George L. Brackett
George L. Brackett was born in a pinery ten miles from Flint, Genesee Co., Mich., March 14, 1860, son of Solon and Mary (Shatto) Brackett, who are still living on their farm, of which they have made a good property. George assisted his father on the home place, attending the district school in the winter, until he reached the age of fourteen years, when he went to work for a neighboring farmer. He remained with him two years and succeeded in saving the sum of fourteen dollars in cash, taking a cow in payment for the balance of his wages; he drove the animal home and presented it to his mother, who warmly appreciated the handsome present, as it was the first cow she had ever possessed, and George was the proudest boy in the county. Soon afterward he removed with his parents to Saginaw, Mich., where his father opened a flour and feed store, George helping him in the store and going to school. After remaining here eighteen months he went to Port Huron and entered the employ of his uncle, G. R. Shatto, as clerk in his dry goods store. Mr. Shatto, who was a wealthy and enterprising man, went to California and purchased the Island of Catalona[sic], in the Pacific Ocean, twenty miles off the shore, which he improved and of which he made a popular summer resort, some years later selling the island to an English syndicate for $600,000. On his way to Michigan he was killed in a railroad accident in California.
During the six years that Mr. Brackett remained in the employ of his uncle he purchased an interest in the barge Antelope. He then went to work for Mr. Fitzgerald, in the Dry Dock Iron Works, where he remained two years, to learn the steam-fitting trade, and in the spring of 1887 he was appointed chief engineer of the tug George Hand, operating on the St. Clair River. His next charge was the tug Mollie Spencer, and following this he spent a season in the Alfred J. Wright. In the spring of 1889 he was appointed chief engineer of the passenger steamer Remora, owned by the River Navigation Company. In 1890 he went to Detroit and worked as steam-fitter for Messrs. Hinckle & Sharrar, closing the season on the passenger steamer Mary, plying on the St. Clair River. In 1891 he removed to Cleveland and shipped on the steamer William Chisholm as second engineer. In the spring of 1892 he was appointed chief engineer of the steamer George T. Hope, remaining on her two seasons, and he opened the season of 1894 on the tug Excelsior, of Oscoda, finishing on the steamer Marquette. In the spring of 1895 he went as second engineer on the Monitor steamer Choctaw; during one trip on this boat the crew had a thrilling experience in a northeast gale and the boat was reported lost for two days, but she finally found shelter under Grand island, where she went aground. In the spring of 1896 Mr. Brackett was appointed chief engineer of the steamer George Presley, which he laid up at the close of navigation.
Mr. Brackett married Miss Clara Pace, daughter of Dr. S. D. and Lizzie Pace, of Port Huron, Mich., and one daughter, Bessie, was born to their union in 1888. Dr. Pace was United States consul to Sarnia, Ontario, for three years. He died in the fall of 1886, and Mrs. Pace lives with her daughter in Cleveland, Ohio.
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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.