Heritage \ Writings \

George B. Wilson (1857 - ??)
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.



    George B. Wilson, one of the most prominent and popular engineers on the lakes, and who has had charge of the machinery of many of the finest steamers, was born in Sacket's Harbor, N.Y., a port associated with the earliest history of lake navigation, on December 23, 1857. He is the son of John S. and Emeline (Chapman) Wilson, both of whom were natives of New York City, his father having been born there in 1804 and his mother in 1812, their marriage ceremony, however, having been performed in Sacket's Harbor. His parental grandparents came to the United States from Liverpool, England, early in the eighteenth century, settling in New York City.

    Mr. Wilson, the subject of this sketch, attended the public schools first in Sacket's Harbor, and having removed with his parents to Bay City, Mich., in 1869, he there finished his education, graduating from the high school. After leaving school he went to work for the Ray Iron Works, of Bay City, and in 1875 he received engineer's license, and became chief of the tug Witch of the West. He also owned the Nellie Booth. He was then appointed first assistant on the steamer B.W. Jenness; and ran the tug I.U. Masters. He also became first assistant on the steamer Iron Age, and was on the steamer Rube Richards two seasons. He then entered the employ of R.P. Fitzgerald & Co., as chief engineer of the steamer Barnum, transferring to the Valentine and Frank L. Vance in the order named. After working in Chicago the next winter for A.A. Bigelow & Co., he became chief engineer of the steamer Robert Holland. He then entered the employ of the Lehigh Valley Transportation Co. as chief engineer of the steamer Tacoma, and the next season brought out new the steamer Saranac.

    In the spring of 1890 Mr. Wilson brought out the new ferry steamers Superior and Duluth, plying between those ports, becoming chief engineer of the elevator "D" that fall. After passing a season as chief engineer of the steamer Passadena he joined the steamer Charles Eddy as chief. In the spring of 1894 he was appointed chief engineer of the Soo City, and in 1895 of the Charles Stewart Parnell, holding that office two years. In 1897 he became chief engineer of the tug Dennis Bros., taking up his lake life the next season as chief engineer of the steamer Selwyn Eddy, in which he experienced some pretty rough weather during the December gales of that year.

    Socially, he is an honored member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, has been vice-president and corresponding secretary of the Detroit branch, but now belongs to Cleveland No. 2. He also belongs to the Order of Foresters, and to the Ancient Order of United Workmen.

    Mr. Wilson chose Miss Annie, daughter of William and Annie Stander, of Detroit, Mich., to be his wife, and the marriage ceremony was performed on January 1, 1882. The children born to this union are John S., now attending high school, and George B., also in school. Mr. Wilson has acquired some Chicago real estate, the family homestead being No. 2917 South Throop street.

    Related Pages/Notes

    1867 Great Lakes Map
    (click to enlarge)
    Related Bay-Journal Pages
    Maps Library/
    {1867 Great Lakes Map}
    People Referenced
    Stander, Annie Mrs.
    Stander, William
    Wilson(Chapman), Emeline
    Wilson, George B.
    Wilson, John S.
    Wilson(Stander), Annie
    Subjects Referenced
    A.A. Bigelow & Co.
    Ancient Order United Wkmn.
    Bay City, MI
    Chicago, IL
    Lehigh Valley Trans. Co.
    Liverpool, England
    Marine Engrs. Bene. Assoc.
    New York, NY
    Order of Foresters
    Ray Iron Works Co.
    R.P. Fitzgerald & Co.
    Sacket's Harbor, NY
    Barnum, steamer
    B.W. Jenness, steamer
    Charles Eddy, steamer
    Charles Sewart Parnell,
    Dennis Bros., tug
    Duluth, steamer
    Elevator "D",
    Frank L. Vance, steamer
    I.U. Masters, tug
    Iron Age, steamer
    Nellie Booth,
    Passadena, steamer
    Robert Holland, steamer
    Rube Richards, steamer
    Saranac, steamer
    Selwyn Eddy, steamer
    Soo City, steamer
    Superior, steamer
    Tacoma, steamer
    Valentine, steamer
    Witch of West, tug
    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.