Written by Rex Ennis
posted on February 13, 2012 07:23
One hundred years ago, 14 April 1912 the RMS Titanic sank in the icy waters of the North Atlantic, 1,514 perished. Considered by many to be unsinkable, its builders Harland and Wolff and The White Star Line never made that claim. The history of the RMS Titanic is familiar to us all as the saga continues in film, exhibitions, museums and books.
One of the frequently quoted books dealing with the disaster is Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters, written in 1912 by Logan Marshall. A quick Google of the name reveals that Logan Marshall was the nom de plume of Logan Howard-Smith of Grindstone Island.
Logan was the son of Robert Spurrier Howard-Smith of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Lida McKinney of Rogersville, Tennessee. Robert was for many years the Treasurer of the Link-Belt Company. Lida was extremely civic minded and was a member of several of Philadelphia’s betterment societies. Her obituary says she had “a wide circle of friends through her gracious presence and personal charm.” She passed away in the lobby of George Boldt’s Bellevue-Strafford Hotel in 1923 on her way to a meeting.
Logan was born in Montclair, New Jersey in 1883 and was a graduate of Germantown Academy, graduated in 1901 and the University of Pennsylvania, class of 1905. He had a keen interest in history and was a member of several patriot and genealogical societies, the best known being the Sons of the American Revolution. He was a Captain in the Pennsylvania National Guard, 2nd Regiment Infantry. He was an excellent marksman for which he received numerous medals. Due to ill health he did not serve in World War I.
April 21, 1917, Logan married Amelia Sparks Douglas, also of Philadelphia. She was the daughter of Walter Pearce Douglas a prominent Philadelphia businessman. They had only one child, Douglas Sparks Howard-Smith, born in 1922. Douglas (Doug) married Imogen (Junie) Reeve Snowden in 1947.
Logan and Amelia lived in Philadelphia, which was also the home of another long time Grindstone family the Rossmasslers. Junie Howard-Smith (nee Snowden) now Mrs. Frank A. Augsbury, a Grindstone summer resident, began coming to the Grindstone shortly after her marriage to Doug. Junie has no recollections of her father-in-law; as he passed away ten years prior to her marriage to Doug. However, in a recent telephone conservation with this author she expressed the theory that Amelia may have been a school friend of Eleanor Rossmassler. Whatever the connection Logan and Amelia visited Grindstone and the Rossmasslers in the summer of 1937. Logan was seriously ill and on his way to Canada to see a specialist, apparently via the new Thousand Island Bridge.
Amelia and Logan fell in love with the islands and looked for property on Grindstone. They purchased waterfront directly behind Island #67 or Blueberry Island, according to records at the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office the lot was 2.49 acres; purchased from Lawrence and Catherine Black of Clayton by Amelia on 6 October 1937. Sadly, Logan had passed away in September 1937, but Amelia carried on with the construction of the summer home, which stands today.
Under the name Logan Marshall, Logan Howard-Smith wrote or edited some seventeen books and as himself an additional five books. He wrote The Tragic Story of the Empress of Ireland in 1914. The Empress of Ireland sank after collusion with a coal barge in the St. Lawrence River just below Pointe au Pere, Quebec and was second only to the RMS Titanic in loss of life. Other subjects included the Panama Canal, World War I, and even a book of Favorite Fairy Tales, which he edited.
By Rexford M. Ennis, Grindstone Island
© Copyright Rexford M. Ennis 2010, All Rights Reserved
Rex Ennis has written several articles for TI Life. His bio is recorded in Contributors in December, 2008. In the past two years Rex has published two important books on the Thousand Islands. The first , published in 2010 is Toujours Jeune Always Young the biography of Charles G. Emery. It was reviewed in June 2010 issue. The second, Saints, Sinners and Sailors of the Gilded Age: A compendium of biographical sketches centered on the Gilded Age in the Thousand Islands which describes the biographies of every name appearing on a 1889 map published by Frank H. Taylor called: Map of the Thousand Islands; Hotels, Parks and Cottages. See the book review in our July 2011 issue and you will find the map described in the July issue in the August 2011 issue.