William Harling is a son of Seth Harling, a retired officer of the British army, and was born in 1841 at La Prairie, opposite Montreal. On New Year's Day, 1867, he was living in Windsor, and crossed to Detroit with Elizabeth Gray, to whom he was married by Bishop McClosky.
His first steamboating was in 1861 as fireman on the old Dart, and in 1862 he started as fireman on the Dispatch, but was soon made her second engineer. He then went as her chief in the spring of 1863, and retained that position through the years 1864-65. His next venture was the purchase of a farm in Anderdon, on which he remained until the spring if 1877, when he returned to the lakes as second engineer of the propeller Michigan. He was on her two years, and in 1879 he went to the steamer Sanilac as chief engineer, and held that position seven seasons, giving entire satisfaction. In 1886 he went out as chief of the Saginaw Valley in the passenger business, and liked it so well that he remained with her seven years. He then spent one season as chief of the Raleigh and the next two seasons as chief of the propeller Forest City, thence returning to the Raleigh for a year, and in 1896 he was chief of the Egyptian for Captain Whipple. He is a member of the M.E.B.A. and the A.O.U.W.
Out of seven children, he has but one son, Charles, living.
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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.