Capt. George E. (1851-?)
Maritime Biography -- Born in west Bay City (now Bay City) where he retired. Courtesy of "Links to the Past" website. (Oct. 2005)
Note: Some paragraphs have been shortened for easier viewing of data.
History of the Great Lakes, Vol. 2 by J.B. Mansfield Published Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co. 1899.
CAPTAIN GEORGE E. KING
Captain George E. King is the son of Capt. George W. and Julia (Causley) King, and
was born at Courtright, Ontario, April 3, 1851.
The father was a well-known tug and
vessel owner, as well as master on the Saginaw river and bay many years. His first
experience as a sailor was the placing of a ferry boat on the St. Clair river between
the villages of Courtright and St. Clair. He built the Traffic, which he afterward
took to Bay City and put in the machinery, making a side-wheel steamer of her, and
used her in towing on the Saginaw river and bay. He also owned and operated the tug
After sailing these boats he purchased the side-wheel steamer Canada, which he used
for towing purposes on the Saginaw. He established the first steam ferry on the
Saginaw river between Bay City and West Bay City, at the place now spanned by the
Third street bridge. This steam craft consisted of two scows lashed together and
planked over, a paddle-wheel running in the water between the two scows, and made
quite a novel ferry boat for transportation of teams and passengers, but answered
the purpose at the time to a charm.
Captain King, in partnership with Edward Parks, also owned the tug Tiger, which
was used in towing. After she was destroyed by fire, he sold his vessel property
and purchased a farm in the suburbs of West Bay City, which he worked for ten years. Upon his return to marine business he bought the tug Hercules, which he sailed four years, and then traded her for the tug Dickson in company with John Powell, thus
forming the nucleus of a tug line, consisting of the two just mentioned, the O.W.
Cheney, Thomas Maytham, T.M. Moore, Fanny Tuthill, and Hunter, of which line
he was superintendent about two years. After this combination was dissolved he and
Capt. Thomas Lester operated the tug T.M. Moore, George B. Dickson and E. Haight two
years, after which he became manager and owner of the Dickson, then sold her to J.R.
Irwin, of Fairport; he purchased the barge Roscoe and Montmorency, sailing the latter
up to the time of his death, which occurred November 18, 1896, when he was aged
Capt. George E. King, his son and the subject of this sketch, acquired his public-
school education in the schools of West Bay City, and his first lesson as a sailor
was with his father at the age of fifteen years, on the side-wheel steamer Kennedy,
as deckhand. The next season he shipped on the tug Tiger, followed by a term before
the mast on the schooner Melvina and other schooners out of Chicago, and then put in
some time on the tug Hercules. After securing his license he shipped as mate with
Capt. J. Pringle on the tug Sol. S. Rumage, following this with an appointment as
master of the tug E. Haight, and sailed her four seasons, followed by one in the
George B. Dickson, and five years as master of the O.W. Cheney. After the Cheney was sold he went on her as mate, with Capt. Harvey Kendall, on the St. Clair river. In
the spring of 1884 he went to Cleveland and entered the employ of Capt. Patrick Smith
as master of the tug Maggie Sanborn, and during the three seasons he was with that
line sailed the tugs S.S. Stone and James Amadeus. He was also master of the sandsucker
Alice Strong at Cleveland. He then went to work for the Creach Tug Company and sailed
the tugs W.D. Cushing, Allie May and others. In the spring of 1891 he was appointed
master of the passenger steamer Ossifrage, which he took to Bay City and then to
Detroit, when he put her on a route between that city and the island of Descreshaska
in the excursion business. The next season he joined as mate the passenger steamer
Laura, plying between St. Joseph and Milwaukee. The Captain passed the next four
seasons as master on the tug Argyle, raft towing on the Georgian Bay and Saginaw
river. In the spring of 1898 he entered the employ of the Reed Wrecking and Towing
Company as master of the steamer Protector.
Socially, he is a member of the American Association of Masters and Pilots of Steam
Vessels, and a Knight of the Macabees.
Captain King was wedded to Miss Sarah A., daughter of Isaac and Hannah Preston, of
West Bay City. Their children are Ettie, the wife of Noble Oram, of Cleveland; and
Cora, the wife of Clyde Mann, of West Bay City. The Captain's grandchildren are George
Oram and Sarah A. Mann. The family residence is at No. 301 North Center street, West
Bay City, Michigan.
Kendall, Harvey Capt.
King, Geo. W. Capt. (father)
King (Causley), Julia (mother)
King (Preston), Sarah (sp.)
Lester, Thomas Capt.
Mann (King), Cora (dau.)
Mann, Sarah (gdau.)
Oram (King), Ettie (dau.)
Oram, George (gson)
Preston, Hannah Mrs.
Pringle, J. Capt.
Smith, Patrick Capt.
American Assoc. of Masters &
... Pilots of Steam Vessles
Bay City, MI
Center st., N (WBC)
Creach Tug Co.
First steam ferry
Island of Descreshaska
Knights of Macabees
Reed Wrecking & Towing Co.
St. Clair, MI
St. Clair river
St. Joseph, MI
Third st. bridge
West Bay City, MI
Vessel Names: Alice May
Geo. B. Dickson
Links to the Past Online book, "History of the Great Lakes," Vols. 1 & 2, by J.B. Mansfield.