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The Mayflower was the ship that in 1620 transported 102 English Pilgrims, including a core group of Separatists, to New England. Their story is one of travail and survival in a harsh New World environment.
When and where the Mayflower of the Pilgrim voyage of 1620 was built is not known, but it is not improbable that she was launched at Harwich in Essex county, England, and although later known ‘of London’, she was designated as ‘of Harwich’ in the Port Books of 1609-11. Harwich was the birthplace of Mayflower master Christopher Jones about 1570.
The Mayflower was rated at 180 tons—meaning it had a hold that could accommodate 180 casks of rum or wine—and was about 100 feet in length. Since Captain Jones became master eleven years prior to the Mayflower Pilgrims' voyage, the ship had sailed cross-Channel taking English woolens to France and bringing French wine to London. In addition to wine and wool, Jones had transported hats, hemp, Spanish salt, hops and vinegar to Norway and may have taken the Mayflower whaling in the North Atlantic in the Greenland area. It had traveled to Mediterranean ports, being then owned by Christopher Nichols, Robert Child, Thomas Short and Christopher Jones, the ship’s master. In 1620 Capt. Jones and Robert Child still owned their quarter shares in the ship, and it was from them that Thomas Weston chartered her in the summer of 1620 to undertake the Pilgrim voyage. Weston was deeply involved in the Mayflower voyage due to his membership in the investor group Merchant Adventurers, and eventually came to Plymouth Colony himself.
From the Port Books of England in the reign of James I (1603-1625), there were twenty-six vessels bearing the same name as the Pilgrim ship and the reason for such popularity has never been found.
A particular Mayflower that has caused historical confusion is a ‘Mayflower’ erroneously named as the Mayflower of the 1620 Pilgrims. This particular ship was partly owned by John Vassall and was outfitted for the queen in 1588 during the time of the Spanish Armada, a war for which he outfitted several ships. There are no records of this Vassall ‘Mayflower’ beyond 1594.
From records of the time, and to avoid confusion with the many other ‘Mayflower’ ships, the identity of Captain Jones’ Mayflower is based on her home port, her tonnage (est. 180-200 tons), and the master’s name in 1620.
August 1609 records first note Christopher Jones as master and part owner of the Mayflower when his ship was chartered for a voyage from London to Drontheim (Trondheim) in Norway, and back to London. Due to bad weather, on her return, the ship lost an anchor and made short delivery of her cargo of herrings. Litigation was involved and was proceeding in 1612.
In a document of January 1611, Christopher Jones is described as being ‘of Harwich’, and his ship is called the Mayflower of Harwich (in Essex co.). Records of Jones’ ship Mayflower have the ship twice in the Thames in London in 1613 – once in July and again in October and November.
Records of 1616 again state Jones’ ship was in the Thames and the noting of wine on board suggests the ship had recently been on a voyage to France, Spain, Portugal, the Canaries, or some other wine country.
After 1616, there is no record which specifically relates to Jones’ Mayflower until 1624. This is unusual for a ship trading to London, as it would not usually disappear for such a long time from the records. There is no Admiralty court document relating to the pilgrim fathers' voyage of 1620 that can be found. Perhaps the situation of the way the transfer of the pilgrims from Leyden to New England was arranged may account for this. Or possibly many of the records of the period have been lost.
The Mayflower embarked about sixty-five passengers in London, probably off Blackwall or Wapping, about the middle of July 1620 and proceeded down the Thames into the English Channel and then on to Southampton Water, the rendezvous, where for seven days she awaited the coming of the Speedwell, bringing the Leyden church members, who had sailed from Delfshaven about the 22nd of the month (Bradford).
About August 5, the two ships set sail for their destination. The unseaworthy Speedwell sprang a leak, and shortly after they put into Dartmouth for repairs. After the repairs, a new start was made. They were more than two hundred miles beyond Land’s End at the southwestern tip of England when Speedwell sprang another leak. Since it was now early September, they had no choice but to abandon the Speedwell and make a determination on her passengers. This was a dire event, as the ship had wasted vital funds and was considered very important to the future success of their settlement in America. Soon after the Mayflower continued on her voyage to America, Speedwell was sold, refitted, and, according to Bradford, “made many voyages…to the great profit of her owners.” Bradford later assumed that the Speedwell master Mr. Reynolds’s “cunning and deceit” (in causing what may have been ‘man-made’ leaks in the ship) had been motivated by a fear of starving to death in America.
In addition to the 102 passengers, the officers and crew consisted of about 50 persons, including about 36 men before the mast, bringing the total persons on board the Mayflower to about one hundred and fifty.
In early September, western gales begin to make the North Atlantic a dangerous place for sailing. The Mayflower's provisions, already quite low when departing Southampton, became much less by delays of more than of a month, and the passengers, having been aboard ship for all this time, were quite worn out by then and in no condition for a very taxing lengthy Atlantic journey cooped up in cramped spaces in a small ship. But on September 6, 1620, the Mayflower sailed from Plymouth with what Bradford called “a prosperous wind.”
The known names of the ship’s crew are as follows: Christopher Jones Captain/Governor; masters mates: John Clarke (Pilot), Robert Coppin (Pilot), Andrew Williamson and John Parker; Surgeon: Doctor Giles Heale; Cooper: John Alden. Alden would later marry Priscilla, daughter of William Mullins, Mayflower passengers, and together would have a large family.
Tradition has it that the last port in England for the Mayflower was actually not Plymouth but Newlyn in Cornwall on the Land's End peninsula when it was found that the water picked up at Plymouth was contaminated. Scholarly works do not mention this stop, but Newlyn has a plaque to this effort on its quay. Only the year "1620" is provided, with no date.
