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HISTORY OF THE SEE W. SEE 1915 -2006
The following is the history of the SEE W. SEE (SP-740), a) PEQUEST, b) ROSALIE IV, c) JONBOB II, d) MAR-SUE II, e) MISTY ISLE, f) MAR-SUE (U.S. Documentation # 213242). She was first listed in "Merchant Motor Vessels of the United States" in 1915. I have owned this vessel since June 27, 1975 and have been around this vessel since I was a small child.
The SEE W. SEE was built in Bay Shore, NY in 1915 by Willard F. Downs of Islip, NY. He appears to be the designer and builder. Builder's yard is still unknown; there were three boat yards in Bay Shore at the time of 1915. I have been unable to contact anyone that may have this information. She was built for Charles W. Cushman of Vernon, NY. It is believed that the name SEE W. SEE came from Charles W. Cushman's initials. She was home ported in Patchogue, NY. Her design was a low free board style (3' - 4.5'), double ender with open wheel house area over the engine room, stack immediately aft, low cabins with small boat on top, full walk around deck and soft canopy over the aft deck. This is known as the Shoal Draft Cruiser design typical of the time. She was made of wood double planked white cider on 2" oak frames. The hull was once clad with copper sheets at the waterline. She measured (WL) 65.0' in length 13' 2" depth 5', Coast Guard measured length is 54.6' (old Coast Guard measurements were from the bow stem to the rudder post for length and not length overall, this has since changed and measurements today are length overall). She was powered by a single 100 hp gas engine that could propel her up to 12.5 knots. Her signal letters were "LFJV."SEE W. SEE built in the Bay Shore, NY. A panel from a piece of cabinetry that I removed had a mans signature and date on the back side of the panel in pencil. It is difficult to read and have not made the name out, but the date was April ? 1915.
1916 - Home port changed to Oswego, NY. (Ref. Merchant Vessels of the U. S.)
1917 June1918 - Acquired by the USN became the USS SEE W. SEE (SP-740) (SP) stands for Section Patrol craft . She served duty at Section Base No. 5 New York Harbor. (Ref. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships)
1918 Dec.13 - Decommissioned and struck from USN list, returned to C. W. Cushman. (Ref. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships)
1919 Jan. 31 - SEE W. SEE sold to S. K. Morris of Pequest Farms, Belvidere, NJ. Home port changed to New York, NY. (Ref. Lloyd's Register of American Yachts (1920 &1921) & Abstract of Title).
1919 June 4 - Name changed by S. K. Morris from SEE W. SEE to PEQUEST recorded at New York, NY. The PEQUEST name was probably named after his Pequest Farm that was located Belvidere, NJ. Somewhere between June 4, 1919 & December 31, 1919 Morris Rosenfeld snapped a picture of the PEQUEST underway at unknown location. This is the only photo I
know of currently taken before 1950. It also is the only photo showing the
vessel as it looked originally as a Shoal Draft Cruiser. I do not believe the
U.S. Navy made any major changes, maybe the mast?. This photo is
the property of the Mystic Seaport Museum "Rosenfeld Collection" Negative # 2729 PEQUEST. Mystic Seaport Museum has given permission to
display this picture on this WEB Site. A big thanks to the Mystic Seaport
Museum for this as it adds so much visually to the history of the
SEE W. SEE today.
1924 June 14 - The PEQUEST was sold to Louis Smith, looks like he died in 1927 and
was left to Agnes M. Smyth and Harriet L. Smyth the Executors of the
Estate of Louis Smith. Bill of sale was recorded at Perth Amboy, NJ.
1927 Oct. 27 - The PEQUEST was sold to Harvey W. Dobbins and then to Wilhelmia
Dobbins (probably his wife) on Dec. 3 1928.
1927 Nov 28 - Name was changed from PEQUEST to ROSALIE IV.
1929 June 6 - The ROSALIE IV was sold to Henry E. Butler.
The period between the Morris Rosenfeld photo of 1919 and 1928 the
vessel went through two modifications, one was major. Twelve feet of
the forward deck was raised approximately 2.5'; this was done as she
probably was a wet boat. I once thought the Navy may have done this
modification during WW I, but later with the Rosenfeld photo proved it
was done at a later time. The original forward deck was never removed
and this area today is a storage space between decks. Later in time I
believe to be 1928, she went through a major modification when the rest
of the hull was raised except the deck in the very stern. Most of the main
deck was removed except right along the hull where it was left for
structural integrity. All of deck house was dismantled, a new higher main
deck was constructed, and new deck house built atop. She was fashioned
after the "Trumpy" cruising houseboat style, but had port holes throughout
the hull rather than the square ports that Trumpy used. I believe this
modification to have taken place in Red Bank, NJ. These modifications
added 4' of freeboard giving her 8' of free board forward. She only carries
one anchor today mounted on the starboard bow. Before the bow
modification she had provisions for two hull mounted anchors, however
the Rosenfeld photo does not show one on the port side. Only one capstan
is visible in that photo and no evidence of two on the original forward
deck, only one is on board today, so I believe she has only had one hull
mounted anchor throughout her life.
1929 July 5 - Name changed from ROSALIE IV to JONBOB II. She appears to have
moved to Savannah, GA. I have not researched this time period much.
