George J. Spaulding
George J. Spaulding, the well-known chief engineer of the Wells & French Car Works, at Blue Island avenue and Paulina street, Chicago, is a native of New York, born in Bath, Steuben county, October 15, 1847, and is a son of David and Paulina (Otto) Spaulding, the former a native of Massachusetts, the latter of Ontario county, N. Y. The father was a machinist by trade and owned a small shop, which he enlarged as his business increased. He died in the Empire State, but the mother passed away at the home of our subject in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
George J. Spaulding passed his boyhood and youth in New York, acquiring his education in the public schools of the State. Learning the machinist's trade, he went to Fitchburg, Mass., at the age of twelve years and entered the machine shops of S. C. Wright & Co., with whom he remained for three years. He was next with John Evans, of Philadelphia, for a time, and then entered the employ of the Baldwin Company, where he aided in building twelve engines and for whom he took three engines to Detroit. From there he went to Buffalo, N. Y., and after a time spent in the Buffalo Machine shops he became identified with the lakes.
In 1875 Mr. Spaulding accepted the position as engineer of the tug Indian Chief, owned by a Buffalo party, and when she was sold and conveyed to Detroit he remained on her for one season. He was then assistant engineer on the E. B. Ward, of the Ward line, for part of a season, but finished on the Flora, engaged in passenger service. That fall he entered the employ of the Dry Dock Engine Works of Detroit, where he remained for two seasons, and then went to Grand Haven, Mich., during the winter and fitted out the barge Shepherd, going as her chief engineer the following season. That fall he went to Kalamazoo, Mich., where he held the position of chief engineer of the Kalamazoo Spring and Axle Works until the following May, when he again sailed as chief on the Shepherd. When she was sold he returned to Kalamazoo, and after spending the winter in the employ of the spring and axle works, he returned to Detroit, where he accepted the position of chief engineer of the Sandusky, remaining on her two seasons. In the meantime, during the fall and winter months, he worked in Detroit as chief engineer for a manufacturing company, and on leaving the Sandusky went to Grand Haven, where he was appointed chief of the Gem, engaged in the passenger trade. In the fall he became chief engineer of the electric light and power plant at Grand Rapids, and after one year in that position, he went to Traverse City, where he fitted out the City of Traverse. He was extra chief for Hannah, Lay & Co., having charge of all their engines for two years, and on leaving that firm went to St. Louis, Mo., where he was engineer for the Diamond Joe line for many years, having charge of the shore work. He was next employed in shops at Providence, R. I., and in the Baldwin car shops for some time, but finally returned to Detroit and took charge of the wrecking floor of the Detroit Dry Dock Company. One winter he had charge of the Busse Machine Works, and as extra engineer was later in the employ of the Graham & Morton line at Benton Harbor, Mich., having charge of their shore works for three years. Coming to Chicago he fitted up different boats and tugs with machinery, and subsequently was employed for some time in refitting tugs and yachts, but in 1894 he accepted his present position as chief engineer of the Wells & French Car Works. He is an honored and trusted employee of the company, and has the confidence and respect of all who know him. Prior to coming to Chicago he was at one time chief engineer of a sawmill at Brainard, Minnesota.
Socially Mr. Spaulding is a member of Eureka Lodge No. 2, K. P., and Prudential Lodge No. 8, I. O. O. F. , both of Grand Rapids; is a charter member of Kalamazoo Lodge No. 8, A. O. U. W., and also belongs to the Improved Order of Red Men at Jackson, Michigan.
Mr. Spaulding was married in Kalamazoo, Mich., in 1873, to Miss Lucy Ball, who was born in that State, a daughter of John and Electa (Beals) Ball, natives of Michigan and Indiana respectively. The father was a well-known lake captain, sailing on the east shore of Lake Michigan in the lumber trade, and in the State of Michigan he died, while his widow still makes her home there. Mr. and Mrs. Spaulding have two children: Berdell C. and Myrtie.
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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.