Aboard the Mayflower were many stores that supplied the pilgrims with the essentials needed for their journey and future lives. It is assumed that among these stores, they would have carried tools and weapons, including cannon, shot, and gunpowder; as well as some live animals, including dogs, sheep, goats, and poultry. Horses and cattle would come later. The Mayflower would also carry two boats: a long boat and a “shallop”, a sort of twenty-one foot dinghy. She also carried twelve artillery pieces (eight minions and four sakers), as the Pilgrims feared they might need to defend themselves against the Spaniards, Frenchmen, or the Dutch, as well as the Natives.
It had been a miserable passage with a huge wave crashing against the ship’s topside until a structural support timber fractured. So far the passengers had suffered agonizing delays, cold and the scorn and ridicule of the sailors, but had done everything they could to help the carpenter repair the fractured ship’s beam. A mechanical device called screw-jack was loaded on board to help them in the construction of homes in the New World. The beam was loaded into place with the screw jack making the Mayflower secure enough to continue the voyage.
There were two deaths, but this was only a precursor of what happened after their arrival in Cape Cod, where almost half the company would die in the first winter.
On November 9/19 1620, they sighted land, which was present-day Cape Cod. After several days of trying to sail south to their planned destination of the Colony of Virginia where they had already obtained permission from the Company of Merchant Adventurers to settle, strong winter seas forced them to return to the harbor at Cape Cod hook, well north of the intended area where they anchored on November 11/21. To establish legal order and to quell increasing strife within the ranks, the settlers wrote and signed the Mayflower Compact after the ship dropped anchor at the tip of Cape Cod on November 11/21, in what is now Provincetown Harbor. The Mayflower Compact was signed that day.
On Monday, November 27, an exploring expedition was launched to search for a settlement site under the direction of Christopher Jones. As master of the Mayflower, Jones was not required to assist in the search, but he apparently thought it in his best interest to assist the search expedition. There were thirty-four persons in an open shallop – twenty-four passengers and ten sailors. They were obviously not prepared for the bitter winter weather they encountered on their reconnoiter, the Mayflower passengers not being used to the winter weather much colder than back home. Due to the bad weather encountered on the expedition, they were forced to spend the night ashore ill-clad in below freezing temperatures with wet shoes and stockings that became frozen. “(s)ome of our people that are dead,” Bradford wrote,”took the original of their death here.”
The settlers explored the snow-covered area and discovered an empty native village. The curious settlers dug up some artificially made mounds, some of which stored corn, while others were burial sites. Nathaniel Philbrick claims that the settlers stole the corn and looted and desecrated the graves, sparking friction with the locals. Philbrick goes on to say that, as they moved down the coast to what is now Eastham, they explored the area of Cape Cod for several weeks, looting and stealing native stores as they went. He then writes about how they decided to relocate to Plymouth after a difficult encounter with the local native, the Nausets, at First Encounter Beach, in December 1620.
However, Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation records that they took "some" of the corn to show the others back at the boat, leaving the rest. Then, later, they took what they needed from another store of grain, paying the locals back in six months, and it was gladly received.
"Also there was found more of their corn and of their beans of various colors; the corn and beans they brought away, purposing to give them full satisfaction when they should meet with any of them as, about some six months afterward they did, to their good content."
During the winter, the passengers remained on board the Mayflower, suffering an outbreak of a contagious disease described as a mixture of scurvy, pneumonia and tuberculosis. When it ended, there were only 53 passengers, just over half, still alive. Likewise, half of the crew died as well. In the spring, they built huts ashore, and on March 21/31, 1621, the surviving passengers disembarked from the Mayflower. The Mayflower lay in New Plymouth harbor through the winter of 1620-1. On April 5/15, 1621, the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth to return to England, where she arrived on May 6/16, 1621.
Due to the fear of Indian attack, in late February 1621, the settlers decided to mount “our great ordnances” on the hill overlooking the settlement. Christopher Jones supervised the transportation of the “great guns” – about six iron cannons that ranged between four and eight feet in length and weighed almost half a ton. The cannons were able to hurl iron balls as big as 3 ½ inches in diameter as far as 1,700 yards. This action made what was no more than a ramshackle village almost into a well-defended fortress.
Jones had originally planned to return to England as soon as the Pilgrims found a settlement site. But after his crew members began to be ravaged by the same diseases that were felling the Pilgrims, he realized he had to remain in Plymouth Harbor “till he saw his men began to recover.”
On April 5, the Mayflower, her empty hold ballasted with stones from the Plymouth Harbor shore, set sail for England. As with the Pilgrims, her sailors had been decimated by disease. Jones had lost his boatswain, his gunner, three quartermasters, the cook, and more than a dozen sailors. The Mayflower made excellent time on her voyage back to England. The westerlies that had buffeted her coming out pushed her along going home and she arrived at the home port of Rotherhithe in London on May 6, 1621 – less than half the time it had taken her to sail to America."
Jones died after coming back from a voyage to France on March 5, 1622, at about age 52. It is suggested that his journey to the New World may have taken its toll on him. For the next two years, the Mayflower lay at her berth in Rotherhithe, not far from the grave of Captain Jones at St. Mary’s church there. By 1624, the Mayflower was no longer useful as a ship and although her subsequent fate is unknown, she was probably broken up about that time. The Mayflower was the final casualty of a voyage that had cost her master, Christopher Jones, everything he could give."
Some families traveled together and others left family members behind. Two of the passengers were pregnant women: Susanna White, and Mary Allerton. Elizabeth Hopkins gave birth en route; her baby was appropriately named Oceanus. A second baby was born during the winter of 1620-1621, when the company wintered aboard ship in Provincetown Harbor. One child died during the voyage, and there was one stillbirth during the construction of the colony. Many of the passengers were Pilgrims fleeing persistent religious persecution, but some were hired hands, servants, or farmers recruited by London merchants, all originally destined for Virginia.
