George Fritsche, chief engineer of the elegant steel steamer Chemung for the seasons of 1896-97, is a son of Ferdinand and Sussanna (Cook) Fritsche, Germans, the former a native of Saxony, the latter of Bavaria.
Ferdinand Fritsche was by trade a tailor; emigrating to America in 1853, he located at Tonawanda, N.Y., where he still resides. Besides the subject of this sketch, he has three children, Ferdinand W., in the grain business in Minnesota; John E., on the board of trade at Minneapolis, Minn., and August, in the employ of the Indiana Natural Gas and Oil Company at Chicago.
George Fritsche was born at Tonawanda in 1859 and there attended school. Like many other marine engineers, he never regularly learned his trade at any one machine shop, but brought himself to his present position by his own industry and energy. He worked in various shops about the country, and in 1880 he entered the lake service, becoming engineer of the tug Rambler at Duluth, and after two seasons on her served for three seasons in the same berth on the tugs Pacific and Oneida, also of Duluth. During the season of 1884 he was second engineer of the D. M. Wilson, and in 1885 of the John B. Lyon and Dean Richmond. He continued on the latter boat through the season, and was also with her in the same capacity during the winter of 1886-87, making trips between Milwaukee and Grand Haven. In 1887 he accepted second engineer's berth on the steamer Starrucca, remaining thereon until, in November, 1888, she went ashore in a snowstorm near Grand Marie, Lake Superior, where she became a total loss.
During the season of 1889 Mr. Fritsche was second engineer of the Rochester, and chief of the propeller Avon; in 1890 he was chief of the Portage; 1891-92 of the H. J. Jewett; 1893-94-95 of the Tioga, and during the seasons of 1896-97 of the Chemung.
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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.