Captain George U. Wilson
Captain George U. Wilson, the only surviving son of William H. Wilson, was born March 13, 1834, in Hull, Yorkshire, England. His education was acquired in his native town, and he also took a three-years' course in navigation in the Trinity House Schools in Hull, and in September, 1848, he was bound out to serve an apprenticeship of five years, for the sum thirty-five pounds sterling. At the end of three years his ship arriving in New York, he ran away, and found employment in this country. During the time he was serving as an apprentice, he was three times at Kronstadt, Russia, twice at Archangel, on the White Sea, and was also around the north cape of Lapland, where he saw the sun shine for six weeks. During 1851-52, his first in America, he served as a sailor, and at the close of the season in 1852 he went to New Orleans, from there going to Liverpool on the ship St. Petersburg, of Boston. From 1853 to 1859 he sailed on the Great Lakes, and then went to Hamburg, Germany, on the schooner Grand Forks, of Detroit, Captain Starkweather in command. On arriving in the Old World he determined to visit his old home at Hull, and, as he allows no obstacles in his path to be insurmountable, he accordingly visited among the friends and acquaintances of his boyhood. From Hull he shipped on the Rainbow for Shields, England, and thence to Marseilles, France and Leghorn, Italy, and back to Portsmouth, England. A brief visit to Hull, and then aboard the bark Perthshire, bound once more for the New World. They landed in New York in July, 1860 and Captain Wilson at once returned to Detroit, where he went as second mate on the schooner R. H. Harmon, under Capt. Thomas Barker. In 1862-63 he was mate of the schooner Wyandotte, Capt. H. E. McGow, and the following two seasons sailed a brig for John P. Clark, of Detroit.
In 1866 Captain Wilson sailed the schooner Patrick Henry, in 1867, the W. H. Winslow, and in 1868 he purchased a one-fourth interest in the schooner Mary Martin, which he sailed for three years. He then purchased an interest in the propeller Dubuque, and sailed her three years. In 1876 he bought an interest in the A. A. Turner, and acted as her captain for ten years. For two years he was captain of the E. K. Roberts, since which he has been in the United States custom house at Detroit.
In 1861 Captain Wilson was united in marriage with Miss Charlotte E. Keith, of Detroit, and two daughters - Sadie A. and Georgia U. - blessed their union, and aid in brightening the family home at No. 412 Baker street, Detroit. Politically our subject is a firm adherent to Republican principles. Fraternally he belongs to Ashler Lodge No. 91, F. & A. M.; Peninsular Chapter No. 16, R. A. M.; Detroit Commandery No. 1, K. T.; and Detroit Lodge No. 7, Ship Masters Association.
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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.