Four of this latter group of passengers were small children given into the care of Mayflower pilgrims. The Virginia Company began the transportation of children in 1618. Until relatively recently, the children were thought to be orphans, foundlings or involuntary child labor. At that time, children were routinely rounded up from the streets of London or taken from poor families receiving church relief to be used as laborers in the colonies. Any legal objections to the involuntary transportation of the children were over-ridden by the Privy Council. In 1959 it was conclusively shown that the four More children were sent to America because they were deemed illegitimate, and a source of later historical controversy in England. Three of the four children died in the first winter in the New World, but the survivor, Richard More, lived to be approximately 81, dying in Salem, probably in 1695 or 1696.
The passengers mostly slept and lived in the low-ceilinged great cabins. These cabins were thin-walled and extremely cramped. The cabin area was 25 feet by 15 at its largest, and on the main deck, which was 75 by 20 at the most. Below decks, any person over five feet tall would be unable to stand up straight. The maximum possible space for each person would have been slightly less than the size of a standard single bed. The Mayflower passengers were the earliest permanent European settlers in New England. During their time, they were referred to as the "First Comers". They lived in the perilous times of what was called "The Ancient Beginnings" of the New World adventure.
Passengers would pass the time by reading by candlelight or playing cards and games like Nine Men’s Morris. Meals on board were cooked by the firebox, which was an iron tray with sand in it on which a fire was built. This was risky because it was kept in the waist of the ship. Passengers made their own meals from rations that were issued daily and food was cooked for a group at a time. Upon arrival late in the year, the harsh climate and scarcity of fresh food caused many more deaths. Due to the delay in departure, provisions were short. Living in these extremely close and crowded quarters, several passengers experienced scurvy, a disease caused by a lack of the essential nutrient vitamin C (ascorbic acid). There was no way to store fruits or vegetables without their becoming rotten, so many passengers did not receive enough nutrients in their diets. Passengers with scurvy experienced symptoms such as rotten teeth, which would fall out; bleeding gums, and stinking breath. Passengers consumed large amounts of alcohol, specifically beer. Beer was thought to be safer than water because the Pilgrims were accustomed to unsafe drinking water. Beer was thought to be part of a healthy, well-balanced diet. William Mullins took 126 pairs of shoes and 13 pairs of boots. These clothes included: oiled leather and canvas suits, stuff gowns and leather and stuff breeches, shirts, jerkins, doublets, neckcloths, hats and caps, hose, stockings, belts, piece goods, and haberdasherie.
No cattle or beasts of draft or burden were brought on the journey, but there were pigs, goats, and poultry. Some passengers brought family pets such as cats and birds. Peter Browne took his large bitch mastiff and John Goodman brought along his spaniel.
The seamen on the Mayflower had four devices to help them during their journey. They charted their course with a compass. They measured their speed with the log and line system. This system consisted of a board attached to a line, which was tossed over the stern. The line was marked with a knot at regular intervals related to the length of a nautical mile. Time was measured with hour glasses; for example, "when the hour glass had emptied at the top vessel, a sailor would strike a bell, and another sailor would count how many knots of line had run out". The speed of the ship in nautical miles per hour (still called "knots") would then be known.
The Pilgrim ship Mayflower has a famous place in American history as a symbol of early European colonization of the future United States.
The main record for the voyage of the Mayflower and the disposition of the Plymouth Colony comes from the letters and journal of William Bradford, who was a guiding force and later the governor of the colony.
On May 4, 1624, two years after Captain Jones’ death in 1622, an application was made to the Admiralty court for an appraisal of the Mayflower by three of her owners including Jones’ widow, Mrs. Josian (Joan) Jones. This appraisal probably was made to determine the valuation of the ship for the purpose of settling the estate of its late master. The appraisal was made by four mariners and shipwrights of Rotherhithe, home and burial place of Captain Jones, where the Mayflower was apparently then laying in the Thames at London. The appraisement is extant and provides information on ship’s gear on board at that time as well as equipment such as muskets and other arms. The ship may have been laid up since Jones’ death and allowed to get out of repair, as that is what the appraisal indicates.
What finally became of the Mayflower is an unsettled issue. Per Banks, an English historian of the Pilgrim ship, claims that this historic ship was finally broken up, with her timbers used in the construction of a barn at Jordans village in Buckinghamshire. At the present time, within the grounds of Old Jordan in South Buckinghamshire is what tradition calls the Mayflower Barn. In 1624 Thomas Russell supposedly added to part of a farmhouse already there with timbers from a ship, believed to be from the Pilgrim ship ‘Mayflower’, bought from a shipbreaker's yard in Rotherhithe. The well-preserved structure is a present-day tourist attraction, receiving visitors each year from all over the world and particularly from America.
Another ship called the Mayflower made a voyage from London to Plymouth Colony in 1629 carrying 35 passengers, many from the Pilgrim congregation in Leiden that organized the first voyage. This was not the same ship that made the original voyage with the first settlers. This voyage began in May and reached Plymouth in August. This ship also made the crossing from England to America in 1630, 1633, 1634, and 1639. It attempted the trip again in 1641, departing London in October of that year under master John Cole, with 140 passengers bound for Virginia. It never arrived. On October 18, 1642 a deposition was made in England regarding the loss.
||PCE 871-Patrol Craft Escort|
Branch The US Navy
Type Patrol craft
Class Patrol Craft Escort
Built by Albina Engine & Machine Works (Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.)
Ordered 07 May 1942
Laid down 02 Dec 1942
Launched 10 Mar 1943
Commissioned 29 Oct 1943
Transferred to Mexico in 1947 being renamed Blas Godinez
Armament one 3"/50 dual purpose gun mount, three single 40mm gun mounts, five single 20mm guns, two depth charge throwers, four depth charge throwers.
In accordance with information received from John Hallaran, son of M. M. O. C. 2/c Thomas Hallaran, a former crewmember of PCE 871, this ship was in Brazilian waters from February to August 1944.
On 1st March 1944 PCE 871, along with DE 177 Reybold and AM 257 LANCE, went on gun practice off Recife with target towed by AT 82 Fleet Tug CARIB. PCE-871 also went on patrol duties off Belem and Bahia.
