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NavSource Online:
Section Patrol Craft Photo Archive


Civilian call sign (1919):
King - Mike - Rush - Vice


SP-509 served both the U. S. Navy and District of Columbia Naval Militia.

Patrol Yacht:

  • Built in 1896 as Illawarra, a steamer with 2-masted schooner rig (gaff-rigged), by Bath Iron Works, Bath, ME for Eugene Tompkins of Boston, MA
  • Launched 18 March 1896
  • Delivered 3 June 1896
  • Acquired by the Navy 22 April 1898 and renamed Oneida
  • Commissioned USS Oneida, 30 April 1898
  • Purchased 31 May 1898
  • Decommissioned 19 September 1898
  • Recommissioned 14 September 1912 for duty with the District of Columbia Naval Militia
  • Decommissioned 26 September 1912
  • Served as the Naval Disciplinary Barracks at Port Royal, SC in 1914
  • Struck from the Navy list 8 November 1915, sold to the Charleston, SC Pilot's Association and renamed Henry P. Williams
  • Reacquired by the Navy 27 June 1917
  • Commissioned USS SP-509, 6 August 1917
  • Returned to her owner 26 December 1918
  • Fate unknown.


  • Displacement 150 t.
    1923 - 118 t.
  • Length 110' 11"
    1923 - 110.8'
  • Beam 18' 6"
  • Draft 7' 6"
  • Speed 12 kts.
  • Complement Six (1919)
  • Armament: One 3-pounder rapid fire mount
    1911 - One 3-pounder rapid fire mount and two 1-pounder rapid fire mounts
    1914 - None
  • Propulsion: Two Almy water tube boilers, one 400ihp verticle triple-expansion 3-cylinder, (11", 19", 30" x 18" stroke cylinders) steam engine, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    SizeImage Description Source
    Yacht Illawarra
    SP-509 82k Underway prior to the Spanish-American War
    U.S. Navy photo NH 76433-A
    Naval Historical Center
    USS Oneida
    SP-509 82k Photographed circa May 1898, possibly at Boston, Mass. Ship in right background is SS Chatham, which was converted to the U.S. Navy repair ship Vulcan at Boston in May 1898. Ship in left distance is USS Southery.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 43066
    Naval Historical Center
    SP-509 65k Photo probably taken while serving with the District of Columbia Naval Militia Robert Hurst
    SP-509 126k In port, probably circa 1912-1915.
    Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2008
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 106033
    Pilot Boat Henry P. Williams
    SP-509 82k Probably photographed off Charleston, South Carolina, circa 1916-1917. A four-masted schooner is under sail in the left distance
    U.S. Navy photo NH 102837
    Naval Historical Center

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships:


    Counties in Idaho, New York and Wisconsin. Name originates from an Iroquoian Indian tribe (Oneida) living in New York state and its environs.

    [The third] Oneida, a converted yacht, was built in 1896 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Me.; ex-Illawara, she was renamed Oneida 22 April 1898; commissioned 30 April 1898; purchased 31 May 1898 from Mr. Eugene Tompkins; she decommissioned 19 September 1898. Re-commissioned 14 September 1912, she was stationed with the Naval Militia of the District of Columbia (relieving monitor USS Ozark) and served in that capacity until she decommissioned 26 September 1912. In 1914 she was serving at the Naval Disciplinary Barracks, Port Royal, S. C.

    Oneida was struck from the Naval Register 8 November 1915 and sold to the Pilot’s Assn. of Charleston, S. C.; renamed H. P. Williams, she was re-acquired 27 June 1917 under a free lease agreement and commissioned 6 August 1917 as SP–509.

    SP–509 was returned to her owner 26 December 1918: no record of service.


    Henry P. Williams

    Henry P. Williams (SP-509) was a converted yacht which served as a minesweeping training craft and patrol boat 1917-18. Built as yacht Illawarra by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, in. 1896, she was originally taken into the Navy in 1898 as Oneida (q.v.).

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