USS South Dakota / USS Huron

USS South Dakota / USS Huron
Armored Cruiser No. 9

Displacement: 13,680 tons. Length: 503'11" Beam: 69'7" Draft: 26'1" Speed: 22 knots. Horse Power: 28,843 Complement: 80 Officers, 810 men Armament: 4 - 8" 45 calibre main guns; 14 - 6" 50 calibre breech-loading rifles; 18 - 3" 50 calibre rapid fire guns; 12 - 3-pounder saluting.; 2 - 18" torpedo tubes submerged. Cost: $4,377,000 Class: PENNSYLVANIA

A undated photo (sometime between January, 1908 - August, 1909) showing the South Dakota at anchor in San Diego Bay at low tide. In this photo she still has her original foremast configuration. During August of 1909 she was refitted with a new style cage foremast along with the other ships in her line.

The first South Dakota (Armored Cruiser No. 9), was built and launched on 21 July 1904 by the Union Iron Works, San Francisco, California. Sponsored by Miss Grace Herreid and commissioned on 27 January 1908, with Capt. James T. Smith in command. On June 23, 1904 the Union Iron Works notified the Navy Department that Miss Grace Herreid the daughter of South Dakota Governor Charles Herreid had been invited to christen the new cruiser soon to be launched at San Francisco. On July 20, 1904 Governor Herried and his daughter along with a party of 10 arrived in San Francisco and on Thursday the 21st of July attended the launching ceremony. In a very simple ceremony Bishop W. N. Nichols of the Episcopal diocese of California gave a short prayer and then Miss Grace Herreid pressed a button that released the cruiser from her blocks. As she slid down the ways Miss Herreid swung a bottle of champagne against the hull and bestowed the name of USS South Dakota on the ship.

The launching platform at the Union Iron Works in San Francisco, California with all the dignitaries to witness the christening of the ship by Miss Grace Herreid on 21 July 1904.

Assigned to the Armored Cruiser Squadron, Pacific Fleet, South Dakota cruised off the west coast of the United States through August 1908. This Squadron consisted of the USS Washington under the command of Captain Theodore Porter, the USS Tennessee under the command of Captain Albert G. Berry, the USS California under command of Captain V. L. Cottman and the USS South Dakota, which was almost completed with officers yet to be assigned. Rear Admiral Charles H. Stockton was in command of the Squadron and used the USS Tennessee as his flagship. On April 8, 1908 she put in to coal according to a post card dated April 8, 1908 that was addresses to a F. E. Lough in Berkeley, California. It reads: "Wed. April 8, 1908. Just coming in and going to coal and go right out again so I think I won't be home this time. And there will be no liberty unless they change plans. G. D."

On 24 August 1908, she departed San Francisco for a cruise to Samoa and on 15 September 1908 South Dakota crossed the equator for the first time on her way to Navigators Island (Samoa). The crossing was made at 165° Longitude. She headed eastward in September to operate in Central and South American waters. Sailing in rough weather she returned to Mare Island, California on 22 June 1909. As the post card below shows that the South Dakota was in Panama in July of 1909. The postmark has a date of July 14, 1909 and is addressed to a Mr. A. J. Herter of Iola, Kansas. On the front of the post card it has the caption: "Central street, Panama". Note the card was mailed on board the USS South Dakota has it bears the cancellation stamp of the ship.

The above photo is the South Dakota plowing through the sea from San Francisco to Hawaii 5-11 September 1909. This photo was taken from the USS California and on the horizon ahead of the South Dakota can be seen another sister ship, which would be the West Virginia, Pennsylvania or the Colorado.

By the later part of August 1909 South Dakota was back in the Bremerton Yard as this is known from post cards sent on 27 August from a crewman who states that he “had been out at the fair last night.” He is referring to the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition being held in Seattle. This exposition was held to publicize the development of the Pacific Northwest and was held from June 1st through October 16th, with over 700,000 visitors.

In the autumn of 1909, she deployed westward with the Armored Cruiser Squadron and on 5 September 1909 the West Virginia, California, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Colorado and possibly the Maryland departed San Francisco, California and arrived on 11 September in Honolulu, Hawaii steaming 2,100 miles. The force called on ports in the Admiralty Islands, Pago Pago on Tutuila Island on American Samoa, the Philippines, Japan, and China, before returning to Honolulu on 31 January 1910. In February, South Dakota joined Tennessee (Armored Cruiser No. 10) to form a Special Service Squadron, which cruised off the Atlantic coast of South America and then returned to the Pacific late in the year. The 1910 Federal Census was taken aboard the South Dakota as she was at anchor in San Francisco, California. Around the end of October of 1911 she was in dry-dock getting her bottom scraped and painted in readiness for her coming cruise eastward to the Orient.

Following operations along the Pacific coast during much of 1911, South Dakota began a cruise in December with the Armored Cruiser Squadron, which took her from California to the Hawaiian Islands, the Marianas, the Philippines, and Japan. During this time she was under command of Captain F. M. Bennett and his Executive Officer was Lt. CDR. Chester Wells and the ships compliment was 32 Officers and 859 enlisted men. As the Squadron entered it anchorage in Honolulu, Hawaii the wharves were crowded with the locals welcoming the return of the fleet. While in Honolulu the ships company held a birthday party for the South Dakota as she became another year older. While the Squadron is anchored in Honolulu the men take advantage of the time there and many visits to such famous landmarks like Diamond Head. Tours to the volcano were popular and cost the sailors a cool $6 for the trip. As the Squadron moved to the Philippine Islands South Dakota had target practice in the waters just off Manila. During this time South Dakota sustains some damage to her starboard propeller. These were 18 feet in diameter made of a manganese-bronze material and weighed 34,000 pounds each. She had two propellers and the pitch of the 3-blades could be adjusted. The two propellers were connected to a shaft that was 48-feet long and the shaft was 18.5-inches in diameter. The damage was determined to be a bent blade and she put into the Dewey Dry-dock for repairs. While in the dry-dock she had her bottom scraped and repainted and she also had one of her anchor engines repaired. Months later when the Squadron was returning from Yokohama, Japan to Honolulu she broke her starboard main shaft likely due to the stress put on it from the bent propeller blades. While she was at anchor in Shanghai the men took in the sights of China with many Rickshaw rides in the city. Boxing matches between rival sister ships was a popular pastime with shipmates. Kid “Dullin” of the South Dakota knocks out Miller of the California for the lightweight championship of the Squadron.

The California, South Dakota, West Virginia and Colorado arrived at Santa Monica on 7 October 1911 and then sailed for San Pedro. After returning to the west coast in August 1912, she participated in periodic squadron exercises until she was placed in reserve on 30 December 1913 at the Puget Sound Navy Yard.

In April of 1914 when political turmoil erupted again in Mexico, South Dakota was detached from the Reserve Force, Pacific Fleet, on 17 April 1914. Orders were received for an American military force to be sent to Mexico and the 4th Marine Regiment was reorganized at the Puget Sound, Washington, and Mare Island, California Navy Yards. On the 18th of April the Field and Staff and the 25th, 26th and 27th Companies boarded the South Dakota in Puget Sound and sailed for Mare Island in San Francisco. South Dakota and her Marines arrived at Mare Island on the 21st of April, which was the same day other Marines were landing at Vera Cruz, Mexico. The South Dakota added to her complement the 31st and 32nd companies and the 34th and 35th Companies went aboard the 19,360-ton collier USS Jupiter. The next day on April 22 the 4th Marine Regiment, now under the command of Colonel Joseph H. Pendleton, USMC, embarked aboard the South Dakota and the Jupiter went to sea bound for Mexican Waters.

The two-ship force with the 4th Marine Regiment headed southward into Mexican waters along the Gulf of California near Mazatlon on the Pacific side. The 4th Marines were disembarked and the South Dakota was ordered to proceed further south. She dropped anchor in the harbor in Acapulco on the 28th of April. On the 27th of April the West Virginia sailed from Puget Sound with the 28th Company, Marines on board. On May 2nd the West Virginia picked up the 36th Company at Mare Island and then headed to Mexican waters. About a week and a half later the West Virginia landed her reinforcements in Mazatlan. All 10 companies of the 4th Marine Regiment were now in Mexican Waters ready for any action they might be called for.

The Marines maintained their vigil through May and June while preparing for a possible landing, if the situation ashore warranted it. Although no landing was necessary, the South Dakota, West Virginia and the Jupiter with their Marines on board kept the Mexican coast under surveillance by cruising up and down the shoreline. By the end of June, tensions between Mexico and the United States had sufficiently eased to allow the withdrawal of the 4th Regiment from Mexican waters. Thus ended the 4th Marine Regiment's first expedition to Latin America, much to the disappointment of its personnel who had expected to see action.

The 4th Marine Regiment returned to the United States in early July. The 34th and 35th Companies, which were on the Jupiter were transferred to the South Dakota and West Virginia and headed to sea and back to California. They arrived in San Diego harbor on July 6, 1914 where the 4th Marine Regiment was once again encamped on North Island.

Above is a post card printed aboard the South Dakota by her print shop and published by L. E. Ruggles who was also the editor of the “Ess Dee” the official newspaper of the South Dakota, which was also printed aboard the ship. On the backside it was dated June 26, 1914, and postmarked the same day. The message was “Hope this finds you well. Letter follows.” It was signed with a signature that was unreadable. The post card was addressed to Mr. J. Olson Drug Store 48th & 2nd Avenue, Los Angeles, California.

Later in August of 1914 the South Dakota made another cruise this time westward to the Hawaiian Islands. She returned to Bremerton, Washington on 14 September and reverted to reserve status on 28 September 1914. She was the flagship of the Reserve Force, Pacific Fleet, from 21 January 1915 until relieved by Milwaukee (Cruiser No. 21) on 5 February 1916. She remained in reduced commission through 1916 and on 5 April 1917, she was again placed in full commission.

During the late summer of 1915 South Dakota was cruising up the Columbia River to participate in the Astoria Regatta, held each summer in Astoria, Oregon. The Astoria Regatta was first held in 1894 and today is a five-day celebration held on the Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon. During the 1890's the salmon fishing industry of the Columbia River was just beginning to take hold and at the end of the fishing season many fishermen came to Astoria to celebrate and to spend some of their season's earnings. The fishermen after a hard season of fishing were ready to blow off steam in the many dance halls and saloons of Astoria and it was in the summer of 1894 that several Astoria businessmen decided that a regatta would be a good way to celebrate. In the beginning there were boat races between rival fishing boats and yachts and the like. There were also tug-of-war matches and foot races on the banks of the Columbia. As the Regatta grew naval ships were invited to come to show off the new technology of the navy. And this was also a good liberty for the sailors from the various naval ships that came.

The South Dakota as she stands up river at the Astoria Regatta of 1915. Overhaead, a bi-plane makes a low pass over the ship. Grouping of ships officers aboard the South Dakota posing with Queen Tyyne of the Austoria Regatta on Spetember 3, 1915.
This is an early post card of the South Dakota in her original Spar and White paint and aslo with her original fore mast. In this photo taken on June 8, 1916, shows the ship painted gray and with her new style cage mast.

When the United States entered the war in April of 1917, the South Dakota was commanded by Commander Arthur MacArthur III, (born June 1, 1876-died December 2, 1923) who was the older brother to General Douglas MacArthur, and she was on duty with the Pacific Fleet. In December of 1917 Commander MacArthur was promoted to Captain and transferred from the South Dakota to take command of the light cruiser Chattanooga in the Atlantic Fleet.

Transferred to the Atlantic after the United States entered World War I, South Dakota departed Bremerton on 12 April. On 20 May 1917 the USS Frederick along with the USS South Dakota entered the Canal at Balboa transiting to join the Atlantic Fleet. She joined Pittsburg (ACR-4), Pueblo (ACR-7), and Frederick (ACR-8) at Colon, Panama, on 29 May 1917 then proceeded to the South Atlantic for patrol duty operating from Brazilian ports. During 1918, she escorted troop convoys from the east coast to the mid-Atlantic rendezvous point where British cruisers joined the convoy. The South Dakota fared well during the severe conditions of escorting troopships across the stormy and submarine infested waters of the Atlantic, except for one occasion where she broke a propeller shaft and had to be dry-docked for repairs.

Following the Armistice, South Dakota made two voyages from Brest, France, to New York, returning troops to the United States. On 5 January 1919 the entire 56th Artillery Regiment C.A.C., less Battery F went aboard the South Dakota at Brest, France for transportation to the United States. The ship left Brest harbor at 1:00 pm, just nine months from the day the Regiment landed at Brest (April 5, 1918). In addition to the Regiment the only other troops aboard the ship was an Aero Squadron.

From the 5 -18 January 1919 the South Dakota was en route from Brest, France to the United States. On 7 January a heavy storm was encountered that damaged the pilot house and chart room of the ship and injured the Captain, Executive Officer and some members of the crew but no member of the Army troops were injured. The intensity of the storm and the desire to add to the comfort of the Army personnel aboard influenced the captain of the ship to turn about and head for the coast of Spain. As soon as the storm abdicated the ship was brought about to her proper course. About 36 hours was lost on account of the storm. On 10 January the ship passed the Azores about 5 miles South of San Miguel. On 16 January radio messages were sent to the United States announcing the probable arrival of the ship on the 18th of January. The South Dakota docked at pier 34, Hoboken N.J. at 11:45 am on the 18th. It was noted that on April 1, 1919 she was at Portsmouth for repairs until about May 27, 1919 when she again went back into service.

In the summer of 1919, South Dakota was ordered back to the Pacific to serve as Admiral Albert Gleaves flagship of the Asiatic Fleet. the Commanding officer of the South Dakota at this time was Captain John McClane Luby. After transiting to the Pacific she visited the Galapagos Islands and on the 28th of September 1919 she was anchored off the Marquesas Islands. She made visits to Tahiti and Samoa before arriving in Manila on 27 October 1919. Admiral Gleaves served as Commander of Convoy Operations during WWI and was relieved from his present command of the Cruiser and Transport Force at the end of August and on 1 September 1919 he hoisted his flag on the South Dakota as commander of the Asiatic Fleet. South Dakota served as flagship of the Asiatic Fleet, which consisted of 26 vessels including 8 destroyers. Admiral Gleaves wrote his book entitled “A History of the Transport Service” while serving as Commander of the Asiatic Fleet, which the preface to the book was written while the USS South Dakota was stationed at Vladivostok, Siberia on the 13th of January 1920. During December of 1919 she carried Admiral Gleaves flag to ports of call in Japan and China where the Japanese and Chinese navy cordially received Gleaves and the South Dakota.

During the winter of 1920 the South Dakota and the USS Albany were on station off Vladivostok, Russia serving to aid and defend in the withdraw of American troops. The White Russian Army was defeated at the Volga Front and the Siberian government was collapsing. It was President Wilson in 1918 that ordered the 27th and 31st Infantry to Siberia and with pressure from the Congress; Wilson ordered that these American troops should withdraw from Siberia. The situation in Russia had deteriorated markedly and the Bolshevik armies had driven the White Russian forces back into Siberia, and the collapse of the White government, headed by Admiral Alexander Kolchak, sounded the death knell of the western attempt to intervene in the Russian Civil War, the American intervention was coming to an end.

According to the memoirs of Lt. jg Paul L. Hughes of the USS South Dakota, the ship was awakened early on the morning of 31 January 1920 as the sounds of artillery fire could be heard close ashore. Admiral Gleaves gave orders and the South Dakota landed four companies “On the Double” under the command of Lt. Cmdr. Schiuirman, while the ship was taking incoming fire from small arms. Schiuirman was under orders to protect American lives and property and non-combatants regardless of nationality. The four companies from the ship were as follows:

First Company; Marines, Commanded by Captain Barry and Lt. Edgar Allen Poe.
Second Company; First Division, Commanded by Lt. J. S. Reynolds and Ens. Canan.
Third Company; Second Division, Commanded by Lt. Wheeler and Lt. Paul L. Hughes.
Fourth Company; Third Division, Commanded by Lt. Johnson and Ens. Shoemaker.

The temperatures were far below zero and the men endured a considerable amount of difficulty and suffering from the bitter cold having just come from the tropics. Early in the morning the Bolsheviks stormed into the city and the four Companies from the South Dakota had several serious clashes with them. This went on for several days and there was a serious engagement on the night of the second of February when the Bolsheviks opened fire on the Fourth Company from the South Dakota. The Fourth Company made short work of the attacking Bolsheviks and there were casualties but it was not known what kind or how many.

According to the notes from Lt. jg Paul L. Hughes the Third Company was assigned to protect the American Consular Building. Hughes writes in his notes about the events of the landing force. “None of us will ever forget the biting sting of the blizzard, which blew up on the night of the 3rd of February 1920 and silenced all the guns.” It was one of the worst winters endured in Eastern Siberia in many years, with winds exceeding hurricane force and temperatures ranging from 20-40 below zero. Lt. jg Hughes notes; “After huddling in the snow all night Lt. Johnson and I brought back to the ship the last remnants of the landing forces.” As notes in the book, “Cruise of the USS Huron” Flagship Asiatic Fleet 1919-1921, “We were cut by the cold and gale and frozen to the marrow in spite of heavy clothing.” The mission of the landing forces was accomplished, as order was restored, but companies of men from the South Dakota patrolled ashore until they departed in the spring of 1920.

During March of 1920 Gleaves took the South Dakota and visited ports in Japan and returned one month later in April to relive her fleet mate the Albany still on station in Vladivostok. The Albany left to hold target practice and then to establish a summer base at Chefoo, China. The South Dakota, Albany, New Orleans, destroyer division 13 and the Rizal then assembled at Chefoo during the latter part of May and early June. All vessels assembled there took part in short-range battle practice and director practice, except the destroyers Upshur and Elliot, which, were detailed to patrol duty on the Yangtze River.


South Dakota was renamed Huron on 7 June 1920 and was designated CA-9 on 17 July 1920. She served in the Asiatic Fleet for the next seven years, operating in Philippine waters during the winter and out of Shanghai and Chefoo, China during the summer. Capt. C. D. Stearns was in command of the Huron on 1 July 1923 during her duty with the Asiatic Fleet. Huron spent Christmas of 1923, now under the command of Captain V. A. Kimberly anchored at Manila, P.I. as the Christmas Day menu below shows.

