Horace Simpson Wilkinson
NO greater service to the industrial and material progress of the United States has been performed than that given by the men who have led in the enterprises and move-ments that have created the great development of trade and traffic on the Great Lakes. For this development of water transportation is, more than any other, a basic cause for the great progress and prosperity of the wonder cities of the Great Lakes.
A prominent member of this group of progressive men is Horace Simpson Wilkinson, a resident of Syracuse, New York, but one of the most prominent personalities in connection with lake- carrying activities.
He was born in Shellsburg, Iowa, November 26, 1867, the son of Rev. Joseph G. Wilkinson, a Methodist minister, and Mary A. (Miller) Wilkinson. He received a public school education, but as a member of a family in which were six boys it became necessary that he should begin early to be self-supporting, and at the age of fifteen he began clerking in a store at Toledo, Iowa. He was an attentive student of mercantile methods and operations, and made quick progress, for he was only twenty years old when he was conducting a business of his own at Dodge City, Kansas. At the age of twenty-five he started an office, handling local stocks and bonds, in Syracuse, N. Y., and has continued to be prominent in financial operations in that city.
His entry into the transportation business dates back to 1903, when he established an enterprise known as the United States Transportation Company. He organized, directed construction, and put in operation that company, The L. C. Smith Transit Company, The Wilkinson Transportation Company, The American Transit Company, and The Standard Transportation Company, and has acted as president and general manager of these companies and of the Great Lakes Steamship Company, into which they have all been merged.
He has also other large interests in connection with lake transportation, being president of the Toledo Ship Building Company, of Toledo, Ohio; director of the Great Lakes Towing Company, of Cleveland, Ohio, and is a member of the executive committee of the Lake Carriers' Association, of Detroit, Michigan.
The Great Lakes Steamship Company's fleet is composed of twenty steamships, the largest of which is the steamer "H. S. Wilkinson," 8,338 gross tons, and the others are the steamers "Norway," 6,674 tons; "John B. Cowle," 6,614 tons; "Harry Coulby," 6,495 tons; "A. E. Nettleton." 6,286 tons; "Lyman C. Smith," 6,200 tons; "John Dunn, Jr.," 6,160 tons; "Denmark," 5,448 tons; "Charles Hubbard," 4,846 tons; "J. F. Dur- ston," 4,791 tons; "Smith Thompson," 4,786 tons; "Sweden," 4,702 tons; "Hurlbut W. Smith," 4,662 tons; "Wilbert L. Smith," 4,319 tons "Monroe C. Smith," 4,281 tons; "B. Lyman Smith," 4,271 tons; "Wm. Nottingham," 4,234 tons; "George B. Leonard," 4,037 tons; "Belgium," 3,860 tons; and'"Charles M. Warner," 3,812 tons.
Mr. Wilkinson is also a man of great prominence in the steel industry. He was one of the organizers and president and general manager of the Halcomb Steel Company of Syracuse, N. Y., one of the largest tool-steel manufacturing enterprises in the United States. He is now a director of the Crucible Steel Company of America and of the First National Bank of Syracuse, N. Y.
Mr. Wilkinson is a prominent citizen of the city of Syracuse and is largely interested in matters of its material and social welfare. This is especially applicable to the affairs of Syracuse University, an institution which has greatly prospered under a progressive chancellor and an able board of trustees, of which Mr. Wilkinson is an active member. He is also connected with other educational and charitable institutions.
He is a member of the Citizens', Century and Onondaga Clubs of Syracuse, N. Y the Union Club, Cleveland, Ohio; the Duquesne Club, Pittsburgh, Pa the Toledo Club, Toledo, Ohio; the Lawyers' Club, Republican Club and India House, New York, and the Blind Brook Golf Club, Greenwich, Conn.
Mr. Wilkinson has been especially influential in the development of lake transportation, and in support of the measures and activities of the Lake Carriers' Association.