Sailed in '70s with Titanic's Captain

Chicago Daily Tribune

Page 6

[Photo] Capt. J. R. Mullet

Capt. J. R. Mullet, a veteran seaman, retired ten years ago on a pension from the White Star lines after thirty-five years of faithful service, yesterday recalled the days when he and Capt. J. E. Smith, commander of the sunken Titanic, were mates on a small sailing ship named the Black Ball.

"When the White Star company, now the White Star lines, began operating forty-five years ago I was first mate on the Black Ball," began Capt. Mullet, "and Capt. Smith was third mate."

"The company then owned two sailing vessels, the Black Ball and the White Star. Smith always was studious and figured out the possibilities of the present day steamships. A few years later when the White Star company built the Oceanic, Smith was made captain of it. In 1878, the company had three steamships-- Oceanic, Galic, and Belgic. I took turns as captain of the Belgic and Galic. Smith and I greatly resembled each other in appearance.

"I was about ten years his senior, and he used to look to me for advice. He read day and night. I never knew a sea dog to study as Smith did. He was a man who saw far ahead.

"I never will forget how he would ask questions regarding navigation. Nothing else interested him. I watched his rise, and I was the happiest man in Chicago when I learned the White Star lines had made my former pupil the boss of the giant Titanic. There are few men like Capt. Smith." Capt. Mullet is 79 years old, although he looks only 65. He is employed in a loop jewellery store and resides at 590 North Clark Street.

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