sailing at age 16;
San Francisco to Vancouver,
then to Australia and New Zealand.
Photo from the archives of the
Saltwater People Historical Society©
The name came from the wide-brimmed, white Stetson he always wore. He also was called "the Mayor of Third Avenue," where his business ventures had centered for 60 years.
He always said he'd like to die on the corner of Third and Union. He had a heart attack as he walked along Third Avenue near Union St [1978.]
Born and reared in San Francisco, he went to sea on one of the last three-masted windjammers when he was 16.
Photo courtesy of the Western Australia State Library
"Scab Johnny, a 'Frisco character whose job was to recruit men for sailing ships, talked me into sailing on the W.F. BABCOCK, one of the last three full-riggers to fly the American Flag. We sailed from San Francisco to Vancouver, B.C., then to Australia and New Zealand.
We were gone 11-months, 21 days. I learned all about black beans and plum duff, a sugarless pudding. We had black beans and plum duff twice a day for 45 consecutive days. Part of the skipper's graft was what he could save on meals, plus what he could get for the deckload.
He was a real belly-robber. Every time he would go below, we would shove off a few of the 2,000 barrels of tar that was his precious deckload.
After being gone 11 days short of a year, I was paid off $120. I hit some joint and ordered a couple of drinks. I doubt whether I ever finished the second drink. When I woke up I was as free of money as a cat is of feathers.
I bummed ten cents, bought a nickel glass of beer and used the other nickel for carfare home. I sure was ashamed of myself. Later, I shipped out on the USS UNALGA for a year. She was part of the old Revenue Cutter Service. Seattle was her home and I was discharged here in March 1915.
Mr. Cruickshank worked as a deputy in the King County assessor's office from 1919 to 1933, leaving his post as chief deputy assessor to help establish the Longacres Race Track.
When George and Seattle both were young, he was known as a speculator, horseplayer, prizefight manager, and power behind the scenes of Republican Party politics. But all of that, he reminisced in the Seattle Times a decade ago, was once upon a time and long ago. Like the city, he grew more dignified with age." Text published by the Seattle Times. 1966.