RMS Etruria and her sister ship RMS Umbria were the last two Cunarders that were fitted with auxiliary sails. RMS Etruria was built by John Elder & Co. of Glasgow, Scotland in 1884. The Etruria and her sister Umbria, by the standards of the time, were record breakers. They were the largest liners then in service, and they plied the Liverpool to New York Service. RMS Etruria was completed and launched in March 1885, twelve weeks later than her sister Umbria.
The Etruria had many distinguishing features that included two enormous funnels which gave the outward impression of huge power. She also had three large steel masts which when fully rigged had an extensive spread of canvas. Another innovation on Etruria was that she was equipped with refrigeration machinery, but it was the single screw propulsion that would bring the most publicity later in her career.
The ship epitomized the luxuries of Victorian style. The public rooms in First Class were full of ornately carved furniture and heavy velvet curtains hung in all the rooms, and they were cluttered with bric-a-brac that period fashion dictated. These rooms, and the First Class cabins, were situated on the Promenade, Upper, Saloon and Main Decks. There was also a Music Room, Smoke Room for gentlemen, and separate dining rooms for First and Second Class passengers. By the standard of the day, Second Class accommodation was moderate, but spacious and comfortable. RMS Etruria's accommodation consisted of 550 First Class, and 800 Second Class passengers. However late in 1892 this changed to 500 First Class, 160 Second Class, and 800 Third Class (Steerage) passengers.
Service on the Atlantic
Front cover of a passenger list for a voyage of the RMS Etruria
RMS Etruria was to start her regular service to New York from Liverpool, but the clouds of crises were looming, and by the New Year of 1885 a crises involving Russia's threat to invade Afghanistan was coming to a head. This was to bring Etruria's North Atlantic service to a halt temporarily, before she had even made her maiden voyage. On the 26 March, Etruria, and her sister RMS Umbria, found themselves chartered to the Admiralty. With the dispute reaching a settlement, Etruria was released from Admiralty service within a few days, although her sister was retained for six months.
On 25 April 1885, Etruria finally made her maiden voyage under the command of Captain McMicken. She made the Atlantic crossing calling at Queenstown (Cobh). On her very next crossing, westbound (Liverpool to New York), she won the prestigious Blue Riband and proudly flew the pennant for Cunard.
Later in the year the Etruria was involved in a collision. On 20 September 1885, she was outward bound from New York and in Lower New York Bay, at anchor due to dense fog. The 4,276 ton cargo ship Canada, owned by the National Steamship Company of Limerick collided with the Etruria, on her starboard side. The Canada scraped alongside Etruria, ripping away a portion of her rigging, but fortunately there were no casualties. Both ships continued on their voyages.
An extract of a letter written aboard RMS Etruria by Winston Churchill
In November 1895, 20-year-old Winston Churchill, a lieutenant in the 4th Hussars, snatched a few weeks' leave from his regiment to visit Cuba, with the aim of observing the Cuban Revolutionary War against Spain.
Getting there involved travelling by way of New York via Liverpool and Queenstown on the Etruria. Thus, on 9 November, Winston Churchill arrived in New York harbour aboard the Etruria, and first set foot in his mother's homeland and the city where she had been born and brought up. Three days later he travelled on to Cuba. Churchill returned to Britain early in 1896 travelling again on the Etruria.
On 6 January 1900, Etruria left Liverpool, and one week later she arrived in New York. On the 13th engineers were inspecting the ship, and on examination of the propeller shaft, they found cracks that were not there when the ship left Liverpool. Her sister ship had suffered a failure of her propeller shaft at sea in 1893, and to avoid the same fate the Etruria was confined to her pier until a replacement shaft was shipped over from Britain. After this was done, and the new shaft had been fitted in New York, she departed on 17 February for the homeward bound service. In 1900 the Etruria remained on the North Atlantic service while her sister was requisitioned to carry troops to and from South Africa during the Boer War. By July 1900 both the sisters were back on the North Atlantic service.
A year to forget
In 1901 the Etruria, along with her sister ship, was fitted with a wireless, putting her right in the forefront of this new technology. On the 22 February 1902, Etruria left New York and was due to arrive in Queenstown on 1 March. On the 26 February she radioed the Umbria to pass on messages to one of her passengers. However, that evening her propeller shaft fractured leaving her drifting helplessly. She tried with no success to radio the Umbria again to report her predicament. In the days before the Titanic disaster, radio operators did not man their sets 24 hours a day. Eventually she managed to attract the attention of the Leyland ship William Cliff, by firing distress rockets. The William Cliff stood alongside in an hour and stayed with her during the night whilst attempts were made to repair her. Etruria then made sail and the William Cliff took her in tow; the ships headed for Horta, in the Azores, which were 500 miles to the south-east of her stricken position.
She arrived in the Azores on Sunday, 9 March, and on the 15th her passengers and mail were transferred on to the SS Elbe, which had been chartered for the task on the 10th. It was summer 1902 before the Etruria was repaired and back in service, but in October, after a particularly rough Atlantic crossing, her propeller shaft again showed serious cracks and she was taken out of service and waited in New York for yet another new shaft to be sent over and installed. It was 1 November before she set sail for home again, 1902 had been a very bad year for the ship.
More bad luck
1903 did not start too well for the Etruria either. On the 28 February she was leaving New York and ran aground on sand and mud in the entrance to Gedney Channel. Fortunately, after she was refloated later the same day there was no damage found and she set off on her voyage to Liverpool.
Later in the year, on the 10 October, the Etruria was only four hours out of New York when at 2:30pm the ship was struck by a rogue wave. The wave was reported to be at least 50 feet high, and struck the ship on the port side. The wave carried away part of the fore bridge and smashed the guardrail stanchions. A number of First Class passengers were sitting in deck chairs close to the bridge, and they caught the full force of the water. One passenger, a Canadian, was fatally injured, and several other passengers were hurt.
January 1907 saw the death of two of Etruria's sailors as they tried to secure the lashings of the starboard anchor in very rough weather, during a westbound crossing.
