Captain William H. Wilson
Captain William H. Wilson, one of the oldest sea captains now living, was born March 4, 1805, in Hull, Yorkshire, England, and was a son of John Wilson. He was given the educational privileges common to boys of that time, and early determined to follow the sea as his life occupation. In 1823 he found himself out on the Baltic Sea, and for a year and a half remained with his first employer. During this time he visited Belgium, Spain, France, Portugal, Sicily. In 1827 he came to New York to bring over some passengers, but made the return trip with the vessel, and in 1831 he joined a whaling expedition to the Arctic Ocean; the expedition was quite successful, capturing nine whales, and each of the next two years our subject was similarly employed. Captain Wilson has been far enough north that in June, July and August he has seen the sun shine for twenty-four consecutive hours. In 1833 he sailed on the Black Sea, touching at Odessa, and then visiting Alexandria, Egypt, on the Mediterranean. The following year he visited Africa, Ceylon and Sweden, and in 1835, France, Spain, Holland and Belgium. In 1836 he made but one long trip, that being to St. Petersburg, Russia, and the next year was passed near the home coast. In 1838 he sailed on the Baltic Sea. For eighteen years he was mate on British vessels, and for ten or twelve years before crossing the Atlantic to found a new home in the New World his time was spent mostly on the Baltic. In 1851 he left the Old World for the New and located in Detroit, Mich., which has ever since been his home. His first venture here was the purchase of a scow which he ran for one year and then sold her. The next year he was in command of the Oliver H. Perry, which was owned by his brother, Henry Wilson. His next berth was as mate of the Ocean Wave, on which he remained but a short time. After working on several other boats he entered the employ of John Bloom as sail maker, with whom he remained for eight to ten years, and then worked at the same business for James Donaldson, remaining until the death of his employer. For some time he sailed yachts running to Cleveland and Toledo, and with this he closed his long career on the water.
In 1830 Captain Wilson was wedded to his first wife, Miss Mary Ann Hutting, by whom he had five children, only one of whom - Capt. George U. Wilson - is yet living. In 1855 Captain William H. Wilson was again married, his choice being Miss Ann Morris, now deceased. No children were born of this second union. In his political affiliations Captain Wilson is a stanch Republican, and in his religious faith adheres to the Church of England.
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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.