David P. Stewart
David P. Stewart, deceased, was born December 24, 1838, in the city of Buffalo, a son of John Stewart, of Fincastle, Athol, Perthshire, Scotland, and Helen (Clark) Stewart, of Edinburgh, Scotland. The father, who was an architect and builder, was married in Buffalo. From the earliest recollection of his son David he was a naturalized American citizen, and he designed and built some of the most prominent buidings of the city in his day. He died in Buffalo in 1849.
The subject of this sketch commenced his education between the ages of six and seven years, but like most boys of that age thought more of play than of study; he managed, however, to keep up with his classes, though he was oftener at the foot than at the head. In 1849, during the prevalence of cholera, his father died, leaving the mother with a family of six children, he being next to the eldest. As the mother's only possessions were the house in which they lived, on Seneca street, the eldest brother and our subject were compelled to help support the family, and the latter started by working as parcel boy for a dry-goods house. Being of a mechanical turn of mind, he became dissatisfied with that kind of employment and at the age of fourteen years took the position of bell-ringer on a locomotive on the New York Central railroad which ran between Buffalo and Rochester. Under the laws of New York State in those days the bell of the locomotive was compelled to be rung from the time it started until it stopped. After giving about two years to that employment, Mr. Stewart was apprenticed to the Eagle Iron Works in order that he might learn the machinist's trade, and there served until he was twenty-one years old. On becoming a journeyman he found employment with George W. Tifft & Sons, and worked in the shops of the Buffalo Steam Engine Works a year, and then became foreman of a machine shop owned by A.A. Justin, who was a blacksmith, wagonmaker and machinist. While in this employ Mr. Stewart gained much valuable experience, and was able to fully realize the advantage a more complete school education would have been to him, for lack of which he was compelled to sit up late at night, or rather early in the morning, studying rules and working out problems, such as the size of shafts, diameter and width of pulleys, velocity of saws, strength of material, and many other similar matters. In the spring of 1869 Mr. Stewart resigned his position with Mr. Justin to go sailing, accepting the position of second engineer under Thomas P. Justin, of the propeller Alaska, a new iron steamer just finished for the Anchor line, of which Capt. Daniel Coughlin was master. He derived great benefit from the association with Mr. Justin, as he was a very careful man and possessed good judgment, and barring a few minor mishaps the season was a successful one, the Alaska being laid up at Erie in the early part of December. In 1870 Mr. Stewart was appointed chief engineer of the Alaska, in place of Mr. Justin, who was transferred to the Winslow, and he remained on her until August, 1876, when he was transferred to the Wissahickon (of which Captain Sisson was master), a new wooden steamer built by the Union Dry Dock Company for the Anchor line. He continued to serve as her chief until November 28, when she was laid up at Chicago after a very successful and uneventful season. The following spring Mr. Stewart went out of Chicago as chief of the Wissahickon under the former master, Captain Sisson, with the schooner Allegheny as consort. On the first trip down considerable ice was encountered, as it was early in the season, and some damage was sustained by the steamer because of the consort coming in collisioin with her, but with this exception the season was a favorable one and the Wissahickon was laid up at Buffalo December 1. In the spring of 1878 Mr. Stewart made three trips as chief of the Wissahicken[sic], and on May 20, by order of the chief engineer of the Anchor line, William Moses, Mr. Stewart went to Cleveland and there brought out, on June 12, the Delaware, built at Quayle's shipyard, her machinery being built by the old Cuyahoga Steam Furnace Company. He was her chief engineer until the end of the season, which was finished November 29. On his family's account Mr. Stewart concluded to remain on shore, and accepted employment on February 6, 1879, as chief engineer with Lee, Holland & Company, in their large planing-mill at Buffalo, where he remained until the close of 1882. At that time, he resigned to engage in business with George A. Otis in the manufacture of feed water heaters under the firm name of the Stewart Heater Company. They were located originally on Mechanic street, thence removing to Clinton street, where they remained two years; but at the end of that period, desiring more room, they established themselves on Norfolk avenue, Kensington, a suburb of Buffalo, their present location.
In 1880 Mr. Stewart was united in marriage with Miss Ellen Gollop. His children by a former wife were as follows: William, who for fifteen years was a stationary engineer, but is now a motorman with the Buffalo railway; John, who has been engineer for the American Palace laundry about ten years; and David, who died at the age of twenty-seven years. Mr. Stewart died December 7, 1897, loved and respected by all who knew him. He was an inventor of considerable ability, and a man of rare mechanical genius. He was of a most admirable disposition, highly esteemed for his quiet efficiency and uprightness of character.
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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.