George B. Milne
Forty years or more have been spent by George Bannerman Milne, chief engineer of the J.H. Devereux, in the commercial marine of the Great Lakes. He was born in Glenburnie, New York, his mother being in that city on a visit, in 1838. His father was Alexander Milne, a Scotch engineer who came to America a short time after the year 1830 to become chief engineer of the Royal Mail line, and who resided at that time, in Canada. George B. Milne spent his early days in school, afterward becoming time-keeper in the Dry Dock Engine Works of Montreal, which were owned by the firm Milne & Milne, his uncle, John A. Milne, being one of the proprietors. He spent eight years at various times in this establishment, becoming a skillful machinist and engineer. He commenced sailing in 1856, that year placing the engines in the new steamer Tinto, and running them for three months afterward. After the Tinto burned, which occurred while she was on her way up Lake Ontario, seventeen lives being lost at the time, he returned to Oswego where he made his headquarters for some time, and became engineer of the steamer Cincinnati, whose name was afterward changed to the City of Hamilton. He spent five years in this vessel, after which he was engineer successively of the steamers Avon, which later had the Tinto's engines, and the Jacques Cartier. After being with the Cartier for two seasons, he accepted a contract with the firm of Gilbert & Bartley, engine builders, to the lake St. John to place a pair of engines in the steamer Metabetchouen. He remained with this boat two seasons. Her name was later changed to The Pioneer. In 1861 he assumed charge of the engine room of the steamer Nicolet, being made master after he had been in her two months. He spent two years in Vermont and the East as contractor, building docks, piers, etc., and one steamer, after which he went to Quebec and commanded successively the steamers Conqueror No. 1, James G. Ross, Progress and M. Stevenson. For a time he was engineer of the St. Lawrence Steam Navigation Company, which operated thirty-eight vessels. He changed from one vessel to another very often, as his duties required, and thus saw service on nearly all the fleet. Then he went to Oswego again and took the steamer Flora, leaving her at the close of the season, and sailing as chief in the steamer Samuel Marshall for the two seasons following. In 1892 and 1893 he had charge of the engine room of the Viking, and in 1894 he was chief in the Elfin-Mere and the Arundel successively. During a part of the season of 1895 he was in the employ of the Detroit Ferry Company, in the steamer Fortune, being in the steamer Chisholm the remainder of the year. He was chief engineer of the Devereux during the season of 1896 and 1897.
In 1868 Mr. Milne was married to Miss Margaret D. McBean, of Athol Mills, Prescott county, Ontario. Their children are McBean, a Baptist clergyman in Detroit; George M., a marine engineer; Mortimer, Annie, Charles, Russell, Christina, Lorne, William and Inez. A daughter, Addie, is deceased.
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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.