Captain V.A. Kimberly, Commanding
Lt. Cmdr. R. C. Giffen, Excetutive Officer
Lt. Cmdr. W. Gower, Supply Officer
H. H. Hoefs, Pay Clerk
W.W. Prosser, Commissary Steward

Relishes: Queen Olives, Sweet Gerkins
Soup: Puree of Tomato
Roast: Stuffed Turkey, Cranberry Sauce, Giblet Gravy
Entree: Roast Loin of Pork, Brown Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus, Drawn Butter, Creamed Peas
Dessert: Fruit Cake, Mince Pie, Oranges, Apples, Ice Cream, Candy, Mixed Nuts, Coffee

Just before noon on September 1, 1923 there was a devastating earthquake that hit Japan. This is known as the Great Kanto Earthquake, Kanto being the area where the epicenter hit. This was a densely populated area with about 2 million estimated to live there. The cities of Tokyo and Yokohama were severely damaged and its peoples were in need of assistance. Over 100,000 deaths with an estimated 40,000 still missing and hundreds of thousands left homeless. Admiral Edwin Anderson, Jr. placed his U.S. Asiatic fleet at the disposal of the Japanese government to help in any way they could. Asiatic Fleet commander, Admiral Anderson immediately sent Destroyer Division 38 from stations in Chinese waters to Yokohama to render medical assistance. All other available Asiatic fleet ships were loaded with clothing, food, medical supplies and other items and rushed to Japanese waters. On the 4th of September the Japanese Battleships Negato and Mutsu arrive at Uchinoura Bay, Kyushu to load with food and medical supplies and both ships depart for Yokosuka the same day. En route they pass and sight the Huron steaming for Yokohama with supplies. Within a few days of the earthquake Admiral Anderson arrived in his flagship the USS Huron at Yokohama. Within two weeks of the earthquake U. S. Ambassador in Japan, Cyrus E. Wood announced to Washington that “the food emergency has been met, however the problem of distribution has not been solved as of yet.” From the Huron, his flagship Admiral Anderson brought much need organization to the people of Japan in their hour of need and this was to be a shining moment for the entire US Asiatic fleet. On 11 October 1923 Admiral Anderson was relieved of command of the Asiatic Fleet and returned home and retired from the navy. The same day Admiral Anderson left the Huron, she piped aboard the new commander of the fleet, Admiral Thomas Washington. Admiral Washington commanded the fleet until 14 October 1925 and during his command the Asiatic fleet provided support for the Army’s round-the-world flight in the spring of 1924.

Edward A. Craig, U.S.M.C., was ordered to sea duty in February of 1924, as Commanding Officer of the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Huron. Later Craig would become a Lieutenant General before retired on 1 June 1951. He was a veteran of more than thirty-three years of Marine Corps service, Craig died on 11 December 1994 at his home in El Cajon, California, at the age of 98.

The Huron’s service life was nearing it’s end and she was relieved as flagship of the Asiatic Fleet as her sister ship the USS Pittsburgh arrived in Chefoo, China on the 23rd of December 1926 to take the Huron’s place as Flagship. Ordered home, Huron departed Manila on the last day of 1926 and arrived at the Puget Sound Navy Yard on 3 March 1927 where she was decommissioned on 17 June 1927 and remained in reserve until she was struck from the Navy list on 15 November 1929. She was sold on 11 February 1930 for scrapping in accordance with the provisions of the London Treaty for the limitation and reduction of naval armament.  The Huron was striped of all machinery and armament and was reduced to an empty hull. She was cut down to the water line and later in 1930 her bare hull was sold to the Powell River Company Limited to be used as floating breakwaters for the log pond at their pulp and paper mill at Powell River, British Columbia Canada.

The Ship's Bell of the USS South Dakota

On Saturday, September 18, 1932 the ship's bell from the USS South Dakota was dedicated in its newly created berth at Memorial Park on the northwest side of Lake Kampeska, West-Northwest of Watertown, South Dakota.

The bell was first cast in 1907 for the commissioning of the Armored Cruiser USS South Dakota, and served aboard the ship, during when she was named South Dakota and Huron from 1905 until she was struck from the Navy List on November 15, 1929.

The Navy Department took custody of this Bell when the USS Huron was scrapped out and stored it in one of their warehouses for another time. For nearly 2-years the bell of the old South Dakota, sat collecting dust. The ship’s nickname was taken from her ships newspaper and was known as “Ess Dee” for S. D. the abbreviation of South Dakota.

In 1932 members of the Codington County, South Dakota American Legion Post #17 began work to have the old “Ess Dee’s” bell shipped to Watertown where it could be displayed at a newly created Memorial Park. The setting was an appropriate one, because South Dakota's American Legion played a key role in convincing the State Legislature to provide legislation allowing county commissioners to levy taxes to help build memorials to those who served in WWI. The first board in the state to take advantage of that legislation was the Codington County Board of Commissioners, which used the money from the levy to establish Memorial Park.

For many years the bell of the old “Ess Dee” remained at the park at Lake Kampeska at the Memorial Park but years later the land which was owned by the American Legion was donated to the county and the old bell had to find a new home. A new home was found and the bell from the USS South Dakota was moved to the north lawn at the Codington County courthouse where it still resides to this day and serves as a reminder of the ship that first carried the name South Dakota around the globe.

The Final Resting Place of the South Dakota/Huron

In 1930 the Powell River Company Limited took possession of some decommissioned ships to be used as floating breakwaters for the log pond at their pulp and paper mill at Powell River, British Columbia Canada. Using decommissioned ships hulls as breakwaters was not a new idea and had been used many times. However, in most cases ship breakwaters were created by sinking the vessels in shallow water to create the breakwater. At Powell River the water is too deep to allow this and so the floating breakwater designed was used. The ships at the Powell River mills Breakwater Fleet form what many believe is the largest floating breakwater in the world. These ships are know to the people of Powell River, British Columbia as "The Hulks".

The first two ships that were brought to the log pond at the Powell River mill were the decommissioned US Cruisers USS Charleston and the USS South Dakota/Huron. On October 25, 1930 the hulk of the Charleston stripped to her waterline was towed to the log pond and was the first ship to take her place standing guard at the log pond. The Charleston remained in the breakwater fleet at Powell River until 1961 when she was removed because she was in danger of sinking. She was removed and used again a short distance away at Kelsey Bay on Vancouver Island where she was grounded at the booming ground at Kelsey Bay. She can be seen there today as her hulk is partially out of the water along with several grounded ships. It was at the end of August 1931 that the hull, stripped to her waterline, of the South Dakota/Huron arrived to take her place at the log pond at Powell River along side of the Charleston. These ships were ballasted and anchored in place and routinely pumped out to keep them afloat. For the next 30 years the South Dakota/Huron remained rusting peacefully protecting the log pond along with the other hulks that formed the Breakwater Fleet. On February 18, 1961 with a storm raging and the South Dakota/Huron riding low in the water, the once proud ship lost her battle with her enemy of 30 years and slipped quietly beneath the waves. She settled to the bottom of the log pond in about 80 feet of water and rests there to this day.

John A. Campbell (see photo below) a local Powell River native has written a book which documents each of the ships that have been used in the Breakwater Fleet at Powell River. The book is titled "HULKS The Breakwater Ships of Powell River." This book contains a great many details of each ships history. This book is sold by The Powell River Historical Museum and Archives and all proceeds will be used to help with funding this Organization.

Powell River Historical Museum and Archives
P.O. Box 42 Powell River, B.C. V8A 4Z5 Canada

Phone 604-485-2222 Fax 604-485-2327
Email [email protected]

Curator Debbie Dan
Coordinator Teedie Gentile

Images of the South Dakota / Huron

An undated photo of the USS South Dakota in the Dewey Dry-dock. This is a view of the South Dakota's stern and her rudder and port side 3-bladed propeller can be seen. Her starboard propeller has been removed for repairs as it was bent. She had her bottom scraped and painted also at the same time. I would think that this photo was taken sometime in 1912 as the Armored Cruiser Squadron was on station in the Philippines during that time. Later when the Squadron was returning from Yokohama to Honolulu she broke her Starboard main shaft, no doubt due to the stress of the bent propeller that was repaired months earlier.

The USS South Dakota in dry dock probably at Puget Sound in Bremerton WA. Note that her starboard side propeller has been removed. The South Dakota during August of 1909 set a record by having 600 tons of barnacles scraped from her bottom. The entire ship was covered with a layer 2 inches thick of the barnacles some measuring 3 inches long. The weight was estimated at 25 pounds per square foot and added 4 1/2 inches to her draft. It took 175 men one full day to scrape the barnacles from her undersides.
The South Dakota in a undated photo. In this view she has her new style cage fore mast. The new cage mast was designed to allow spotters to direct artillery fire as at the time artillery fire was directed by eye sight. This new cage structure was designed to take multiple direct hits from enemy fire without collapsing. One drawback to this design was its flexibility, which gave the spotters a wild ride in heavy seas or when the guns were fired.
Post Card from Horiwari Negishi, Yokohama, Japan showing the Cherry Blossoms. This card is dated September 12, 1912 and addressed to a Miss L. A. Burgess in Maplewood, MO. It has a cancellation stamp from the USS South Dakota dated Sept., 2, 1912 with a 1 cent stamp. This card places the South Dakota in port at San Francisco, California in September after returning from her Far East cruise with the Armored Cruiser Squadron. She bagan this Far East cruise in December, 1911 which took her from California to the Hawaiian Islands, the Marianas, the Philippines, and Japan, finally returning to port in San Francisco in August of 1912. The message reads:

Vallejo Cal. 9/2/12
Dear Lillian,
Will arrive in St. Louis the 12th or 13th. Do not write as I will leave here before a letter will reach me. Love to all.
Lovingly, Frank L. B

Addressed to: Miss L.A. Burgess, 7592 Manchester, Maplewood, MO.

Here the Huron is photographed at anchor in the harbor at Shanghai, China sometime during 1922-1924. She was flagship of the US Asiatic Fleet under command of Admiral Edwin A. Anderson in the later 20’s. Above a photo of the USS Huron in the harbor in Shanghai, China dated December 19, 1924. This photo was contributed by 2LT. Brendan B. Finnegan, USAF stationed at Robins AFB. It was a photo from his Great-Great Uncles photo album. He was a Marine officer serving in China at the time and may have traveled on the Huron to China. His name was Captain Edward Arthur Craig (later LTG Craig). The album was put together by his late first wife prior to 1943.

Captain H. I. Cone
Chief of Staff and Commanding Officer,
USS Huron, 1919-1921

Photo above shows the South Dakota in a land based Dry-dock, likely at Bremerton. This photo looks to be previous to 1910 as she still has her original foremast. Nice view of her stern showing both propellers and rudder. She is getting her bottom scraped and painted.
A 5-legged Sailor on the South Dakota. Pets on board ship were a common sight and here a monkey entertains the men as they watch it climb the ropes. Sailors from the South Dakota marching in the A.A.R. Parade. It is not known when this photo was taken and may be in Bremerton, WA. Also it is not known what “A. A. R.” means. It is likely this photo is before WWI.
The photo above shows the South Dakota tied at the dock at Mare Island, California on January 7, 1908. Here she is shown again in her Spar and White paint. Another of her sister ships is tied outboard as can be seen from that ships stern mast in the extreme upper right of this photo. The ships company seems to be assembled on the quarterdeck as a few women watch from the dock. Also note the horse drawn laundry cart in the fore ground. “Vallejo Steam Laundry” is likely picking up some officers laundry. Behind this laundry cart can be seen a guard shack and a Marine stands guard in the lower right side.

Commander-in-chief, US Asiatic Fleet, 1919-1921

Admiral Albert Gleaves

USS Huron

Commander-in-chief, US Asiatic Fleet, 1921 Admiral Joseph Strauss, with Admiral Mayo pictured on February 4, 1921. The Staff of the 1921 Asiatic Fleet Flagship, USS Huron with Chinese Officials.
1921 USS Huron Jr. Officers. Ensigns Threshie, Lewis, Dana, Curtin, Woodson, Swanston, Weller and Lt. Maxwell. Commander J. B. Rhodes, Executive Officer, USS Huron, 1921.

The Crews Muster

As I find names and information of men who served on the South Dakota/Huron I will list them here in this section. If you have a relative who served on this proud old ship please E-mail me and I will add thier names with the others below.

Miss Grace May Herreid

Sponsor of the USS South Dakota, Grace May Herreid

Above is a Tea Set given to the USS South Dakota, by the citizens of the State of South Dakota. This set now is on display at the South Dakota Heritage Center in Pierre, South Dakota. This set is engraved with the Great Seal of the State of South Dakota on each piece and the serving tray is engraved with an image of the ship. On the larger pieces there are also many images depicting South Dakota’s heritage.

Photo of Miss Herreid and the Tea set below was shared by Allan Burke, Publisher of the Prairie Pioneer (weekly newspaper) in Pollock, SD and the Emmons County Record published in Linton, ND.

Grace May Herreid was the daughter of South Dakota Governor Charles Nelson Herreid. Grace had the privilege of christening the name USS South Dakota on the cruiser when she was launched on 21 July 1904. Grace was the eldest daughter of Charles and Jeannett (Slye) Herreid. Grace was born in May of 1885 in Eureka, South Dakota. Charles and Jeannett had two children Grace and son Roscoe C. born in January of 1892. Charles before becoming Governor was a local attorney in Eureka, South Dakota. The city of Herreid, South Dakota was named in his honor.

Seaman, Elwyn Morrill Blackmore

Elwyn M. Blackmore was born in 1906 in Goodrich, Michigan to Homer John Blackmore and Ada Estella (Slade) Blackmore. In 1910 the Blackmore family lived in Atlas Township in the county of Genesee, Michigan where Homer was a general farmer. Elwyn was 3 years old at the time and on Christmas Day 1910 Elwyn’s younger brother Leon J. Blackmore was born. By 1920 the family, Homer, Ada, Elwyn and Leon had moved to a home, which was owned by Homer on State Street in Davison, Michigan. Homer was 50 years old at the time and still worked in the farming business as a silo salesman.

Seaman Elwyn Morrill Blackmore

Photos were provided by Jan Sabo. Elwyn Blackmore is the grandfather to Jan Sabo.

By the age of 17 Young Elwyn joined the United States Navy in September of 1923. Seaman Blackmore was assigned to the Asiatic Fleet aboard the cruiser USS Huron. He served on the USS Huron from 1923 until October of 1927 when he was discharged from the Navy. Elwyn talked about his travels to Shanghai, China and Manila in the Philippines. Elwyn’s first Christmas away from home was spent on the Huron as she was anchored in Manila. Elwyn had sent a letter home that Christmas and he included a copy of the Christmas menu pictured above in his letter. Elwyn had many adventures seeing all the ports of call that the Huron made during her Asiatic tour. No doubt that this was an eye opening experience for a farm boy from Michigan.
The photo on the right was taken when Elwyn was home on leave at the request of his mother. Elwyn and his mother Ada seated and his father Homer standing behind Elwyn and Leon standing behind Ada.

After Elwyn left the navy and returned home to Michigan he met and married in August of 1928 Caroline Bassette Beebe. Caroline was born February 27, 1909 and was a local Davison, Michigan girl. In April of 1930 when Elwyn and Caroline lived in the Davison Street home in Davison, Michigan they had one daughter Anita E., who was 5 months old at the time. Barbara J. was born in December of 1930, and Phyllis was born the following year. The house on Davison Street was located next to the railroad track crossing. At the time Elwyn worked as a laborer in an auto factory. Elwyn’s young life was cut short in June of 1936 at the age of 29 when a train at the Davison Street crossing next to the family home killed Elwyn.

Seaman, J. M. Kilgore

The son of Mrs. Ella Kilgore, Kearney, Nebraska. Seaman Kilgore entered the Navy at Denver, Colorado on 20 June 1918, and trained at San Pedro, and Hampton Roads. He was assigned to the USS South Dakota until his discharge from the Navy on 20 January 1919.

Seaman A. J. Panek

The son of W. J. Panek of Kearney, Nebraska entered the Navy 18 June 1918 at Denver, Colorado. First Stationed at San Pedro, CA and then at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He was assigned for duty on the USS South Dakota. On 27 October 1918 he made is one trip across the Atlantic on Convoy duty.

Fireman 3c Charlie George Hobbs

Charlie George Hobbs was born at Lee, New Hampshire, September 12, 1891. His father was, John G. Hobbs and his mothers, maiden name was Harriot B. Sawyer, and she died in the spring of 1919. His sister died about the same time. Charlie worked for a number of years on his uncle's ranch near Mountain Home, Idaho for Mr. B. P. Thompson.

Charlie George Hobbs enlisted in the United States Navy at Salt Lake City, Nevada December 7, 1917. He trained at Goat Hill Naval Camp on San Francisco Bay at Mare Island, California at Hampton Roads Naval Base, Virginia. He was assigned to the U.S.S. South Dakota, an armored cruiser performing convoy escort duty in the North Atlantic. His first rating was as a Third Class Fireman, and later as stoker. He made a number of trips across the Atlantic during convoy duty. On November 30, 1918 he was transferred to Pelham Bay, New York, a naval demobilization camp from which place he was discharged, February 17, 1919. He received his education in the New Market High School. After the War Hobbs worked as a civil engineer for the Oregon Short Line with headquarters at Pocatello, Idaho. He was a resident of Elmore County, Idaho.

Seaman 2c Pat Mungo

I want to thankPatricia Marks Poland who is the granddaughter of Seaman 2c Pat Mungo for sharing the photos and the research materials of the history of her grandfather.

Seaman 2c Pat Mungo

Pat Mungo was the son of Columbus Patterson Mungo ("C. P.") and Virginia E. Jerome Mungo and was born on 25 May 1899 in Mecklenburg County and died on 25 November 1987 in Mecklenburg County, NC. Pat was the oldest son of eight children from C. P. Mungo's second marriage. He grew up in the Wilgrove and Clear Creek areas of Mecklenburg County, NC just outside the city of Charlotte.

C. P. Mungo, a former confederate Cavalry soldier from South Carolina, was a farmer. According to son Pat he worked the boys hard in the fields. C. P. was also a local magistrate and in his later years was known as the 'Marrying Squire" because of the large numbers of marriage ceremonies he performed in the Clear Creek community.

