Captain George E. King
Captain George E. King is the son of Capt. George W. and Julia (Causley) King, and was born at Courtright, Ontario, April 3, 1851. The father was a well-known tug and vessel owner, as well as master on the Saginaw river and bay many years. His first experience as a sailor was the placing of a ferry boat on the St. Clair river between the villages of Courtright and St. Clair. He built the Traffic, which he afterward took to Bay City and put in the machinery, making a side-wheel steamer of her, and used her in towing on the Saginaw river and bay. He also owned and operated the tug John Lathrop.
After sailing these boats he purchased the side-wheel steamer Canada, which he used for towing purposes on the Saginaw. He established the first steam ferry on the Saginaw river between Bay City and West Bay City, at the place now spanned by the Third street bridge. This steam craft consisted of two scows lashed together and planked over, a paddle-wheel running in the water between the two scows, and made quite a novel ferry boat for transportation of teams and passengers, but answered the purpose at the time to a charm.
Captain King, in partnership with Edward Parks, also owned the tug Tiger, which was used in towing. After she was destroyed by fire, he sold his vessel property and purchased a farm in the suburbs of West Bay City, which he worked for ten years. Upon his return to marine business he bought the tug Hercules, which he sailed four years, and then traded her for the tug Dickson in company with John Powell, thus forming the nucleus of a tug line, consisting of the two just mentioned, the O.W. Cheney, Thomas Maytham, T.M. Moore, Fanny Tuthill, and Hunter, of which line he was superintendent about two years. After this combination was dissolved he and Capt. Thomas Lester operated the tug T.M. Moore, George B. Dickson and E. Haight two years, after which he became manager and owner of the Dickson, then sold her to J.R. Irwin, of Fairport; he purchased the barge Roscoe and Montmorency, sailing the latter up to the time of his death, which occurred November 18, 1896, when he was aged sixty-seven years.
Capt. George E. King, his son and the subject of this sketch, acquired his public- school education in the schools of West Bay City, and his first lesson as a sailor was with his father at the age of fifteen years, on the side-wheel steamer Kennedy, as deckhand. The next season he shipped on the tug Tiger, followed by a term before the mast on the schooner Melvina and other schooners out of Chicago, and then put in some time on the tug Hercules. After securing his license he shipped as mate with Capt. J. Pringle on the tug Sol. S. Rumage, following this with an appointment as master of the tug E. Haight, and sailed her four seasons, followed by one in the George B. Dickson, and five years as master of the O.W. Cheney. After the Cheney was sold he went on her as mate, with Capt. Harvey Kendall, on the St. Clair river. In the spring of 1884 he went to Cleveland and entered the employ of Capt. Patrick Smith as master of the tug Maggie Sanborn, and during the three seasons he was with that line sailed the tugs S.S. Stone and James Amadeus. He was also master of the sandsucker Alice Strong at Cleveland. He then went to work for the Creach Tug Company and sailed the tugs W.D. Cushing, Allie May and others. In the spring of 1891 he was appointed master of the passenger steamer Ossifrage, which he took to Bay City and then to Detroit, when he put her on a route between that city and the island of Descreshaska in the excursion business. The next season he joined as mate the passenger steamer Laura, plying between St. Joseph and Milwaukee. The Captain passed the next four seasons as master on the tug Argyle, raft towing on the Georgian Bay and Saginaw river. In the spring of 1898 he entered the employ of the Reed Wrecking and Towing Company as master of the steamer Protector.
Captain King was wedded to Miss Sarah A., daughter of Isaac and Hannah Preston, of West Bay City. Their children are Ettie, the wife of Noble Oram, of Cleveland; and Cora, the wife of Clyde Mann, of West Bay City. The Captain's grandchildren are George Oram and Sarah A. Mann. The family residence is at No. 301 North Center street, West Bay City, Michigan.
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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.