The end of Etruria's career
The two 23-year-old sisters were now getting to the point where technical progress had well and truly overtaken them. The RMS Lusitania and Mauretania were off the drawing board, were slowly taking shape, and were due to enter service in late 1907.
On Wednesday the 26 August 1908, RMS Etruria was moving astern from her pier in Liverpool to anchor opposite the Princes' Landing Stage, where her passengers would embark. Unfortunately a hopper crossing the Mersey came too close to the Etruria and was violently rammed by her. Etruria's rudder and propeller were thrust deep into the hopper, almost severing it in two. However, being impaled on the Etruria's propeller prevented the hopper from sinking. Both vessels drifted helplessly in the Mersey, and the hopper was violently crushed against the landing stage. This not only spelt the end for the hopper, but finished the career of the Etruria as well. Her propeller, rudder and steering gear were seriously damaged, forcing the cancellation of her sailing to New York. Etruria's passengers were put up in hotels and then caught the Umbria later in the week. As for the Etruria, she was taken into dock, where temporary repairs were made.
She would not cross the Atlantic again, and after spending time laid up at Birkenhead, she was finally sold for the sum of £16,750 in October 1909. On the 10 October 1910, the Mersey tug Black Cock took the Etruria in tow to her final destination of Preston, Lancashire, where she was broken up.
The Alaska was a record breaking British passenger liner that won the Blue Riband for the Guion Line as the fastest liner on the Atlantic in 1882. She was a slightly larger and faster edition of Guion's Arizona and in 1883 became the first liner to make the crossing to New York in under a week. However, Alaska burned 250 tons of coal per day, as compared to Arizona's already high 135 tons. Built by John Elder & Company of Glasgow, she carried 350 first class passengers and 1,000 steerage. As in the case of Arizona, Stephen Guion also personally owned Alaska.
Alaska completed 100 voyages when Guion suspended sailings in 1894. She proved difficult to sell and was finally chartered in 1897 by Cia. Transatlanticia Espanola as a troop transport. In 1899, Alaska was sold for scrap, but was resold to the Barrow shipyard where she was used as an accommodiation hulk until broken up in 1902.
SS Elbe was built in the Govan Shipyard of John Elder & Company, Ltd, Glasgow, in 1881 for the Norddeutscher Lloyd of Bremen. The Elbe had a 3 cylinder compound engine which provided power to her single-screw propeller. She was a fast ship for her time, being able to reach the speed of 15 knots, but small cargo capacity, along with her high consumption of coal, would soon make her uneconomical. She had a straight bow, two funnels and four masts. She was launched on 2 April 1881. After sea trials she made her maiden voyage on 26 June 1881, leaving Bremen for New York via Southampton. The Elbe had accommodation for 179 first-class passengers, 142 in second class, and 796 in steerage. She was a very popular ship with immigrants from Europe to the United States and was virtually always sold out in steerage. The Elbe spent most of the next ten years working the North Atlantic service, but she also made three voyages to Adelaide in Australia, two of which were in December 1889 and 1890.
Disaster in the North Sea
The night of 30 January 1895 was stormy. In the North Sea, conditions were freezing and there were huge seas. SS Elbe had left Bremerhaven for New York earlier in the day with 354 passengers aboard. Also at sea on this rough night was the steamship Crathie, sailing from Aberdeen in Scotland, heading for Rotterdam. As conditions grew worse, the Elbe discharged warning rockets to alert other ships to her presence. The Crathie either did not see the warning rockets or chose to ignore them. She did not alter her course, with such disastrous consequences, that she struck the liner on her port side with such force that whole compartments of the Elbe were immediately flooded. The collision happened at 5:30 am and most of the passengers were still asleep.
The Elbe began to sink immediately and the captain, von Gossel, gave the order to abandon ship. Amid great scenes of panic the crew managed to lower two of the Elbe's lifeboats. One of the lifeboats capsized as too many passengers tried in vain to squeeze into the boat. Twenty people scrambled into the second lifeboat, of whom 15 were members of the crew. The others were four male second-class passengers and a young lady’s maid by the name of Anna Boecker, who had been lucky enough to be pulled from the raging sea after the first boat had capsized. Meanwhile on the other side of the Elbe, Captain von Gossel had ordered all the women and children to assemble there but no other lifeboats were launched because the ropes on the derricks were all frozen up, and so they perished along with the captain. Within 20 minutes of the collision, the Elbe had sunk and the only survivors were the 20 people in the one surviving lifeboat. These people now had to endure mountainous seas and below-zero temperatures and they were 50 miles from land. Things looked bleak; the Elbe's distress rockets had not been seen by any passing vessels and so no one knew of their predicament. After five hours in the raging storm, their luck changed. A fishing smack from Lowestoft called the Wildflower found them. In desperate conditions the crew of the Wildflower struggled to pull the 20 survivors from the lifeboat, which had begun to break up. The skipper, William Wright, said later that the survivors would not have lasted another hour in those conditions, and believed that the only reason they had stayed alive for five hours was the expertise of the Elbe's crewmen aboard the lifeboat.
The Crathie was a steamer of about 475 tons gross and 272 net. She left Rotterdam with general cargo for Aberdeen on January 29th 1895 carrying just 12 hands. The Craithie was also badly damaged in the collision and returned to Rotterdam flying signals of distress. When later asked why they had not stayed on to help the Elbe and her passengers, the captain, Alexander Gordon, said that he feared that his ship would sink, and in any case he did not hear any cries for help coming from the liner. It appeared to him that the Elbe was steaming away from his position.
Miss Anna Boecker
Of the twenty who survived the sinking, only one was a female. Anna Boecker was a shy, quiet maid in the employment of an elderly lady, travelling with her employer to Southampton. In the panic and confusion of the collision she had been unable to save her employer. She joined the terrified crush of passengers lowered into the first lifeboat. When it capsized under the sheer weight of numbers, Anna ended up in the ocean. All the others from her lifeboat clambered back onto the sinking ship. Anna was alone in the treacherous sea until the survivors in the second lifeboat spotted her floundering in the water and pulled her up to safety.
