Hingston & Woods
Hingston & Woods have carried on the dredging business from one end of the lakes to the other. They have deepened Niagara river at so many points that the line would be continuous for its whole length if the sections were put together; they have sent their dredges into about twenty ports on Lake Erie, while in Detroit river; at the Sault; on Lake Ontario; and at Morrisburg, on the St. Lawrence, they have also done extensive work.
This firm is practically the successor of the two dredging firms of Clark & Douglas and Spalding & Bennett, which did business in Buffalo and vicinity till 1878, when Hingston & Woods succeeded them in business. Mr. Woods had been the superintendent and Mr. Hingston the bookkeeper for the former firm. Beginning in a moderate way they soon extended operations and increased their plant till it became the largest concern in business on the lakes. The largest contract they accomplished was the development of the harbor system of the Lehigh Valley Company, at the Tifft Farm in Buffalo, which added about five miles to the docks of the inner harbor. This work was begun in 1881, and the greater part of it was finished in two years, although it extended altogether over five years. In the meantime the firm built a 450-foot extension to the Government breakwater, and did large amounts of other dredge work. There is not a port of any size on the south shore of Lake Erie that the firm has not deepened, and in the case of Conneaut and Port Dover, on the Canadian shore opposite, the firm has made it possible to run a line of car ferries from one port to the other. They are now engaged in building very extensive docks and corresponding slips at Conneaut for the Carnegie- Rockefeller ore interest, the contract for this work having been taken in the fall of 1896. They are now building a similar dock for the same purpose at Port Stanley, Ontario. The bare enumeration of the contract work done by the firm on the lakes would make a long list.
Besides all this there have been numerous contracts for railroad, pile, and trestle work, and great city-sewers built. The Bailey avenue sewer, built by the firm in Buffalo, cost $250,000, and this was merely the largest of many. In addition to this the firm has assisted in developing the water-works system not only of Buffalo, but of Syracuse at Skaneateles lake, of Rochester at Hemlock lake, of Canandaigua and Tonawanda, and also assisted the Lehigh Valley Company in diverting the channel of the Tonawanda, at Batavia. Dredging operations have also been carried on at Oneida, Seneca and Cayuga lakes, and also at New Brunswick, N. J. The firm has eleven dredges and the following fleet of tugs; Genevieve, Myrtie, Arthur Woods, William Stevenson, Alice Campbell, Tam O'Shanter, Robert Downey and May French. Others have been owned in late years, but have been sold. This equipment alone will show how extensive the operations are and have been for a long time. They have lately added to their fleet an elevator dredge capable of working in either harbor or in canals, such as the Erie canal, and are now engaged in building what will be the largest dipper dredge on the lakes, and which will be one of the best equipped.
Edward J. Hingston was born January 22, 1844, at Thomaston, Maine, came to Buffalo in 1862, and went to the contracting business as early as 1870. He has long been recognized as a leading mind in the business on the lakes, was the secretary of the dredging association for a long time, when it was not closely organized enough to have a president, and on its being fully organized, early in February 1897, was elected its chief executive.
Arthur Woods was born in Bath, N. Y., in December 1834, and came to Buffalo twenty years later, there engaging with Oswald & Van Valkenburg, who were known as Erie canal dredgers and contractors. He was a man of great energy and executive ability, and these qualifications, combined with the business capability and insight of Mr. Hingston, have insured the steady and rapid advancement of the firm.
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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.