Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

WWI Almost Ruined a Rich Man's Lifestyle

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

WWI Almost Ruined a Rich Man's Lifestyle

Article excerpt

George E. Crater Jr. had everything and was in Jacksonville.

What more could anyone ask?

The jetties at his stern, for openers . . .

It was the third week of September 1914.

Crater was a lawyer, a businessman, a railroad builder, banker

and a yachtsman, for openers.

And a lucky man.

HMS Mauretania, the last vessel to clear Liverpool before war in

Europe began less than two months before.

The dash of the Mauretania across the Atlantic was one of the

first stirring adventures of World War I.

War caught the Mauretania in the mid-Atlantic. She was loaded

with money, bullion and securities and, incidentally, George E.

Crater Jr.

The Mauretania raced across the Atlantic into Halifax, Nova

Scotia, in just under five days. The German gunboat Karlsrue was

in hot pursuit.

Crater had come straight to Jacksonville after the thrilling

voyage.

Who wouldn't?

The city's intrinsic charm notwithstanding, Crater was here to

meet his private yacht, the Marjory.

The Marjory had been cruising the South Seas. She was compelled

to make port in Jacksonville because of the dratted lack of coal

in the Caribbean.

In normal times, the Marjory ported in Kingston, Jamaica. But

Britain had commandeered all coal on the island.

"Crater is well known in yachting circles in the North," the

evening paper explained.

"Although comparatively a young man, Crater has seven times

been president of national and state banks, has organized more

than 600 corporations, including banks, railways, and water,

light, industrial and mining companies. He organized the first

steamship company to operate between Seattle and Skagway,

constructed a railway from Tehran to the Persian Gulf and

financed the building of a 1,200-kilometer railway in Brazil . .

. He owns a little villa in France and when at home lives at

Craterville, Stanhope, N.J.," the Metropolis elucidated.

Crater was in Galicia just before the war began. He reached

London only hours before the Mauretania sailed. This was Aug. 1,

the day Germany declared war on Russia. …

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