Heritage \ Writings \

Frank H. Smith (1853 - ??)
Maritime Biography.
  • Courtesy of "Links to the Past" website.
  • History of the Great Lakes, Vol. 2 by J.B. Mansfield
    Published Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co. 1899.



    Frank A. Smith is the son of James A. Smith, who is probably the oldest marine engineer on the Great Lakes. He was born in Warren county, Penn., October 29, 1853 and attended school at Erie and also at Niagara Falls, when he was eighteen, graduating from the high school in Bay City, Mich., whither the family had removed. Mr. Smith early felt an inclination to follow in his father's footsteps, but he resisted the desire until he had possessed himself a good high-school education and had spent three years in a machine shop to qualify him to take up the engineering profession aright. His first license was issued in the fall he became of age, and shortly afterward took the position of second engineer of a large steamer which was propelled by a high pressure engine, spending three years in this vessel. He then served in a number of other craft, entering the employ of the Northwestern Transportation Company in 1874 and remaining five years in the steamer Forest City. In 1879 he left the lakes and for three years was in charge of the engine of a sawmill owned by J.E. Potts & Co., on the Fox river, in De Pere, Wis., but on account of illness in his family he was forced to leave this position and for two years was engineer on a lumber barge. In 1883 he became chief engineer of the steamer H.S. Pickands, owned by J.E. Potts & Co., remaining with that vessel three years, after which he spent one year as chief in a small steamer, going to the J.P. Thompson, as chief, in 1887, and remaining on her two years. During the next two years he was chief of the David W. Rust, following which he entered the service of the Minnesota Steamship line as chief of the Manola. The year after this he was chief of the Mariposa, changing from her to the Mariska, on which he served two years, and he then returned to the Mariposa, finishing the season of 1896 on her.

    In 1875 Mr. Smith married Miss Mary J. Gilbert, of West Bay City, and their children are James A., Frank A., and Hiram R. The eldest son, James A., who was born in West Bay City in 1877, has been oiler on his father's vessel for two years. He passed through the public schools of West Bay City, graduated from the International Business College, of Bay City, and has now taken up the study of medicine in Western Reserve Medical College, Cleveland; he will leave the lakes to become a physician.

    Related Pages/Notes

    1867 Great Lakes Map
    (click to enlarge)
    Related Bay-Journal Pages
    Maps Library/
    {1867 Great Lakes Map}
    People Referenced
    Gilbert, Mary J. (wife)
    Smith, Frank A. (subject)
    Smith, Frank A. Jr. (son)
    Smith, Hiram (son)
    Smith, James A. (father)
    Smith, James A., II (son)
    Subjects Referenced
    Bay City, MI
    Cleveland, OH
    De Pere, WI
    Fox River
    International Bus. Col.
    J.E. Potts & Co.
    Minnesota Steamp line
    Niagara Falls, NY
    Northwestern Trans. Co.
    David W. Rust, steamer
    Forest City, steamer
    H.S. Pickens, steamer
    J.P. Thomason, steamer
    Manola, steamer
    Mariposa, steamer
    Mariska, steamer

    Warren Co., PA
    West Bay City
    Western Res. Med. Col.
    Internet References
    Links to the Past
    Online book, "History of the Great Lakes," Vols. 1 & 2, by J.B. Mansfield.
    WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.