Captain Nelson Hilger
Captain Nelson Hilger is a young man who has chosen the marine life for an occupation, and his work thus far promises a successful future in that line of work. At the present time he resides in Detroit, where he was born November 11, 1857.
Since his sixteenth year Captain Hilger has spent the greater part of his time on the water, and gradually worked along the successive stages of advancement until he received master's papers in 1883, and took command of the United States mail boat Florence B. in 1894, which is in operation in connection with the marine post office at Detroit. His first experience was on the M. F. Merrick, a tug in the Detroit river. After leaving this tug he went on the Champion, Sweepstakes, Satellite, Thomas Quayle and Vulcan, remaining in this line of work fifteen years. Upon the Hiawatha he acted as wheelsman one season, and then went to Buffalo and shipped on the Arctic as second mate, where he remained part of a season, going later to the China, in the same capacity; next season second mate of the Empire State, next season on the steamer Nyack. He spent one and a half seasons on the lighthouse-tender Warrington, and was afterwards mate of the Tacoma, City of London, William T. Barnum, Wocoken and Horace B. Tuttle, having also spent some time on the Kasota and John Owen as second mate. In 1895 he came to the present employ, going as master of the government steamer engaged in carrying mail from Detroit to passing boats.
Captain Hilger is a single man. He is a son of John and Christana (Faust) Hilger, both natives of Germany, who are living in Detroit. Joseph Hilger, brother of Captain Hilger, was in the lighthouse steamer Warrington five years, and died November 13, 1888; another brother, John, who has been assistant engineer at the public water works seven- teen years, was on the lakes a short time previous to that employment.
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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.