J. F. Mahaney
J.F. Mahaney, a consulting and constructing engineer of much fame, was born in Erie, Penn., in 1846. He is a son of Michael and Nora (Donovan) Mahaney, both of whom were natives of Ireland, coming thence to the United States in 1819 and locating in Harbor Creek township, Erie Co., Penn. They had a family of three sons and seven daughters, our subject being the second youngest.
After acquiring a public-school education in his native city Mr. Mahaney went to New York City and became a student in the Bonaventure College for two years. In 1865, after leaving college, he went to Cherry Tree Run and purchased nine acres of land, upon which he bored for oil. He sunk his wells 700 feet, striking sand rock without a show of oil, and gave up discouraged, selling his property; two years later the parties to whom he sold went 150 feet deeper with the wells, which by the use of pumps gave them one hundred barrels per day. Therefore Mr. Mahaney says: "That which is discouragement for one is fortune for another." Returning to Erie he entered the employ of the Erie City Iron Works to learn the machinist's trade, which he mastered in due time. In 1868 he turned his attention to the tugging business in Erie harbor, first purchasing the tug Home, which he sailed as master for some time, and leaving her to enter the revenue marine service as engineer of the cutter Commodore Perry. Learning that one was not permitted to hold marine property while serving on a revenue cutter, and not being willing to sacrifice his tug property, he left the service, returned to Erie and purchased the tug T. D. Dole, of Mr. Eastman, of Grand Haven, Mich., sailing her two years. He then bought the tug Thomas Thompson, which he sailed out of Erie harbor, and next purchased an interest in the schooners Harvest Queen and Harvest Home, both of which vessels were lost, Mr. Mahaney's money going with them. While he was sailing master of the Alanson Sumner he also acted as chief of the engineering department.
Mr. Mahaney now entered the employ of James McBrier, with whom he remained six years, engaging first as chief engineer of the steamer Fred McBrier, and he brought out the steamers Fedora and Elfinmere new. In 1881 he opened an engineer's supply shop in Erie, Penn., where he also constructed marine and stationary engines. He kept a large stock of specialties used on steamboats, such as screw plates, brass and iron fittings, steam packing, rubber goods, lubricating and illuminating oils and boiler compounds, and did fairly well in this business for a while; but the dull times were against him, and he was forced to sell out. In the winter of 1888 he removed to Buffalo and became identified with the Buffalo Tricycle Company, which is now manufacturing under the firm name of The Buffalo Bicycle Works. In 1893 he entered the employ of Capt. Alva Bradley as engineer of the steamer E. B. Hale, transferring from her to the George Stone, the Hesper and the Gladstone, in turn passing three years on the four steamboats, and he is at this writing superintending engineer of the Bradley fleet.
In 1870 Mr. Mahaney was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Reynolds, of Buffalo, and two daughters, Arvillia and Arzoria, were born to this union. The family residence is at No. 64 Hoyt street, Buffalo. In social connection Mr. Mahaney is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, the Knights of Pythias, the fraternity of Elks, the Foresters and the Equitable Relief Society. During the Civil war he enlisted in the 83rd P.V.I., but being a minor and having joined without the consent of his parents, they succeeded in having him discharged.
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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.