and Augusta (Rouvel) Fetting both of whom were born near Berlin, Germany. The father came to the United States when he was thirty-two years of age, and the mother who was much younger (seven years old), coming over with her parents, both locating in Detroit. After marriage they settled on a farm near Marine City, and some years later removed to Adair, Mich. It was there that William attended school until he was fourteen years of age, when he again went to Marine City, and had the advantage of the schools there three winters, working in the brickyard for Capt. John Mitchell during the summer.
It was in 1884 that he began his marine life, sailing with Capt. John Mitchell on the steamers John C. Pringle and William H. Gratwick three seasons, serving in various capacities. In the spring of 1887 he shipped on the William H. Gratwick No. 1 as watchman, and during 1888 he was lookout, and then fireman for six months, on the steamer F.L. Freyer. This was followed by two seasons, 1889-90, as oiler on the new steamer John Mitchell. In the spring of 1891 he was appointed second engineer on the steamer Lansing. He then passed three seasons on the steamer Robert L. Freyer, on which he had previously served as lookout, the first as second engineer, and the last two as chief, and during the winters of 1892-93 he attended the Spencerian Business College, at Cleveland, Ohio, realizing that a deeper knowledge of business methods would prove beneficial to him. In 1895 Mr. Fetting transferred to the steamer William F. Sauber, and the following spring was appointed chief engineer of the large steel steamer John J. McWilliams, at Buffalo retaining that office till the close of navigation, November 27, 1898. It is notable that during his entire marine life, with the exception of the season he was on the Lansing, he has been in the employ of Capt. John Mitchell, his machinery always giving the best results.
Socially, our subject is a Master Mason of Custer Lodge No. 393, at Sanilac Center, Mich., a member of the Marine City Arbiters, and the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association No. 54, of Marine City, Michigan.
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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.