The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Intelligencer (Belleville, ON), Mon., March 14, 1927

Full Text
Photographs From Harrah of Dead Man Are identified
Face Shows Signs of Struggle During Past Ten Years

Captain John Smith whose mysterious disappearance from the sunken George E. Marsh, has after a ten year silence, been found. His identify was finally proved this morning when photographs of John Smith who died in Harrah, Oklahoma, arrived in the city this morning and were recognized as the missing Captain by friends and relatives of the deceased. The photographs which have been awaited with keen anticipation by Horace Smith, son of the missing Captain were sent to the home of Secretary Geo. Dulmage, of Moira Lodge A.F. and A.M., who has assisted greatly in the wide search to prove that John Smith, of Oklahoma, was identical with the captain of the foundered schooner. Immediately upon the receipt of the photographs he communicated with Horace Smith who with an Intelligencer reporter went immediately to Mr. Dulmage's home where they viewed the pictures.

Son Sees Picture

Horace Smith who was but a lad when his father was lost on August 8, 1917, could not be positive that the photograh was that of his father. he sorrowfully viewed the post mortem picture which was taken of the dead man after being prepared for burial. The picture showed a clean shaven man on straight features, high cheek bones, large nose and high forehead but rigor mortis had naturally left the face of the dead man expressionless. One reason the face had changed so much from Mr. Smith's recollection of his father was the absence of the large moustache which he had worn in life. This had evidently been shaven off in life to further assist in his remaining incognito in the States. Captain John Smith had owned a progressive and flourishing feed business in Harrah with assets estimated at $3,000 which he had evidently accumulated within the last ten years. Horace Smith and his sister, Mrs. Margaret McClennan have been mentioned as heirs in the estate.

A Mystery

Why Captain Smith concealed his identity will probably remain a mystery. Evidently after the wreck in 1917 he made a safe passage to land and ultimately landed in Oklahoma. Why he chose this as his destination is also a mystery as he had neither friends or relatives in the States.

When he arrived in Harrah, Walter Wilson of that town staked him in the business and his perseverance business acumen soon made him one of Harrah's leading businessmen as is intimated by the obituary written on his death. Mr. Wilson was positive at the time of John Smith's death that he was Captain Smith who disappeared from the sunken George E. marsh. Captain Smith had confided to him and told him some of his life's secrets and mentioned Moira Lodge, Belleville, and also his daughter Margaret which was a clue to the establishment of the identity of the man.

Friends Recognize Features

On leaving Mr. George Dulmage's home with the post mortem photographs, it wads deemed advisable to allow old friends and relatives of Captain Smith, residing in the locality of his former home, to see them. They were similar copies taken at the same time and in them the face was slightly rounded out with mature years. Richard Cornell the first to view the pictures said "I think it is John." Taking a side view he was positive of the identity.

Mr. James Bird, a brother-in-law, doubted the identity at first, but later became reassured when the features alone were considered by him. Mr. Bird taking another photograph of the dead man taken twenty years ago with two of his children, compared the two and was not sure at the time, however, after thinking it over, he agreed with the many who were positive.

James Meehan who had known the deceased all his life, was assured on first sight that the photo was none other than Captain Smith.

"It's nobody else but him," said Mary Ann Conley when shown the pictures, and was visibly affected by the plate.

Mrs. Samantha Cousins, an aunt of Captain Smith, stated definitely that the picture was that of her nephew mourned as dead for the past ten years. William Smith, a brother, an employee of the Taylor Baker, said, "It resembles him alright. he resembles me in some respects."

The party composed of Horace Smith and Press Reporters visited the home of Mrs. Eliza Fagan who spent some time before reaching a conclusion. She covered features to size the picture minutely, and said, "I think it is he alright."

Mrs. Cousins showed the press representatives a photo of Captain Smith's grandfather, Captain henry Smith and there was undoubtedly a strong family resemblance.

The Picture

The photographs, mailed from Harrah on the fifty of March, came directly to Belleville by air mail to augment the speed of delivery. Horace Smith assured that the photographs afford definite identification left for Toronto this afternoon where he will carry the news of the solution of the ten year mystery to his sister, Mrs. Neil McClennan, who married a survivor of the wreck of the George E. Marsh.

Buried March 9th

The remains of Mr. John Smith were laid to rest in the Harrah Cemetery Wednesday evening, march 9th at 3:30 p.m.

The body had been cared for by the Haun Funeral Home in Oklahoma City since death, which occurred February 22 pending word from relatives in Canada.

Funeral services were conducted by the Rev. J.W. Dodd and the Rev. C.E. Fox, of the Nazarene Church. We feel it our duty to quote the following passage as spoken by the Rev. Fox during the service.

"Mr. Smith was ever willing to lend a helping hand to the churches and schools and any other needy cause which was for the betterment of the town and its people. While it is not known that he belonged to any religious organization his faith in God must have been great. We are not left to be the judge of his destiny but left to hope that he is prepared to meet his Maker in the Judgment."

Members of the Masonic Lodge of Harrah paid their respect by performing the last rites.

Before the casket was lowered in the earth, the bouquets of beautiful flowers with which it was covered were removed and the casket opened to allow the great following of friends to view the corpse for the last time.

Following is a copy of the letter received from the Master of the Harrah Masons.

Mr. George Dulmage, Belleville, Ont.
Dear Sir.-

You will find enclosed photos of John Smith. We have laid him to rest in the Harrah Cemetery as you will see by the clipping of the paper. I bought a nice lot and had picture made of the service at the grave. Will send to you when finished.

I have inventory of his stock taken. Am going today and have Attorney also file Miss Margaret and Horace Smith as heirs to his estate. Will keep you posted on what is doing and send you copy of what he had, just as soon as it is filed in Court. Would like to hear from Margaret and Horace Smith.

Respectfully Yours,
Master, Harrah Lodge 375, A.F. & A.M.

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Date of Original:
Mon., March 14, 1927
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Richard Palmer
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
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Intelligencer (Belleville, ON), Mon., March 14, 1927