The SS Elbe incident resulted in a court case which took place in Rotterdam in November 1895. The court found that the steamship Crathie was alone at fault for the collision. Amazingly the captain was merely censured for leaving the disaster, a verdict that astounded the maritime world at the time. The blame was put squarely on the first mate, who had left his post at the bridge at the critical time to chat in the galley with other crew members, and therefore had failed in his job of operating the ship's warning lights. The captain, officers and sailors of the SS Elbe received no rebuke from the court either, which caused some concern amongst the German public. The crew of the fishing smack Wildflower each were given, by Kaiser Wilhelm II, a silver and gold watch bearing his monogram and £5 as a gesture of thanks for saving the lives of the eighteen German citizens, an Austrian, and the English pilot. They also received other medals and gifts in the following years.
Wreck identified in 1987
In the early part of 1987 a group of Dutch amateur divers searched and located the wreck of the Elbe on the sea bed. They managed to salvage a small quantity of the glasswork and a quantity of procelain as well as earthenware from the wreck site, which enabled them to identify the wreck.
||S.S. Empress of France|
Built by J & G Thomson Clydebank,
Yard No. 163
Last Name: GALLIA (1896)
Previous Names: DON ALVARO DE BAZAN (1896)
Propulsion: Steam compound exp
Launched: Tuesday, 12/11/1878
Ship Type: Passenger Vessel
Tonnage: 4809 grt
Length: 430.1 feet
Breadth: 44.6 feet
Cunard Steam Ship Co., Liverpool
1896 Cia. Transatlantica, Barcelona
1896 Cunard SS Co.
Status: Scrapped - 05/1900
Remarks: Scrapped after grounding off Quebec.Dem in Cherbourg, France.
Other name: USAT Buford
Builder: Harland & Wolff, Belfast, yard number 231
Launched August 29, 1890; delivered October 18, 1890; scrapped in Japan, 1929
Hull: length 370' 9"; beam 44' 3"; 3,732 tons gross, 3,473 tons under deck and 2,388 net; steel; 4 masts; schooner-rigged
2 decks; 3 tiers of beams; 7 cemented bulkheads; fitted with electric light; cellular double bottom 312,' 718 tons; forward peak tank 44 tons; aft peak tank 50 tons
Holds 26' 7" deep; poop 78'; bridge 116'; forecastle 40'
Power: single screw; triple expansion engine by the builders, with 3 cylinders of 25 ½", 42", and 70" diameter, stroke 51"; 375 n.h.p.
2 double-ended boilers; 12 ribbed furnaces; grate surface 192 sq. ft.; heating surface 6,162 sq. ft.; coal consumption 35 tons of coal per day; 11 knots
Registered in London; official number 98173
The Mississippi was built for the Atlantic Transport Line as passenger cargo vessel with four masts. She entered service early in 1891 and in September of that year was reportedly one of the four vessels "most likely to be placed on the new line" then being organized from New York. She is recorded in the Morton Allan Directory of European Passenger Steamship Arrivals making 44 voyages to New York for passenger service between August 1892 and December 1897. Her master was listed by Lloyd's Register in 1894 as Thomas F. Gates. The port of registry for the Mississippi is given by Lloyds Register as London, with the Atlantic Transport Line her owners and Williams, Torrey & Feild Ltd. her managers. An article in the New York Times records that her consumption of coal was 35 tons per day.
Under the command of Captain McNeally in September 1894 the Mississippi rescued the nine man crew of the sinking Norwegian bark Hakon Jarl and on May 27, 1897, she collided with, and damaged, the Thingvalla Line ship Hekla in fog off the Newfoundland Banks. In September 1897 Mississippi, under the command of E. G. Cannons, was briefly stranded. Reporting the incident, the New York Times noted that "to avoid collision with a small coal schooner, the Atlantic Transport Line steamship Mississippi, bound in from London, ran her nose into the mud south of Fort Wadsworth." With half of her length in the mud, efforts to haul her off proved unsuccessful, and with ten feet of water in her hold part of her cargo had to be lightered. Mississippi was by this time the smallest vessel in the Atlantic Transport Line fleet, and the only one remaining with a single screw. The first officer of Mississippi at this time was Llewelyn Crouch, who lost his life as chief officer of the Mohegan in 1898. A group of items belonging to Crouch was auctioned in Plymouth, England, in 1990. Chief among them was a painting of the Mississippi by the celebrated marine artist Antonio Jacobsen.
The Mississippi was transferred in 1898 to the subsidiary National Line, but continued on the London to New York service. In the summer of 1898 she was one of the Atlantic Transport Line ships purchased by the U.S. government for use as a transport in the war with Spain, but she was not converted in time to serve in the conflict. After the war however she was one of the ships retained to form the new permanent Army transport service. She was refitted for this permanent role at Newport News in 1899 and emerged with two tall masts replacing her four steel pole masts. She was also renamed as the U.S. Army Transport Buford (ID # 3818). She served principally on the San Francisco to Manila line and was one of three transports used in the harbor as temporary storehouses for the supplies coming into San Francisco by sea in the weeks following the devastating earthquake and fire in 1906.
In April 1912 she was sent to the West Coast of Mexico to bring away Americans who might desire to leave on account of unsettled conditions there and sent Buford south. In early May the Buford was ordered to take on board also any British or Spanish refugees she might encounter. But according to the New York Times, Buford was sent "more for the moral effect than for any actual necessity now existing," and another report noted that she failed "to find any willing to leave." January 1919 saw her transferred to the Navy as USS Buford (ID # 3818) and in that service she made four trips to France and brought home more than 4,700 troops. Buford shipped personnel and cargo between the U.S. and the Panama Canal in August 1919 before being decommissioned early in September and returned to the Army. Buford participated in the forced deportation of potential subversives during the first Red Scare of 1919-20. Dubbed "the Soviet Ark," she carried 249 "undesirable aliens" to Hango in Finland, from where they were taken by sealed train to the Russian frontier.
