Captain G.C. Morris
Captain G.C. Morris, who has been an honored citizen of Cleveland for many years, comes from a family whose members have been sailors for many generations. He was born in Sheridan, Chautauqua Co., N.Y., August 3, 1839, and is a man of fine physique, carrying his age well. Captain Morris' parents, Capt. Isaac T. and Susan (Whittaker) Morris, were both natives of New York State, and his father will be remembered by the oldest of master mariners on the lakes, as he commenced sailing very early in life, and at the age of twenty-two became master of a full-rigged brig. Later, accumulating sufficient money, he purchased the scow Monarch, which he sailed in the trade between Erie and Canadian ports, losing her in 1835 on the Erie peninsula. Soon after this event he purchased a farm near Dunkirk, N.Y., where he reared his family, and thence he removed to Lockport, same State. Having bought a pair of canalboats he used them on the extension of the canal until that portion was purchased by Charles Reed, who froze out all individual owners, and he then purchased another farm in New York, which he cultivated until his removal to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1859. His oldest son, Isaac T., was also a sailor of renown and was master of the Twin Sisters, master and owner of the S.B. Pomeroy, the bark W.B. Shepherd, the Fontanelle, W.H. Stevens and Seaman. The last boat he sailed was the Mohegan. On retiring from the lakes he became a ship broker in Chicago.
G.C. Morris removed with his parents to Lockport, where he attended school until about fifteen years of age, and upon leaving school he went to Cleveland and began his lakefaring life with his brother, Capt. Isaac T. Morris, as boy on the Seaman. In 1853 he became mate on the Twin Sisters, the next spring joining the W.H. Stevens as mate, and subsequently taking a similar position on the Canisteo. In September, 1861, Captain Morris enlisted in Battery G, First Ohio Light Artillery, with Gen. James Barnett, and became a sergeant of artillery. He participated in the battles of Shiloh, Lost Horse, Corinth, Decket's Station, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Ringgold, Big Shanty, and all the hotly contested battles between Chattanooga and Atlanta, serving with honor at Altoona Pass, Kenesaw Mountain, and Marietta; was also at Peach Tree Creek, and took part in the capture of Atlanta, and the battles of Lovejoy Station and Jonesboro. After re-enlistment he became a sergeant in the 193rd O.V.I. He marched with General Sherman to Savannah and through the Carolinas, and participated in the engagements at Barnesville, Columbia, and Newbern, receiving his discharge at Washington after the Grand Review at the close of the war with the rank of brevet-lieutenant.
Captain Morris returned to Cleveland and was appointed mate of the bark S. B. Pomeroy, in the spring of 1866, becoming master of the Lucinda Van Valkenburg, which he sailed two seasons, following with two seasons as master of the L. B. Shepherd. in 1870 he purchased the schooner H. G. Williams, but after sailing her a short time appointed a captain in his place in order to accept a position in the United States mail service. His boat was lost in 1872 on Sandusky Point, Lake Erie. He held the position of U. S. local mail agent for ten years, and had supervision of all mail arriving and departing from Cleveland until the close of 1882. He then became switchman on the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati & Indianapolis railroad, in 1887 entering the employ of the city of Cleveland as sanitary officer, in which incumbency he was retained until 1898, when he became messenger and collector for the Produce Exchange Bank.
Captain Morris was married, March 20, 1867 to Miss Eliza Poole, of Cleveland, who was a half-sister of William Truscott, a prominent man of that city. To this union were born two children, George and Charles, whose mother died in 1879. Captain Morris chose for his second wife Miss Phoebe Mills, of Norwalk. Their daughter, Clara L., is a graduate of the high school in Cleveland, of Oberlin College and of the College of Music. John W. is a graduate of the Cleveland high school, and George E. is still a pupil. Socially the Captain is a member of the Knights of Honor, the Odd Fellows, Stedman Post, G.A.R., and the Knights of Pythias. The homestead is at No. 83, Southern avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, but the family now reside at No. 65, Eagle street.
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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.