Edgar J. Smith
Edgar J. Smith, the only living child of Joshua and Sarah (Crooker) Smith, the former a native of Goshen. N. Y . and the latter of Buffalo, N. Y., was born in Goshen, Orange Co., N.Y., January 9, 1869. Sarah (Crooker) Smith was a daughter of George and Chloe Ann Crooker; her father was born in Windom, Greene Co., N. Y., and was the builder and proprietor of the old "Brown Hotel" and also of the "Red Jacket," corner of Elk and Seneca streets, Buffalo, New York. When Edgar J. Smith was four years of age his parents removed to Buffalo, and there he attended the public schools until about fourteen years old, when he started to work for the Times, as fireman, where he remained through the winter of 1893, leaving then to begin tugging in 1883, firing and decking on the George D. Gilson. During the next two seasons he was second engineer of the steam canalboat Neptune, and also decking and firing on the tug Donaldson. In the winter of 1885 he went to New York and secured a berth on the tug L.P. Dayton, of the N.Y.C. Transportation Company, which he held until the close of the season of 1887, when he was given a position on Dr R.V. Pierce's yacht Nydia, where he remained about three and a half months, making a cruise of the lakes, and finished the season on the tug Leon. The season of 1888 and 1889, he was firing on the tug S.W. Gee and steambarges Inter Ocean and Belle Cross. In 1890, he received his first papers as an engineer, and went to Cleveland, where he spent the first part of the season with the V.O.T. and the balance on the fishing tug Ada, and was subsequently on the tug Sea Bird, of Ashtabula, until going south, where he was engineer of the tug Arctic for the C.& O. R.R. and the passenger boat Harbinger, plying between Norfolk, Va., and Hartford, N.C., until 1893, when he came back north and went into the fishing tugs Jose and McCarthy, out of Erie, and that winter went south again, as second engineer of the H.J. Wemple, of Norfolk, from South Carolina ports to New York, returning to Buffalo and spending about a year ashore as engineer of the Alabama flats, and the next season had charge of the electric light plant at Sour Spring Grove. In the summer he took the tug Benham, to the "Soo," and then went into the wrecking tug Stanwood and was in her when she, after six days' work, got the Col. Ellsworth off the beach, near Deer Park, Lake Superior. He afterward went to Chicago, where he fitted out the tug D.T. Helen and took her to Duluth and laid her up there, afterward returning to Cleveland. For the season of 1896 he was on the tug Ganzee, of Erie, and during the winter was employed running a hoisting machine on the Erie canal, and for the season of 1897 was back on the Ganzee again. Mr. Smith's grandfather, George Crooker, for a number of years ran the "Red Jacket," "Browns" and old "Kinney" hotels, in Buffalo and also with his brother, Erastus, built the old side-wheel steamer Garden City, which was lost. Mr. Smith is a member of the Buffalo Harbor Tug Pilots Association. He resides with his mother at No. 196 Vermont street, Buffalo, New York.
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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.