A. C. Getchell
A.C. Getchell, whose death occurred November 7, 1888, is still fresh in the minds of many of his friends and associates, in Cleveland, and was one of the pioneer residents of that city and one of her most public spirited citizens. Into the vast fabric of the past enters the individuality, the effort, the accomplishment of each man, be his station most lowly or one of power and intellect, and within its textile folds may be traced the lines of each characteristic, be it one that lends the sheen of honest worth and honest endeavor, or one that is dark and eccentric, finding its way through warp and woof, marrying the composite symmetry by its baleful threads, ever in evidence of a shadowed and unprolific life, or winning forth by congenial companionship, joy and hope. Into the great aggregate of the past each individuality is merged, and yet the memory of each is never lost, especially if the scope of its influence is wide-spreading and grateful, and it is a pleasure in this memoir to follow up such a life history, seeking ever to do justice to a good and generous man.
Mr. Getchell was born in Waterville, Maine, March 8, 1818. His father dying when he was but twelve years old, he left home and went to Boston, Mass., where he shipped as a cabin boy on a merchant vessel trading to European ports, England, India, China, Japan, and across the Pacific ocean to the west coast of America, returning to Boston by way of Cape Horn. This and other voyages occupied about eight years of his early life, and it is safe to say here that young Getchell visited, in his humble capacity of cabin boy and seaman, more points of interest than even many a well-traveled person sees. On his return to Boston he went into a shop as an apprentice to the machinist's trade, in which he became unusually proficient, and on this was founded the avocation of his successful after-life. Upon completing his trade he went to Bangor, Maine, where he found employment. In 1848 he met Miss Caroline E. Norton, and they were united in marriage that year, shortly afterward removing to Portland, Maine, where he shipped as engineer on a coasting steamer, plying between that port and Boston and touching at intermediate ports, retaining this position one year. He then stopped ashore and engaged as engineer of a locomotive on the Atlantic & St. Lawrence railroad, and after some experience on the road he resigned this position and entered the machine shop of the same company, in order that he might acquaint himself more thoroughly with the mechanism and working of the locomotive engine, which was a comparatively new piece of machinery in those days.
In 1852 Mr. Getchell went west as master mechanic in charge of locomotives consigned to a company then laying down a new railroad in Kentucky, and after putting these engines in proper running order he accepted the position of master mechanic of the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton road. He continued in this incumbency until the spring of 1854, when he removed to Cleveland, Ohio, and accepted the position as engineer on the Cleveland & Pittsburgh railroad, with which he remained nearly four years, subsequently engaging for several years with the Lake Shore railroad. He then turned his attention to stationary engineering, and was soon afterward appointed chief boiler inspector for the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Co., operating out of Cleveland, which position he held up to the time of his death on September 7, 1888. He was a man of recognized intellectual power, wrote many able papers treating on engineering subjects, and was eminently qualified for the responsible positions he occupied.
Mr. Getchell left a widow, a lady of rare intellectual attainments, and two children - A. William, who now occupies the position which his father's death left vacant, and Carrie Augusta, the wife of Quincy Miller, the superintendent of the Cleveland Ship Building Company's boiler shops. The family residence is on Franklin avenue, Cleveland, Ohio.
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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.