Pat registered for the local draft board in Goldsboro, NC on September 7th 1918 at the age of 19. He listed his occupation as a lineman for the Southern Bell Telegraph Company in Charlotte, North Carolina. At the time Pat was still living at home with his parents home at Rural Route No. 1, Allen, NC, which was in the county of Mecklenburg. Pat listed his physical characteristics as tall and medium build with blue eyes and brown hair.

Pat entered the Navy on 18 August 1919 and shortly after was assigned to the cruiser USS South Dakota. His Uncle Frank Jerome was a Navy career man and no doubt this influenced his decision. Pat Mungo served aboard the USS South Dakota, which was later re-named USS Huron during the 1919-1921 years. He was on the ship when they came under fire January 31, 1920 during what is known as the "Siberian Revolution". A letter from a former officer, Lt. jg Paul L. Hughes, was among Pat's possessions at the time of his death. The letter verifies this little known event in the USS South Dakota's history.

Years later Pat would speak of the time he nearly froze to death while in Siberia. Mr. Hughes' letter also describes the "biting sting of the blizzard which "silenced all guns". Also among Pat's possessions was a 1919 letter he wrote to his mother while aboard the ship, which was then docked at a port in New Hampshire. They were to set sail for New York in just a matter of days. On the backside of one of the pages he urges his mother to "tell Joe" Join it [is] a fine place to be". It would be assumed that he wanted old pals to know that being in the Navy was a pretty good thing.

According to the 1920 Federal Census taken on the 25th of March 1920, Pat Mungo was a Seaman Second Class serving on the USS South Dakota, which was then at anchor in Kobe, Japan. He listed his home address as 15 East Hill Street in Charlotte, NC.

After getting out of the navy, Pat returned to Charlotte, NC. He met and wed Willie M. Daniels, daughter of Ed Daniels and Elva R. Williams Daniels (Webb). Both Pat and Willie were the same age and were married at age 23 years. Together they had one daughter, Patty Lou, born April 23, 1930. According to the 1930 Federal Census, which was taken eight days before Patty Lou was born Pat and his wife lived in a home they owned and was valued at $2,700. The address was in the 9th ward in the city of Charlotte at 225 West Boulevard near the intersection of Jefferson Street.

He was employed with the City of Charlotte's Water Department as a foreman for laying lines. It was said that he was excellent in his judgment of distance and how much pipe was needed for each job. He never used any instruments for this and was seldom off in his estimates by more than six inches. Pat picked a little banjo and played the harmonica. He loved hunting with his dogs and had a favorite pointer named "Old Pat". Willie would die in 1935. Life wasn't easy in those days for widowed fathers as daycares were pretty much unheard of. Through a patchwork system of friends and family, he found care for his daughter, Patty Lou. He remarried about ten years later, hoping to create a new family for his daughter and himself. This marriage would last about fifteen years. He took early retirement from the water department and eventually landed in Blue Ridge, GA. Another marriage would follow and also fail. He later returned to Charlotte, NC to live out his remaining years.

I never knew much about my grandfather's years in the Navy. As a child I was fascinated by the tattoos on his arm that he acquired while serving overseas in Japan. Still years later, as a teen, we took one of those seemingly impossible family vacations.

The kind where everyone was in tow, Mom and Dad, Grandpa, brother and brother's best friend, boyfriend and the family dog. It took two cars but we made it to Topsail Island on the North Carolina coast. One lazy afternoon we were out on the large upper deck of the house we had been graciously loaned. Grandpa demanded that the two younger boys bring him a bucket, and a bar of plain soap. He announced to the amazement of us all that he was going to wash his shirts. I pointed out that we had a washing machine in the basement but he said that this would serve the purpose.

He set about demonstrating to brother and brother's best friend how to scrub a white shirt clean. He said this was how he did in the Navy. I must admit that at the time I thought he was crazy. But darned if that shirt didn't come out white as he draped it over the rail of the deck to dry. The boys then promptly took the bucket of soapy water and threw it on my boyfriend.

I wasn’t old enough or wise enough to realize that I had been given the chance to ask my normally silent grandfather about his youth. Particularly about his time as a Navy Seaman, Second Class. I discounted him as a boring old man, never seeing the adventuring young man traveling the "high seas". It would be years before I realized I had missed my queue. It is something I now regret very much.

The letter sent to his mother while he was in the Navy (letter's date is "Sunday 24th, 1919") the original letter is in the Military Collection of the State Archives of North Carolina, World War I Papers, Private Collections, Box 75:

“Dear Mother,

I am [in] Portsmouth, New Hampshire on the South Dakota. I like it purty well. We are going to sail the 28 for New York. We are going to go around the world. We are going to China and Japan before we come back to the States. They say that it will take about 2 years. Was in Boston the other day I looked for Frank but I didn't see him. (Pat was referring to his Uncle Frank Jerome, his mother 's brother, who made a career of the Navy)

I will have some pictures taken and send them the next time I write...tell...Rachel hello (one of his sisters). I will close the boys are making such a fuss I can't write they are a lot of boys that I know from North Carolina. I will close for this time

From Pat”

The old stationary which, was provided by the YMCA, has their logo is in the upper right-hand corner with the US flag in the upper left. Along the bottom is printed this directive: “Help your Country by Saving. Write on BOTH sides of this Paper.”

A View of life onboard the South Dakota from the eyes of Seaman Mungo

A starboard view of the South Dakota on a fancy green cardboard mounting was among Pat Mungo's items. The after 8-inch turret of the South Dakota Pat Mungo wrote on the back of this photo; "These are the ones that I work on."

A port side view of the South Dakota Mungo noted on this photo; "This is the picture of the USS South Dakota on a Japanese holiday."
Note the Japanese flag flying from the after mast.
Seaman Mungo writes; "This picture showed the Admiral [Adm. Gleaves] and the King and Queen when we crossed the equator." A coffin is lowered by the ships crane to a waiting barge below as second flag covered casket waits on the deck of the ship. Ships company stand to as the coffin is being off loaded.

Another of Seaman Pat Mungo's photographs. This one was not identified but shows a typical street possibly in China or Japan as five bluejackets pose for the camera. The two rickshaws on the left each have one person which both look to be the uniform of a Navy Chief.

Lt. jg Paul L. Hughes

Paul Longstreth Hughes was born on June 1, 1893 in the state of New York. On June 14, 1900 when the Federal census was taken in Lansdowne Borough, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, Paul Hughes lived at home with an older brother and the sister of his mother. His mother Carol L. Hughes was listed as the head of the household and was listed as being a widow. She had 3 children 2 of which were still living. She was born in November of 1859 in Iowa. Paul’s oldest brother was named Francis C. and also living in the home was Carol’s sister named Ella B. Love who was 26 at the time.

Paul grew up and joined the US Navy Reserve Force and was on 30 day of April 1917 at the rank of Coxswain. On 21 November 1917 he was assigned to the receiving ship at Norfolk, VA and he was assigned his first ship the USS Hatteras on 24 December 1917. Seven days later on the 31st he was transferred to the USS Mexican. He remained on the USS Mexican until14th of April 1918 when he was again transferred to the USS Pamlico where he remained until May 7th 1918 when he was assigned to the Headquarters, 5th Naval District.

On June 8th, 1918 Hughes was commissioned as an Ensign in the Naval Reserve Force and 3 days later on the 11 of June reported to the 5th Naval District at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. On the 18 of September 1918 Hughes was commissioned as an Ensign in the Regular Navy and on October 4th, 1918 was assigned to the USS Plattsburgh. On the first day of July 1919 he was promoted to Lt. jg and on the 26th of July 1919 reported to Headquarters Cruiser and Transport Force, Hoboken, New Jersey to await his next assignment. Lt. jg Hughes was then assigned to duty on the USS South Dakota on September 3, 1919.

As an officer on the USS South Dakota Lt. jg Hughes participated in the actions that the South Dakota took part in while on station in Vladivostok, Russia during the Russian Civil War leading a landing party ashore and protecting the US Consular Building in Vladivostok. Lt. jg Hughes was still onboard the USS South Dakota on 20th of March 1920 when the Federal Census was taken. He listed his home of record as 104 W. Eager St. in Baltimore, Maryland. Lt. jg Hughes was single and 26 years old at the time.

Paul Hughes left the military and at some point ended up working in the stock brokerage industry. When Paul Hughes wrote a letter to fellow South Dakota shipmate Pat Mungo on 16 September 1960, Paul was a full partner with the stock brokerage firm of Gude, Winmill and Co., located at One Wall Street in New York in the heart of the financial district. In the letter that Hughes wrote to Mungo, Hughes notes that all of his navy records were stored in the attic of his seaside cottage.The original letter to Pat Mungo is in the Military Collection of the State Archives of North Carolina, World War I Papers, Private Collections, Box 75.

Paul L. Hughes died in New York City in June of 1969.

Seaman, Carl Reginald Lightner

Carl Reginald Lightner was born Boyd County, Kentucky on 7 June 1887. According to the 1900 federal Census Carl's father, George Lightner was born in Kentucky in July of 1850 and his mother, Louella C., was born in May of 1850 in Ohio. Carl had 5 siblings of which, the eldest was brother, Eston E., born in March of 1878 in Ohio and was a farm laborer in 1900. Second oldest brother was Lorraine E. born in March of 1881 in Ohio and also worked as a farm laborer. Next eldest was his sister Rosa born in September of 1883 in Kentucky, and then there was Carl listed as being in school. Another younger sister named Georgia was born in May of 1891 in Arkansas and youngest brother Claude, born in April 1893 in the Indian Territory.

It is not known when Carl joined the navy but Carl crossed the equator as a crewman on the USS South Dakota on 15 September 1908. This is known from a document signed by A. Templeton, which was given to Carl when he crossed the equator for the first time. Carl underwent the ancient rite of the sea as sailors who crossed the equator for the first time were visited by King Neptune himself and were transformed from a pollywog to a shellback. The crossing of the equator took place in the Pacific Ocean at 0 degrees latitude, 165 degrees longitude as they were bound for Navigators Island which is now known as Samoa. According to the 1910 Federal Census taken at San Francisco, California aboard the USS South Dakota then at anchor there, Carl's name appears. Carl is listed as a 22-year old Seaman and single.

As America enter the War in 1917, Carl felt the call to serve his country and registered for the draft. On his draft card dated 5 June 1917 Carl was married with two children ages 1 and 3 years. Carl listed his home at RR No. 2 in Earlsboro, Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma and his occupation as a tenant farmer in Earlsboro. He was listed as having served in the navy before at the rating of Petty Officer. It was noted that he had been in the navy for 11 years. His physical traits were tall, medium build with brown eyes and brown hair.

The next recorded mention of Carl comes from the 1920 Federal census where it states he was living in Forest, Oklahoma, which is in Pottawatomie County. There he lived at 317 Sixth Street in Forest with his wife Leta E. age 23 and two daughters born in Oklahoma, Ilsie age 6 and Alice age 3 years, 7 months. The census listed Carl as a farmer and was age 32 at the time.

Sometime between the 1920 and 1930 Federal Census Carl and his wife had parted ways. It is not known what happened to his wife but on the 1930 Federal census Carl is listed as living alone with a son named Carl, Jr. age 10 years in Tecumseh, Oklahoma, which, is in Pottawatomie County Oklahoma. Carl and Carl, Jr. were roomers and Carl, Sr. was listed as being a agent at a car dealership and was also a veteran of the World War.

According to the Social Security Death Index Carl R. Lightner's last residence was at 74801 Shawnee, Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma. Carl passed away on 9 December of 1986 at 99 years old. When he died Carl had 1 son, 5 daughters 16 grandchildren and 19 great-grand children and 5 great-great-grand children.

The grandson of Carl Lightner, Joe Skeesick contacted me and told me that he only knew that Carl was on the USS South Dakota and had a book of sorts that he penned before his death that contains numerous songs and poems that he would sing and tell all the time. Joe Skeesick remembers that he was a blacksmith for some time and then started a tire vulcanizing shop. He then opened his own garage which later became a Dodge agency. He sold that and put in a Whippet and Willis-Knight car dealership previous to the depression and lost it all when his customers brought their cars back into him and just handed him the keys. He went back into the tire vulcanizing business, opened up a shop, expanded back into mechanic work and welding and then started making and selling trailers.

Crossing of the Equator certificate of Carl Lightner, dated 15 September 1908. Signed by A. Templeton as Neptune Rex.

Seaman Bill Landrigan

Written by Bill Milone, Nephew of Seaman Bill Landrigan, USS South Dakota/Huron

Seaman Bill Landrigan, 1919-1920

I never knew my uncle, Bill Landrigan as he died before I was born, leaving behind a father, mother, and three sisters: Helen 23, Rose 20, and my mother, Edna, 18. William Jeremiah Landrigan died in Vladivostok, Siberia, on March. 11, 1920. Bill Landrigan sailed there on the USS South Dakota/Huron, which was one of our many ships sent to protect United States interests during the Russian Revolution.

Much of my early years were spent on 4 Jesse Ct., Troy, New York, with my father, mother, and her sister, Helen. I was named after Bill. He was a topic of several conversations on many occasions. They referred to his dying in the Navy, being tall and loving baseball. I was compared to him and developed into an accomplished baseball player. They spoke of his letters from Siberia that told of his voyage. I inherited the letters when my mother died. The letters had numerous headings: YMCA, Knights of Columbus, On Active Duty with the American Expeditionary Forces and the Jewish Welfare Board. They arrived from Newport, R.I., Manila, Tokyo, Shanghai, Yokohama, and Vladivostok.

Bill enlisted in the Navy Jul. 8, 1919, in Albany, NY. His address at time of enlistment was 246 Third St. in Troy, NY. His first letters describe his training as an apprentice seaman at the Navel Training Center in Newport, RI. He expressed his desire to succeed and implied that he enlisted against his parent’s wishes. He told them not to worry and that he would succeed and come out a better person. He fretted about their welfare.

Bill tried out for the ships baseball team before sailing with the Asiatic Fleet for China. Sailing past Panama, he described seeing porpoises and flying fish. His letter of Dec. 8, 1919, from Yokohama reported a thrilling experience that of going to Tokyo to play the University baseball team, described as Japan’s best. He was proud to represent the ship but did not elaborate on the results of the game.

On December 19, 1919 Bill was in Shanghai ready to head for Russia. In Shanghai he describes rickshaw and saw-pans rides and the cast system there-first class whites, high Chinese and the poor. The “trenches” were inhabited by blind, naked, and dirty humanity.

His job on the ship was behind the 42 cal. gun as shell holder. In Vladivostok his letter of January 31, 1920 told of the Reds taking the city, of the Japanese Army possible involvement and how American landing parties protected their citizens there and storehouses. The Reds takeover caused Russian troops to defect and he mentions of the release of 1000 Bolsheviks from Russian prisons. The local citizens wore pieces of cloth as the Red Flag was hoisted over the city.

That was the last letter as Bill died of the Influenza outbreak at the U. S. Army Hospital #17 in Vladivostok, Russia on March. 11, 1920. After the “regret to inform you” letter sent by ship commander J.M. Luby, condolences came from the clergy who knew him. He was described by Rev. M. M. Weatherspoon and a Catholic priest, Fr. Joseph S. Loughran, as a man of strong religious character and respected by all.

As a youngster I saw the picture of the ships baseball team, but it has since disappeared. Hopefully, it will show up some day. I am pleased that I can recount his remembrances for him.

Rear Admiral Herman O. Stickney

Born at Pepperell, Massachusetts, December 10, 1867, Herman Osman Stickney graduated from the United States Naval Academy with the class of 1888. He was Assistant Engineer, U.S. Navy, July 1, 1890 and transferred to the line and promoted through the grades to Rear Admiral on December 22, 1919. He retired from the Navy on December 21, 1921.

Commander Stickney was awarded the Medal of Honor while serving as the Captain of the USS Prairie during the Mexican Revolt of 1914. His citation reads:

"Distinguished conduct in battle engagements of Vera Cruz, Mexico, April 22, 1914. He covered the landing of the April 21, 1914 with the guns of the USS Prairie, and throughout the attack and occupation rendered important assistance to our forces on shore with his 3-inch battery."

Stickney served aboard the USS Iowa in the Spanish-American War, 1898; the USS Princeton, Philippine Insurrection, 1899-1901; Navy Yard, Norfolk, Virginia, 1901; Navigator, USS Texas, 1902-05; at the Naval Academy, 1905-06; duty at the Navy Yard, Norfolk, 1906-06; Executive Officer, USS South Dakota, 1908-10; Inspector in Charge, Light House District, Philadelphia, 1910-12; commander, USS Massachusetts, 1912; at the Naval Academy, 1912-13; commander, USS Prairie, 1913-14; Administrator of Custom, Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1914; at the Naval War College, 1914; commander, USS Vermont, 1915-18; Board of Inspections and Survey, Washington, D.C., 1918; Senior Member, Pacific Coast Board of Inspections, San Francisco, 1919; commander, Pacific Coast, Pacific Fleet, July 1921; U.S. Commissioner to the Sesquicentennial Exposition, Philadelphia, 1926-27; in charge of federal participation in that exposition. Attorney at law, he was admitted to the Bar in Virginia, June 27, 1923.

He made his home in Washington, D.C. and died there on September 13, 1936. He was buried in Section 3 of Arlington National Cemetery. His wife, Jennie Griffin Milhado Stickney (June 26, 1869 - September 21, 1948), is buried with him. 

Sgt. William B. Kilburg, USMC

Sgt. William "Willie" Kilburg, USMC

The hand written personal log of Sgt. Kilburg

Putting the pieces of history back together after 95 years can sometimes take years, and Sgt. Kilburg's story has taken just that. His story was first written in 2006, but more pieces to his story come to light and make the puzzle more completed each time a piece is added to the whole, someday revealing the completed puzzle.

William B. Kilburg was born on the 20th day of July 1900 to Salome and Barney Kilburg of Crab Orchard, Kentucky. Crab Orchard is a very small town of about 385 people located in Lincoln County, which is in central Kentucky. Both Salome and Barney were German Immigrants, Salome emigrated in 1890 and Barney in 1885. At the beginning of 1900 while living in Crab Orchard, Barney had worked as a carpenter to support his family which consisted of two daughters, Katy, and Theresa, then William would be added to the family in July of 1900. William’s middle name is only known as the letter B., but because his father’s name was Barney it can be surmised that it may have also been Barney. William being 1st generation German-American was sometimes known by his German nick name of his first name, that being “Willie.”

