Captain George Robson
Captain George Robson has been associated with the tug interests of Buffalo harbor for about thirty years, sixteen of which he spent in the service of the White Star line, and during his time has been on almost all the principal harbor tugs. He is accounted a capable and reliable tug man, is of a modest, retiring nature, careful in his money matters, devoted to his family, and does not indulge in intoxicating liquor of any description.
The Captain is a son of William A. and Betheny (Steel) Robson, the former of whom was a hotel-keeper; both parents died when George was twelve years of age, thus compelling him to begin the struggle of life at a great disadvantage. He was born at Buffalo June 27, 1855, and because of the loss of his parents as above related was not favored with much education. In fact he left school to begin the work of earning his living, shipping as deckhand on the tug Port Smith, with Albert Green as master. He was subsequently engineer, respectively, of the tugs Syracuse, Champion and Double Exhaust, one season each. His next service was as second engineer of the Canadian steamer Prairie State, on which he remained for one season, after which he became engineer of the tug News Boy for a couple of seasons. For the next twelve successive seasons he was master of the Post Boy, and for four seasons thereafter of the Lennox, which was none other than the News Boy. The next berth occupied by Captain Robson was that of engineer of the tug Hi Smith for the season of 1877; she was wrecked about November 1, of that year, near Port Maitland, becoming a total loss, but the crew were picked up by the schooner Grace Amelia, which had been in tow of the Hi Smith, and safely landed in Buffalo. In 1878 Captain Robson was engineer of the tug Minnie Maytham, continuing on her until she was sold, and the following season he went one trip to Pequaming, Lake Superior, as second engineer of the steamer Huron City. He was also a year in the Buffalo Last Factory, owned by Dr. Abbey and was engineer of the tug William Morris when she sank at the dock in the canal slip at the foot of Lloyd street. For one season he was at Dunkirk on the tug Dave & Mose, towing for Jennings & Co., contractors, and at Erie harbor on the tug Maggie Ashton for the same firm. He was also at Sandusky a couple of months engaged in tug work, and also served for a couple trips as engineer on the Erie canal between Buffalo and New York. For the season of 1896 Captain Robson was master of the tug Annie M. Pierce. For season of 1897 he was engaged in the saloon business until July 15, when he sold out, and during the balance of the year was with the Buffalo Belting Works as engineer; for season of 1898 he was captain of the tug Trenton.
Captain Robson was married, November 7, 1877, to Hannah Heary, by whom he has had ten children. Those now living are Mary, Katherine, Florence and Irene. Socially, our subject is a member of the Knights of the Maccabees, and of the Harbor Tug Pilots Association of Buffalo, New York.
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.