William Baumert is a native of Prussia, and was born in 1853 at Frankfort-on- the-Oder, son of Carl and Anna Rosina (Summer) Baumert.
He attended school in the city of his birth, and at the age of fourteen began learning his trade with his father, who was a locksmith, working with him one year, and spending the succeeding three years at the same work, but in other employ. For the years following until 1872 he was engaged in the capacity of oiler on salt-water steamers of the old Red Star line, out of Antwerp to Philadelphia, after which he made up his mind to sail on the Great Lakes for a livelihood. He made a couple of trips as fireman on the steamer James Lord, but because of dull times returned to salt water and accepted the berth of fireman on an ocean steamer to Hamburg. Upon a visit to his native town he was drafted into the German army, in which he was compelled to serve three years, and from the close of his service to the spring of 1878 he migrated from place to place in the old countries, working at his trade. In 1878 he proceeded from Antwerp to Philadelphia, and thence to Pittsburg, where he worked at the locksmith and blacksmith trades until he was taken ill, being compelled to abandon labor for about five months. In 1879 he went to Cleveland and shipped as fireman on the steamer Roanoke, of the Commercial line, from which he transferred to the James Lord, under Capt. M.M. Drake, closing the season on her. For the ensuing ten years he was variously employed, both on the lakes and in machine shops, and in 1890 he began to sail the lakes steadily, during that season serving as oiler on the steamer Brazil. He was oiler on the Susquehanna the early part of the season of 1891, and closed it as second engineer of the Owego. In 1892 he was second engineer of the old Belle Cross until June, when he became chief engineer of the private steamyacht Alcyone, owned by Henry Bulge, of Minneapolis, which he laid up at Chicago. In 1893 Mr. Baumert fitted out the Alcyone and operated her until June, when he went to Buffalo and entered the employ of the Western Transportation Company as second engineer of the Montana, laying her up at Buffalo at the close of the season. He retained his berth in the Montana until June, 1895, when he was taken ill and compelled to leave, for the rest of that season finding employment on shore as a steam-fitter. At the opening of the season of 1896 he was engaged as second engineer of the steamer J. H. Shrigley, remaining on her until June, from which time until the close of navigation he was on the W. B. Morley, which was laid up at Milwaukee. He is a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association.
In 1892 Mr. Baumert was married at Chicago to Mrs. Bertha Trenner, who had one child by her first husband, named Nicholas. They reside at No. 23 Cypress street, Buffalo, New York.
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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.