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ACR-7 USS Colorado / USS Pueblo


Length: 502 feet. Breadth: 69 feet 6 1/2 inches. Mean Draft: 24 feet 1 inch. Displacement: 13,680 tons. Machinery: 23,000 IHP; 2 Vertical, Inverted, Triple Expansion Engines, 2 screws. Speed: 22.24 knots. Coal Bunker Capacity: 1,825 tons. Batteries: Main Battery: four 8 inch breech-loading rifles, fourteen 6-inch rapid fire guns. Secondary Battery: eighteen 3-inch rapid fire guns, twelve 3-pounder semi-automatic guns, two 1-pounder rapid fire guns, two 3-inch field pieces, six automatic guns, caliber .30, two 18-inch submerged torpedo tubes. Armor: Belt, 6 inches; turrets, 6 1/2 inches; barbettes, 6 inches; deck, 4 inches; Conning Tower, 9 inches. Complement: 41 officers, 850 men. Built by: William Cramp and Sons Ship and Engine Building Co., Philadelphia, PA. Launched: April 25, 1903. Class: PENNSYLVANIA


USS Colorado in 1915, at anchor in the harbor in San Diego, California

The second Colorado (CA-7) was launched 25 April 1903 by William Cramp and Sons Ship and Engine Building Co., Philadelphia, Pa.; sponsored by Miss C. M. Peabody; and commissioned 19 January 1905, Captain Duncan Kennedy in command.

On the 19th of January 1905 when the Colorado began her first day as a fully commissioned United States Naval Ship, she carried mounted to her bridge a 49-year old bell that was first cast at the Washington Navy Yard in 1856. The ship’s bell in which Captain Duncan Kennedy now commanded was first mounted on the forecastle of the first USS Colorado in 1856. This was a wooded screw steamer built at the Norfolk Navy Yard and first launched on the 19th of June 1856 under the command of Captain W. H. Gardner.

This bell mounted to the forecastle of the first Colorado saw action against several Confederate steamers during the Civil War. She captured at least one Confederate ship, took part in blockades and the bombardment and capture of Fort Fisher in 1865. After the Civil War the Colorado sailed European waters and Mediterranean and Adriatic waters and later in the 1870’s sailed to the Orient and Korean waters. The sound of the ships bell rang on June 1st 1871 when she was attacked by a Korean shore battery. It was 9 days later when again the sound of the bell rang when she launched a punitive expedition on the fort that had fired on then. The men from the Colorado inflicted heavy causalities on the Koreans that day.

The bell finished out it days on the first Colorado serving as the receiving ship at the New York Navy Yard and then was stored away when she was scrapped out on 14 February 1885.

It was not until the 10th of December 1896 before the Colorado’s bell again was heard upon the ocean water. Now attached to the bridge of the Monitor USS Puritan she again saw action this time against the Spanish Fleet during the blockage in April 1898 of Cuba. And this bell also sounded General Quarters with Admiral W. T. Sampson during the bombardment of Santiago in May of 1898. After the Spanish-American War the Puritan was relegated to training duties for the U. S. Naval Academy from 1899-1902 and then served as the receiving ship at League Island.

As the Armored Cruiser Colorado was about to be commissioned in January of 1905 her builder William Cramp & Sons found that no provisions were made for a ships bell. And so they requisitioned the first Colorado’s bell from the Puritan, for such a time only as would be required to obtain a permanent bell for her. So as she was commissioned on the 19th of January the Armored Cruiser USS Colorado was piped into commission with the 49-year old bell of the first Colorado attached to her Bridge. This was a much better life for the old bell than setting on a shelf in the Navy Archives. And so at the sound of the old bell now mounted to the new cruiser, a thousand now silent stories of long ago watches could be heard in her chimes.

The Colorado's Bell with the dates of 1856 and 1904
Captain Duncan Kennedy, Colorado's first Commander.

Joining the Atlantic Fleet 11 October 1905, Colorado trained and took part in drills along the east coast and in the Caribbean, as well as participating in ceremonies. In the last week of October 1905 President Teddy Roosevelt was in New Orleans and took transportation back to Washington D.C. on board the West Virginia, which was Admiral Brownson’s flagship. The President aboard the West Virginia was convoyed through the Gulf of Mexico and up the Atlantic East coast with the rest of the Armored Cruiser Squadron consisting of the Maryland, Pennsylvania and Colorado. On the 29th of October the Squadron was fighting a rough northwest gale off the South Carolina coast in which the seas were very high. Admiral Brownson decides that he should put his squadron out to sea to avoid the dangerous waters of the shoals near the coast. The squadron delivered president Roosevelt safely to his destination, although later than planned.

