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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."

1915 -

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 - 1980

The 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 period:
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
Ph 757-436-1313
thebaxters@mar-sue.com


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