William J. McMurty
William J. McMurty, son of Charles and Jane (McIlwaine) McMurty, is a native of Ireland, born at Belfast, January 30, 1861.
At the age of sixteen Mr. McMurty shipped as boy on the bark Eleanor, Belfast to Quebec, on which he remained about six months, until she was waterlogged and sunk, he and the balance of the crew taking to the small boats. After three days drifting they were picked up by an Italian bark and carried into Falmouth, where our subject immediately shipped as ordinary seaman on the brig Isabelle, continuing seven months on her, after which he went as able seaman aboard the Ariadne for the next six months. The barkentine Clara, to South America, had him aboard for five months, the Orontes, to St. Johns, N.B., the next six weeks, and thence, without going ashore, he stepped into the new brigantine Ohio, bound for Ireland. After four months' service there he shipped on her to the Mediterranean, and then coasted around St. Johns for about a year, thence shipping on the British Queen to Valencia, Spain, where he went in the Erato to Hull, England. From the latter port he again began coasting on the Ensign, Flexmoss and others, around England and France, for about nine months, and then went into the Caledonia, on a voyage of three months to the Mediterranean and Black Sea, then on the Kohinoor to Calcutta, and then on the Mooltan to London, from where he went home on a visit.
Finally, in 1886, he went to Chicago, where he began his lake career, as watchman on the Arabia to Buffalo, and then as lookout on the Syracuse, finishing that season wheeling the Vanderbilt. In 1887, he was wheelsman on the Chicago, and during the early part of 1888 as lookout on the Wyoming, finishing that and the season of 1889 on the Boston as wheelsman. For the season of 1890 he was lookout on the Chicago, and then went home to Ireland again, returning in 1891 and going as lookout on the Boston till August, spending the balance of that season on the Harlem. In 1892 he was lookout on the Badger State until August, and finished the season as second mate of the Milwaukee. For the two succeeding seasons he served as second mate of the Chicago, in 1895 shipping on the Anchor line as wheelsman on the Mahoning, and in 1896 he was second mate of the Chemung, until the Ramapo was brought out. He was also second mate on her, and engaged as second mate on the John V. Moran for 1897. For the season of 1898 he was second mate of the W. H. Stevens.
On January 12, 1891, Mr. McMurty was married, at Belfast, Ireland, to Margaret Jane Ferguson, of that city, by whom he has had three children, two of whom are living; William J., Jr., and Margaret. The family reside at No. 244 Fulton street, 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.