Neal Hanson, the present engineer of the Model Laundry, at No. 68 and 70 Elm street, Buffalo, N.Y., was born in Denmark, June 2, 1853, a son of Hans Jensen, a farmer living at Varde. Mr. Hanson received his education in his native country, and also learned the machinist's trade there. He came to America in 1871, and divided the first three years of his life here in the employ of the Atlas line, from New York to Galveston, and the ocean lines from New York to Hamburg, working as fireman.
In 1874 Mr. Hanson began his experience on the lakes, acting as fireman and oiler alternately on the steamer Colorado for five successive seasons. In 1879 he shipped in the same capacity on the Roanoke, where he remained for a season and a half, spending the balance of the season of 1880 in the hospital. For about ten months of the year 1881 he was chief engineer at the Chicago Starch Works, in that city, and the following year was engineer of the Chicago Steel Works, located on Jefferson street, also in that city. The three succeeding years he was in the government employ as engineer on steam lighters in New York harbor, and in 1886 he returned to the lakes, shipping as assistant engineer on the Conemaugh, of the Anchor line. On her he remained three seasons, after which, in 1889, he became assistant engineer of the steamer Siberia, owned by the Davidsons, of Bay City, and during the same year was also assistant on the Waldo Avery and chief on the steamer Arizona. He shipped for the season of 1890 as chief engineer of the steamer Progress, of Milwaukee, and remained with her until she was sunk in Detroit river, opposite Wyandotte, in collision with the Britton, an iron ore carrier hailing from Cleveland. The accident took place on the second day of June, about one o'clock A.M., and when the steamer went down Mr. Hanson took refuge in the rigging, whence he was rescued by a passing vessel. He finished that season as chief of the steamer William Edwards, owned by Valentine Fries, of Milan, Ohio, and as assistant engineer of the E.B. Wilbur, of the Lehigh Valley line. The following season he was assistant on the Tacoma, of the same line, until she was laid up in July, and in May of the next year he became assistant engineer for the Buffalo Courier Company, in whose employ he continued for two years. On August 2, 1894, Mr. Hanson became engineer for the White Star Laundry, and continued until November 20, 1897, when he engaged with the Model Laundry as engineer. He has been a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association for over ten years.
Mr. Hanson was married at Buffalo March 9, 1889, to Annie Haffy, of Paisley, Scotland, and they have two children: Lillie and Pearl, aged nine and five years, respectively.
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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.