Jeremiah Havelick, one of the most prominent marine engineers of Milwaukee, Wis., received his first license in 1863, granted by inspector Guthrie of the Cleveland district, and but for a lapse of two years while he was working ashore, at a time when the United States Government charged the marine engineers a fee of $10 for permission to follow their profession, he would now have been able to number thirty- five issues. He also has Canadian license covering four years. Mr. Havelick, who was born October 1, 1835, near Sandusky, Erie Co., Ohio, is a man of great strength and endurance, and is in remarkable evidence of the blessings of a temperate and wholesome mode of life. He may be numbered among the patriarchs of the marine engineers fraternity, and is honored and esteemed as such. The blood of the brotherhood is brave in his veins, and his fine fellowship ever mingles with the free spirit of his generosity. He is the son of Americans for many generations, his forefathers being natives of Pennsylvania, as were also his parents, Malachi and Elizabeth Havelick, who became pioneers of Erie county, Ohio, away back in the early "forties," locating and improving a large tract of land. In 1857 the father moved still farther west, this time locating on the Little Wapposa river, in Chickasaw county, Iowa.
Very early in life, that is, when he was but nine years old, Jerry, as he is familiarly known, commenced to paddle his own canoe, and his opportunities to attend the public schools were therefore limited, as were also the number of schoolhouses. His first experience on the lakes was in 1845, in the little schooner Presto, and the captain, taking a liking to Jerry, kept him two seasons. Following this he was employed a season each in the schooner Echo and barkentine Naiad, and for four months the next season he filled the position of decksweep on the passenger steamer Western World. In 1849 he shipped before the mast in a schooner engaged in trading with the Indians as a coaster on Lakes Huron and Michigan, remaining in her two years, and as there were but three of a crew he was first mate the second season, being stronger than the other boy. He also sailed in the schooners Challenge and La Petite as second mate and mate, respectively, and as mate of the schooner Eveline Bates. He passed one summer in pound-net fishing near the Beavers for Ryan & Johnson. In the winter of 1852 Mr. Havelick walked from Sandusky to Columbus, Ohio, where he went to work in a blacksmith shop, afterward passing two years on a farm in Oxford township, Erie Co., Ohio. On his return to Sandusky he entered the employ of G.W. Olds as an apprentice to the machinist's trade, continuing thus for two and a half years, during which time he helped to build and set up the engine for the steamer Island Queen, a boat built of white cedar, which plied between Sandusky, Kelley's Island and Put-in-Bay; he ran this engine one summer. In the fall of 1861 he took up railroading on the Michigan Southern, from Cleveland to Toledo, and was locomotive engineer.
It was in the spring of 1863 that Mr. Havelick received his first license as marine engineer and was appointed chief of the side-wheel steamer Fort Sherman, plying between Sandusky, Fremont and contiguous ports. The next season he joined the propeller Mt. Vernon, as chief, following with a season each in the Morley and Saginaw, as chief. In 1867 he entered the employ of the Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Co., as second engineer of the old steamer Morning Star, holding that office when she was sunk by collision with the barkentine Kirtland; some of the passengers and crew were rescued by the barkentine and others by the steamer R.N. Rice, the next morning. Mr. Havelick was then transferred to the North West as second engineer. The next year he became second engineer of the steamer Huron, and in 1869 chief of the B.F. Wade, after which he went tugging on the Detroit river as chief on the Vulcan and for two seasons each on the tugs George B. McClellan and O. Wilcox. In the spring of 1874 he was appointed chief of the passenger steamer Evening Star, plying between Detroit and White Rock, the next season going as chief of the steamer John A. Dix. He then went to Chicago and entered the employ of the Goodrich Transportation Company as chief engineer of the Oconto, closing the season in the Menominee. In 1879 he joined the steamer Forest City as chief engineer and retained that office five seasons. During the winter of 1880-81 he went to Green Bay and took the engines and machinery out of a Fox river steamer, putting them into the George Burnham, which he brought out new and ran for the season. That winter he went to Natchez, Miss., as master mechanic in the interest of E.P. Allis, to superintend the erection of engines and test boilers, which occupied him until June, when he returned to Milwaukee and was appointed chief engineer of the steamer Columbia, commanded by Capt. J.D. Peterson. In the spring of 1883 he joined the steamer Burnham as chief and after laying her up at the close of navigation took charge of the engine and machinery in the "Plankinton Hotel" in Milwaukee. On January 17, 1884, Mr. Havelick was appointed to the responsible position which he has since held, chief engineer of the engines and machinery of the Manigold Milling Company, in Milwaukee. During the many years that Mr. Havelick has been in charge of marine and stationary engines he has gained the utmost confidence and given universal satisfaction, and he is rated as standing at the head of his profession.
Mr. Havelick and Miss Mary Pierce, daughter of Eliza Pierce, of Huron, Ohio, formerly of West Virginia, were united in marriage on January 28, 1857, and one son, Frank, has been born to them. The family homestead is at No. 443 Third avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Socially Mr. Havelick is a Master Mason, and he is also a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, of Milwaukee Lodge No. 9, of which body he has been chosen treasurer for the last two terms.
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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.