Salome and Barney moved their 3 children to Chicago by 1910 to a home on Kenmore Avenue. There is some interesting information on the 1910 Federal Census that states the eldest daughter was born in Illinois and Theresa and William were both born in Kentucky. So clearly early in the marriage of Salome and Barney they must have been in Chicago once before. On the census form William is listed as Willie. Barney was working as a janitor in an apartment building, which may have been the apartment the Kilburg family was living in.

William spent his formative years growing up in Chicago and when he was about 17 or 18 took a job as a Clerk working for the New York Central Rail Road. This job was in North Liberty, Indiana located in St. Joseph County in north central Indiana. By this time his parents had been divorced or his father had passed away because his mother was now remarried and living at 221 Mulberry St. in Cincinnati, Ohio. Salome was now Salome Mueller and on September 12, 1918 when William registered for the Federal Draft for WWI, he listed his mother Salome Mueller as his nearest relative.

Family stories shared about William by Linda Moeller tell us that William’s mother had enlisted the help of a Cincinnati lawyer to help her get William out of the Marine Corps because he had lied about his age, but likely when he joined the Marine Corps he had just turned 18-years old. William was a typical blue-eyed dark haired medium built young man of the day and was ready for the adventures that would take him a world away.

The adventures that awaited William were to be in the Marine Corps and on board a cruiser, in fact she was the flagship of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet the USS South Dakota. William reported to Paris Island, SC where he was inducted into the Marine Corps on December 11, 1918. It was not until the 28th of March 1919 before he was able to get leave and returned to North Liberty, IN. And then returned again to Paris Island on April 12 and was there until the 9th of August 1919 when he received his first assignment. It was on the 11th of August at 10 PM that Pvt. Kilburg reported for duty at Portsmouth, NH aboard the USS South Dakota, the ship that would be his home for the rest of his short life.

In fact, William Kilburg was on the USS South Dakota, soon to be renamed the USS Huron, as he is listed on the 1920 Federal Census that was taken on board the South Dakota on the 28th of March 1920 while she was at Kobe, Japan. At the time William’s rank was Corporal and was one of the 57 Marines stationed on the ship.

As the South Dakota headed for the waters of the Orient, Kilburg sailed away into the adventures of his dreams. William got the adventure he was looking for and saw the far parts of the Orient; he even charted on a small atlas each place he went while on the ship. Places like Chefoo, China with the dates of August 1921. William collected many mementos of his adventures ashore such as money from China, Japan and the Philippines, and many stamps from these places as well.

William even underwent the ancient rites of passage when he crossed the equator on the 18th of October 1919 on board the South Dakota, and was given the title of “Shellback” from King Neptune himself. Kilburg was even part of a large photo of his fellow marines and shipmates in front of the great bronze Daibutsu Buddha temple located in Kamakura, Japan. The Knights of Columbus held an excursion to this statue on December 6, 1919 and well over 150 sailors and marines from the ship went on the trip. This is the second tallest Buddha statue in Japan measuring just over 13.35 meters. This bronze statue was cast in 1252 and originally was located in a large temple hall, however the temple buildings were destroyed in a tsunami tidal wave at the end of the 15th century and from that time has set outside.

William must have been a born leader of men as in the short time he was in the Marine Corps was advanced in rating to Corporal on December 13, 1919 and again on August 1, 1920 to the rank of Sergeant. During December of 1920 William and 2 of his fellow Marines received a hunting permit issued from the Philippine Government. The hunting party consisted of Sgt. Kilburg, Cpl. Crowell and Sgt. Cashman. First Sgt. Francis Cashman was a 35-year old single man from Minnesota and Cpl. Harold J. Crowell was a 19-year old single man from New Jersey. Cpl. Crowell had only been a Corporal just a few months as on the census taken in March he was listed as a Private.

Sgt. Kilburg’s adventure would lead to combat experiences on the bitter cold winter morning of 31 January 1920 when the South Dakota, then in the harbor of Vladivostok, Russia, came under attack by Bolsheviks who were storming the city. Admiral Gleaves ordered 4 companies from the ship to go ashore to protect American interests in the city. The first company was made up of the ships marines and Sgt. Kilburg would have been among those men to go ashore while taking incoming small arms fire. The temperatures were bitter cold and the men struggled with the cold but were able to defend themselves and accomplish their mission ashore.

During the middle part of July 1920 until the middle of August, Sgt. Kilburg made a trip inland to Peking or now known as Bejing, China on the China Railroad. It is not known for what reason this was for but it is likely that the marines were sent there as guards for the American Embassy. After his return he spent a month on board the U. S. Army Transport Ship USAT Merritt in Chefoo, China.

There are some items left from this time one of which is a ring the family has with the date 1920 engraved on it. This ring has a Marine Corps logo on it with two Chinese dragons on both sides. There are also a few photos and Sgt. Kilburg’s log of his travels. And there is also a letter from the USS Huron with the date of February 23, 1922 in which Lt. Hayes, a Chaplin on the Huron is expressing condolences to the family over the death of Sgt. William Kilburg’s resulting from dysentery that he caught the while in Chefoo, China.

At the end of each month the commander of each Marine unit would have to give a report of his men. Captain Donald Curtis, USMC had to give a report of the men listed in the section of the report each commander hated to give, that of those who died under his command. The last several days of Sgt. Kilburg's life happened in this way.

Prior to December 14, 1921 Sgt. Kilburg was stationed at the Marine Barracks, Naval Station, Cavite, Philippine Islands, and took transportation back to the States on the United States Army Transport USAT Sherman, where on December 14, 1921 he entered the United States Naval Hospital, Mare Island, California. It was likely he was sick while at Cavite before boarding the Sherman, as it was noted that in Captain Curtis report that Article 554 did not apply to Sgt. Kilburg. This Navy Regulation, Article 554 had to do with lost time and pay, but because Sgt. Kilburg was sick even though he was not on the duty roster he did not have lost time because he was sick. On December 22, 1921at 6:35 P. M. while still in the Naval Hospital at Mare Island, Sgt. William B. Kilburg died as a result of unclassified Dysentery in the line of duty not due to misconduct. His body and personal effects were shipped to next of kin, which was listed as Mrs. G. Mueller of 2906 Jefferson Ave. Corriville, (Cincinnati), Ohio. It was noted that Sgt. Kilburg would have been awarded "Character Excellent" had he been discharged.

Captain Curtis ended his report with these words; "I certify that all changes occurring in the status of members of this organization are accounted for in the remarks here on.” Signed, Captain Donald Curtis, USMC, Commanding Headquarters Detachment.

Sgt. William B. Kilburg, USMC lies buried in his uniform still on duty but his story lives on for generations to come for us to discover again.


William even underwent the ancient rites of passage when he crossed the equator on the 18th of October 1919 on board the ship and was given the title of “Shellback” from King Neptune himself. Kilburg was even part of a large photo of his fellow marines and shipmates in front of the great bronze Daibutsu Buddha temple located in Kamakura, Japan. The Knights of Columbus held an excursion to this statue on December 6, 1919 and well over 150 sailors and marines from the ship went on the trip. This is the second tallest Buddha statue in Japan measuring just over 13.35 meters. This bronze statue was cast in 1252 and originally was located in a large temple hall, however the temple buildings were destroyed in a tsunami tidal wave at the end of the 15th century and from that time has set outside. 

USS Huron, February 23, 1922

Mrs. G. Mueller
2907 Jefferson Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio

My dear Mrs. Mueller,

Your letter directed to this ship making inquiry as to Sergt. William B. Kilburg was sent to me to make suitable reply.

We were very sorry to learn of his death, and you have our sympathy in this hour of sadness in this great loss. To confirm my one high opinion of the Sergeant, I made inquiry among his comrades in this detachment of Marines aboard this ship who knew him, and found they all confirmed fine character of the man. He was held in great esteem for his manly, clean and soldierly bearing among all who knew him. It was a great loss to the Corps in his passing on.

He was taken ill while the ship was at Chefoo, China, last summer with this miserable disease known as dysentery. All the men are more or less in danger constantly of this affliction while in the Asiatic Station. In spite of our precaution, occasionally a man goes under with this disease. Some recover but many find it their undoing in the course of time.

Again expressing the sympathy of the Marines attached to this ship and all other who knew him while he served her so faithfully and successfully, I am,

Yours very sincerely, Allison J. Hayes,
Lieut. U.S. Navy Chaplain's Corps

A early undated photo of Willie Kilburg with shouldered rifle standing in front of two tents.
A hand tinted photo of Willie Kilburg. In this photo he is shown with Corporal stripes.

 William B. Kilburg Log

 Made Corporal 18 December 1918  -  Made Sgt. 1 August 1920

Date Arrived
Date Departed
14 July 1917 North Liberty, IN 28 July 1917
28 July Chicago, IL 29 July 1917
29 July Cincinnati, OH 16 October 1917
16 October 1917 North Liberty, IN 10 February 1918
10 February Indianapolis, IN 10 February
10 February North Liberty, IN 2 March 1918
2 March Cincinnati, OH 10 March
10 March North Liberty, IN  16 September
17 September Niagra Falls, Canada 17 September
17 September Cleveland, OH 17 September
18 September  Ciacinnati, OH 9 December 1918
11 December 1918 Paris Island, SC 28 March 1919
29 March 1919 North Liberty, IN 4 April 1919
12 April Paris Island, SC 9 August
11 August, 10 pm Portsmouth, NH USS South Dakota 29 August, 4 pm
31 August, 6 pm North River, New York, NY 5 September, 5 pm
11 September, 12 Noon Colon, Panama 12 September, 9 am
12 September, 6 pm Balboa Panama 15 September, 12 noon
18 September, 6 am Glapagous Islands 18 September, 4 pm
28 September,11 am  Marquesas Islands 28 September, 4 pm
1 October, 10 am Pago Pago, Samoa 11 October 8 am
12 October Noon International Date Line 18 October
Initiated Equator “0” 19 October
27 October, 12 Noon Manila, P.I. 3 November, 10 am
3 November 4 pm Olongapo, P.I. 25 November, 4 am
25 November, 10 pm Manila, P.I.   28 November, noon
4 December, 4:30 pm  Yakohama, Japan 14 December, 6 am
14 December, 6 am Kobe, Japan 15 December, 8 am
17 December, 10 am Shanghai, China, Thoo Sing River  8 January 1920
12 January 1920, 10 am Vladivostock, Siberia  11 March 1920, 8 am
13 March, 10 am Nagasaki, Japan 15 March, 6 pm
17 March, 4 am Kobe, Japan 31 March, 8 am
1 April, 3 pm Yokohama, Japan 23 April, 4 pm
26 April, 4 pm Vladivostock, Siberia 21 May, 11 am
25 May, 10 am Chefoo, China, Yellow Sea 24 May, 1 pm
25 May, 4 am Taku, China 25 May, 1 pm
21 May, 8:30 am USS South Dakota Changed to USS Huron
Chefoo, China 9 July, 4 pm
10 July, 6 am on USS Huron-Taku, China 13 July, 4 pm
13 July, 10 pm Ching-wan-tao, China  14 July 6 pm
15 July, 12 noon  Pekin, China, Train, China R.R. 12 August 2 pm
12 August 6:30 pm Tientsin, China, Train C. R. R. 12 August, 12 noon
13 August, 11 am  Ching-wan-tao, U.S.A.T. Merritt  14 August 9 am
15 August, 6 am U.S.A.T. Merritt; Chefoo,
USS Huron 15 September, 2 pm
16 September, 7:30 am Ching-wan-tao, China 17 September
28 September Port Arthur, Manchuria 30 September
30 September, 3 pm Dairen, Manchuria 4 October
4 October, 4 pm  Chefoo, China, Yellow Sea  6 October
7 October Tsingtou [unreadable]
12 October 3 pm [unreadable] [unreadable]
25 October, 12 noon  Wosung, China 26 October
28 October, 7 am Fuchau, China 30 October
31 October, 8 am Kelung, Formosa 31 October, 10 pm
1 November, 4 pm Amoy, China 3 November
4 November, 3 am [unreadable] China  5 November
[unreadable]  Hong Kong, China 18 November
20 November  Manila, P.I.  29 November 3 am
30 November, 1 pm   Olongapo, P.I. 20 January 1921, 11 pm
21 January, 1921, 8 am Cavite, P.I. 22 January, 11 am
22 January, 11:45 am Manila, P.I. 10 May, 8 am
14 May, 5:30 am  Shanghai, China 12 July, 5 am
14 July, 6 am  Chefoo, China, Shantung Province 19 August, 6 am
19 August, 10 am  Wei-Hai-Wei, China  20 August, 9:30 am
20 August, 2 pm  Chefoo, China 30 August, 1 pm
30 August, Midnight  Chinwangtas, China 12 September, noon
19 September, 3 pm Shanghai, China 14 October, 9 am
14 October, 11 am Woosung, China  15 October 7 pm
17 October, 6:30 am Fuchau, China  21 October, 4 pm
22 October, 8:30 am Amoy, China  26 October, 6 am
26 October, 3 pm Swatou, China 28 October, 4 pm
29 October, 10 am Hong Kong, China 8 November, 6 am
20 November, Midnight    Manila, P.I.
U.S.A.T. Sherman  15 November, 12 Midnight
20 November, Midnight Miike, Japan, Coaled Ship 21 November12 Midnight
1 December, 10 am International Date Line 1 December
3 December, Noon Honolulu, T.H.  6 December, 5 pm
14 December, 1921, 12 Noon San Francisco, CA

Photo of the Huron's Marine Detachment. Sgt Kilburg is in this photo but he is not identified.
Photos of Sgt. William Kilburg provided by Linda Moeller. Sgt. Kilburg was her grandmother’s brother.

Pvt. Ernest L. Chase, USMC

Ernest L. Chase enlisted into the United States Marine Corps on August 21, 1920 as a Private in Company B, Recruit Depot, Marine Barracks, Naval Station, Mare Island, California. Company B was under the command of Captain Donald R. Fox, USMC.

Pvt. Chase was with Company B until November 5, 1920 when he was transferred to the Marine Base, Naval Station Cavite, Philippine Islands. Pvt. Chase took transport to Cavite on the transport ship USAT Thomas. Chase remained at the Marine Barracks at Cavite a short while until on December 6, 1920 he was assigned duty to the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Huron.

From January 7-16, 1921 Pvt. Chase had duty at the Rifle Range located on Maquinaya, P.I. then returned back to the Huron. April 20 through May 17, 1921 he reported as sick in the Naval Hospital on Canacao, P.I Once out of the hospital he reported back to the Marine Barracks at Cavite until he was again reassigned back to the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Huron on July 13. He was transported to the Huron via the USAT Abaranda.

Aboard the Huron for the rest of the summer 1921 Pvt. Chase was assigned as Compartment Cleaner for the entire month of September 1921. He remained on the Huron until November 15 when several marines were assigned duty on the Rifle Range on Maquinaya, P.I. They were stationed on the rifle range from the 15-22 November then went back to the Huron.

During January 1922 Pvt. Chase was assigned to duty with the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Galveston where on January 1, 1922 he refused the duty he was given. From the 1-3 of January he remained on full duty status awaiting the action of the Commanding Officer where he was sentenced to 5 days Bread and Water. From the 4-13th of January he was in full duty status awaiting an empty cell until the 14-18 of January when he was finally confined to serve his sentence. On the 19 of January Pvt. Chase was released from confinement and restored to duty status. But on January 31 he reported for muster as sick but present.

By February 1922 he was back with the Marine Detachment on the Huron where he reported sick, present from February 1-22 and again from the 17-23.On March 8, 1922 Pvt. Chase was transferred to the Marine Barracks Naval Station Cavite, P.I. where he went into the base hospital on March 24. He remained in the hospital until May 17 when he went back to the Marine Barracks at Cavite.

Pvt. Chase was then transferred to the Marine Barracks at San Diego, California on June 2, 1922 and took transportation there on the USS Beaver. Once back at the San Diego Naval Station Pvt. Chase was once again sick, but present for muster from 1-15 August 1922. Then from 16-31 August he was in the Naval Hospital at San Diego.

While sick in the hospital he was reported as AWOL from 8:30 AM through 7:30 PM on September 12. When he reported to the hospital he was given a Summary Court Martial the following day on September 13. On September 26 he was tried and sent to LP and fined twenty dollars. But the LP was remitted subject to conditions specified in Article 1877 NR1920. From September 26-30 Pvt. Chase was awaiting RTSCM and he was again reported AWOL from 9:00PM to 11:30PM on September 16 for which he was awarded 1 day in confinement on bread and water. The following day on September 17 he was remanded to confinement to serve said sentence of 1-day bread and water. Again Pvt. Chase was reported as AWOL on September 23 from 9:00AM to 1:00Am on September 24 for which he was awarded another 7-day confinement. He served this sentence on September 25-30.

After he was released from confinement he was once again sick in the Naval Hospital at San Diego from October 1-11, 1922. Pvt. Chase was detailed for duty with the Post Police Sergeant for the month of November 1922 and on November 18 he was awarded 3-days restriction by the Commanding Officer for failing to salute an officer. Again he was on duty with the Post Police Sergeant from 1-4 December and the remaining days of December he was detailed for full duty status.

On January 23, 1923 Pvt. Ernest L. Chase was discharged from the Marine Corps due to end of enlistment period with Character Very Good. He was retained in service to make good for time lost under Article 554 NR1920.

Frank Chase the grandson of Pvt. Ernest L. Chase identified his grandfather in this photo from fellow Huron Marine Sgt. Kilburgh.
Pvt. Chase is 3 marine, second row identified with the red arrow.

Captain John McClane Luby, Commanding Officer USS South Dakota

Captain John McClane Luby

On May 9, 1874 a son is born to James O. Luby (1846-1932) and Mary Jane (Hoffman) Luby (1849-1928), in Corpus Christi, Texas. This son is the first child born to James and Mary Jane, his name was John McClane Luby, and he would serve his Country in the Navy for over 35-years.

The Luby home was located in Corpus Christi, Texas on Chaparral Street, which was the home where John was born. Together James and Mary Jane would have 4 children, John McClane, Katherine, Anna Adelaide, and James Patrick all brought up in the Catholic faith.