In 1905, the Navy selected the mouth of the Patuxent River as the best site in the tidewater to test the famous Dewey floating dry dock, recently constructed at Sparrow's Point, Baltimore, and completed at Solomon’s Island by the Maryland Steel Company. This mammoth vessel needed deep water for its test and the waters off Solomon’s Island fit the bill. In the final test for the craft the cruiser USS Colorado was dry-docked on Friday June 23rd, followed by the battleship USS Iowa. In both cases, the Dewey passed with flying colors. In the first test with the Colorado the Dewey lifted the Colorado, which her displacement was estimated at 13,500 tons, in two-hours and fifteen minutes a full six feet above the surface of the river.

During 1906 she made an Around the World Cruise. Below are the stops she made:

Port Visited Distance (miles steamed)
Newport, RI
Gibraltar, Spain
3,420
Naples, Italy
980
Piraeus, Greece
670
Port Said, Egypt
600
Suez, Egypt
87
Bombay, India
1,630
Colombo, Ceylon
895
Singapore S.S.
1,585
Manila, P.I.
1,367
Hong Kong
628
Manila, P.I.
628
Shanghai, China
1,360
Nanking, China
190
Shanghai, China
190
Olongapo, P.I.
1,315
Manila, P.I.
73
Kobe, Japan
1,557
Yokohama, Japan
356
Kobe, Japan
356
Chefoo, China
822
Manila, P.I.
1,584
Yokohama, Japan
1,760
Honolulu, T.H.
3,400
San Francisco, CA
2,100
Total Miles Steamed
28,873

During the latter parts of the summer and early fall 1906 the Armored Cruiser Squadron, under command of Rear Admiral Brownson sailed to Mediterranean waters. Brownson’s squadron consisted of the Colorado, Pennsylvania, Maryland and his flagship USS West Virginia. It was reported that on October 9, 1906 all 4 cruisers were anchored in the harbor at Port Said, Egypt having made their voyage there from Phalerum Bay, Greece.

Colorado returned to the East coast and anchored at Oyster Bay, New York, during the Presidential Naval Review held on 4 September 1906. President Teddy Roosevelt reviewed the fleet anchored there. Some of the ships that were reviewed by President Roosevelt were her sister ship the USS Pennsylvania, along with the USS Virginia BB-13, USS New Jersey B-16, USS Florida Monitor No. 9, USS Denver C-14, USS Des Moines C-15, the Auxiliary Cruiser USS Yankee, USS Hopkins. From 1906 to 1909, the Marine Detachment onboard the USS Colorado was commanded by Captain Douglas C. McDougal, MC. McDougal would later become a Major General, and retired from military service on 1 January 1940 with the rank of Major General. General McDougal died on 20 January 1964. On 7 September 1906, she sailed for duty with the Asiatic Fleet. She visited Bombay and Manila during 1906.

The boiler tubes of the Colorado and her sister ship the Pennsylvania became part of a lawsuit levied by the United States Government on October 4, 1906. It was alleged by the Navy Department that thousands of boiler tubes that were installed in the boilers of the Colorado, Pennsylvania, Maine and Georgia were never subjected to government tests. Many of the tubes, which were installed in these vessels was done so after the manufacturer of the tubes had rejected them. A man named Frank L. Emmett, of Sharpsville, PA, brought this fraud to the attention of the Navy Department. Emmett was at the time in charge of the shipping department of the Shelby Steel Tube Company, located in Greenville, PA. and this fraud may have started as early as 1898.

During 1907, Colorado along with the cruisers USS Maryland, USS West Virginia and USS Pennsylvania formed the First Division of the First Squadron, Asiatic Fleet, which was Commanded by Rear Admiral Willard H. Brownson. The USS West Virginia served as Admiral Brownson's Flagship and Captain Sidney Staunton was in Command of the West Virginia. According to a USS Colorado crewman named Nicholas Carroll who wrote a post card to his son William N. Carroll of Malden, Massachusetts, which was dated 29 May 1907 the USS West Virginia and Colorado were both at anchor in the harbor in Kobe, Japan.

After cruising to Japan and China to represent American interests in the Far East, she returned to the west coast and on 2 September 1907 all 4 cruisers of the First Squadron were at anchor in Honolulu, Hawaii and later in the month beginning on 27 September 1907, she participates in exercises along the Californian and Mexican coasts, in the Hawaiian Islands, and off Central and South America.

