Captain George E. Merritt
Captain George E. Merritt has since his eleventh year spent his life on the Great Lakes, and during this time has obtained an experience which causes him to be held in high repute among those of the marine calling. He is a son of Sephen and Mary (Sawyer) Merritt, who died in 1856 and 1855, respectively. Stephen Merritt, who was a ship carpenter by trade, was born in Oswego, N. Y., and lived at that place the greater part of his life.
Captain Merritt was born in Cleveland, Ohio, March 17, 1844, on the west side of the river, in what was known as Ohio City. At the age of five years he went to Buffalo with his parents, and after a residence of two years at that place came to Detroit, where he has since lived. He began his marine life by going on the tug A. S. Fields, upon which he served one season as cabin boy, and then served on tugs in the Detroit and St. Clair rivers, and gradually passed through the stages of advancement, becoming lookout, wheelsman and mate. During this time he also served on the schooner Colonel Cook and brig C. P. Williams. In 1864 he entered the United States army, serving in Company F, First Battalion of the Eleventh United States Infantry, and also in the First Brigade, Second Division, Fifth Corps of the Army of the Potomac, remaining in service until the end of the war; and he remained until 1867 in the regular service. On August 18, 1864, at the battle of Weldon Railroad, he was wounded, but after careful nursing in a Philadelphia hospital was restored to his accustomed vigor. Upon his return to the lakes Captain Merritt acted as lookout and wheelsman on the tug Samson for four years, from this boat going onto the R. J. Hackett and Forest City for five seasons as mate. Finally, in 1881, he became mate of the Inter Ocean, serving for four years, then was made master of her, serving as such for eight years. He then spent part of the season on the Escanaba, and in 1889 he brought out the Parks Foster, upon which he has since remained.
In July 1868, the Captain was married to Miss Laura Lovely, of Detroit. In social life he stands prominent, being a member of the F. & A. M., Union Lodge, Peninsular Chapter, and Monroe Council; and of the Ship Masters Association No. 7, of Detroit.
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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.