Captain George E. Brooks
Captain George E. Brooks, who has had unqualified success of all the boats of which he has been master, is the son of George W. and Susan E. (Heath) Brooks, both natives of Portland, Maine, but who became pioneers of Huron county, Mich., where they purchased a farm and upon which they settled in 1853. The father built a sawmill, was a manufacturer of shingles, and an Indian trader, and during the time he was in the shingle business employed Indians to shave them. After years of profitable business life he retired with a comfortable competency, removing to Saginaw, Mich., where he now lives.
Capt. George E. Brooks was born in Port Austin, Mich., on July 12, 1862, acquiring his education in his native town, attending school until he reached the age of seventeen, in the meantime assisting his father in his store and sawmill. He was led to adopt his life on the lakes by sailing occasionally on the schooner Finette Anne, which his father owned and employed in carrying the shingles which the Indians had shaved to Detroit, and which his grandfather, Jonah Heath, one of the California '49ers, sailed. He remained with her two years, and then stopped ashore to assist his father. In the spring of 1881 he shipped before the mast on the schooner Chappel. This was followed by three seasons in the steamer City of Concord as wheelsman. In the spring of 1885 Captain Brooks entered the employ of Capt. S. B. Grummond as wheelsmanon the passenger steamers Flora, Atlantic, Pearl, Keweenaw, and in 1888 he received license and was appointed second mate of the steamer Flora, holding that office two seasons. He was then promoted to the office of mate with Captain Rice in the steamer Mackinaw, and in 1891 was appointed master of the same boat, sailing her two seasons. In 1893 he entered the employ of Gilchrist & Fletcher, of Alpena, as master of the tug Ralph, sailing her three seasons, she being engaged in towing logs from Georgian Bay. In the spring of 1896 the Captain went to Duluth and entered the employ of the Inman Tug line, remaining with them until this date, 1898, during which time he sailed the tugs, Joe Dudley, Edward Fiske, Jr., Buffalo and M. D. Carrington. He has ten issues of license. Socially he is a member of the Royal Arcanum.
On April 25, 1885, Captain Brooks was united in marriage to Miss Edie Nelson, of Port Huron, Mich., daughter of Capt. W. H. and Louise Nelson. Captain Nelson was a lifelong master of sailing vessels out of Chicago, his last boat being the schooner Georger; he died in Port Huron, in the fall of 1896. The children born to this union are: Frank Nelson, Florence Berenice, Susan Maud and Jay. The family homestead is in Port Austin, Mich., although the Captain lives in Duluth, Minnesota.
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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.