During 1908 the United States Government has expended over $100,000 (in 1908 dollars) in extending the use of the wireless telegraph, having numerous coast stations and ships equipped with United States Government Wireless sets, on its Alaskan system, which covers many inland places, as well as coast points. The Colorado along with the other 5 ships of her class was such equipped with this type of wireless sets.

On 1 November she was off Magdalena Bay, Mexico and on 31 December 1908 she crossed the equator at 0° Latitude, 82° West Longitude which, is just off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. On 3 September 1909 as stated by a post card from a crew member identified as J.S.R., the Colorado was anchored in the harbor in San Francisco, California Preparing for a cruise to Honolulu, Hawaii for the start of her Far East cruise. 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.

The post card above has a post mark cancellation from the USS Colorado dated 26 December 1911. It was sent by F. J. Smith a crewmen from the Colorado to a F. L. Ficknor aboard the USS Maryland, Pacific Fleet. It reads:

"Have not heard from you, what is the matter."

The front of the post card is of Diamond Head in Hawaii, so F. J. Smith must have bought this while on shore leave sometime when the Colorado was in Hawaii. Smith and Ficknor must have known each other and may have spent time together when the two ships had liberty at the same places.

This post card has a cancellation stamp from the USS Colorado dated 6 December 1912 from Frank aboard the Colorado to a Pearl Smith at the OK Cafe in San Fransisco.

The letter reads:

Dear Pearl,
Will be in Frisco Dec 23, and stay there till Jan 8. See you about xmas.
Frank

So this put the Colorado at San Fransisco during Christmas of 1912.

Ceremonial visits and receptions for dignitaries highlighted the next 2 years, and from November 1911 to July 1912, Colorado returned to the Far East for duty. On 24 September 1911 the West Virginia and the Colorado were reported as arriving at San Diego. The California, South Dakota, West Virginia and Colorado arrived at Santa Monica on 7 October 1911 and then sailed for San Pedro.

The Colorado in 1911 flew the Spokane Trophy Pennant as her gun crews had the best marksmanship of any cruiser or battleship in the Navy. Colorado was the third ship to win the Spokane Trophy, the USS Tennessee was the first ship to win the trophy in 1908. In 1907 the Spokane Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Victor Metcalf, then Secretary of the Navy in which the Spokane Chamber wanted to donate an annual award for Atlantic Fleet turret marksmanship. President Theodore Roosevelt and Secretary Metcalf decided that it should be awarded annually to the battleship or armored cruiser of either fleet that made the highest final merit with all of her turret guns. Trophy costs of $1,500 was paid for and donated by citizens of Spokane, Washington to be awarded to the best battleship or cruiser in the U. S. Navy Fleet. The Spokane Trophy has undergone several changes from 1908 and is still active today being awarded by CINCPACFLT to the surface combatant ship considered to be the most proficient in overall combat systems readiness and warfare operations.

On January 24, 1912 while moored in Honolulu, Hawaii there was a collision between the Colorado and the 16,960-ton German Passenger ship SS Cleveland owned and operated by the Hamburg-Amerika Line. The collision occurred as the Cleveland was being moved into her berth and was under command of the harbor pilot Milton P. Sanders at the time of the accident. As the Cleveland was heading to her berth Sanders dropped dead at the wheel on the bridge, likely of a heart attack and in the confusion on the bridge of the Cleveland she continued and went off course and hit the moored Colorado. The Cleveland struck the Colorado’s stern and loosened several of the Colorado’s armor plates as well as jamming the after 8-inch turret near Captain William A. Gill’s cabin on the Colorado. The Colorado was moved to the dry-dock for repairs and the Navy did not demand reparations for the damage inflicted on the Colorado. The Cleveland was seized by the U.S. Government in 1919 as part of war reparations from Germany and renamed the USS Mobile. The SS Cleveland was built in 1909 by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg, Germany and was the sister ship to the SS Cincinnati which was also seized by the US Navy during WWI and renamed the USS Covington. The Cleveland was scrapped in 1933.

Later in the early part of 1912 Colorado continued westward for duty on the Asiatic Station. On 11 April 1912 Colorado and California were anchored at a target practice rendezvous point near Olongapo, P.I. and held night firing practice. The next day was clear and pleasant and Colorado got underway in company with USS California at 7:52 for Olongapo. Both ships anchored in Olongapo Harbor about noon on the 12th.

