Robert Flemming (deceased), who, during his lifetime, was a well-known engineer, was born in Buffalo, N. Y., February 22, 1838. He was a son of John and Mary Flemming, also of Buffalo, the former of whom for many years kept a wholesale supply store at the foot of Commercial Street.
After completing his school education our subject worked at the trade of machinist until his twenty-first year, when, being seized by a sudden desire to try a nautical life, he took a position as oiler on the side-wheel steamer Crescent City, plying between Buffalo and Cleveland, and remained on her two seasons. In 1856 he was transferred to the City of Buffalo in the same capacity, the following year being promoted to the position of second engineer of the propeller Esquimaux, owned by the New York Central Railroad Company, and holding same for two seasons, remaining one year after obtaining his full papers. In 1859 he took charge of the engines of the Cuyahoga, plying between Buffalo and Green Bay, on which he served one season, the two years following being on the Rocket. He soon made another change, shipping aboard the Free State, owned by the Western Transit Company, and continuing on her for several seasons. In the year 1863 he was given the position of assistant engineer on the steamer Canubra, belonging to the U. S. Navy aud[sic] commanded by Commodore F. H. Behm, and was also with the fleet at the capture of Mobile by Farragut's division in the same year. Later on, however, Mr. Flemming meet with a serious accident, the same being a rupture, which necessitated his return to Buffalo, and he subsequently took the position as second engineer on the steamer Cuba, owned by Ensign Holt.
In 1873 Mr. Flemming entered the Buffalo Fire Department, remaining till 1879, when he shipped as first engineer aboard the Clyde, owned by Danforth Ash & Co., and built at Bay City, Mich. The following year the boat passed into the hands of the Lehigh Valley Transportation Company, who retained Mr. Flemming in his old position, and he remained with them until he laid up his boat in the fall of 1897. However, he never returned to her, for he died August 20, 1898.
In 1865 he was married to Elizabeth Holmes, of Buffalo, a widow with one son. There were two children born to this marriage, both daughters: Mary, now (1898) aged twenty-five, and Ida, aged twenty-three. All three children are living.
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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.