Captain George L. Thompson
Captain George L. Thompson, whether or not a self-made man, has attained the position of master of steamboats by virtue of his own merits. He was born December 17, 1857, near Ogdensburg, N. Y., moving thence with his parents, James and Ellen (Lattimer) Thompson, to Detroit. He was strenuous in his efforts for knowledge and gained that culture which a college cannot give, receiving his literary training in the public schools of Detroit, Saginaw and Port Huron, which he attended until he reached the age of twenty years. Possessed of the strength of character which comes to earnest young men of that age, he chose his profession with deliberation, and entered the employ of the Northwest Transportation Company with the purpose of becoming the commander of a steamboat. His first experience was as watchman on the passenger steamer Quebec, and during the three years he remained with that company he held the berths of wheelsman and second mate of the steamer Ontario. In order to gain the requisite knowledge of the duties required on sailing vessels he shipped in the schooner Seaman before the mast, and served on her two seasons. In the spring of 1882 Captain Thompson joined the steamer Northerner as wheeelsman, and in 1883 the steamer Horace B. Tuttle, closing the season on the Iron Age. The following spring he went on the Milwaukee as wheelsman, and in 1855 on the Fountain City, on which he remained three seasons, being promoted to the office of second mate after six months, and the last year becoming mate. His next steamer was the Colorado, on which he was appointed second mate and promoted to the office of mate, and in 1891 he was placed in command of her. The following spring he was appointed master of the Osceola, and in 1893 returned to the command of the Colorado, closing the season, however, as master of the Roanoke. After laying the Roanoke up, the Captain entered the employ of the Toledo, Ann Arbor & Northern Michigan Railway Company as master of the Ann Arbor No. 1, sailing her and the Ann Arbor No. 2 alternately. In 1894 he sailed the schooner George W. Johnson, and the next year the steamer Rhoda Emily, following with a season as master of the George L. Colwell. It was in 1897 that the Captain was appointed master of the large ferry steamer Shenango No. 2, chartered by the Detroit, Grand Rapids & Western Railway Co., and plying in their interest between Muskegon and Milwaukee. As a steamboat man the Captain has been eminently successful, and there is no legend of lost vessels or seamen connected with his career on the lakes.
In August, 1881, Captain Thompson wedded Miss Edith R., daughter of Daniel Flood, of Algonac, Mich., a retired lake captain whose last vessel was the schooner Seaman. The children born to this union are William G., Lulu Lattimer and Hazel. The family homestead is in Allen street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
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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.