Thomas Leitch is a son of David and Elizabeth Leitch, and was born March 27, 1849, in County Antrim, Ireland. With his parents he came to America, at an early age, and lived for some time in Dunnville, Ont., where his father still resides.
His brother Robert, now chief engineer of the steamer Viking, went to Welland and shipped on the tugs in the canal, in 1866, thus beginning the occupation to which he has since devoted his life. Following his example, Thomas first found employment on a tug, where he remained until he was given the position of assistant engineer on the Robinson. Upon this boat he was shipwrecked on Lake Superior, and barely escaped with his life, reaching a small island, in the yawl boat, whence he was rescued by Indians. He then spent one season on a dredge in the St. Clair Flats, after which he spent several years as assistant engineer in the propeller Celtic, owned by McKay & Bros., of Hamilton. He then acted as chief engineer in the propellers Ontario and Canada. Upon leaving the latter boat he came to Buffalo, and has since sailed upon American boats in the position of chief. After some time in the Monteagle, he spent two seasons on the propeller W. H. Barnum, and was in the Samuel Marshall. In 1896 he was in the Norseman, and in 1897 was in the Progress until October, when he went on the steamer Maine, engaged in the lumber trade from Bay City to lower ports.
On November 24, 1875, Mr. Leitch was married to Miss Isabella Herdman, daughter of James and Sarah (McCoppen) Herdman, of Welland, Ontario. They have had six children: Frank, who died in infancy; Sarah Isabella, at present employed as a stenographer in Buffalo; Hattie M.; Maggie Anna; Thomas James, who died August 2, 1889; and Florence Irene.
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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.