LAKE ONTARIO DID NOT CLAIM CAPTAIN SMITH
Death Discloses He Had Lived 10 Years in West After His Boat Foundered Near Pigeon Island
John S. Parsons* and other Oswegonians who have been following transportation on Lake Ontario for many years were greatly interested today in a dispatch from Belleville, Ontario, saying that relatives of Captain John Wesley Smith had been notified Monday that their kinsman had not been drowned ten years ago as they believed, but he had escaped when his vessel foundered, gone to Harrah, Okla., and built up a prosperous business. The letter announced the death of Captain Smith on February 22d this year.
Captain Smith was well known in local marine circles having been in the coal trade for many years between Oswego, Kingston and Bay of Quinte points. At one time he sailed the well known schooner The Oliver Mowatt. Captain Smith was believed to have been drowned with 11 others when the coal schooner George A. Marsh, of which he was skipper, foundered off Pigeon Island, near Kingston, Ont., Aug. 8, 1917. The only reason given for Captain Smith's concealment of his identity for ten years was according to the Belleville dispatch, he wanted to start life anew.
Ben Wilson, master of the Masonic lodge at Harrah, Okla., who wrote the letter of notification, was quoted as having said that Captain Smith had told him "some of the secrets of his life" and asked him to "notify the folks back home when he died."
HARRAH, Okla., March 7 (AP) - Captain John Wesley Smith, who, relatives at Belleville, Ont., said today was believed to have drowned August 8, 1917, carried the secret of his disappearance with him to his death here February 22d of this year.
Ben Wilson, master of the local Masonic lodge, related that he had known Smith for a number of years, and that he believed he was the only man in Harrah who had Smith's confidence. Smith never spoke of his past life, Wilson said.
He described Smith as "a mighty nice, old fellow" about sixty years old.