History of the Great Lakes, Vol. 2 by J.B. Mansfield
Published Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co. 1899.
Walter McCrea is known as one of the most competent and reliable engineers sailing
out of Bay City, Mich., and has performed the duties of his present responsible
position with the Saginaw Bay Towing Company for seven years. He is a son of Alexander
and Caroline (Easton) McCrea, and was born in Norristown, N.Y., December 8, 1845. Some
time later his father returned with his family to Easton's Corners, Ont., a village
named in honor of his mother's family, and where she died November 14, 1861. Four years
later the father left his farm, and removed his family to Bay City, Mich. Previous to
this the father had passed some years on the lakes, and after locating in Bay City he
purchased the barge Bay City, and sailed her successfully seven years. He also owned
an interest in the tug Sea Gull. His death occurred in April, 1877, in Bay City. The
other members of his family are Alexander, who is in the painting business; William H.,
a bookkeeper and advance agent for a notable physician; Harley and Samuel, both of whom
died while young; and Mary, now the wife of John H. Fulford, and residing at Brockville,
Mr. McCrea, after acquiring a liberal education in the public schools at Easton's
Corners, and working with his father on the farm during the winter months, went to work
in a flourmill at Merrickville, Ont., owned by his uncle, H.S. Easton, serving an
apprenticeship of three years, after which he was promoted to be chief miller, holding
that position five years; and as his uncle was the owner of vessels, our subject, in
the meantime, sailed some while in his employ, he first going as second engineer on
the steamer Mary Ann, part of two seasons, and in 1872 he was appointed chief engineer
on the tug H.P. Clinton, closing the season as chief on his father's tug Sea Gull. The
year following he joined the steamer Dunkirk as chief, but before the close of the
season he accepted an offer to run the engine in a sawmill at Milwaukee, which position
he held until the spring of 1876, when he entered the employ of Eddy & Avery as chief
engineer on the lake tug McDonald, engaged in towing, and engineered her eleven seasons.
In the spring of 1887 he was appointed chief engineer on the steamer Mary Martini. The
next year he took the tug Maud S., and ran her three seasons, then going as chief
engineer on the steamer George W. Morley. Mr. McCrea then entered the employ of Captain
Boutell as chief engineer on the tug Niagara, engaged in towing logs from Georgian Bay
to Saginaw river, which position he filled for some years, and has well earned the
confidence and esteem of the owners for the satisfactiory manner in which he has
performed his duties.
In July, 1873, Mr. McCrea was wedded to Miss Elida, daughter of Thomas and Jane
(Sherman) Daniels, of Kendallville, Ind., and who is a cousin to General Senator Sherman.
Two children have been born to this union: Samuel and Frances, both attending school at
Chesaning, Mich., where the family homestead is located. Fraternally, Mr. McCrea is a
member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, No. 27, of Bay City, and has
been treasurer of his lodge seven consecutive years.