1935 Aug 21- The JONBOB II was to sold to Robert Glendining, Jr. It was said by the
old timers back when that she served the USN again as a receiving ship in
Savannah harbor during part of WW II. This is only hearsay and no
documentation this has been found to date.
1944 Nov 8 - The JONBOB II was to sold to Julius T. Herbst of Norfolk County,
VA. Mr. Herbst was a Yacht Broker and operated out the "Atlantic Yacht
Basin" located in Norfolk County's Great Bridge section on the Albemarle
& Chesapeake Canal (a part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, [ICW]).
The JONBOB II was berthed there and served as his office and home for
a period of time. In the1950s; maybe earlier, Mr. Herbst initiated
cruises each year form Great Bridge using the JONBOB II as the lead
vessel. One of the cruises each year was to Ocracoke Island, NC. In later
years this became (1959) the "Great Bridge Cruising Club". This
Cruising Club surprisingly is still cruising today some forty seven years
later. The JONBOB II was then powered by a four cylinder gas
"Lathrop" engine that had a 450 - 900 RPM range. The engine was built
like an erector set starting up from the oil pan. It had four jugs (cylinders)
rather than all in one block. To go from forward to reverse required
shutting the engine down, changing the spark plug setting on the throttle and restarting. It would require a very talented captain to operate this
vessel. The engine had no reduction and drove a 29X14 four blade
propeller, 37.5 feet of 2"shaft assembled in three pieces. She would cruise at 8.75 knots and burn four gallons an hour. The JONBOB II underwent one modification that I believe was around 1954; when the
deck house was extended 8' aft to include a galley on the main deck. The
galley was originally below deck.
1959 Feb 17 - The JONBOB II was sold to J. B. Baydush of Norfolk, VA. He moved
the JONBOB II to the Lafayette Yacht Club located on the Lafayette River
in Norfolk, VA. She was renamed the MAR-SUE II in 1959, Abstract of
Title does not give an exact date and in fact documentation on the
Abstract of Title contains less essential documentation from this point on.
The name MAR-SUE came from Mr. Baydushs wife and daughter. Mr.
Baydush was a Norfolk restaurateur and was well noted for frequently
taking his employees on fishing trips on board the MAR-SUE II. No
modifications occurred during his ownership that I know of. She was
damaged by Hurricane Donna in 1960 at the Lafayette Club when she was
pushed up onto a finger pier where a piling protruded through the bottom.
She did not sink and was repaired in Elizabeth City, NC where she
received a new bottom made of cypress.
1971 Dec 16 - MAR-SUE II was sold to Capt. Dorr F. Willey of Elizabeth City, NC. I
believe he was owner of the Elizabeth City shipyard at the time. The
MAR-SUE II was berthed partially in a shed and fell into disrepair and
stripped including some of her navigation lights and steering wheel. The
Lathrop engine froze during the winter cracking all four jugs.
1973 Oct 3 - MAR-SUE II was sold to W. A. Sanderlin, Jr. of Chesapeake, VA. Capt. Willey towed the MAR-SUE II from Elizabeth City to Chesapeake's Southern Branch Marina where Mr. Sanderlin was able to deter further deterioration, he lived onboard. She never ran under his ownership.
1975 June 27 - MAR-SUE II was sold to William L. Baxter of Norfolk, VA, she was
towed from Chesapeake to Norfolk's Lafayette R where I berthed her
behind a man's private home on Knitting Mill Creek.
1975 Name changed from MAR-SUE II to MISTY ISLE.
1979 July 25 - Name changed from MISTY ISLE to MAR-SUE . I know this is odd, however while the MAR-SUE was being repaired for five years, the MISTY ISLE was never painted on. Our neighbor (Eddie) was so upset
with us about changing the name that he paid for the name change back
to the MAR-SUE, we dropped the II.
!975 - 1980The MAR-SUE was in such bad shape she should have fallen apart. A
lot of work was required to make her seaworthy again. It took five years.
The following modifications and repairs were done during this time
1. All spaces below the main deck were dismantled, what was left of the Lathrop engine was removed.
2. Rotten floor timbers , ribs replaced/repaired.
3. Interior spaces rebuilt.
4. Twelve feet of canoe stern removed (rotten) and rebuilt with a round canoe stern. This was accomplished at Smith's Marine Railway in Grafton, VA in 1976-1977.
5. The after section of deck house built in1954 (galley) removed and replaced with larger after deck house which is now the salon. The galley was rebuilt forward just aft of the wheelhouse.
6. Aft deck was brought up level with main deck.
7. Replaced roof and made hard cover over new aft deck.
8. Fabricated new taller stack.
9. Fiberglassed hull, decks, deck house and roof.
10. Replaced engine with a Gray Marine 6-71N.
1980- present - The MAR-SUE is in some disrepair again which I am currently
addressing. I hope to have the MAR-SUE underway soon.
This is the current history as I know of it as of April 25, 2006. Many areas I have not researched yet as to the former owners and information about them. The boat yard that built her is still a big mystery.
The following is provided if you wish to contact me:
William L. Baxter
1146 Inland Rd.
Chesapeake, VA 23322
This page created and maintained by Joseph M. Radigan|