John H. Galwey
John H. Galwey, past national president of the Marine Engineers Association, ex-supervising inspector of steam vessels, and present United States local inspector of steam vessels at Detroit, was born in that city, August 27, 1848. A graduate of SS. Peter and Paul's Academy, he began work at the age of seventeen in the employ of an uncle, a merchant in the Lake Superior region. Being of a mechanical turn of mind he preferred the business of steam-engineering, and accordingly obtained employment in the Chicago and Northwestern railroad shops at Escanaba, Wis. After serving time as apprentice to the machinist's trade, he became a fireman on the road, and in a few months was promoted to the engineer's position. Later, in 1869, he returned to Detroit where he began his first experience as oiler in engineer's department, on the then very popular steamer Jay Cooke. After one season in that capacity he procured license as assistant engineer, and served as such the season of 1870 on the same steamer, after acting as assistant engineer for several years on various lake steamers, in 1880, he was appointed chief engineer of the passenger steamer Alaska, running between Detroit, Sandusky and the islands, where he remained until he retired from active service, in 1890, being elected to the office of national president of the Marine Engineers Association. Having been an active member of that organization from its infancy, he took a strong interest in its growth and improvement and much of the credit must be given to Mr. Galwey, and a few others who, like him, devoted their best energies and untiring efforts in its interest for the high position among labor organizations the M.E.B.A. holds at the present day. Having served two terms as president of the Local Association No. 3, he was sent to represent his association at the annual convention, in 1885, at Cincinnati, Ohio, and again at Buffalo, in 1886, where he was elected national treasurer, serving as such and representative to the several succeeding annual conventions held at New York City, Milwaukee, Baltimore, and Charleston, S.C., where at the last named city he was elected to the position of national president. He was the first national president to be salaried, and was expected to devote his whole time and service for the benefit of the association. The salary was a liberal one, being $2,000 a year and expenses, and much good was expected to accrue by having a competent man who would traverse the coast of the United States wherever there were engineers engaged on boats, explain to them the objects of the organization and institute subordinate branches. The work of Mr. Galwey during the three years he served as head of the M.E.B.A. was very creditable to himself and beneficial to the order. The change of administration brought about in 1892, by the election of Mr. Cleveland, awakened the ambitions of Mr. Galwey again, and he entered the field as candidate for the office of supervising inspector of steam vessels for the eighth district. He secured without question the united support of the numerous marine associations on the lakes, and also had strong backing from the national organization; but his active work as leader in the M.E.B.A. was also the means of arraying against his candidacy an organization more powerful on the lakes than all others - the Lake Carriers Association. This association was prejudiced against him for the part he had taken, when president of the M.E.B.A., in a strike of the engineers of Cleveland against a reduction of wages. Every possible influence was brought to bear on Mr. Cleveland to prevent his appointment, but after about a year and a half delay his name was sent to the Senate in July, 1894, but was not confirmed before adjournment of Senate. He was, however, appointed temporarily during the recess, and entered upon the duties of the office of supervising inspector, October 2, 1894, and unanimously confirmed later by the Senate. The long contested and hard struggle made by Mr. Galwey for a place for which he was well qualified, secured for him many friends, and, when it was over, many of those who opposed him were pleased to congratulate him on his success, and gave him assurance of continued good will during his term of office. After serving three and one-half years as supervising inspector, Mr. Galwey tendered his resignation to accept the position of local inspector at Detroit, where a vacancy occurred through the retirement of Mr. Thomas Daly, who had held said position for fourteen years. The latter appointment was made after a civil service examination, at which Mr. Galwey stood first on the list.
Mr. Galwey is very comfortably and happily situated in his home on Leverette street, Detroit, which is presided over by his wife, a very pleasing and cultured lady, and one daughter, a bright young miss of fifteen years. In his home his friends are ever sure of a warm welcome. Mr. Galwey has the happy faculty of making friends and keeping them, to which in a large degree is due his success in life.
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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.