Joseph Hempton, an ardent member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association and well known to the fraternity in Duluth, Minn., was born in Manitowoc, Wis., December 4, 1854. His parents, William and Margaret (Dunham) Hempton, were natives of Toronto, Ontario, and Vermont, respectively, and as early as 1832 both came west and located in Manitowoc, where they met and were married.
Joseph Hempton received his primary education in the schools of his native place, and in the spring of 1882 began his marine career as fireman on the tug Bob Nobles, on Sturgeon bay. Toward the close of the season she was destroyed by fire, the crew reaching shore in a small boat, and they walked to Menominee, where they were treated as kindly as shipwrecked sailors usually are. The next season Mr. Hempton shipped as fireman in the tug Ben Drake, and during that winter he applied for an engineer's license, after obtaining which he ran the Drake two seasons. In 1884 he engineered the tug Nelson, and then ran a stationary engine for some time. In 1889 Mr. Hempton again took up his marine life, entering the employ of Capt. J.H. Dunham, of Chicago, as engineer of the tug A. Miller. The following spring he shipped as second engineer in the steamer Mary Mills, plying between Chicago and Menominee in the lumber trade, and his next boat was the Eugene Hart, plying on Saginaw bay, of which he was also second engineer. In the spring of 1892 he was appointed chief engineer of the Nelson, running her until October, when he laid his boat up and entered the employ of Whiteside, Torgelson & Shaw, as engineer of their flouring-mill, operating a Corliss engine. In 1894 he went to Menominee, where he was appointed chief engineer of the side-wheel steamer M. M. Chester, plying in the fruit trade. It was in 1896 that he came to Duluth, Minn., where he entered the employ of Capt. B. B. Inman as engineer of the tug Joseph Dudley, transferring the next season to the tug A. C. Adams. In the spring of 1898 Mr. Hempton was given the position of chief engineer on the tug Hattie Lloyd, operated by the Independent Ferry Company, between Duluth and West Superior. He makes his home in Duluth.
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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.