James L. Walker
James L. Walker is a son of George and Elizabeth (Turnbull) Walker, both of whom were born in Scotland, the former in Selkirk. The father was a mason and road builder in his native country, and after coming to America in 1848 farmed for a time. He died in Buffalo in 1889, his wife passing away in 1882.
The subject of this sketch was born in Waupun, Wis., September 10, 1849. He obtained a common-school education at Thorold, Ontario, some years later, and learned his trade in the Archibald Dobbie Machine Shop in that place. In 1870 he became employed in the repair work, pile drivers, tugs and dredges at the St. Clair ship canal, thence removing to Erie, Penn., and entering the employ of the Erie City Iron Works, where he remained three years. He was next employed on the tugs James Griffin and Wadsworth on the Welland canal. During 1873-74 he was employed by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company at Sandusky, Ohio, as a machinist in their shops, and in 1875-76 was an engineer on the steamyacht North Star at Mackinac island. In 1877 Mr. Walker became second engineer on the steamer Ohio for a season, and during the winter following was engaged in the shop of Knight, Sisson & Co., at Buffalo. In 1878 he was second engineer of the Delaware, of the Anchor line, and remained with her in that capacity until the close of the season of 1879. The next season he was second of the Wissahickon until August, and chief of the Juniata until the end of the season, continuing on her during the seasons of 1881-82. In 1883 he became chief of the Clarion, on which boat he served five seasons, until the close of 1887. During the winter following he worked for the Anchor line, repairing machinery, and in 1888 went to Cleveland to bring out the Scranton for the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western line, and was her chief engineer for two seasons. During 1890 he was ill until September, when he accepted chief engineer's berth of the Robert Mills for the rest of that season. Illness during the next season prevented him from sailing until October, when he was made chief of the George D. Hadley, remaining with her until the close of the season of 1893. In 1894 he remained ashore, and the following spring he was made chief of the Badger State, in which he remained until the close of the season of 1896. During the season of 1897 he was chief in the Montana, of the Western Transit Company's line (same line as the Badger State was in).
Mr. Walker has been a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association since 1880. In January, 1898, he was elected a member of the M. E. B. A. No. 1, of Buffalo, for that year, and under his administration the association has been most prosperous. He is a single man, and resides with his brother at No. 115 West avenue, 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.