William Whitney Grant
William Whitney Grant, deputy collector of customs at the port of Conneaut, and a prominent and enterprising citizen of that place, as was his father and grandfather before him, is a courteous gentleman of good business qualifications and a genial companion. His connection with affairs maritime does not consist alone by virtue of his office of collector, as he was a sailor before the mast, a marine engineer and surfman in the United States Life Saving Service. He is the son of James and Sarah (Guthrie) Grant, and was born on his father's farm in Conneaut township, the northeast corner of Ohio, on August 16, 1855, and is a grandson of Whitney and Clara (Calender) Grant, natives of New England. They moved west and located in Port Hope, Ont., where the father, James, was born; the mother being a native of Springfield, Pennsylvania.
After a residence of about two years at Port Hope, the grandfather removed with his family to Conneaut, Ohio, and was numbered among the pioneers of that hamlet. He was appointed keeper of the lighthouse at that port when it stood upon the east pier, retaining that office several years. He sailed as engineer on some of the old-time steamers, notable among them being the first steamer on Lake Erie, the Walk-in-the-Water, of which he was second engineer, his cousin, Brock Grant, being chief. During his residence at Conneaut he acquired, by industry and thrift, a valuable farm and other property. Both he and his wife died at Conneaut Harbor. The father, Capt. James Grant, was a ship-carpenter and builder, and worked in shipyards at Cleveland and Erie. He was also master and owner of several vessels, among them the schooners Venture, Caroline and others, the Caroline being his own individual property. He sailed on the Traveler, Telegraph, brig Lucy A. Blossom and Banner; also schooners Nightingale, North America and Cascade. He helped to build the Kate Gillett, Richards and Ogaritta. After engaging in the fishing business out of Conneaut for several years, he retired with good village property, to which he devoted much of his time. He passed to the eternal mooring ground on August 23, 1890, the wife and mother following on November 16, 1893.
William W. Grant, the subject of this sketch, improved the opportunities he had for acquiring a liberal public-school education until he reached the age of eighteen years, sailing some in the meantime, however, as cook on the little schooner Caroline, owned by his father, and E. Keyes. In the spring of 1875 he shipped before the mast on the schooner John Fretter, with Capt. Z. L. Wood. During the next three years, in addition to the attention he paid to mercantile interests, he studied mechanical engineering, and applied to Thomas Fitzpatrick for a license as engineer, which was granted, and he was appointed to the fishing tug Eliza Williams. In the spring of 1879 he joined the Thunder Bay Island Life Saving Crew as surfman, and remained there two seasons, during which time he assisted in making some daring rescues, among them the crew of the schooner Empire State, Capt. Archie McHenry. The schooner, in the fall of 1880, ran into a northeaster and stranded on North Point reef and broke in two. The schooners Sunnyside and Charles Hinckley went ashore at the same time. Mr. Grant and two men, who were out with the supply boat after provisions, realizing the peril of the crew of the Empire State, put off to them and succeeded in saving their lives, eight all told, and landed them at Alpena. The next year Mr. Grant was transferred to the life saving station at Fairport, Ohio, and in the spring of 1882 went as engineer in the fishing tug Grace and Ella.
In 1883 Mr. Grant was appointed engineer of the new fishing tug Pearl, built at Erie and operated out of that port. The rest of his active life on the lakes was passed as engineer of the tugs Minna, Wilcox, Lyon and Ruby, and master of the schooner Venture. In 1888 he opened a store in Conneaut Harbor, and engaged in mercantile pursuits, with good business success, adding steadily to his income, until April 4, 1894, when he was appointed deputy collector of customs at the port of Conneaut. Socially, he is a member of the order of the Knights of Pythias.
Mr. Grant was wedded to Miss Lydia E., daughter of Paul and Caroline (Jones) Jones, of Conneaut, formerly of Westfield, the marriage ceremony being performed on October 10, 1886. One daughter, Ruby May, has been born to this union. In addition to the family homestead, which is situated at No. 190 Broad street, Mr. Grant owns other improved real estate.
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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.