A SAD THANKSGIVING DAY
WAS THE LOT OF MRS. SMITH, WIDOW OF THE MAUMEE VALLEY'S MATE
HIS EVENTFUL CAREER, AND THEIR ROMANTIC MANNER OF MEETING
Chicago, November 29. - (Special) - Death stayed the Thanksgiving preparations in the house of Mrs. William E. Smith, 402 Chicago Avenue west, whose sailor husband perished with his ship off Toledo on Monday. The husband, who was mate of the schooner Maumee Valley, was to have arrived in Chicago last night for a Thanksgiving dinner to-day, but the sad news instead greeted the anxious wife.
Mrs. Smith had not seen the dispatches in the newspapers giving the account of the Maumee Valley's mishap and the death of the crew. She was watching from her window all of yesterday afternoon, and when she heard a step on the stairway she flew to the door with a greeting on her lips. Instead of her husband she faced a messenger with the details of the ship's loss. Last night the neighbors were caring for the bereaved wife, who was prostrated by the blow.
Smith was only 35 years old, but he had followed a sailor's life for twenty-four years. He had been in Toledo, O., and Buffalo, N. Y., for three months' sailing with his old captain, Henry Scranton, who had induced him to leave Chicago. In a letter received a few days ago, Smith told his wife that the Maumee Valley would arrive in Toledo last Sunday, and that he would be home Wednesday afternoon or night for a holiday. The couple, having no children, were to have enjoyed a landsman's Thanksgiving dinner for two, and Mrs. Smith had been engaged the entire week in preparing delicacies against her husband's return.
He was born in Leland Co., Mich., a farmer's son, but ran away from home at the age of 11. He shipped as an ordinary seaman in the old days of lake navigation, which from the sternness and cruelty of discipline almost equaled the regime of the salt water press gangs. He was scarred from head to foot with the belaying pin wielded by ferocious and not always sober officers.
Smith saved many lives from wrecks and twice before he was nearly starved while perched on the rigging of a disabled ship awaiting rescue, as in the case of the Maumee Valley. On another occasion he swam three miles to land in the terrific storm which wrecked the Edith L. off Mackinac island in 1881. All of the crew but Smith were lost.
It was aboard a schooner that the mate met the young woman who became his wife. She was Miss Emma Warren, daughter of a farmer in Dodge Co., Minn, who had left home in 1890 to visit relatives in Chicago. The girl, then 20 years of age, was in poor health, and her father procured her a passage on a sailing vessel, that a long lake trip might restore her spirits.
Detroit Free Press
Nov. 30 , 1900