Between August and November 1912, Colorado patrolled Mexican waters and on September 5th 1912 landed a battalion of 323 seamen and Marines at Corinto, Nicaragua, raising the strength of Colonel Pendelton’s forces to 2,000 troops. Col. Pendelton then deployed his troops to take control of the railway from Corinto through Managua and to Granada, which was the artery of the revolution there. During this time the Colorado was positioned off the coast of Guaymas, Mexico, protecting Americans working with the Southern Pacific Railroad of Mexico. Life for these resident Americans and their families was fairly routine while protected by the presence of the American Navy and there was the occasional baseball games between the crew of the Colorado and a local Mexican team. There were even invitations to social events such as a ball given by the Constitutionalist faction to celebrate the ousting of Victoriano Huerta, and programs for shipboard entertainments. She patrolled the area until placed in reduce commission at Puget Sound Navy Yard 17 May 1913.

Once more in full commission from 9 February to 26 September 1915 she continued on active duty as flagship of the Pacific Reserve Fleet. A new dispute between the United States and Mexico in June of 1915 threatened to disrupt the temporary calm in the relations between the two countries. It was the threat of marauding Indians to the lives and property of Americans living in the Mexican state of Sonora that brought more tensions to the relations between Mexico and the United States. Mexico had not taken any effective measures to prevent the Indians from attacking U. S. citizens and as a result the American Government responded by dispatching the USS Colorado to the west coast of Mexico. On board the cruiser was the 2nd Battalion of the 4th Marine Regiment, less the 27th Company, which remained in San Diego. The Colorado arrived off Guaymas, Mexico on the 20th of June 1915. As was the case in 1914 the Marines most of who were on the South Dakota and West Virginia the previous year, did not land. After a month in Mexican waters the Colorado returned to San Diego, arriving there on the 30th of July 1915. The 2nd battalion, however, did not disembark the Colorado until the 10th of August.

Just before the United States joined the war in April 1917, many of America's older ships were placed in full commission and crewed by the naval militia, among these was the USS Pueblo. She was renamed Pueblo 9 November 1916 while in overhaul, after which she returned to Mexican waters, to blockade interned German ships. She returned to full commission upon the entry of the United States into World War I.

With the Battles of Coronel and the Falklands in mind, upon outbreak of the war, the Navy Department ordered the Pueblo to become the flagship of the Cruiser Scouting Force patrolling the South Atlantic. She joined Pittsburgh (ACR-4), and Frederick (ACR-8) at Colon, Panama, on 29 May 1917 and then proceeded to the South Atlantic for patrol duty operating from Brazilian ports protecting shipping, paying diplomatic calls to South American ports, and preventing the sailing of German and Austrian ships interned at Bahia, Brazil.

On 14 May 1917 the Destroyer USS Stewart (DD13) is patrolling the harbor entrance outside the mole at Colon when she hears of news that the Pueblo has been in a fight with a German surface raider. Pueblo has 7 holes in her side and the Number 1 and 3 stacks are shot up. During the fight the Pueblo sinks the German raider and took 128 German prisoners and 2 aeroplanes. This took place off Magdalena Bay on the West Coast of Mexico.

From a report from the Stewart the Pueblo on 16 May, was moored to the dock in Balboa along with the USS St. Louis, USS Whipple and the USS Truxtun was in the dry dock. The next day the Pueblo went into the dry dock at Balboa for repairs from her fight with the German Raider. Finished with repairs on 21 May Pueblo comes out of the dry dock and the USS Pittsburg went in. On 10 June 1917 she crossed the equator near the Northeast Coast of Brazil in the South Atlantic Ocean.

Pueblo returned to Norfolk 18 January 1918, and, between 5 February and 16 October, made seven voyages to escort convoys carrying men and supplies to England. During this time she was under the command of Captain Frank B. Upham, who earned the Navy Cross for his command of the Pueblo during the "difficult, exacting, and hazardous" convoy escort missions across the Atlantic. Upham later rose to the rank of Rear Admiral and passed away on September 15, 1939. After carrying the Brazilian ambassador to the United States to Rio de Janeiro, she returned to transatlantic duty, making six voyages between Hoboken and Brest, France, to bring veterans of the American Expeditionary Force home. She arrived at Philadelphia 8 August 1919 and was placed in reduced commission until decommissioned 22 September 1919. In commission for the last time between 2 April 1921 and 28 September 1927, Pueblo served as receiving ship in the 3d Naval District. She was scrapped 2 October 1930.

During World War One the Pueblo had 3 Buglers aboard, one of which was Bugler William Reed Browning. During his time aboard ship from 1917 through 1919 he kept a photo log of life aboard the Pueblo during war time. His album survives today and his grandson, Tom Browning has this photo album today. In the album William Browning made notes next to each photo giving us today a glimpse of what the crew of the old Pueblo experienced during the War Years.

