James Bennett, chief engineer of the steamer Pabst, was born near Belleville, Ont., in 1862, son of Bernard Bennett, a shoemaker. After leaving school he worked at farming and as a grocery clerk until 1884, when he began sailing as fireman on the steamer W. L. Wetmore. The following season he hired on the steamer Raleigh, and during the next two seasons served on the Manistique and Robert Holland, in turn. For one season following he was oiler on the William H. Woolf, at Milwaukee, engaging for the same length of time as second engineer of that boat. He was second of the Thomas Davidson and the Fred Pabst one season each, in 1892 becoming chief of the Pabst, where he has since been retained. One of the most terrible experiences which Mr. Bennett has had during his sailing career took place in the fall of 1894. The Pabst, while making the passage from the Sault to Milwaukee, lost her rudder in St. Mary's river, but being very anxioius to complete the trip, the captain engaged two tugs to steer the boat and continued on the way. A gale sprang up and both tugs broke loose, and one of them, losing her bitts and tow-posts, was powerless to render further assistance. The other tug remained with the steamer through the night and succeeded in making fast several times, only to be torn away again. The steamer was finally saved, but she had suffered terribly, and needed to be almost rebuilt.
Mr. Bennett was married, in 1890, to Miss Annie Mulrooney, of Cleveland. They have one child living, Bernice; one is deceased.
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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.