Captain George Young
Captain George Young, deceased. An unusually varied career was that of Capt. George Young, who was one of the earlier ship masters of the great Lakes, and who commanded many of the largest vessels of his time. Captain Young was a native of Aberdeen, Scotland, his father being a ship carpenter who placed him on board a vessel bound for Hamburg when he was eleven years of age. The vessel tied up at the latter port and remained out of service an entire year, during which period the young boy lived on board. The ship was ordered to New York, and on the voyage across the ocean, the captain had a dispute with his first mate and whipped him in the boy's presence. When the ship arrived in New York, the mate swore out papers for the captain's arrest, and the captain, fearing that the boy's testimony might turn the case against him, shipped the youngester on another vessel bound for Savannah. He arrived in the Southern port without a cent in his pockets, homeless and friendless, and utterly at a loss for any means to take him back to his parents. He offered his services to the first vessel leaving port, and in this way found himself shortly after in Vera Cruz, Mexico. The Mexican war had just broken out, and learning that high wages were being offered for volunteers, he decided to join the Mexican army. He became "powder monkey" in a Mexican battery, although, as he confessed in later years, he was not large enough to lift the cartridges up to the mouth of the gun. He had been in the Mexican service about six months, when one day, the battery he was in had an engagement with a United States battery and he was taken prisoner. His captors were residents of Cleveland, and as he had no other place to go when they returned home they took him with them. In that manner he was introduced to the Great Lakes and to Cleveland, and in the latter city he made his home until his death.
He resumed the life of a sailor, and in 1854 he sailed around the Horn to California, being absent from home three years on a gold hunting excursion. When he returned to Cleveland he sailed as mate one season and thereafter as master. Among the crafts commanded by him were the scow A. Fredericks, and the schooners Delight, Flight, Jno. Weber and Abraham Buckingham, the brig Commerce, the schooner Marquette; the C. G. Breed, of which he owned one-half, the William Boyden and Narragansett. In 1876 he was appointed keeper of the lightship at Grosse Point, which position he held four years. Then for five years he held a similar position at White Shoals, Mich. During his active sailing career he took the schooner Delight to Lake Superior. This was before the Sault Canal was opened and the Delight was moved over the passage on wheels. He sailed this vessel to Copper Harbor for the Hudson Bay Fur Company. Captain Young was in command of one of the first large vessels that went to Duluth, the ship being loaded with railroad iron.
On February 25, 1857, he married Miss Charlotte Saunders, of Royalton, Ohio. Their children are: William, Susan, Ann Eliza, Charlotte, George and Joseph. A son and a daughter, John and Jennie, are deceased. The first son, William, is chief engineer of a fleet of lake steamers, and Joseph is second engineer of the steamer Ketcham. Captain Young passed away in May, 1893, his death being caused by cancer of the tongue.
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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.