Richard Mastin is the son of Gilbert G. and Catherine Mastin, both of whom died when he was but two years of age, and he subsequently lived with his grandparents until he went to learn his trade. The Mastin family traces its genealogy back to residents of Amsterdam, Holland, and the early settlers of the United States. Richard Mastin's grandparents, David and Rebecca Mastin, were among the pioneers of the lower peninsula of Michigan, having migrated thither from the State of Vermont in 1832, and located on the present site of the city of Port Huron. They then entered the unbroken forest, penetrating twenty miles to a place now known as Brockway, where they took up a section of land and commenced to make a clearing for agricultural purposes. Mr. Mastin, like many of the hardy settlers of that day, found it necessary to blaze a road through the trees of the forest, in order to make his way to and from the trading post at Port Huron. Prosperity crowned his efforts as his land yielded to cultivation, and he was enabled to further his enterprise. He erected the first sawmill (operated by water power) in that part of the country, and cut the first lumber, and later he built what is known as the plank road from Brockway to within six miles of Port Huron. Being the owner of a large tract of valuable timber land he began the business of lumbering, afterward forming a company, with the firm name of Mastin, Crippen & Co., at the head of which he remained until the time of his death in 1886. Gilbert G. Mastin, father of Richard Mastin, was a prominent contractor and bridge builder, and also did a good business grading and excavating for railroads. Between the years 1850 and 1856 he owned interests in several vessels plying the lakes.
Richard Mastin was born in 1858 at Brockway, St. Clair Co., Mich. He received a public-school education, and at an early age became an apprentice to the trades of machinist and boilermaker, which he thoroughly mastered. Later he worked as a journeyman in some of the largest and best shops in the West, among them the Cuyahoga Works and Globe Iron Works, of Cleveland, Ohio, remaining with the latter establishment a number of years. He also held the position of foreman in several machine shops, and his experience in same proved of great advantage to him when he finally turned his attention to marine engineering, in which he has been eminently successful. In the spring of 1881 Mr. Mastin came out as first assistant engineer of the steamer Prindiville and he has also had charge of the machinery of the steamers H. B. Tuttle, V. Swain, Superior and Fred Kelley. He has been chief engineer of some of the largest and best steamers on the lakes, among them the Chenango, Wocoken, McVittie, Matoa, the Lehigh Valley steamship Tuscarora, on which he served two seasons. In 1896 he brought out the new steamer Sir Henry Bessemer, which was the first of the Rockefeller fleet, and at this writing he is still in the employ of the Bessemer Steamship Company. Fraternally, Mr. Mastin is a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association.
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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.