George W. Towne
George W. Towne was born at Tonawanda, N. Y., November 13, 1863, son of George W. and Elizabeth (Hodges) Towne, the former of New Orleans, La., and the latter of Cornwall, England.
Our subject attended and graduated from the high school of his native city when about fifteen years of age, and then commenced to learn the machinist's trade at the Lake Shore railroad shops in Buffalo. There he served the necessary four-years' apprenticeship, and then worked as a journeyman for the Holly Manufacturing Company, of Lockport, N. Y., the three succeeding years, and the Globe Iron Works, of Cleveland, Ohio, the year following. In 1886 he began steamboating, going onto the Tacoma as her second engineer for that season, and filling the same berth on the Spokane and Oscoda, respectively, the next two seasons. In 1889 he was promoted to chief of the Nebraska, and the following season was chief of the rivertug Samson. The season of 1891 he was chief of the Columbia, until the close of the excursion season, when he went onto the Lehigh and the Alaska, remaining on both until they were laid up. The following season, 1892, he was given the Alaska, on which he remained for six consecutive seasons, including 1897. It is unnecessary to say that this continuous service with the Anchor line proved, not only his efficiency, but also his good-fellowship, as everyone, to whom he is more familiarly known as Tonawanda George, will testify. Mr. Towne has twelve issues of license, and is a member of Local Harbor No. 1, M.E.B.A.
On Christmas day, 1889, Mr. Towne was married to Miss Mary E. Gehrling, of Savannah, Ga., at that place, and they reside at No. 135 Minerva street, Tonawanda, New York.
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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.