Later the Luby’s moved west from Corpus Christi to a smaller town called San Diego, Texas in Duval County, and it was there that James was the Duval County Judge for many years. The Luby children attended school in San Diego, Texas and being that the Luby’s were of some affluence were able to send their eldest son John to the Coronal Institute, in San Marcos, Texas. The Coronal Institute was a private, school and offered military training to boys. Coronal offered coursework in English, history, mathematics, Latin, German, Spanish, physiology, physiography, physics, biology, chemistry, bookkeeping, agriculture, botany, domestic science, drawing, and music. John M. Luby received his high school diploma from Coronal.

On September 8, 1890 John M. Luby entered the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis where he graduated with the class of 1894. Then graduates of the Naval Academy were not commissioned upon graduation but had to serve as Midshipmen for a 2-year period before becoming a commissioned officer. He was commissioned as an Ensign on July 1, 1896.

During the Spanish-American War from May through August of 1898, Ensign Luby a young greenhorn officer had sea duty aboard one of the ships that supported the 47 different engagements and skirmishes in the West Indies areas and in Cuban waters with the Spanish Army and Navy. Ensign Luby was present aboard ship on July 3, 1898 at Santiago when the Spanish Fleet tried to make a break out of the harbor and were destroyed by the United States Navy. For these actions Ensign Luby was awarded the West Indies Campaign Medal. But in 1913 the U.S. Navy declared this medal obsolete, following a diplomatic request by Spain that the United States discontinue wearing service medals that displayed Spain’s national colors (Yellow and Red). The Navy Department sent letters to those who had previously received the West Indies Campaign Medal that they could exchange the decoration for the Spanish Campaign Medal, which did not display the Spanish national colors.

After the Spanish-American War Ensign Luby was assigned to the Pacific Fleet. Luby was advanced in grade to Lieutenant junior grade on July 1, 1899. Luby served at sea during the Philippine War, which for the navy was from February 1899 through December of 1904. For his participation in the war he was awarded the Navy Philippine Campaign Medal.

Lt. (j.g.) John M. Luby was advanced to full Lieutenant on December 17, 1901, and on June 25, 1902 he was assigned to the battleship USS Kearsarge (BB-5). It is not known how long he served aboard the Kearsarge, but in June of 1906 he was given orders to report to the armored cruiser USS Maryland.

While the Maryland was in the New York Navy Yard, Lt. Luby reported aboard ship on June 6, 1906. About this same time the navy was beginning to use radios in the ships of the line and Lt. Luby’s signal call letters were EAVI. Lt. Luby would serve aboard the Maryland for more than 2-years, and may have lasted through 1910. Luby would have been aboard ship when Rear Admiral Brownson’s armored cruiser squadron sailed to the Mediterranean waters in the fall of 1906. In 1908 Lt. Luby was the third ranking officer on the Maryland under Captain Chauncey Thomas. At the beginning of 1908 Lt. Luby was next in line to be advanced in rank to Lt. Commander and shortly after the beginning of 1908 he was advanced.

In February 1910 new orders came for Lt. Commander Luby and on February 10, 1910 he assumed command of the 10th Division, Atlantic Torpedo Fleet, and this assignment lasted through 1912. Luby used the USS Lamson (DD-18) as his flagship and he reported aboard and took command on February 10, 1910. The United States Federal Census for 1910 was taken aboard the Lamson on May 16, and it shows Luby in command of the vessel and listed him as being 35-years old and single at the time. On that day the Lamson was in port at Rockland, Maine. He was commanding officer of the Lamson until March 23, 1911, when on October 11, 1911 Luby was given a brand new ship to use as his flagship of the 10th Division, which was the Destroyer USS Patterson (DD-36). Lt. Commander Luby was the first skipper of the Patterson when she was launched.

Once his term as Commander of the 10th Division was over Luby was assigned to shore duties. Lt. Commander Luby reported to the commander of the Norfolk Navy Yard for duty there on November 20, 1912. Nine months later Luby was again assigned back to sea duty. While stationed at the Norfolk Navy Yard Lt. Commander Luby served on a military court that heard the Court Martial of Captain Wade L. Jolly, USMC. Captain Jolly had been accused of some financial irregularities, and his trial began on January 6, 1913. Luby served on the court, which consisted of Colonel Lincoln Karmany, USMC; Lt. Colonel John A. Lajeune, USMC; Commander William W. Phelps, USN; Lt. Commander Frank H. Brumby, USN; Major Louis J. Magill, USMC. Captain Charles B. Taylor, USMC served as the judge advocate. 

Luby was now a full Commander and on July 1, 1913 he reported aboard the battleship USS South Carolina (BB-26) where he was the new Executive Officer under Captain Robert L. Russell. While Luby was the XO aboard the South Carolina she embarked upon a 16-month period during which she carried the “Big Stick” to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean areas. From late June until mid-September 1913, she cruised the eastern coast of Mexico protecting American interests at Tampico and Veracruz, Mexico. She was overhauled at Norfolk from late September 1913 through early January 1914, and then headed for maneuvers off Culebra Island off Puerto Rico.

On January 28, 1914, the South Carolina landed marines at Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to guard the United States legation and to establish a field radio station during that period of political convulsions. She departed Port-au-Prince on April 14 after the restoration of some order under General Oreste Zamor, the new Haitian President. South Carolina coaled at key West, Florida, then steamed to Veracruz, Mexico where she sent a landing force ashore to join in the occupation of that city until her departure a month later. South Carolina spent the troubled summer of 1914 investigating conditions in Santo Domingo and Haiti.

During his duty as Executive Officer of the South Carolina, Commander Luby found time to fall in love and marry. His wife’s first name was Gertrude, and she was born on September 23, 1890 in San Francisco, California. Gertrude and John were married on September 29, 1914.

When his assignment as Executive Officer on the South Carolina ended, Commander Luby had another shore assignment. In December of 1914 he assumed command from Hilary Williams who had been the acting commander of the Guantanamo Navy Base in Cuba. This duty lasted until May 4, 1916 when Luby handed over command to Dudley Wright Knox. Commander Luby was selected and passed his examinations to be promoted from Commander to Captain and on July 1, 1917 he was advanced to Captain.

Luby’s next sea assignment came when America was at war. At the beginning of the First World War in 1917 the former civilian ship SS Mastonia was taken over by the United States Shipping Board to be used as a troopship. Her name was changed to USS Mastonia (ID-1589) and she was formally commissioned into the United States Navy as a troopship with Captain John M. Luby in command. Throughout the remainder of 1917 and into the spring of 1918 Captain Luby safely skippered his ship through the U-boat infested waters of the Atlantic carrying troops and supplies to Europe.

His command of the USS Mastonia lasted until March 1, 1918 when he received new orders stating he should report to the commanding officer of the armored cruiser USS South Dakota and take command of that vessel as commanding officer. On March 2, 1918 Luby took command of the South Dakota and again sailed in the U-boat infested waters of the Atlantic. Only this time he was escorting the troopships and now had weapons that could actually fight back against the enemy. For the remainder of the war Luby aboard the South Dakota spent many long hours escorting troops and ships. Once the war ended then the navy was asked to return the men they had safely brought to Europe back home to the United States. And again Luby and the South Dakota made several more trips across the Atlantic, but this time the enemy was only bad weather and not German U-boats. For his efforts during the war he was awarded the Navy Cross, and a letter of commendation for distinguished service as commanding officer of the USS Mastonia and the USS South Dakota during the war.

After her troop ferrying days were over, the South Dakota was the flagship of Admiral Albert Gleaves who was just given command of the Asiatic Fleet. Luby set a course for the South Dakota to steam for the Pacific Ocean and for the next two years he carried the flag of Admiral Gleaves in the Pacific. Captain Luby’s term on the South Dakota ended in July of 1920 when he turned over command to Captain Hutch I. Cone.

After his command of the South Dakota Captain Luby was lucky enough to attend the Naval War College, which was located in Newport, Rhode Island where he and his wife had a home. The Luby home was located on Kay Street in Newport, and they lived there for many years. While Captain Luby was away at sea Gertrude kept busy with many social functions and friends. She was an avid golf player and was very active among the Newport social circles. Some of her dinner parties were even worthy of mention in the Social columns of The New York Times newspapers.

By the end of November 1921 Captain Luby had graduated from the Naval War College and was then under orders to proceed to the Norfolk Navy Yard in Virginia where he would become the President of the General Court Martial Board of the 5th Naval District. This assignment began in December of 1921 and lasted until December of 1922.

His next duty was once again a sea duty assignment, and his present orders stated he was to take command of the battleship USS Nevada. On December 30, 1922 Captain Luke McNamee turned over command of the Nevada to Captain Luby as ordered, this was to be Luby’s last sea assignment. Luby would command the Nevada until September 7, 1924 when his term was up.

While Luby was in command of the Nevada and at sea, Mrs. Luby back home in California, applied for a United States Passport in May of 1923. She was seeking to travel to England, Spain, Austria, France, Italy and Germany. On the passport application a witness was needed to sign that they had known the applicant, which was Gertrude Luby and swear she was a native born citizen. The person Mrs. Luby had give as witness was Hortense Reynolds, who was the wife of Lt. John Reynolds who was one of Captain Luby’s officers serving on the USS Nevada.

After Captain Luby’s command of the Nevada was over in September of 1924 he was nearing the end of his naval career, but the navy was not finished with him just yet. Christmas 1924 was nearing and the Luby family had planned a family Christmas, which would bring Captain Luby’s parents to their San Antonio home and spend it with the Captain and Gertrude. Judge James O. Luby and his wife Mary Jane were deprived of having the pleasure of their son Captain John Luby for Christmas that year, for the Navy had a different plan and gave the Captain a new temporary assignment.

The Commandant of the Mare Island Navy Yard, Rear Admiral Josiah S. McKean had just been selected to take command of the U.S. Scouting Force, Battleship Division One. On December 24, Christmas Eve 1924, Admiral McKean read his orders at 11:30 AM to an assembled group of department heads at the Mare Island Navy Yard, relieving him of command of the Navy Yard. Captain Luby then read his orders to the group giving him temporary command of the Navy Yard and the marine band struck up a tune as Admiral McKean’s Flag was struck, and an honor guard fired a salute to the Admiral.

Parts of the commandant’s duties were running the Navy Yard Activities and also seeing that legal proceedings were carried out within naval protocols. One such legal proceedings was the court martial of Lt. Frank Kennedy, USN who was charged with “conduct unbecoming an officer.” Lt. Kennedy, an officer serving aboard the submarine S-17, was so charged because of alleged drunkenness when the S-17 was in Chee Foo, China.

Lt. Kennedy was protesting while at the Mare Island Navy Yard that he had been railroaded because he felt that Captain Ralph W. Christie, the commander of the S-17 had made advances to Kennedy’s wife, but these charges were later found to be unwarranted. And this had landed Lt. Kennedy in the State Hospital for the insane in Napa when he returned from China. Kennedy’s wife on February 26, 1925 filed paperwork with the local civilian courts to have him let out of the hospital, but there was some confusion as to who had the authority, the State or the Navy. Captain Luby spoke about Lt. Kennedy’s situation, “Kennedy’s charges that he was railroaded to the asylum because someone has a grudge against him are untrue and silly.” Luby went on to say, “The probable fact is that Kennedy has a grudge himself against someone and is taking, through his wife, this means to satisfy it.” Captain Luby called for a court martial, and Kennedy said that was just what he wanted. The outcome was not known.

On April 3, 1925 it was announced that a Commander of the Mare Island Yard had been selected. Rear Admiral John H. Dayton reported to the Mare Island Navy Yard and took command of the 12th Naval District and the Yard from Captain Luby on April 3, 1925.

Now Captain John M. Luby’s naval career had come to a close. He had served on active duty for more than 35-years and he and Gertrude were ready to settle down. The Luby’s returned to Texas and made a home on Ocean Drive in Corpus Christi. There they both were very active in the local Corpus Christi social circles of the time. Now playing bridge and time at the Corpus Christi Golf and Country Club filled their days.

On January 3, 1955 at 10:45 in the morning, Captain John M. Luby passed away after an extended illness. His wife Gertrude survived him. Captain Luby was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. Gertrude would live until December 20, 1971 when she passed away and was then buried next to her beloved Captain in Arlington.

The gravestone of John McClane Luby and his wife Gertrude located in Arlington National Cemetery

Captain Hutch I. Cone, Commanding Officer, USS Huron

Captain Hutch I. Cone

Hutchinson Ingraham Cone was born April 26, 1871, in Brooklyn, NY. His family however, being southerners moved to Florida in his early youth. Hutch was the son of Daniel Newnan Cone II and Annette Ingraham; grandson of Daniel Newnan Cone and Amy Long and great-grandson of Captain William "Billy" Cone and Sarah Haddock.

He graduated from the Florida Agricultural College in 1889 and entered the United States Naval Academy in 1890 where he was appointed from Florida. Cone graduated and received his commission into the navy in 1894.

Captain Cone has been recognized chiefly as an expert on Engineering. He had command of the torpedo flotilla and was given the enviable position as Fleet Engineer of the Atlantic Fleet in 1908 and made the trip around the world from San Francisco. Under the Roosevelt regime, when good men were taken to the top of the ladder regardless of rank, Captain Cone was chosen to head the bureau of Steam Engineering at Washington and given the rank of Rear Admiral.

During the war with Spain Cone served on the USS Baltimore (C-3) as Assistant Engineer and participated in the Battle of Manila Bay on 1 May 1898. Cone commanded the torpedo boat USS Dale in 1902. On December 16, 1907, Lieutenant Commander Cone commanded a flotilla of Torpedo Boats, which went around South America from the East Coast to California. During the cruise of the Great White Fleet, Lt. Cmdr. Cone was in command of the destroyer USS Whipple sailing from Hampton Roads, Virginia on 7 July 1908 to Manila, P.I. on 7 November 1908. He has also been executive officer of the USS Utah and commander of the USS Dixie.

In 1909 Lt. Cmdr. Cone was made Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering and was promoted to the temporary rank of Rear Admiral. He was in charge of engineering modernization of the Navy at the time, particularly conversion to turbines. In May of 1912, Rear Admiral Cone conducted some studies that were passed on to the Hon. William Alden Smith, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce to investigate loss of the steamer RMS Titanic. On May 8, 1912 Admiral Cone conducts studies on how much time would be required to transmit signals from the bridge to the engine room and have them obeyed. This was done in order to understand how much time passed from when the iceberg was sighted and the order was given to reverse engines on the Titanic in order for the great ship to come to a dead stop on the ocean. Cone’s studies were conducted on the United States Battleships Delaware and North Dakota.

Cone was in 1915 appointed Marine Superintendent of the Panama Canal and held this command until after the outbreak of World War One.

In August of 1917 Cone was appointed by Admiral Sims as the aide for Naval Aviation. Cone had been sent to Ireland to inspect the five US Naval Aviation Stations. Thursday October 10, 1918 Cone was aboard the ferryboat RMS Leinster for its voyage from Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) to Holyhead in Anglesey. The 2,646-gross ton ship was owned by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company and made the passage between the two ports twice a day. The owners of the ship had been warned that she might be a target for German submarines and the Company had made several unsuccessful requests to the Ministry of Shipping for a naval escort. On this day, she left Ireland with 687 passengers and a crew of 70. Leinster was torpedoed and sunk in the Irish Sea 7-miles E.S.E. of Kish Light vessel by the German U-boat UB-123. The sinking resulted in 176 dead including her master, Captain W. Birch. Cone barely escaped with his life and he was severely injured and spent several months in a British Hospital. Cone was brought to a Red Cross Hospital in Dublin Castle. He was the only American among a small group of injured officers who were brought to the hospital. In December 1918 Cone returned to the United States for hospitalization.

At the time the first torpedo struck the Leinster Captain Cone was in the ships smoking saloon. When the torpedo made impact Cone instinctively put on his life vest and went on deck and began helping with the launching of a lifeboat. Men were coming up from the engine room spaces and one man was brought up on deck with facial injuries and two broken legs. It was then that Captain Cone went up to the bridge to speak with the master of the Leinster, Captain Birch.

Captain Birch then told Cone that the radio was out of action and that he believed that the message was not sent that they had been hit and needed help. Later it was known that this message was read and help was sent, but Birch did or could not know it at the time. Captain Birch then asked Cone if he would assist with the launching of a nearby starboard lifeboat. Cone agreed and began to help some of the Leinster's officers with the lifeboat. Once this lifeboat was away Cone noticed the portside lifeboat was launching with few people in it. Cone brought this to the attention of Captain Birch who hailed this lifeboat to return.

Cone remained on the bridge with Captain Birch until the bow of the Leinster was almost under the surface of the sea. Again Cone was helping to launch more lifeboats when the second torpedo hit the ship. So great was the force of the explosion that it lifted Cone from the deck, breaking both of his legs when he came back down onto the deck. Cone upon regaining his facilities saw that there was no sign of the lifeboat or the men who were in it; the explosion of the torpedo destroyed them all. Cone had seen several men just disappear right before his eyes.

Unable to walk, Cone saw that the water was now almost upon the deck he now lay upon. Captain Cone just rolled over and off the deck onto the surface of the sea. Soon enough he saw a lifeboat and made his way to it. Unable to climb into it he hooked one of the rope loops with his hand. There he remained for some time. Cone noticed another US Navy man in the water. He was Master Mariner Russell, which Captain Cone recognized. Cone called to him to get into the life raft he was holding onto. Chief Mechanic James Mason and another US Navy sailor and one civilian male were also in the lifeboat Cone was holding onto.

Motor Launch 154 under the command of Lt. Unwin RNVR came to the rescue of the lifeboat Cone, Mason, Russell and two others were on. A line was thrown to the lifeboat and made fast. Captain Cone still in the water at the time was now unconscious. Seeing this Leading Seaman Alexander Young on the Motor Launch dove into the sea to help get Cone aboard the Launch.

James B. Mason, Chief Special Mechanic, USN, survived the sinking of the RMS Leinster and in a report he wrote on 12 October detailing the sinking of the Leinster, he makes the following statements;

“...As I went up to the third raft Captain Cone was holding on and in reply to my question as to how he was doing he told me both his legs were broken. The Captain, two US Naval enlisted men, I think Aviation Quartermasters, one civilian and myself wore the only ones holding on to this raft. The raft capsized twice and the sea was so high that we could do nothing but hold on to it and pieces of pausing wreckage in an effort to hold the raft steady. I was in the water holding on to this raft about an hour and I would estimate that we were not picked up until two hours from the time ship was torpedoed. There was considerable difficulty getting the Captain aboard the motor launch, each of us in turn trying to hold him up. Finally one of the crew jumped overboard and made a line fast to him and he was hoisted aboard. The Captain, officers and crew of the ML 154 treated us with great consideration and did everything possible for us which could be done.”

