Captain R. W. Grace
The command of this fine steamer has been given to Captain R. W. Grace, who ranks as the Commodore of the line. He has been temporarily deprived of the guardianship of this youngest sea child of the National by her British Majesty's government, who have enrolled the Arnerica into the military transport service. It is expected that she will soon resume her usual sphere of existence as one of the monarchs of the Atlantic.
Captain Grace is as proud of his ship as the line is of him. Unlike his vessel, he is neither the largest nor the newest of his colleague captains, but there are many people who persist that he is the best.
In point of length of service and varied experience on the sea, he is unquestionably the patriarch. He is in his fifty-seventh year, and looks every inch a gallant mariner.
He has been a National captain for twenty years. If he wore on his breast all the medals he has won for fearless deeds and humane actions, his coat would look like a jeweler's shop case.
A hale, jovial, and genial man, always courteous and considerate, one is never at a loss to understand, when speaking to him, why Commodore Grace is so popular with ocean travelers.
The National Line is justly proud of her captains. She has a big fleet of stanch ships, to each of which the name of one of the great nations of the earth is given.
The line is a British corporation, and hence no selfish partiality is responsible for the fact that the largest, newest, and best of the baker's dozen of splendid vessels is called the Arnerica.
It may have been a mere coincidence in its christening, but it is a compliment none the less to what the patriotic American would call the largest, newest, and best of the nations.
Capt. R.W. Grace, the Commodore of the National Line steamship fleet, died at sea on Saturday, 16 October 1886 while in command of the America. That vessel arrived in port yesterday, Friday, 22 October 1886 with his body.
When it returns ou Wednesday next it will take the body home to England. The America on leaving Queenstown at 1 o’clock in the afternoon of Thursday of last week encountered immediately a storm. Until the storm ended on Saturday morning Capt. Grace remained almost continuously on the bridge, a steady watch of 42 hours.
He was then overcome with apoplexy, and died 115 hours after the attack. His daughter, who had come on the voyage with him in the hope of repairing her health, was prostrated by her sudden bereavement. First OiÜuer Robinson took the Captain’s place after he left the bridge, and held couimaud during the rest of the voyage. Yesterday, Capt. Griffiths, of the Spain, was transferred to the America. He will propably take her back on Wednesday.
Capt. Grace was one of the best known and most popular of the transatlantic Captains. His officers all liked him, and among passengers he was a general favorite. The National Company hatj employed his services for more than 20 years.
So high was the company's regard for him that daring almost the entire period of his service he was assigned to each new ship ns fast as the company increased its fleet, tie commanded in turn the Spain, the Egypt, and the France, taking each of those ships on its first trip across the ocean.
In 1884, when the company bought the America, the command of this finest acquisition to the fleet fell naturally to him. That was his post to the day of his death, except for the few months that the ship served the British Government as an armed cruiser Capt. Grace was 57 years old. His family consists of two grown sons besides the daughter who accompanied him on this last trip.
"A Martyr to Duty: Death of Capt. R. W. Grace, Commodore of the National Line," in The New York Times, 23 October 1886, Page 8, Col. 2