R. S. Grant
R.S. Grant, at present chief engineer on the palatian steamer North Land, operated between Buffalo and Duluth in connection with the Northern railroad, has had a marine experience more than usually diversified. He is a native of Scotland, born July 1, 1858, in Fochabers, Morayshire, son of Charles and Mary (Calder) Grant.
After the usual term in attendance at the public schools R. S. Grant was apprenticed to the machinist's trade in the engine-building works of Mr. Napier, on the Clyde, remaining in those shops six and a half years, and becoming a skilled mechanic and engineer. At the expiration of that time he decided to become a marine engineer, and secured the position of fourth assistant in the British India mail steamer Bhundhara, remaining on her eight months. Transferring to the Malda, of the same line, he was advanced to the berth of third assistant, and after serving six months in that berth was made second assistant, finally attaining to the position of first assistant on the Malda about six and a half years after he first shipped in her. She was engaged in carrying British troops to Egypt, touching at various seaports. Mr. Grant was next appointed chief engineer of the East Indiaman Coconada, plying between Calcutta and Bombay, on which vessel he remained two years, the following six months having charge of the machinery of the steamship Oriental, which during that time made two voyages to ports in China. He then transferred as chief to the steamship Heron, in the Chinese coasting trade, which was wrecked at the end of a year off Amoy, with the loss of several Chinese sailors. He next took second engineers's berth on the ship Shanghai, owned by Butterfield & Swire, and plied on the Yang-Tse-Kiang, a magnificent stream, navigable for 700 miles; Mr. Grant was in her about eight months and also served in other ships owned by the same company. During the year 1885 he was chief engineer of the man-of-war Coronation, of the Siamese navy. It was in February, 1886, that he joined the Chinese navy as chief engineer in the man-of-war Wan Nien Cheng. A year later she was run into by a P. & O. mail steamer, the Malwa, and sank, 200 disbanded Chinese soldiers losing their lives. Mr. Grant and his crew escaped by reaching the bows of the Malwa before she drew out of the wreck. During the year 1888 he was placed in charge of an engineers' supply shop in Hong, Kew, Shanghai, owned by an American named George Woods, and he subsequently shipped in the United States steamer Marion, the flagship of Admiral Chandler, stationed on the coast of China, under the immediate command of Capt. N. M. Dwyer; the Admiral died and was buried at Hong Kong. During the sixteen months Mr. Grant was in the Marion he was employed as machinist, and as she went out of commission at the end of that time he came to the United States, proceeding direct to Chicago, where he entered the employ of the Illinois Central Railway Company as machinist. At various times he was engaged in the shops of the Union Pacific, North Pacific, Great Northern, and Omaha railroads. On April 15, 1897, he joined the steamer North West as first assistant engineer, retaining that office until October, when he was appointed chief of the North Land, the position which he holds at this writing. He is a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association No. 1, of Buffalo, New York.
On July 11, 1893, Mr. Grant was married to Margaret, daughter of Hon. Robert and Mary (Frazier) Newel, of St. Paul, Minn., who were natives of Scotland; her father represented his district in the State Legislature, his term beginning in 1887. The family homestead is at Williston, N. Dak., and the farm comprises 160 acres of improved land.
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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.