George McLaughlin, although young in years, has by natural ability and close study of technical marine engineering works, fitted himself for the responsible position he now holds, as chief engineer of the largest passenger steamer on the lakes, the monitor Christopher Columbus. This monitor was built by the American Steel Barge Company, has become a great favorite with the traveling public since her debut at Chicago during the World's Fair year, when she carried 1,800,000 people with the loss of but one life, a member of the crew, and as she is now as well officered, all who ride on her experience the utmost comfort and confidence that they are well guarded against any form of accident.
Engineer George McLaughlin was born in Collingwood, Ont., on March 4, 1874, and is the son of Charles and Jennie (Cameron) McLaughlin. The father was born in New Brunswick, of Scotch descent, and the mother in Scotland, coming to Canada with her parents. After some years, attendance in the public schools of Collingwood, George, in 1884, removed to the United States, locating in West Superior, where he soon afterwards went to work in a sawmill. This occupation being somewhat out of the line of life he had marked out for himself to follow, he transferred the scenes of his labors to the machine shop of the American Steel Barge Company, remaining with that concern until 1892, learning the machinist's trade so thoroughly that he felt confident of his ability to take charge of marine engines. He assisted in putting in the machinery of the Christopher Columbus and in the spring of 1893 shipped as oiler on her, holding that berth three seasons, the fall of the second, however, going as oiler on the monitor A. D. Thompson, and in the spring of 1894 coming out as oiler on the monitor Colgate Hoyt, these several berths being rendered possible by the fact that the passenger seasons of the Christopher Columbus are of short duration. That same fall, after laying up the passenger steamer, he closed the season in the steamer W. H. Gilbert, of the Empire Transportation Company, and in the winter went down the Mississippi as third assistant engineer of the United States hydraulic dredge Beta, engaged in government work in the river, with headquarters at Memphis, Tennessee.
In the spring of 1896 Mr. McLaughlin was appointed first assistant engineer of the Christopher Columbus, closing the season in the Centurion as oiler, in order that he might gain experience with other machinery. That winter he worked in the machine shop of the American Steel Barge Company, at West Superior, taking out marine engineer's license in the meantime. In the spring of 1897 he fitted out the Christopher Columbus, and was appointed chief engineer and ran her all season on the route between Chicago and Milwaukee. That winter he sailed the supply boat Islay, on the St. Louis Bay for the Steel Barge Company. In 1898 he was chief engineer of the Christopher Columbus on the same route, she running in the line of the Chicago and Milwaukee Transportation Company.
In November, 1894, Mr. McLaughlin was wedded to Miss Tena M., daughter of William Foreman, of West Superior, formerly of Collingwood, Ont. One daughter has been born to this union. Fraternally, our subject is a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association No. 78, of Duluth, Minnesota.
Return to Home Port
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.