The three Buglers of the USS Pueblo. William Reed Browning is the middle sailor. Follow this link to see the entire photo album of life aboard the Pueblo during World War One.


From "The Owl, December 17, 1900" vol 1 No.2" a school newspaper.

The commonwealth of Colorado is to be represented in Uncle Sam's navy by two new cruisers, the Colorado and the Denver. The Colorado will be one of the six ordered by congress during its last session. Her sisters will be the California, The South Dakota, the Nebraska, the West Virginia and the Maryland. They will be the most up-to date fighting machines of their class and will be capable of attaining a speed of twenty-two knots an hour. Each cruiser will cost $4,250,000.

The Denver is one of another six protected cruisers now undergoing construction in the ship yards at Philadelphia. Four of them are named after trans-Mississippi cities. They are besides the Denver, the Galveston, the Tocoma, the DesMoines, the Cleveland and the Chattanooga. These six are a type less than the Colorado and her companions, costing $1,080,000 and having a speed of seventeen knots per hour. The Denver is contracted to be completed sometime in June 1902.


Three Signalmen on the bridge of the Colorado standing next to the ships compass. Date unknown.


This photo shows the collision from the deck of the Colorado looking aft from her stern and the point of impact with the Cleveland. The impact was on the Cleveland's Starboard side just forward of her bridge.


The Colorado/Pueblo Crews Muster

As I find names and information of men who served on the Colorado/Pueblo I will list them here in this section. If you have a relative who served on this proud old ship please let me know and I will add their names with the others below.


Jack W. Pierce: Pat Hart contacted me about her father Jack W. Pierce who was on the USS Pueblo. Jack W. Pierce was born on Christmas day1898 in Kansas City, Missouri and died 4 June1967 at the VA Hospital in Los Angeles, California. He moved to California some time between 1910 and 1915. Jack W. Pierce joined the U.S. Navy in San Francisco, California on 19 April 1917 and his first ship was the USS Pueblo. Pierce may have been part of the California Naval Militia which was called into active service on 6 April 1917 and was mobilized aboard the ships USS Oregon, USS San Diego and the USS Huntington then at Mare Island. The California Naval Militia was mustered into Federal Service on 3 May 1917. He was discharged 17 April1919 in New York.

Seaman, Verle C. Cunningham, was the son of S. S. Cunningham of Riverdale, Nebraska. He entered the Navy at Omaha on 11 May 1918 and went to Great Lakes Training Center. He was assigned to the USS Pueblo crossing the Atlantic three times during Convoy Duty. He was on board when the Pueblo took the Brazilian ambassador to the United States to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was discharged on 14 February 1919.

Seaman Glenn R. Cunningham, was the brother of Verle C. Cunningham above. He entered the Navy with his brother at Omaha on 11 May 1918 and went to Great Lakes Training Center. He was assigned to the USS Pueblo crossing the Atlantic three times during Convoy Duty. He was on board when the Pueblo took the Brazilian ambassador to the United States to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was discharged on 5 December 1918.

Seaman Wilbert G. Moore: Corrine Gangl shared with me that her great-grandfather, Wilbert G. Moore (born 12/20/1872) served on the USS Colorado during WWI. She has information stating that he's listed on the 1910 US Federal Census Moore is listed on the USS Colorado, Bremerton, WA, Military. Series T624 Roll 1784 Part 3 Pg. 63A.

Curtis Charles Kennon, MM1c: The father and mother of Curtis C. Kennon was Charles Kennon and Anna Strangham. They were married on 21 September 1880 in Buffalo, New York.Curtis C. Kennon was in the navy and was assigned to the USS Colorado. This is known from a document signed by King Neptune Rex on 31 December 1908 where the Colorado crossed the equator at 0 degrees Latitude and 82 degrees longitude. On 1 November 1908 the Colorado was off Magdalena Bay, Mexico as stated on a promotion document signed by the Captain of the Colorado. This Promotion entitled Curtis Kennon to be advanced to Machinist Mate 1st Class. Curtis C. Kennon married Geneva Forsythe on 28 Augus 1913 by James Barber in Niagara Falls, New York. Both Curtis and Geneva were from Niagara Falls and the cerimony was witnessed by Adalaide E. Barber and A. Seymour. During WWI Curtis C. Kennon worked in the U. S. Shipyard as a volunteer in Public Service building ships. This is known from a document with his name on it which was a Certificate of Enrollment for Shipyard Volunteers Reserve to aid the Nation in its imperative need for merchant ships with which to overcome the submarine menace and maintain our forces at the front. This was signed by Edward N. Hurley, Chairman of the United States Shipping Board.