The Buford was sold in 1923 to John C. Ogden and Fred Linderman of San Francisco, proprietors of the Alaskan Siberian Navigation Company. When Buster Keaton's Technical Director Fred Gabourie was in the area scouting for ships which could be converted into Elizabethan galleons for another project (The Sea Hawk) he spotted retired Buford and sensed an opportunity. On his own initiative Keaton leased the old ship from the Alaskan Siberian Navigation Company for $25,000 and engaged a team of writers to create a screenplay around her. The resulting movie, The Navigator, was released in 1924 and proved to be Keaton's most successful project in financial terms and one of his personal favorites. It was shot in Avalon Bay off the coast of Catalina Island in the space of just ten weeks. The Buford was finally scrapped in Japan in 1929.
Sources: The Atlantic Transport Line, 1881-1931; The Ships List; Gilbert Provost's Register of Ships; Passenger Ships of the World Past and Present, Eugene W. Smith, Massachusetts, 1977; www.history.navy.mil; Merchant Fleets in Profile 2; the Ships of the Cunard, American, Red Star, Inman, Leyland, Dominion, Atlantic Transport and White Star Lines, Duncan Haws, 1979; The New York Times, September 4, 1891; September 18, 1894; November 25, 1895; June 2, 1897; September 15, 1897, June 25, 1898; May 31, 1902; December 1, 1905; January 18, 1908; April 27, 1912; May 9, 1912; January 18, 1920; May 3, 1921; February 25, 1929
Ship Description: Built by A. & J. Inglis, Glasgow, Scotland. Tonnage: 3,690. Dimensions: 360' x 40'. Single-screw, 10 1/2 knots. 1,940 I.H.P. Two masts and one funnel. Iron hull.
History: Wrecked on Sable Island, February 12, 1899, with no loss of life. Running mates: Bohemia, Rhaetia and Rugia.
||S.S. Scythia (1875-1899)|
History - Maiden voyage: Liverpool-New York, May 1, 1875. Passengers: 340 cabin and 1,100 third. Served also in Boston trade. Scrapped in Italy, 1899. Sister ship: Bothnia.
Description - Built by J. & G. Thomson, Ltd., Clydebank, Glasgow, Scotland. Tonnage: 4,556. Dimensions: 420' x 42'. Single-screw, 13 1/2 knots. Compound engines. 2,780 I.H.P. Three masts and one funnel. Iron hull. Cunard Shipping Line.
The S.S. Spree was a 6,963 gross ton ship, length 463 ft x beam 51.8 ft, two funnels, three masts, of steel construction, single propeller giving a speed of 18 knots. There was accommodation for 244-1st, 122-2nd and 460-3rd class passengers.
She was built by AG Vulcan, Stettin, and was launched for North German Lloyd on 17 May 1890.
She began her maiden voyage on 11 Oct 1890 when she left Bremen for Southampton and New York.
On 26 Nov 1892 she fractured her propeller shaft and was towed to Queenstown (Cobh) by the Beaver Line ship Lake Huron. After repairs at Milford Haven she resumed service. She suffered the same mishap on 5 Jul 1897 and was again towed to Queenstown, this time by the Atlantic Transport Line ship Maine.
Her last Bremen - Southampton - New York sailing started on 16 Nov 1897 and she was then rebuilt to 7,840 gross tons, lengthened to 526 ft, fitted with twin propellers, three funnels and two masts.
Renamed Kaiserin Maria Theresia with accommodation for 405-1st, 114-2nd and 387-3rd class passengers, she resumed Bremen - Southampton - New York voyages on 13 Mar 1900.
Her last voyage started on 26 Sep 1903, having made 29 round voyages as the KMT including 7 Mediterranean - New York sailings.
In 1904 she was sold to Russia, renamed Ural and converted to an auxiliary cruiser. She was sunk at the Battle of Tsushima on 27 May 1905.
The steamship STRASSBURG was built for Norddeutscher Lloyd by Caird & Co, Greenock (yard #166), and was launched on 24 May 1872. 3,025 tons; 107,06 x 11,89 meters (length x breadth); straight stem (first Norddeutscher Lloyd high-seas vessel so built), 1 funnel, 2 masts; iron construction, screw propulsion, twin single-expansion engine, service speed 11 knots; accommodation for 60 passengers in 1st class, 120 in 2nd class, and 889 to 900 in steerage; crew of 70 to 100. The STRASSBURG was the "name ship" of the 13 vessels of Norddeutscher Lloyd's Strassburg Class of passenger vessels, and was built for the Line's New Orleans service. 3 September 1872, maiden voyage, Bremen - Southampton - New York. 16 October 1872, first voyage, Bremen - Havre - New Orleans. 1874, given new boilers and compound engine, service speed 12 knots. Made one voyage to Hankau for a cargo of tea, being the first German steamship through the Suez Canal. 16 February 1881, first voyage, Bremen-Baltimore. 11 November 1881, first voyage, Bremen-South America. 1883-1896, primarily to South America. 1885, refitted in Bremerhaven. 2 August 1893, last voyage, Bremen-New York (12 roundtrip voyages). 25 January 1896, last voyage, Bremen-South America. August 1896, sold to Tardi & Co, Genoa, for scrapping. 1897, scrapped at Genoa.
