History of the Great Lakes, Vol. 2 by J.B. Mansfield
Published Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co. 1899.
When he was twenty years of age, William J. Cocklin, father of our subject, came to
America from Ireland and settled in Jersey City. After a short residence in that place
he removed to Komoko, Ontario, where his son, William Cocklin, was born December 28,
At four years of age William, whose name opens this article, removed with his parents
to Port Huron, where he received an education in the public schools. At this time the
family took up their residence in Bay City, and William began the life of a sailor. He
first went on the City of Sandusky as waiter, and there remained throughout the season.
The following year he went on the George L. Dunlap as waiter, and was then steward on
the Huron. At this time he had a desire to take up a new branch of the work, and still
remain in the marine service, so he went on the tug Stranger, as fireman, and after
serving in that capacity on the I.U. Masters, Crusader and Quebec, he obtained
engineer's papers, and in the spring of 1877 went on the John Owen as second engineer.
After this, for a years and a half, he returned to the Crusader, and was in the
Burlington for year as second engineer and one year as chief. In the succeeding years
he served as chief on the John Martin, Justice Fields (now called Traveler), Margaret
Olwill, Missouri, Araxes, John Prindiville and the steamer Ohio in 1891, Samson and
M.T. Greene, in 1893, Progress in 1894, tug Samson in 1895, and in 1896 came on the
George Farwell, thus having served as chief engineer seventeen years.
On December 19, 1875, Mr. Cocklin was married to Cornelia Eldridge, of Toronto,
Canada. He is a member of the A.O.U.W., Detroit Lodge No. 6, and of the Marine
Engineers Association of Detroit, Branch No. 3.