Document Signed by King Neptune showning MM1c Curtis C. Kennon has been enrolled a Loyal Subject to His Most Gracious and Royal Majesty Neptunus Rex, Monarch of the Sea and Ruler of the Finny Tribes on 31 December 1908 as they crossed the equator at 0° Latitude and 82° West Longitude. The information on MM1c Kennon was shared by Larry Hauck who was not related to MM1c Kennon but he has this document in his private collection.

Robert Quick, Ships Cook USS Pueblo. Jerry Quick contacted me about his father who served aboard the USS Pueblo. He shared the following photos and writes :

My father's name was Robert Quick. He was born 1-27-1899 at Cripple Creek, CO, and died 12-3-1967 at Boise, ID. He moved to Caldwell, ID and in 1908 he joined the Navy on 2 April 1917 at San Francisco, CA. His first ship was the USS Pueblo. He served on numerous other ships, including the USS Allen, USS Barney (plank owner), USS Oklahoma, and USS Billingsley. He was discharged 23 July 1920 and reenlisted and finally discharged 23 July 1923 at Newport, RI. He was a ships cook, possibly not a very good one, considering all the ships he was on! In 1918 he went to Vladivostok with the AEF to Russia. I have one photo possibly from there. He was also at Peking, China later that year, and I have several photos from there. I don't know what ship he went to the Far East on, but I think it was the USS Allen. I have many photos from the Allen. I do know he was on that ship after the Pueblo and before the Barney, so the timeframe fits. The ship histories I have found on the internet are incomplete, and I find no record of the Allen going to Vladivostok. He was on the Barney from immediately after its commissioning 3-14-1919 at Philadelphia until his first discharge in July 1920. I have the program for the Barney's first birthday party March 14, 1920 at Pensacola. It includes the ship's roster as well as the ports of call during its first year, which include many in Turkey, Greece, Russia and Rumania. I have many photos from the Barney, including locations such as Constantnople, Smyrna, and the Corinth Canal. I don't know much about his second hitch except that his last ship was the Billingsley. I have no idea when he was on the Oklahoma. His flat hat was from that ship, and I think it must have been during his second hitch. I have many interesting pictures of many ships and aircraft. Below are some photos during the time he was stationed on the Pueblo.

USS Pueblo circa 1917-1919

Ringside seats for the Officers of the USS Pueblo during a boxing match on the deck. Robert Quick made notations on the back of this photo and identified some of the men with numbers he wrote on the men. They are: 1 is Captain Cole our Commanding Officer. 2 is Lt. Gonzoles of the Brazilian Navy who came to the States with us. 3 is Lt. Scott our Division Officer. 4 is Commander Jackson our Executive Officer. 5 is Lt. Cmdr. Monger our Ships Doctor. 6 is Lt. Semple our Gunnery Officer. 7 is Lt. Cmdr. Garsalon.

The Pueblo as she transits the Panama Canal at Pedto Miguel Locks. You can see sailors crouded on the deck of the Pueblo as she enters the Lock.

Another view from the Pueblo as she is transiting the Canal during 1917.

King Neptune and his royal court are welcomed aboard the Pueblo as his loyal subjects bow to his will. Poly-Wogs undergo the ancient and solemn rites and become shell-backs as they cross the Equator on June 10, 1917 as King Neptune is supervising a young officer in removing his trousers. It is tradition that the sailor who has crossed the Equator the most times is crowned King Neptune and is in command of the ceremonies. Robert Quick would have received a certificate showing that he was enrolled a Loyal Subject to Neptune Rex, which the wording would have gone something like this:

Neptunus Rex

Monarch of the Sea and Ruler of the Finny Tribes

To all Good Sailors Around The World...Greetings

Know all ye men, by these presents that Robert Quick the holder of this Certificate has this day been enrolled a Loyal Subject to His Most Gracious and Royal Majesty Neptunus Rex, Monarch of the Sea and Ruler of the Finny Tribes, and is a Member of the crew of the USS Pueblo bound from Christobal, Canal Zone to Bahia, Brazil, Latitude 0° West, Longitude 36°-10' and has faithfully partaken of the ancient and solemn rites administered by Neptunus Rex and His court.

In witness whereof we have given this day our Royal Patent under our Seal and Signet which shall not be annulled.

Should said subject fall overboard into our element, he shall be granted Our Royal Protection, and all Mermaids, Whales, Sharks, Crabs, Dolphins, Porpoises, Skates, Kelpies, Eels, Water-Sprits, Lobsters, Poly-Wogs, Google Zoogles and other inhabitants of Our realm, shall receive and treat him as a fellow subject and must refrain from worrying, or otherwise maltreating him in any way.

