Captain George W. Smith
Captain George W. Smith did not begin his lakefaring career very early in life, but by devotion to the duties incumbent upon him soon attained to the rank of master. He is a son of John and Elizabeth (Forbes) Smith, and was born March 12, 1865, in Madiwasco, Ont. After the mother's death, in 1866, the father moved his family of four children to Adams Center (ten miles from Watertown) N.Y., where George W. grew up and attended school until he was fourteen years of age. He then went to Carthage, N.Y., entering the employ of L.H. Mills to learn the miller's trade, serving an apprenticeship of three years. At the end of that period he went to Odessa, Ont., near Kingston, and ran a gristmill. His next move was to Bishop Street, Jefferson Co., N.Y., where he spent about four years on a farm. In 1888 he engaged in drilling artesian wells, and after a few months experience took charge of the machinery and ran it successfully.
In 1889 our subject shipped as wheelsman with Capt. E.A. White, on the steamer Missoula. The next season he transferred to the steamer Spokane, where he remained until August, when he was made mate of the Monitor barge 103, with Captain Baxter. During a severe fall gale on Lake Superior the barge broke away from her steamer, and was adrift eight hours, being reported as foundered and all hands lost. Such was not the case, however. She let go her anchor with ninety fathoms of chain, and fetched up in fifteen fathoms of water above Vermilion Point. The life-saving crew at Crisp's station were active and courageous in rendering assistance, and Captain Smith speaks of them as being the finest men he ever saw in that service. In the spring of 1891 Captain Smith was appointed mate of the Monitor 117, with Captain Holdridge, transferring to the Monitor III the next season as mate, holding that position until June, 1893, when he was promoted to master, sailing her until the close of the season of 1895. The following spring he shipped as wheelsman of the steamer V.H. Ketcham, remaining until June, when he was made mate of the schooner Wadena. In the spring of 1897 Captain Smith was again appointed master of the Monitor barge III, and the next season was transferred to the Monitor 202 as master, holding this office till his death, he dying of appendicitis November 5, 1898, at Ashland, Ohio.
On March 28, 1888, Captain Smith was wedded to Miss Lillian, daughter of Albert and Jane (Stores) Damon, of Henderson, N.Y. the children born to this union are Gordon Albert and Glen J. The family homestead is in Henderson, 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.