“...Fortunately the ML 154 had some whiskey aboard which, in the absence of medical attendance, under the conditions was very much appreciated. Captain Cone was so exhausted that he could not drink but when his lips were moistened with a little whiskey his condition was perceptibly improved.”

After discharge from the hospital Cone attended the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. Captain Cone came to the Asiatic Fleet in August of 1920 as Chief of Staff first under Admiral Gleaves and then Admiral Strauss and was captain of the USS Huron under both Admirals. The injuries Captain Cone sustained in the sinking of the Leinster had resulted in permanent physical disability and in February of 1922 Cone returned to the United States.

On 11 July 1922, Hutch I. Cone was retired with the rank of Rear Admiral. After retirement he served on the U.S. Shipping Board (now the Maritime Commission), under Presidents Coolidge, Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt. President Roosevelt appointed him as chairman. He was also Vice President of the Guggenheim Fund for the promotion of aeronautics. At the time of his death in February 1941, he was Chairman-of-the-Board of Moore-McCormick Steamship Company.

On 12 February 1941 Hutch I. Cone, Rear Admiral (Ret.) died in Orlando, Florida, two and a half months before his 70th birthday.

For his work in Europe Captain Cone has been decorated with Commander Order British Empire; Distinguished Service Order (British); Officer Legion of honor (French); Officer St. Maurice and Lazarus (Italian); Distinguished Service Medal (United States). He was a member of the US Naval Institute Society American Naval Engineers; Society Naval Architects and Marine Engineers; American Society Mechanical Engineers.

The United States Navy commissioned the destroyer USS Cone (DD-866) in his honor and Mrs. H. I. Cone, his widow, sponsored USS Cone at its launching at Bethlehem Steel Company, Staten Island, NY on 10 May 1945

Lewis Roy Miller Ships Cook Third Class

Written by Roy E Miller. Lewis Miller is the Great-uncle of Roy E. Miller.

Lewis Roy Miller
SC3c USN 1919-1923

Lewis Roy Miller registered for the draft on September 12, 1918 in Liberty County, TX.  Since the actual fighting in World War I ended two months later, he was never in danger of being drafted.  Four months later, however, on January 10, 1919, he enlisted in the Navy at the Houston Recruiting Station.

Born May 16, 1898 in Knight, Texas, Lewis listed his trade as “farmer;” he was 5 ft. 8 in. tall and weighed 158 pounds.  He had dark brown eyes, black hair and ruddy complexion.

Designated as a Fireman 3rd Class, meaning he would be working in the Engineering Department on board ship, Lewis was assigned serial number 339-32-36.  He was then transferred, most likely by train, to the Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois where he encountered “boot camp.”  He completed recruit training on April 30, 1919. Uncle Sam was now paying F/3c Miller the princely sum of $24.20 per month, before taxes!

Lewis’ next stop was the Navy Receiving Ship in New York City where he was sent to await a permanent assignment.  Apparently, he became ill, spending most of May in naval hospitals in New York and at Wards Island.

Fireman Miller returned to the Receiving Ship in early June 1919 and was temporarily transferred to USS Louisville (SP-1644), a former American Line steamship that had previously served in the Spanish-American War. She had recently returned from several round-trip voyages to Europe serving as a troop transport.  Since she was shortly to be decommissioned and returned to her owner, all crewmembers, including Fireman Miller, were transferred to other vessels during August and September 1920.

Assigned in August 1919 to USS South Dakota (ACR-9), a fifteen-year old Pennsylvania-class armored cruiser, which had most recently been used to ferry troops home to New York from Brest, France following the Armistice, Fireman Miller was soon to experience a world totally unlike anything he had ever seen in Liberty County, Texas.

Fireman Miller probably joined the ship in New York City and, when South Dakota was ordered back to the Pacific to serve as flagship of the Asiatic Fleet, likely traveled down the East Coast and across the Caribbean Sea, through the Panama Canal and west across the Pacific Ocean, arriving in Manila on October 27.  The newly advanced Ships Cook 4th Class Miller apparently, the Fire Room was too hot for the young Texan, then traveled the Philippine waters during the winters and operated out of Shanghai and Cheefoo, China during the summers for most of the next three years.  The ship was renamed USS Huron (CA-9) on June 7, 1920.

In the normal life of a sailor, not every Navy day is a “Great Navy Day.” On March 24, 1920, Petty Officer Miller was awarded eight hours extra duty at Captain’s Mast for failure to properly scrub his hammock and sea bag!  Although he was also later to have his enlistment extended by seven days, apparently the result of an unauthorized absence, overall, his tour of duty was well served.  When discharged, he was eligible for the Navy Good Conduct Medal and the World War I Victory Medal with Asiatic Clasp.  He was also recommended for re-enlistment.

On May 1, 1920, Petty Officer Miller was advanced to Ships Cook 3rd Class with a monthly salary of $60.00.

On June 30, 1922, with his enlistment winding down and needing a ride back to the States, Petty Officer Miller was transferred to USS Buffalo (AD-8), a thirty-year old former cruiser and troop transport ship, which had been converted to a destroyer tender (repair ship) in 1917. Miller joined the ship in Chinese waters and in September arrived at Yokohama, Japan.  From there, the ship proceeded to Mare Island Navy Yard, San Diego, California, arriving on October 8.  When the “old warhorse” was decommissioned on November 15, 1922, Petty Officer Miller was transferred again, this time to USS Melville (AD-2), another destroyer tender that was being used for training and fleet exercises along the West Coast. He served only twelve days before moving on to USS Delphy (DD-261), a four-year old Clemson-class destroyer.

On board USS Delphy, Ships Cook 3rd Class Lewis Roy Miller was honorably discharged on January 16, 1923.  He received $122.00 in saved pay and $88.40 travel pay to Houston, Texas. Lewis Miller then returned to Ace, Texas.

Captain Victor Ashfield Kimberly, Commanding Officer USS Huron

Gravestone of Captain Victor A. Kimberly located in the San Francisco National Cemetery.
Photo provided by Carol Farrant who takes pictures in the San Francisco National Cemetery in the Presidio of San Francisco.
She is an active member of

Victor A. Kimberly was born on November 7, 1877 in the state of Illinois. Kimberly may have went to the Naval Academy in Annapolis as on the first day of June 1900, Victor A. Kimberly is listed as an Naval Cadet serving on board the USS Vixen. At the time he is a 22-year old single man who’s home was listed at 71 Perkins St. in West Newton, MA, which was his home of record for over 20 years. Kimberly was commissioned as an officer on September 6, 1895.

Ten years later in May of 1910, Kimberly is listed as a Lieutenant serving on the battleship USS Virginia, then at anchor in Hampton Roads, Virginia. From 1910 through 1912 Lt. Commander Kimberly was on duty at the Navy Yard at New York. In January of 1920 Kimberly now a 42-years old single man was commanding officer of the USS Chattanooga then based in Harwich, England.

Captain Kimberly was in command of the cruiser USS Huron on Christmas day of 1923, as his name appears on the ships Christmas Day menu. The Huron was then spending the winter based out of Manila, Philippines. Captain Kimberly was also commanding officer of the famous battleship the USS Arizona BB-39 from 27 June 1928 through 4 September 1928. And later in 1928 Captain Kimberly was also the commanding officer of another battleship, the USS Maryland BB-46. As commanding officer of the Maryland, Kimberly escorted President Hoover on a 90-day good will tour of South America in 1928-29. During the 1930’s Captain Kimberly was Chief of Staff to Rear Admiral George W. Laws, Commander of the 12th Naval District.

Captain Victor Ashfield Kimberly passed away on 28 February 1938 and was buried 3 March 1938 in the San Francisco National Cemetery, section Osa, site 114a 7.

Rear Admiral Forrest A. Rhoads. A Journey from Apprentice Seaman to Rear Admiral

Forrest Alexis Rhoads was a career naval officer in the United States Navy and his career spanned from an Apprentice Seaman to Rear Admiral and he served in both WWI and WWII.

Forrest A. Rhoads was born on January 22, 1898 in Missouri and on April 6, 1916, one year to the day before America would enter the war in Europe, he enlisted into the United States Navy as an Apprentice Seaman. He was stationed aboard the Armored Cruiser USS South Dakota where he served through out the First World War aboard the cruiser, which was detailed on convoy escort duty during the war. While on the South Dakota Rhoads showed a remarkable talent in engineering and soon advanced to the grade of Chief Machinist’s Mate on April 6, 1919, just 3-years after the day he enlisted. After the war the South Dakota was finished with convoy escort duty and Rhoads was sent to the Stevens Institute of Technology for a course in advanced engineering. Stevens Institute of Technology is located at Castle Point on Hudson River in Hoboken, New Jersey and was founded in 1870, and is a school dedicated to exploring the frontiers of engineering, science, and management.

After Rhoads graduated from his courses at Stevens Institute he entered the United States Naval Reserve Force as a Machinist and then shortly thereafter was commissioned as an Ensign in the Reserve Force. Within six-months Rhoads was honorably discharged from the Reserve Force and accepted a full commission into the Regular Navy on October 10, 1919. By January of 1920 Rhoads had married and was living in the town of Brea, which is in Orange County, California. His wife’s name was Dorothy Keith and she and Forrest lived at 211 E. Birch Street in Brea, which was the home of Dorothy’s parents, Charles and Grace Keith. Dorothy was a year older than Forrest and in the Keith home also was Dorothy’s 14-year old kid brother Harold Keith.

In Late summer 1921 Ensign Rhoads was assigned to duty on the 950-ton minesweeper USS Avocet then under orders to sail for Hawaii. Avocet made the voyage in company with Heron and Finch, and the three ships reached Pearl Harbor on the last day of August. Avocet remained inactive in Hawaiian waters into October then briefly visited Honolulu from 4 to 6 October 1921 before she sailed for Guam on the 6th of October in company again with the Heron and Finch. Reaching Guam on 23 October, the ships arrived at Cavite, Philippine Islands, on 2 November, and joined the Asiatic Fleet's Mine-sweeping Detachment. Avocet remained at Cavite for the next several weeks, a comparatively uneventful stay enlivened only by a fire that broke out in the Cavite Navy Yard early on the morning of 18 November 1921. The Avocet sent her fire and rescue party, under command of the executive officer, Ensign Forrest A. Rhoads, to aid yard forces in battling the blaze. This party returned to the ship an hour later, minus one of its number who had sustained injuries ashore.

For the next twenty years to the brink of WWII, Rhoads would serve aboard various naval ships in several capacities. He served as the Chief Customs Officer at the United States Naval Station Tutuila, American Samoa. When finished with that duty Rhoads returned to California for a time. His next duty was at the Naval yard at Pearl Harbor and on July 21, 1939 he took passage to Honolulu aboard the SS Lurline of the Matson Line, where they arrived on July 26. Rhoads served at the Naval Yard at Pearl Harbor until May of 1941 when he was detached for additional duties.

During WWII Rhoads who had now obtained the rank of Captain, served a year and a half of combat during the height of offensive actions against the Japanese in the Marshalls, Marianas, and the Okinawa Campaigns. Captain Rhoads served as Chief Staff Officer of Captain W. L Carter, Commander Service Squadron Ten.

In late September 1944, Captain Rhoads conducted operations of Service Squadron Ten at Saipan for part of Vice Admiral Mitscher’s Task Force 38 where it retired for replenishments after the actions of Peleliu and Anguar in the Palaus, Ulithi in the Carolines, and Morotai in the Moluccas, and actions off Luzon. He served as a task unit commander for part of Service Squadron Ten on Saipan under the Commanders of the THIRD and FIFTH Fleets.

For his outstanding services in this capacity he was awarded the Legion of Merit. After his duties on Saipan were finished he served as Operations Officer on the staff of Vice Admiral William W. Smith, Commander of the Service Force, U. S. Pacific Fleet. After the war ended Rhoads was sent back to California where he served as the Commanding Officer of the Receiving Station, San Diego, California.

Now at the rank of Rear Admiral, Forrest Rhoads was assigned to sea duty, this time as the commanding officer of the Fleet Oiler USS Kennebec (AO-36). Admiral Rhoads was in command of the Kennebec from late 1947-1949. During that time the Kennebec was assigned to the Naval Transport Service, and circled the globe providing fuel to American ships from oil deposits in Saudi Arabia, Aruba, and Texas. She operated both in the Atlantic and Pacific during this period, acting as the "lifeline" in the era of mobile sea power.

Admiral Rhoads final assignment was as Commander of Subgroup 4, Florida Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet. This was a unit of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet where mothballed ships were stored and the Florida Group was based in Green Cove Springs, Florida just south of Jacksonville on the St. John’s River. At its peak there were over 600 ships housed at Green Cove.

Rear Admiral Rhoads retired from the Navy and passed away on August 19, 1965. On August 30 he was interned at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. His plot is Section U, Site 281-F.

Forrest A. Rhoads shown on the left, marked with “18-years old” at the bottom of the photo, which likely dates this photo to 1916. Rhoads appears to have the markings on his uniform of an Apprentice Seaman as noted by the one stripe on his sleeve cuffs. The sailor next to him is unidentified and has the markings of a Seaman 1st Class as noted by the 3 cuff stripes and also the white shoulder braid on his right shoulder. This photo is likely taken on the deck of the South Dakota. Forrest A. Rhoads shown on the left, sailor on the right is unidentified.

RADM Rhoads grave marker at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. On the next to the bottom line at the right end are the letters “LM” which stands for Legion of Merit. His plot is Section U, Site 281-F.

Fireman Second Class Ernest E. Lindsey, USS Huron

Ernest E. Lindsey was a Fireman Second Class aboard the Huron from about 1920 through 1922. He was born about 1902 and raised in Kansas joined the navy and served on the USS Huron on the Asiatic Station. According to the family Ernest married a Russian woman in Shanghai, China in 1922. She had fled from Vladivostok to Shanghai just prior to the revolution in 1919-1920.

Lt. Edgar Allen Poe, USMC

1st Lt. Edgar Allan Poe, USMC. This is the photo from his United States Passport with the official seal stamped into the photograph.

In Late December 1919 the Red Russian forces loyal to Aleksandr Kerensky had moved into the countryside around Vladivostock, Russia, which was a strong hold for the White Russian forces that were loyal to Czar Nicholas II who had to abdicate the throne at the hands of the Red Russians. By January of 1920 in the bitter cold winter the Red forces were closing in on Vladivostock, and the billion dollars worth of supplies that the countries of the United States, Britain, France, China and Japan had stockpiled in that city.

President Wilson had previously during World War One, ordered that the United States armed forces be sent to Vladivostock to protect our interests in that city. And so by May of 1918 the first U.S. Navy ships arrived. By Late December 1919 the armored cruiser USS South Dakota had taken up station off Vladivostock. Aboard the ship was a young Second Lieutenant Marine, by the name of Edgar Allan Poe, Jr. He was however not an inexperienced Marine Officer as he had served in combat, and was wounded in France during World War One.

As dawn breaks over the cold gray frozen city of Vladivostock on January 31, 1920 deep within the hull of the South Dakota, Lt. Poe awakes to the sound of distant artillery fire. Vladivostock is now under attack by the Red Russian forces. Swiftly Admiral Gleaves gives orders for 4 companies of men from the South Dakota to be put ashore in Vladivostock to protect the American Consulate in the city. As small arms fire hits the side of the South Dakota the 4 companies of Marines and Bluejackets go ashore. Second Lt. Poe is second in command of the 1st Company of Marines; he is once again in combat on distant soils. The Red Russian forces fired on the 4 companies of men from the South Dakota and this action lasted for several days in the bone freezing streets of the city. Eventually the Reds were repulsed and the American Consulate was defended. Through out the month of February men from the South Dakota routinely patrol the streets around the American Consulate and then were recalled to the ship.

Second Lt. Edgar Allan Poe, Jr. USMC is a distant relative to the famous American Poet Edgar Allan Poe (b. January 19, 1809; d. October 7, 1849). 2nd Lt. Poe was born on September 2, 1896 in Baltimore, Maryland to Edgar Allan Poe and Annye McCay. His father was named Edgar Allan Poe (1871-1961) in honor of his second cousin, twice removed, the famous poet Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849).

Edgar Allan Poe (1871-1961) was the Attorney General of the State of Maryland from 1911 to 1915 and so the young Edgar Allan Poe, Jr., grew up in an affluent home during his boyhood years. Edgar Jr. attended and graduated with the class of 1915 from the prestigious St. Marks School in Southborough, Massachusetts. At St. Marks there were many of the young men who served during the First World War, and 20 St. Marks graduates gave their life in the service of their country.

Poe was the only child of Edgar and Annye, and like his father and five uncles he went to college at Princeton where he graduated. Destine to be a lawyer as his father and uncles, the younger Poe was being pulled in a different path, Edgar Jr. saw the military as his calling.

This however was not seen as breaking the family tradition because three of Edgar’s uncles were currently serving in the military at the time. Neilson Poe was serving as a lieutenant in the U. S. Army Infantry and in battle in 1918 he was severely wounded by a bullet in the stomach along with several shrapnel wounds. Neilson found himself wounded and as his commanding officer was killed in the same action, was left in command of his company. He managed to keep his men on the line and safe for the next day before he was evacuated to an aid station. Neilson Poe was awarded the French War Cross and the Army Distinguished Service Cross for this action. Another uncle Gresham Poe served in a U.S. Army Field Artillery Regiment and a third uncle John Poe joined as a soldier of fortune with the British Army in 1914 before America entered the war. John Poe served in the Royal Garrison Artillery and then later transferred to the Scottish Infantry Regiment known as the Black Watch. The Germans however nicknamed them the “Ladies from Hell” for the kilts they wore and their ferocity in battle. In the opening hours of the Battle of Loos on September 25, 1915 John Poe was killed on the battlefield. When Edgar Allan Poe Jr. joined the United States Marine Corps he did so to honor and avenge the death of his uncle John Poe.

On May 29, 1917 Edgar Allan Poe, Jr. enlisted into the Marine Corps Reserve at Paris Island, South Carolina. Upon completion of basic training on July 24, 1917 he was assigned to Company E, Marine Barracks, Paris Island as a Private. Private Poe had great potential as a leader and so on October 9, 1917 he was honorably discharged as an enlisted man and that same day was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the regular Marine Corps.