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Owner: "Hamburg Brasilian Steamship Co." in Hamburg, Germany
Year build: 1856
Builders: Caird & Co., Greenock
Tons: 2693 - Length: 86,0m - Width: 12,0m
Engine: 1 I-Exp. - PS 1300 - Knots: 10
Passengers: 1.Class 50
Passengers: 2.Class 136
Passengers: Middle Deck: 310
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Built by Palmers Shipbuilding & Iron Co, Jarrow-on-Tyne. She was a 2,748 gross ton ship, length 320.5ft x beam 38.5ft, one funnel, three masts, iron construction, single screw and a speed of 13 knots. Launched on 21st Aug.1872 for the Red Star Line of Antwerp, she sailed from Antwerp on her maiden voyage to Falmouth, Halifax and Philadelphia on 20th Jan.1873. On 25th Mar.1873 she started her first Antwerp - Philadelphia direct sailing and on 29th Nov.1876 commenced her first Antwerp - New York voyage. Between 1877-87 she sailed between Antwerp and New York or Philadelphia, starting her last New York voyage on 26th Oct.1887, subsequently sailing to Philadelphia until in March 1889 she was sold to French owners and renamed GEOGRAPHIQUE. She was sunk in collision in Oct.1889.
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||S.S. War Knight|
||USAT-Thistle (July 1946)|
USAHS Thistle sporting a light grey paint scheme photographed at the Army's Fort Mason port facilities at San Francisco, California, 23 July 1946. US Army photo from "Hospital Ships of World War II: An Illustrated Reference" by Emory A. Massmam.
||USS Cook (APD-130)|
USS Cook (APD-130) was a Crosley-class high speed transport of the United States Navy, named after two brothers: Second Lieutenant Andrew F. Cook, Jr. (1920–1942) and Sergeant Dallas H. Cook (1921–1942). Both served in the Marine Corps, and both were awarded the Navy Cross, posthumously.
Cook was laid down at the Defoe Shipbuilding Company in Bay City, Michigan on 7 May 1944 and partially completed as a Rudderow-class destroyer escort with the hull number DE-714. A month before launching, on 17 July 1944, it was decided that Cook would be completed as a high-speed transport, with the designation APD-130. She was launched on 26 August 1944, sponsored by Mrs. A. F. Cook, mother of Second Lieutenant Cook and Sergeant Cook. She was commissioned on 25 April 1945, at the Todd-Johnson Dry Dock Company in New Orleans, Louisiana, with Lieutenant Commander D. N. Hamilton, USNR, in command.
Cook sailed from Norfolk, Virginia, on 19 June 1945 for San Diego, arriving there on 2 July for training. On 20 September, she arrived at Tokyo carrying men of the Underwater Demolition Teams. After transporting troops to Okinawa, Cook reconnoitered and landed UDT 20 at Hakodate, Hokkaid? before its occupation on 27 September. She sailed home from Yokohama by way of Guam, Eniwetok, and Pearl Harbor, to San Diego, arriving there in 13 November. After repairs, she spent the month of January transporting troops along the west coast. Cook was placed out of commission in reserve on 31 May 1946, berthed at San Diego.
Cook was recommissioned on 6 October 1953, and took part in training and landing exercises off San Diego. She entered Mare Island Naval Shipyard for conversion to an APD flagship between 28 November 1953 and 15 March 1954, and continued training operations out of San Diego until 19 November, when she sailed for the Far East. After participating in amphibious exercises on the west coast of Korea, she operated from 21 January 1955 to 19 May as flagship for "Operation Passage to Freedom", the evacuation of refugees from North Vietnam.
Cook returned to San Diego on 12 June 1955, and sailed in various landing and training exercises as primary control vessel or anti-submarine ship. In November, she joined in a combined amphibious operation with Canadian forces. Local operations off California, including a period of service as a submarine target vessel, continued until 21 March 1956, when she sailed to Kauai, Hawaii, for an amphibious exercise in which she served as control vessel.
Cook returned to San Diego on 23 April 1956 for maintenance anti-submarine exercises, and public orientation cruises, until 22 August 1957, when she departed for a tour of duty in the western Pacific based at Yokosuka. She stood by off Borneo during the Indonesian crisis from 14 to 22 December. Back home in San Diego on 10 April 1958, Cook participated in operations along the west coast, including major interservice exercises, and between 13 October 1959 and 29 April 1960 cruised in the Far East once more. Returning to the United States, Cook operated along the west coast for the remainder of 1960.
Cook made three cruises to Vietnam between 1966 and 1969, carrying underwater demolition teams.
Cook was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 15 November 1969, and sold for scrapping on 24 July 1970, to National Metal and Steel Corporation, Terminal Island, California.
||USS Reybold (DE-177).jpg|
USS Reybold (DE-177) was a Cannon-class destroyer escort built for the United States Navy during World War II. She served in the Atlantic Ocean and provided escort service against submarine and air attack for Navy vessels and convoys.
Reybold was named in honor of John Keane Reybold who was killed by friendly fire during a convoy run. The ship was laid down on 3 May 1943 by the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Port Newark, New Jersey; launched on 22 August 1943; sponsored by Mrs. John K. Reybold, widow of Lt. Comdr. John K. Reybold; and commissioned on 29 September 1943, Lt. Comdr. A. B. Bradley, Jr., in command.
World War II Atlantic Ocean Operations - Following shakedown off Bermuda, Reybold operated briefly under ComSubLant, then completed an escort run from Rhode Island to the Panama Canal Zone. She then steamed to Norfolk, Virginia, before the end of 1943 and, on 2 January 1944, she sailed south to join the U.S. 4th Fleet. On the 15th, she arrived at Recife, Brazil, whence she escorted ships to Trinidad and back until July, interrupting that duty only for air/sea rescue operations at the end of May. In July, she guarded the sealanes between Brazil and Gibraltar, anchoring off the latter 13–15 July and returning to Recife on the 23rd to prepare for transfer to the Brazilian Navy.
Decommissioning - Shifting to Natal, Brazil, on 9 August, Reybold was decommissioned and transferred under the terms of lend-lease to Brazil on 15 August 1944. Renamed Bracuí, she continued operations under that name throughout the remainder of World War II and the 1940s. She was returned to the custody of the United States and transferred, permanently, under the terms of the military defense aid program, to Brazil on 30 June 1953. She served in the Brazilian Navy as Bracuí until 11 July 1972.