And it is also ordained that all Sailors, Landlubbers, Marines, Landsharks, Pirates, Beachcombers and Sea-Lawyers, who have not yet crossed Our Royal Domain, shall treat him with all respect due to Our Loyal Subject.

Given under Our Hand at the Royal Equatorial Court, on the 10th day of June, 1917, according to computations earthly.

Signed Neptunus Rex

On this trip across the Equator the Pueblo was traveling with her sister ships the Frederick and Pittsburgh. This is known as I have in my collection a certificate of C. N. Watson who underwent the ancient rites aboard the USS Frederick on the same day as Robert Quick on the Pueblo. The Pueblo was joined by the Pittsburgh (ACR-4), and the Frederick (ACR-8) at Colon, Panama, on 29 May 1917 then proceeded to the South Atlantic for patrol duty operating from Brazilian ports.

Above are two wartime censored form letters that Robert Quick has filled out and sent to his mother. The instructions state to place a cross opposite the expression you wish to use. The one on the left is dated June 8, 1917 and it reads like this:

"Dear Mother, I am well. Last letter from you was dated April 26. Glad to know you are well. Sorry I am unable to do as you request, Remember me to everybody. Will send money at first opportunity. Please send me some paper and other stuff to read. Hope to hear from you soon.Love. Love to all the family. I regret that owing to the censorship regulations, I am unable to give any further news or information. R. Quick"

The second form letter is dated September 16, 1917. Again it is to his mother and reads like this:

"Dear Mother, I am well. Last letter from you was dated August 10, 1917. Glad to know you are well. Remember me to all and (unreadable). Please send me papers and pictures of your self. Thanks for the papers received. Hope to hear from you soon. Address me on USS Pueblo, care Postmaster, New York City, NY. Best regards. Love. Love to all the family. I regret that owing to the censorship regulations, I am unable to give any further news or information. Robert Quick"


Oiler Frank Thompson Legge

Flo Legge who's husband's grandfather, Frank Thompson Legge served on the USS Colorado contacted me and shared with me this information and photos of Frank Thompson Legge medals. This is what she shared with me: "I have been researching my husbands family tree and I just recieved his grandfathers military records. His grandfather served in the United States Navy here in Rhode Island. I went crazy trying to find naturalized papers for Frank when he became a citizen of the USA. Well he was born Francis Thompson and when he went into the service here in Newport, Rhode Island, he found he could get naturalization papers for his enlistement into the US Navy. His full name at the time of enlistment was Frank Thompson and was given the option of a name change when he entered the Navy. Why he changed his name to Legge is not known, the Legge name is Italian and Frank was Irish. At the time of his enlistment he was given his naturalization papers. And so his full name after 1900 was Frank Thompson Legge."

This is what she found in his military records:

Frank Thompson Legge joined the USN in Newport on June 9th 1900. Frank was born Francis Thompson in Ireland, Fadien Island May 31st 1874. He came to United States according to census records in 1900, and went directly to Newport, Rhode Island where he resided most of his military life and trained at the Newport, Rhode Island Torpedo Station. He was on the ship USS Colorado as of March 31st, 1905 at Puget Sound, Washington. His occupation was Oiler at the time. He held a certificate as Machinist's Class and his trade was Mariner. He was age 34 yrs 6 months at this time on the Colorado. He was on the Colorado from March 31st, 1905 until August 7th 1908. Previous to duty on the Colorado he served on the USS Hancock December 31, 1904 to February 14, 1905. He also served on the following ships: USS Constellation June 30th, 1900 to June 8th 1904. Later he returned to USS Constellation and served one month in March 28, 1913 as a fireman. After duty on the Colorado he served on the USS Salem, November 22, 1916 to December of 1916. And during WWI transferred to the USS San Francisco, June 8th 1917 through March 27th 1918. He was on a recieving ship in Boston and at Newport Hospital on some of the in between dates. Each time his duty was up he reinlisted into the Navy.

Above are two medeals of Frank Thompson Legge. Flo Legge shared that at a recent family reunion a family member who had just recently moved found a box of her late mothers items and in it was a couple of medals of Frank Thompson Legge. One of which was the Mexican Campaighn Medal, pictured on the left and the other medal to the right states on it USS Colorado and the bar that is at the end of the ribbon says Torpedo Station (Newport, Rhode Island) also on back of this medal it has his name on it.