On October 26, 1917 he was assigned duty with the 138th Company 2nd Replacement Battalion, USMC. He sailed to France on March 27, 1918 possibly aboard the HMS Olympic traveling in a replacement battalion. Once in France he was assigned to duty with the 74th Company, 6th Regiment, 4th Marine Brigade, of the famed 2nd Infantry Division on May 16, 1918.

The 2nd Division, arriving by truck on June 1, 1918 immediately went into position northwest of Chateau-Thierry. Facing northeast, with its center at Lucy-le-Bocage, the division established its line across the main route to Paris, where it repulsed all attacks and effectively stopped the German advance in that direction.

It was on June 6 that the 4th Marine Brigade began reducing the positions of two German divisions in the Bois de Belleau (Belleau Wood) directly to the front of the defense line they had been holding. This 20-day action was one of the most intense of the war. The brigade suffered 55 percent casualties. It established American troops, which had not been trusted by their European allies, as the best troops of the war. It also added legends to the Corps. It was at Belleau Wood, for example, that the legendary Gunnery Sergeant Dan Daly reputedly leaped from a trench bellowing to his platoon: “Come on, you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?” While on the front line with the 74th Company Marines on June 12, 1918 in the Belleau Woods in the Chateau-Thierry Sector, 2nd Lt. Poe was severely wounded.

On June 6, 1918 the 2nd Division attacks and advances toward the town of Vaux, capturing Bouresches and clears the southern portion of the Belleau Woods. From June 8-13 the 2nd division engages in a series of attacks and counterattacks, during which on June 12 the Division temporarily occupies the Belleau Woods. By June 14 the 4th Marine Brigade, which had been on the line since June 6, was relieved by the 3rd Infantry Brigade and by June 18 the 4th Marine Brigade had been fully relieved and fell back to support positions. On the night of June 21/22 the 4th Marine Brigade is again put back on the line and on the night of June 23/24 again attacked and finally captured the Belleau Woods. During the actions of the 2nd Division at Belleau Woods they suffered over 8,100 casualties, one of which was Lt. Edgar Allan Poe, Jr.

On June 11, Lt. Poe with the 74th Company is on the line as the division is making a new attack. Lt. Poe is in command of a platoon and is engaged in a very hot firefight. Poe’s platoon suddenly found that they were exposed in a ravine and the Germans were giving them all they could take. Another close at hand platoon came to the assistance of Poe's platoon in getting them back out of the ravine to a more defendable position. This ravine was in the center of the northern part of the Belleau Woods and a very fiercely contested area by the Germans.

At 5:30 PM on June 12 as the American guns had continued to fire into the Germans for the past hour it was now time to move forward. At the sound of the whistles the marines forced themselves from their scanty shelters, grabbed heavy Springfield’s tipped with bayonets, crouched low and moved forward under the heavy supporting Hotchkiss Machinegun fire from their rear. The Germans heard them coming and gave them all they had.

Bursts of bullets were tearing men to pieces. Grenades fell and tore legs and arms to shreds. When officers fell sergeants took over, when they fell corporals took over and when they fell privates took over. Within thirty minutes the marines had overran the Germans advanced position and begin to strike at the main line of heavy German machine guns. By now it was an all or nothing brawl, there was no line of attack as the battle was from all four directions. It was kill or be killed, and it was here that the marines were at their best.

It was only then that they had reach back to the ravine that Lt. Poe's platoon had been the day before when they were in that hot firefight. But now that the 74th Company was at the ravine and a small clearing the fire they had taken up to this point was nothing as compared to what was to come. Men were covered in blood from head to toe, and the battle went on into the evening and the horror of a night fight.

By the early morning hour’s things had slowed down or nearly stopped altogether. Men were worn down or just too sick and exhausted to continue the bloody carnage. But the 2nd Division, considering the intensity of the fight, had escaped amazingly well. But in Poe's 74th Company they suffered very heavy losses. Captain Fuller was killed, Captain Burns badly wounded in both legs and Lt. Poe had severe back wounds from a fragment of a high explosive shell, and casualties were running at nearly 20 percent.

Evacuated from the line and taken to an aid station Lt. Poe was sent to a Base Hospital in Chaumont, France where his wounds were cared for. The then 24-year old Poe sent a cablegram to his father on June 16 in the States, telling him that he was “slightly wounded and doing fine.” But the family sees his name printed in the Marine Corps casualty list among the “severely wounded.” By July 7, 1918 Poe again cables his father then at the family summer home in Narragansett, Rhode Island that he is improving at a French Base Hospital.

While convalescing Poe was advanced to 1st Lieutenant. After Lt. Poe recovered from his wounds he is transferred to London, England where he was assigned duty on the staff of Admiral William S. Sims at the US Naval Forces Headquarters in London on November 21, 1918. This duty lasted until January 1, 1919 when he returned to Paris Island for a short time.

On February 3, 1919 Lt. Poe was assigned to duty aboard the USS Seattle. While aboard the Seattle on March 5, 1919 he was advanced to the temporary rank of Captain. Once this duty aboard the Seattle was completed he reverted back to his permanent rank of 1st Lieutenant on August 23, 1919.

His next assignment started on September 1, 1919 with a Fleet Marine Detachment and was stationed aboard the armored cruiser USS South Dakota, as second in command of the Marine detachment aboard ship. The South Dakota was then serving as the flagship of the Asiatic Fleet under command of Admiral Albert Gleaves in the Pacific Ocean. Lt. Poe served ashore in the action at Vladivostock, Russia in January-February 1920 and returns back aboard ship when the South Dakota’s 4 companies were recalled.

Lt. Poe on March 6, 1920 is required to get a passport from the American Consul in Vladivostock for travel through Russia, China and Japan while with the Marine Corps. At the time on March 6, 1st Lt. Poe was requesting a 30-days leave to begin on March 10, 1920. He listed his address that he would be staying at as the Oriental Hotel in Kobe, Japan. Captain John McClane Luby, USN, who was the commanding officer of the South Dakota, granted this request. It was noted that this was approved subject to recall for emergency inspection when held.

Back home in August of 1919, Lt. Poe’s mother Annye was making plans to visit her son in China and Japan. On August 18, 1919 she applied for a United States Passport for travel to China and Japan to visit her son. On or about August 20, 1919 Mrs. Poe boarded the SS Great Northern for transport to Japan. This may have been the reason Lt. Poe was requesting a 30-day leave in March of 1920. Little did Mrs. Poe know of her son’s deployment on Russian soil to protect the American Consulate in early February of 1920, I’m sure there were several hours of re-telling the events of those dangerous days when they finally saw each other in Japan.

After Lt. Poe’s time was up he left the Marine Corps and returned to the United States. Sometime about 1922 Edgar Allan Poe, Jr. married, her first name being Katherine Richards, she was born on October 11, 1896 in California. Together Katherine and Edgar had one son, aptly named Edgar Allan Poe, III, who was born about 1926 in Washington, DC.

By 1930 Katherine and Edgar were living in Baltimore, Maryland in the home of Edgar’s father who was widowed by then. Edgar Jr. now was working as a lawyer and may have been working in his fathers firm. The Poe home was owned by the senior Poe and was valued in 1930 at $75,000 and they employed 3 servants in the home.

Katherine and Edgar’s son, Edgar Allan Poe, III followed in his family’s tradition and served in the military. He served in the US Navy during World War Two and through out the 1950’s as a Chief Warrant Officer.

During the Second World War Edgar Allan Poe, Jr. was a full partner in the law firm of Bartlett, Poe and Claggett in Baltimore. The firm’s offices were located in the U.S. F. & G. building in Baltimore.

Edgar and Katherine would live the rest of their lives in Baltimore, Maryland and Katherine would pass away on October 11 of 1974. Edgar would live on until he passed away on June 3 of 1983. Both Katherine and Edgar are buried in the Saint Thomas Episcopal Church Cemetery in Owings Mills, Baltimore County, Maryland (Lot 432, Grave 1 & 2).

The gravestones of Katherine Richards Poe (b. Oct. 11, 1896 d. Aug. 29, 1974) on the left and Edgar Allen Poe Jr’s stone of the right.

Marker of the Poe family plot located at site 432 Graves 1-4 in the St. Thomas' Church Cemetery, 232 St. Thomas Lane, Owings Mills, MD  21117. Also buried in the St. Thomas Cemetery in a different plot is one of Edgar Allen, Jr’s five uncles, Samuel Johnson Poe (b. 1864, d. April 10, 1933) and his wife Laura Poe (b. 1866 d. Sept. 21 1950)

Another view of all 4 stones in the Poe plot. Left to right, Katherine Richards Poe, Edgar Allen Poe, Jr, next to Edgar is his mother Annye T. Poe (b. 1867 d. Nov. 17, 1928) and Edgar Allen Poe, Sr. (b. 1871 d. Nov. 29, 1961).

Seaman Wattenburger and Seaman Shadduck

The story of Charles Wallace Wattenburger ends on September 7, 1926 while he is attached to the USS Black Hawk while she is just off Chefoo, China. That day Charlie was in a boating accident and was killed during a storm that swept him from the boat. His life ended that day but the rest of his story is recorded here with the only things that survive from that time, a letter from his best friend aboard the USS Huron and a family photo of Charlie Wattenburger.

Charles Wallace Wattenburger was born on December 7, 1904 in Heppner, Morrow County Oregon. Charlie as he was known was the son of Samuel W. and Gracie M. Wattenburger. Samuel or “SW” as he was sometimes known was born in California in 1864, as was a life long farmer. He had been previously married and he and his first wife had one child a daughter named May born about 1893 in Oregon. It is not known what happen to Samuel’s first wife but about 1901 Samuel married again and her name was Gracie. Together “SW” and Gracie would have 6 children from this marriage. Gracie was 21-years younger that Samuel and the six children they had were daughter Elise born about 1903, son Charles Wallace born in December of 1904, son Floyd born about 1909, daughter Shirley born about 1911, daughter Marie born about 1912 and lastly a daughter named Violet born in early 1920.

In April of 1910 the Wattenburger family consisted of Samuel, Gracie, May, Elise, Charlie, Floyd, and Samuel’s mother Mary who was a 73-year old widower at the time. Also in the home was a 20-year old single male named Julian Chisolm. He was listed on the 1910 Census form as “Head Man” and he worked for Samuel on the farm. The farm home was located in North Zone Township in Morrow County, Oregon. Morrow County is located in the north central part of the state along the Oregon-Washington state line.

By 1920 the family now consisting of Samuel, Gracie, Elise, Charlie, Floyd, Shirley, Marie and Violet had moved from Oregon to a farm near Kelseyville, Lake County, California. This is located in the north central portion of California, north of the San Francisco Bay area, which is in the wine vineyard area of California.

Later as young Charlie Wattenburger grew into a young man he joined the navy, which would take him far from his home and as it turned out would never return him to his home and family. Today the surviving family only has a letter written to Charlie’s mother Gracie and a framed oval photo of him. Another sailor aboard the USS Huron who was Charlie’s best friend wrote the letter. His name is only known as V. B. Shadduck. Nothing is known about Shadduck other than after he was discharged from the navy he wanted to live in California. It is clear that Shadduck and Wattenburger must have served together on the same ship at some point. It is assumed that it was the Huron, as at the time of Charlie’s death he was attached to the Black Hawk, which would imply that he had another “home” ship likely the Huron with Shadduck.

These are the events of Wattenburger’s death taken from official US Navy Casualties Books, 1776-1941. On September 7, 1926 at about 4:30 in the afternoon Seaman 2 class, Charlie Wattenberger was serving as a member of a small crew in a motorboat from the USS Black Hawk. This crew was assisting with target practice for the destroyer USS Finch. During a sudden squall the motorboat was being hoisted aboard the Finch for safety from the storm, and a sudden lurch caused Seaman Wattenburger to loose his balance, and fell out of the boat into the sea, and drown immediately.

The letter Shadduck writes to Gracie was dated March 11, 1927 on USS Huron letterhead while the Huron was at the Bremerton Navy Yard. This would have been shortly after she arrived back to Bremerton after be retired from active service. The letter reads as follows;

USS Huron
Bremerton, Washington
March 11, 1927

Dear Mrs. Wattenburger,

I thought I would drop you a few lines and let you know I arrived in U. S. all right, although I cannot take leave now, I hope to get it when this ship is out of commission.

I received your letter in Honolulu and I was glad to hear that Floyd is out of the Army. I am also glad he is back with you for need him no doubt. I know I am going to stay in California when I get out of the Navy.

I am sending you a picture of Charlie standing in the boat that caused his fate. He was painting that day for you can see a paintbrush in his right hand.

The other picture of Charlie was taken 28-hours before his death. Him and I were on a hiking party ten miles back of Chefoo, the building is a Chinese temple. Charlie had our lunch in a basket as you can see. This is the last picture I ever took of him, poor kid he never got to see it.

Well Mrs. Wattenburger you can expect me sometime this summer. I hate to make a promise to come home soon because I don’t know when the crew will leave this ship but I will certainly come at the first opportunity.

On the way down to Frisco I will try and stop at your daughters home in Portland as she asked me to call and see them whenever I could.

I was looking through my pictures and I decided I would send you a picture Charlie took of me in Chefoo. I was laughing at Charlie when he took the picture he was making a wise crack as usual about me being from the farm.

I must close for this time.

V. B. Shadduck
USS Huron
Bremerton, Washington

This is the envelope to the above letter. It is addressed to Mrs. G. (Gracie) M. Wattenburger. On the folded flap shown above the return address is "V. B. Shadduck USS Huron, Bremerton, Wash."

The first page of V. B. Shadduck’s letter written on USS Huron stationary.

Close up of the photo of Seaman Wattenburger from the photo on the right. Richard Wattenburger who is the great-nephew of Charlie Wattenburger today has had in his home the below framed oval photo of Charlie. He has had this hanging in his home for at least 15-years now and before that it hung in Richard’s grandfather’s home for many years.

Chief Boatswain's Mate William H. Foster

On May 2, 1908 aboard the armored cruiser USS South Dakota routine duties takes a Yeoman to the Captains cabin and hands the Commanding Officer a document to be signed. Captain Charles E. Fox, the Commanding Officer of the ship signs the document, which is an appointment of Boatswain Mate First Class William H. Foster to Chief Boatswain’s Mate for a period of 12-months. This document was then renewed on May 2, 1909.

But who was William H. Foster, and what story does his life tell us today? His story begins about 1859 when he is the first-born child to John B. (b. abt. 1834 New York d. abt. 1911) and Caroline Crandall (b. abt. 1834 New York d. unknown) Foster. William was thought to have been born in late 1859, likely near the village of Addison, which is located in Rollin Township in Lenawee County, Michigan. Lenawee County is located in the extreme southeast part of Michigan and borders on the Michigan-Ohio State line. John Foster was a farmer and for at least the first decade or so of William’s life they lived in Rollin Township Michigan.

From about 1870 until 1908 little is known of William’s life except that about 1898 William married. His wife’s first name was Elizabeth who was also born in Michigan and was about the same age as William.

During 1908 we know that William was already serving as a Boatswain’s Mate First Class in the United States Navy aboard the USS South Dakota. So it is assumed he was actually serving in the navy some time before 1908. William served aboard the South Dakota from at least 1908 through July of 1910 and possibly past that date. On July 8, 1910 the United States Federal Census was taken aboard the South Dakota when the ship was at sea steaming from San Francisco to Callao, Peru in South America. William is listed as a Chief Boatswain’s Mate, and at the time he was 45-years old and had been married for 12-years. Chief Foster was one of 3 Chief Boatswain’s aboard the South Dakota and may have been the senior of the three Chiefs.

It is not known when Chief Foster left the navy, but by January of 1920 he was no longer serving in the navy. William and Elizabeth were at the time living in Cincinnati, Ohio on Reading Road where William was working as a department store manager. He and Elizabeth appear not to have had any children, but in 1920 they did employ a 31-year old single black woman named Dottie Myer who was a live-in cook for William and Elizabeth.

After the time of the taking of the 1920 Federal Census in January of 1920 little is known of William’s life. In fact the only thing that is known is that he had passed away sometime between the taking of the 1920 Federal Census and the taking of the 1930 Census. On the 1930 Census Elizabeth Foster is listed as living on Madison Road in Cincinnati, was a widow and was then 72-years old. It is not known where William is burried. Elizabeth is thought to have lived past 1940 as she is listed as being 82 years old and a widow. She lived in Cincinnati at 1344 Observatory Road in the home of her daughter Marie F. Hill who was a 53-year old widow. Marie would have been born about 1887 and so it is possible that William and Elizabeth may have had a child before they were married about 1898 as it stated on the 1910 Federal Census.

Chief Boatswain’s Mate William H. Foster’s appointment document
signed by Captain Charles E. Fox on May 2, 1908.

Chief Storekeeper George L. Carter

George Leonard Carter was born on February 6, 1888 in Reno, Kansas, and was youngest of 10 children born to Thomas Jackson Carter, a Confederate Civil War veteran (Co. D, 27th Georgia Volunteer Infantry) and his wife Susan E. Prater.  After the Civil War the family removed from Hall County, Georgia first to Clay County, Missouri, then to Leavenworth County, Kansas, settling in Reno. 

When George L. Carter was about 18-years old he joined the United States Navy in 1907, which would lead him on a 31-year journey with the Navy. He would retire from Active Service on February 1, 1938. And during WWII He again served in the Navy from May of 1942 through1946, ending a total of 35-years Active Duty in the Navy. His final rating was Chief Boatswain’s Mate.

In 1910 George, then age 22, was serving as a Chief Storekeeper aboard the South Dakota, which is known from the 1910 Federal Census. This is also confirmed from his photo in uniform showing his sleeve rating of Chief Storekeeper.

The enlisted rating of a Storekeeper is now an obsolete rating structure in the navy, having been combined into the present rating of Logistics Specialist (LS). Storekeeper was one of the oldest Navy ratings, and Storekeepers were tasked with maintaining ship or company military supply stores. Their responsibilities generally included purchasing and procurement, shipping and receiving, and issuing of equipment, tools, consumables or anything else obtained through the Naval Supply Systems.

