James Kelly was born December 20, 1832, in the Dominion of Canada, near Quebec, the son of Michael and Mary (Barnes) Kelly. He learned the machinist's trade in Quebec, finishing his apprenticeship in 1850, and in 1851 he went on the lakes as oiler of the old Southern Michigan, remaining with her until the close of 1852. He was then made chief engineer of the tug Dart, keeping that position through the seasons of 1853-54-55, and in 1856 he went into the passenger steamer Miner as chief, on which he was retained in the same capacity through that season and those of 1857-58-59. In 1860 Mr. Kelly went to Lake Superior as chief of the Seneca and he remained up there until well into 1864, serving the last three years of that time as chief of the Edith. His next berth was on the Dubuque and he was with her until she was laid up in the fall. In 1865 he was chief of the Concord, of Ward's line, and the next two seasons he passed as chief of the Colin Campbell, of Hackett's line, from that boat going to the Hackett, on which he had charge of the engine room for two years. Following this he was for two years on the Forest City as chief, and for the three succeeding years he was chief of the Minneapolis, of the same line. He next brought out the Farwell and had full control of her engine room for seven years -- a substantial proof of the confidence reposed in him by the owners, at the end of this period bringing out the Thomas Adams for the same line, on which he has held the position of chief engineer ever since, now more than eight years.
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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.