Captain William F. McGregor
Captain William F. McGregor, of Milwaukee, has inherited, at least to a partial degree, the taste and skill he has shown as a mariner of the Great Lakes. His father, Capt. Alexander McGregor, of Goderich, Ontario, is a well-known vesselman who has sailed successfully through life the unsalted seas, and his grandfather, Alexander McGregor, was an early Indian trader along the St. Lawrence and Georgian Bay. The family is descended from the the famous Rob Roy of Scotland.
William F. McGregor was born in Goderich, Ont., April 18, 1848. In his native city he received a good common-school education which he has since supplemented by a wide and extensive reading. Captain McGregor is especially interested in whatever pertains to marine affairs, and is well informed upon all phases of lake sailing. It was at the age of sixteen years that he left school and went before the mast with his father. He followed sailing vessels until 1867, when he went on the side-wheel steamer Keweenaw, plying between Cleveland and Superior, and the year following, at the age of twenty years, became second mate on that steamer. In 1867 he became a citizen of the United States at Detroit. In July, 1868, he was appointed second mate of the side-wheel steamer Clinton.
In the fall of 1868, at the close of the season, Captain McGregor diversified his experience by engaging in railroading on the Union Pacific, then attracting considerable attention in the opening up of a through route to the Pacific. But he was drawn back to the lakes the following summer, when he shipped as second mate of the steamer Alpena; from her he went to the propeller Boscobel, where he remained until she was burned on St. Clair river. Captain McGregor tried tugging for a short time on the Champion on the Detroit and St. Clair rivers. He then went to Montreal and conveyed to Mill Point the wrecked schooner Babeneau and Goudery, the property of his father. He superintended her rebuilding, and when the vessel was sold he went on the steamer Tonawanda, at Buffalo, as watchman. He was with the Tonawanda until she foundered off Point Abino, Lake Erie, when he finished the season as mate of the schooner Tecumseh.
In the following spring Captain McGregor went as second mate of the steamer Chicora, running between Collingwood and Duluth, finishing the season as mate. Then for two seasons he was mate of the steamer Benton, on the Cleveland and Saginaw route. For two months of the next year, 1874, he was mate of the steamer J. Cook, running between Detroit and Sandusky; then he was appointed master of the propeller Michigan. Captain McGregor was only twenty-six years of age when he thus took command of the vessel. He was reappointed in 1875, but the season being dull she did not fit out, and on July 3, 1875, Captain McGregor was appointed mate of the steamer St. Paul, finishing the season in her. He sailed during the season of 1876 as master of the steamer Benton. In the spring of 1877 he came to Lake Michigan as mate of the steamer Sheboygan, and served in that capacity for two and a half years. He was then appointed master of the steamer Truesdell, and in the spring of 1880 became master of the steamer Menominee, of the Goodrich line. Remaining two years, he next took command of the steamer Wisconsin, running between Grand Haven and Milwaukee. In May, 1888, he changed from the Wisconsin to the steamer M.H. Boyce as master and part owner, and has been in command of the steamer ever since. The vessel interests of Captain McGregor are not confined to the Boyce, as he is part owner of the Mary McGregor also. He is a safe and companionable navigator of the Great Lakes, and his career has been in every respect most successful. He is a prominent member of the Shipmasters Association of Milwaukee, and is also a member of the Royal Arcanum and of the United Workmen.
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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.