About 1913 Chief Carter was married, her first name being Pearl who was born about 1894. Together they had at least one child. Because Chief Carter was serving on Active Duty and was based out of the Bremerton Navy Yard he and Pearl moved to Bremerton, Washington were they would live the rest of their lives. On December 12, 1954 George L. Carter would pass away in Bremerton, Washington.

There is a photo of Chief Carter with writing to a family member on the back which reads:

Chief Storekeeper
George L. Carter

Dear Laura,

I’m still here in New York, and will likely be here for a couple more months. I have been half frozen since we arrived in this part of the country, have been missing the California weather so long. This picture was taken about six months ago, wasn’t a very good one but thought I would send you one for fun. This is the uniform I wear all the time in cool weather, in warm weather I wear the same kind of uniform only it is white in place of the blue. With the best regards to Ed.

As ever,

The photo and writing on the back was addressed to his sister-in-law Laura Carter who was married to his brother Ed. The photo is undated, but may be from about 1915.



Seaman 2c, Ivan Martin Ashley, USS South Dakota/USS Huron

Ivan Martin Ashley was a Seaman Second Class who served aboard the USS South Dakota during WWI.

Ivan was born on April 5, 1897 in Rye, Colorado and lived his entire life in Colorado. His parents were Nancy and Joseph Ashley who were both born in North Carolina. The Ashley family were rancher/farmers in the Rye area. Nancy and Joseph lived and worked on the Cuerno Verde Resort Ranch located in Rye, which was an exclusive resort for the well-to-do in the Pueblo, Colorado area.

At the age of 21-years, Ivan enlisted into the United States Naval Reserve Force on June 3, 1918, before he had to register for the Federal Draft. Two days later, Ivan went to Pueblo, Colorado and registered for the Federal Draft during the second call-up. At the time, he was single and was working for his father on the Cuerno Verde Resort Ranch in Rye. He listed his mother Nancy, as next of kin. Ivan was a tall, medium built man with gray eyes and dark brown hair.

Ivan served his entire time in the Navy aboard the USS South Dakota on convoy escort duty in the North Atlantic escorting troopships to France. His stated date of separation from the Naval Reserve is listed as September 30, 1921, but on the 1920 Federal Census taken on January 3, 1920 it listed Ivan as being married and living with his parents on the farm in Rye, Colorado. This may be explained that being he was not in the Regular Navy but in the Reserve Force, he may have been discharged at the end of the War in November of 1918, and then remained in the Reserve Force until his term was up being discharged in 1921.

Ivan after his separation from the Navy came home to live with his parents at the Cuerno Verde Ranch, and in the summer of 1919 fell in love with a woman named Nellie, and they were married in the early fall of that year. The wedding took place at the ranch on September 23, 1919. Nellie S. was born on March 10, 1899 in Illinois, and, at the time she met Ivan, was working as a nanny for the Gast family of Pueblo. The Gast’s were an affluent family and had spent quite a lot of time at the Cuerno Verde Ranch, where Ivan’s parents lived and worked. It was here at the ranch that Nellie and Ivan had met. After Nellie and Ivan were married Ivan in January of 1920 was working for a dairy farmer in the Rye area. Ivan also worked as a meat cutter for the Ashley/Dykes Mercantile as a second job.

By 1930 Ivan and Nellie had now moved into the city of Pueblo, Colorado to a home on West Evans Avenue. At the time Ivan, had taken a job working at a coke producing mill as a heater operator. By 1930 Ivan and Nellie had three children; Mary Eleanor; Cecilia Nancy; and Ivan Martin Jr., and in 1932 a fourth child was born, a daughter named Cynthia Ann. She would pass away on February 24 of 1938 at the age of 6 from the effects of Polio. The home on Evans Avenue was a rented home and their rent was 25-dollars per month.

Ten years later in 1940 the family was still in Pueblo although may not have been in the same house. Ivan was still working at the coke mill now as a foreman, and the eldest daughter Mary who was then 19-years old was working as an office girl, and Cecilia was working as a Liberian. Nellie worked as a cook for the school. Living in the home were two small children, LeRoy and Sue Miller age 4 and 2 years. It was not known what the relationship was between the two Miller children and the Ashley’s.

It was in 1944 when Ivan had the opportunity to go back into farming, and so he and Nellie purchased a 160-acre dairy farm in the Rye, Colorado area. This was a farm located just north of the home of Ivan’s mother Nancy, who was by then widowed. Ivan worked the farm and milked cows 7-days a week until 1955 when he had a heart attack. Ivan was told he could no longer farm because of his health, and so he sold about 40-acres of the farm in order to finance the building of a new home for he and Nellie. The new home was finished but Ivan would only live in it a short time for he passed away on October 3, 1957. Nellie would live in the house her husband Ivan built for 30-years, until her death on January 15, 1987.

Today, Kim (Ashley) Geier, who is the daughter of Ivan Jr. and granddaughter of Ivan Martin Ashley Sr., still owns the house that her grandfather Ivan had built in 1955. Today Ivan Martin Ashley, Sr. and his wife Nellie are buried next to each other in the Brookside Cemetery in Rye, Colorado. Also, buried in the family plot are Cynthia Ann who died in 1938 of Polio and Ivan Jr. who passed away on July 12, 1983, along with Ivan’s parents Joseph and Nancy and his grandparents James and Susan Ashley.

Dog Tag of Ivan M. Ashley. Reverse side of the dog tag with his fingerprint etched in.

According to the naval regulations set forth by the Navy Department on May 12, 1917, each man's fingerprint was required to be etched to the unmarked side of each tag.  The process involved applying the fingerprint with printer's ink, then sprinkling the area with finely powdered glisonite or asphaltum which would adhere to the ink.  Once the ink had dried, the excess powder was removed by simply blowing it off.  The dog tag was then heated to a temperature slightly above the boiling point of water and permitted to cool before being placed into a solution of nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, and water for a period of one hour.  Upon completion of this process, the dog tag was dried and was now imprinted with the wearer's fingerprint. This requirement was discontinued at the end of January 1943. According to Navy Regulations this was what was described for the Dog Tags. “The identification tag for officers and enlisted men of the Navy consists of an oval plate of monel metal, 1.25 by 1.50 inch, perforated at one end and suspended from the neck by a monel wire encased in a cotton sleeve. The tag has on one side the etched finger print of the right index finger. On the other side are to be etched the individual’s initials and surname, the month, day, and year of enlistment (expressed in numerals, e.g., 1.5.1916) and the month, day, and year of birth (similarly expressed). This side will also bear the letters U.S.N.; for officers – initials and surname, the rank held, and date of appointment. The etching of the tag shall be done by such member or members of the Hospital Corps as the medical officer may designate.”

Nellie and Ivan Ashley Ivan Ashley in summer whites

Fireman First Class, Charles V. Feliz

Deep within the hull of the armored cruiser USS South Dakota a group of seven of the South Dakota’s black gang, dirty with coal dust, stop and pose for a photo outside of coalbunker M6. Their clothes show wear and are tattered and are covered in coal dust. Their faces are dusty, and even the tin cup of a refreshing drink, one of the seven is holding, likely even tastes of coal dust.

The photo shows seven hearty sailors, who by the sweat of their labors, propelled the South Dakota across the Pacific Ocean to do her appointed job. There is nothing too special about this photo except that on the back one of the seven sailors has written this, “With Best Regards to Mrs. J. S. Cans from C. V. Feliz USS South Dakota.”

It is not known who “Mrs. J. S. Cans” was or what the relationship between them was. But Feliz does not identify himself in this photo and so the face of the man who wrote this will likely never be identified. But the story of who C. V. Feliz was can be told, and this is his story. C. V. Feliz is Charles “Carl” Vincent Feliz born on August 8 of 1888 in King City, California. Very little is known of his family except that he did have a younger brother named Arthur Feliz who was about a year younger than Charles. It also seems that during his life Charles also went by the name of Carl. During his time serving in the navy he seems to use Charles and then in his middle and later years just used Carl.

The photo also does not identify what the date is and it is known that he served a 4-year term in the navy and that he was aboard the South Dakota in July of 1910. So it can be assumed that he had joined the Navy as early as 1906 or 1907 at about age 18.

The first positive identification comes from the 1910 Federal Census taken aboard the USS South Dakota on July 12, 1910 while the ship was at sea en route from Callao, Peru to San Francisco, California. Feliz, Charles V. Fireman First Class aged 21-years and single was listed as one of the crew. On the census form it also listed that his father and mother were born in California.

On June 5, 1917 when Charles Feliz had to register for the Federal Draft during the first call up during WWI he listed that he had served a 4-year term in the U. S. Navy, as Fireman First Class. So, if Charles had joined, when or shortly after he turned 18-years old, this would put his beginning date at 1906-07 and his ending date at about 1910-11. Charles did not serve during WWI.

When he registered for the WWI Draft, on June 5, he was married and was then 28-years old. He and his wife lived at 1317 De Long Street in Los Angeles and Charles was working as an auto mechanic for the Pacific Auto Spring Company. He was described as a medium height man with a stout build with brown eyes and dark colored hair. So, from this description one would guess that Charles V. Feliz may be the second man from the right in the photo, but this is only a guess.

By the beginning of 1920 Charles or by then he was using the name Carl was divorced and was living in a rented apartment with his brother Arthur. The apartment was located at 516 E. 23rd Street in Los Angeles. Carl still had the job at the automobile spring factory, and his brother was unemployed at the time.

By the spring of 1930 Carl Feliz had a new direction on his life. It seems that he was remarried. Little is known of his second wife except for her name, Frances Elizabeth Ray, who was born on November 17, 1891 in Illinois as was both of her parents. Frances was a public-school teacher. She and Carl lived at the time on Magnolia Avenue in Los Angeles, and the monthly rent for the apartment was $35. Carl was working as an auto mechanic in a local garage, which was likely the same shop he had been at for several years.

During the Depression years, in 1935, Carl and Frances had moved in with Frances’ mother, Mary Ray, who was a 73-year old widow. The home was located on West 21st Street in Los Angeles. Carl by then had now bought the automotive spring shop and was now the owner, and Frances was still teaching school. Carl and Frances did not have any children together.

In 1942 when Carl had to register for the draft during WWII, he and Frances had now moved from the home on West 21st Street. Likely due to the passing of Frances’ mother. They were now living at 1236 West 24th Street in Los Angeles. Carl listed his occupation as the owner of the Standard Auto Spring Company located at 1626 South Los Angeles Street, in Los Angeles.

Carl and Frances would live the rest of their lives in the Los Angeles, California area. Frances passed away on June 6, 1955 and was buried in the Rose Hill Memorial Park in the Whittier section of Los Angeles. Carl lived for three more years and on June 24, 1958 Carl Feliz passed away in Ventura, California. He was buried next to Frances his wife.

Seaman 2c John Frederick Woodward

Seaman 2c John Frederick Woodward, USS South Dakota

In the United States Navy of the First World War, not every sailor was an American, some had just arrived a few years before in America, and would serve in uniform, their newly adopted Country and ask nothing in return. One such man was John Frederick Woodward, who was born in Liverpool, England in 1892.

It is known that his father was Robert Woodward who was born in England about 1869. John Woodward’s mother is assumed to be Marie (Mary Alice) Woodward who was also English and was born about 1862. The exact date is not known for sure but it may have been about 1893 when Robert left his family in England and came to America. Robert Woodward was likely coming to America in search of better work and a new life for his family.

It is not clear if John Frederick Woodward came to America in 1903 or if he may have come over with his father Robert about 1893 when he was but just a year old. The first actual clear picture of the Woodward family in America comes from information gleaned from the 1910 Federal Census taken on April 15, 1910.

In Klickitat County, Washington along the Columbia River that divides the State of Washington from Oregon, Robert Woodward and his 18-year old son John Frederick settled. On the census form, there is not a wife listed for Robert, but there is a notation that he was married and had been married for 19-years, so it can be assumed that his wife, Mary Alice, was still in England. On the form, it also noted that Robert had filed his papers with the Government to begin his process to become a citizen. John Frederick had either not begun the process or it simply was not noted on the form. Interestingly enough on the form John Frederick seemed to be known by a shortened version of his middle name as he is listed as Fred on the census form.

Robert and John or, “Fred” as he was known, both were fruit farming in the lush fertile lands along the Columbia River. They both would learn the ways of the fruit farmers in the area and this would be a skill that would serve them both throughout their lives.

Other information from the 1910 census tells this story. Robert and John were living on a fruit farm in Lyle Township of Klickitat County, Washington, likely near the very small town of Lyle. At the farm, next to them was the George Woodward family, which consisted of Jane or Gene who was his wife, and a 19-year old daughter named Martha, all three having been born in England. George was most likely Robert’s older brother. It was noted that the George Woodward family had started paperwork for citizenship in 1909, so it is not clear if he would have come to America with his brother Robert or at a later date. George also was working as a fruit farmer likely with his brother Robert.

By the spring of 1917 America was now involved in the “European War” and at the age of 24-years, John Frederick Woodward decided to join the United States Navy. It was on April 3, 1917, three days before America declared war with Germany, that, John Frederick Woodward voluntarily enlisted into the NNV or National Naval Volunteers in Portland, Oregon.

Up to 1913 the only organization that made any pretense of training men for the navy was the Naval Militia, and that was under State control, with practically no Federal supervision.  As the militia seemed to offer the only means of producing a trained reserve, steps were at once taken to put it on a sound basis, and on February 16, 1914, a real Naval Militia under Federal control was created, provision being made for its organization and training in peace, as well as its utilization in war.

As with all organized militia, the Naval Militia, even with the law of 1914, could not, under the Constitution, be called into service as such except for limited duties, such as to repel invasion.  It could not be used outside the territorial limits of the United States.  It is evident then that with such restrictions militia could hardly meet the requirements of the navy in a foreign war, and to overcome this difficulty the "National Naval Volunteers" were created in August of 1916. Under this act members of Naval Militia organizations were authorized to volunteer for "any emergency," of which emergency the President was to be the judge.

After he had volunteered for the NNV in Portland, John Woodward traveled from his home in Klickitat County, Washington, to Seattle and Reported for Active Duty at the Receiving Ship at the Puget Sound Navy Yard on April 10, 1917. He would learn the basic training he would need for his new Navy life and on June 30, 1917, was assigned to duty aboard the armored cruiser USS South Dakota as an Apprentice Seaman.

On July 24, 1917, Woodward was advanced to Seaman Second Class and was assigned as a member of a gun crew. His station was on the starboard side aft, in the lower gunroom. This was likely the gunroom for the aft main 8-inch battery, or one of the secondary 6-inch guns. While aboard the South Dakota, Seaman Woodward kept a personal diary, which is today in the possession of his grandson Vaughan. In the diary, John writes in great detail about gun construction, types of shells, fuses, and primers that the USS South Dakota used. Seaman Woodward also writes of the convoys of transport ships the South Dakota escorted to rendezvous points in the Atlantic with British destroyers, and then they would turn around and head back to the east coast of the States to pick up another convoy.

Serving aboard an American cruiser, and technically still not an American citizen, I wonder what thoughts were going through John Woodward’s mind, when on the horizon of the Atlantic, he would see the destroyers flying the flag of his birth country.

John notes in his diary early in 1917 when the South Dakota and her sister ships were patrolling the Caribbean and South American waters, they coaled the ship on the island of St. Lucia, British West Indies. There on the island women were hired at 50 cents per day to carry bags of coal weighing 105-pounds up a wooden ramp onto the deck of the South Dakota for 14-hours. John also noted that during his time aboard the South Dakota that he witnessed nearly 75 sea burials of men who would pass away from the Spanish influenza that was taking a toll on the population at the time.

On June 10, 1917, the South Dakota crosses the equator at 36 degrees Longitude on her voyage to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. As per the ancient rites of the sea, those sailors who had never cross the line before undergo a ceremony for King Neptune, and are given the title of Shellback once they had been properly “ducked” in the traditions according to Neptune Rex. Seaman Woodward underwent these rites and was given his shellback document, which today preserved by his grandson Vaughan.

Seaman Woodward remained on the South Dakota through the end of the war, and on November 29, 1918, was transferred off the ship. On December 21, 1918, Seaman Woodward reported to the Pelham Bay Naval Training Station. Pelham Bay is located near the city of The Bronx, New York. Likely within a few days after reporting to Pelham Bay Seaman Woodward would have been deactivated and allowed to go home. Likely sometime between Christmas and the New Year of 1919, John Woodward had returned home to Klickitat County to begin his civilian life anew. It would not be until April 2, 1920 that he would have been fully discharged from his enlistment period in the NNV. He was Honorably Discharged from the 13th Naval District headquartered at the Bremerton Navy Yard, in Seattle, Washington.

Back in Klickitat County, Washington, John Frederick Woodward again was with his father Robert. But from the 1920 Federal Census, which was taken on January 7, 1920, it states that Robert’s wife and John’s mother Mary Alice was also living there. She may have been in America since about 1912 as the census also states she had filed papers to start her citizenship in 1912. Both Robert and John worked on a fruit farm and the home was located along the Lyle-Goldendale Road, which may have been the same farm from the 1910 census. By then the George Woodward family had moved about 5 or so miles away and were living near the small village of Appleton in Klickitat County. George may have still been working with Robert and John at the time.

In 1921, Robert, Mary Alice, and John Frederick Woodward would end their lives living in America, and move to Australia to begin a new life down under. The reasons are not known why they would leave America, but they made their way to Australia, and bought land there. And that may have been the reason, to buy land, which was likely very affordable and take their knowledge of fruit farming and begin a new opportunity of making a new life. Robert and John Frederick would use the American methods they had learned and started a 20-acre apple farm that grew into a great success. The farm was located near Wedderburn, which is a small town in New South Wales near Campbelltown. The apple farm may have been located along the Wedderburn Road near the intersection of Exlay Road, as there are apple farms in this area there today. There in Wedderburn, Australia John would marry and they would raise three daughters.

At the age of 68-years on September 26, 1960, John Frederick Woodward would pass away, and today is buried in the Woronora Cemetery in Sutherland, New South Wales, Australia. John Frederick Woodward certainly traveled his fair share of the earth from his birth in Liverpool, sailed the Atlantic Ocean many times over and traveled the width of the United States, and then sailing across the vast Pacific Ocean before he could rest his soul in the land down under.

Date this page was last updated 14 October, 2017 This page is owned by Joe Hartwell ©2005-2017

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