According to the 1910 Federal Census Frank Legge was 36 years old and his birth year was listed as 1873. His home in 1910 was Newport, Rhode Island. In 1920 he was serving on the ship USS San Francisco and was stationed in Philidelphia, PA. His first marriage was in 1909 to Annie G. Summerville. She immigrated in 1907 from Ireland and became a citizen in 1909. According to the 1920 Federal Census, Annie G. Legge was married to Frank T. Legge and lived in Melrose, Massachusetts with children Dorothy, Constance, Vincent, and Raymand. Annie died July 19th 1923 of unknown reason. Frank went right into the Navy in Newport, Rhode Island June 9th 1900 upon his arrival to the United States.

His second marriage was to Mary T. McCLinton in September of 1924. Together Frank and Mary had one child born of this marriage, son George. In the 1930 Federal Census Frank T. Legge is listed as being 57 years old and his birth year was listed as 1872. He lived at 17 Payton Street in Providence, Rhode Island in a rented house. The rent payment was $50 per month. He owned a Radio Set and was married to Mary T. who was 44 years old in 1930. Frank listed himself as being born in the Irish Free State as was his father and mother. Mary T. listed her country of birth as Scotland as were her father and mother. Frank listed 1899 as the year he immigrated to the United States. Mary T. listed 1910 as the year she immigrated to the States. Frank and Mary did not have a occupation listed. Frank was listed as a veteran of World War One. The children listed on the 1930 Federal Census were:

Dorothy a single female age 19 born in Rhode Island and worked as a salesman in a department store.
Constance V. a single female age 18 born in Rhode Island and worked as a salesman in a department store.
Raymond F. age 11 and born in Rhode Island.
Vincent R. age 14 and was born in Massachusetts.
George C. age 4 years 3 months born in Rhode Island.

Frank died September 30th 1938 and was buried in Brayman Cemetery, Newport, Rhode Island, with a military funeral. Frank's career was the Navy and he loved the military life but in 1929 Frank retired from the Navy in Charleston, NC, with a Honorable discharge because of medical problems and resided in Providence, Rhode Island on Payton Street until his death in the Newport Naval Hospital in Rhode Island.


Musiciam Wilfred Williams

Wilfred Williams was a “Brit” who joined the United States Navy and was a cornet player from 1916-1922. In fact Wilfred Williams was a member of the ships band serving aboard the Armored Cruiser USS Pueblo. Williams was born in Wigan, Lancashire, England, on June 12, 1897.

Wilfred’s mother was named Mary Elizabeth Williams and she had 9 children all born in England. According to Wilfred’s son, Jim Williams, Mary Elizabeth about 1900 ran off to Canada with a man named Thomas Northey who was a Welsh coal miner, as was all of Mary Elizabeth’s family. Why she went to Canada is unknown but family stories say she had a cousin or distant relative by the name of Bob Fitzimmons, a boxer who was born a short distance from where Mary Elizabeth lived. She was born in Chasewater, Cornwall U.K.

Thomas Northey had a brother named Jack Northey in Wales U.K. Jack like his brother was also a boxer and he went by the name of “Jack the Mountain Fighter.” Jack Northerly fought bare-knuckle in Wales and had held the record of the longest recorded fight that lasted 73 rounds to his credit. It was said Bob Fitzimmons was taking on all comers and so Mary Elizabeth and Thomas Northey arranged for a fight between “Jack the Mountain Fighter” and Bob Fitzimmons, which was probably why she went to Canada. Unfortunately Jack Northey was drowned while staying with her brother in the Johnstown floods of 1907 before any fight could be arranged.

Mary Elizabeth Williams started to send for her children one at a time and first to arrive from England was Arthur, then his sister Ethel, and his other sister Alice who died of typhoid while crossing the ocean to Canada. Then Mary Elizabeth Williams sent for Wilfred about 1909. Mary Elizabeth Williams supposedly married Tom Northey about 1905 and being both were from mining families took Wilfred and Ethel and left Canada and moved to Utah. Arthur was left in Canada because he had married a woman named Daisy Chamberlain. Arthur Williams joined the Canadian army in 1915 and went to France to fight, returning in 1919.

Wilfred Williams who hated working in the mines, decided to join the United States Navy, so he in 1916 went off to enlist. Family stories told of Wilfred while in the navy tell of his befriending a Jewish sailor and together they started a tailor shop making bespoke custom navy uniforms. This may have been in San Diego, California, as it was known that he was stationed there from family stories. More Family stories passed down to Wilfred’s son Jim Williams stated that Wilfred was a musician and played the cornet in the navy and Wilfred telling of stories about selling war bonds with Charlie Chaplin. Wilfred Williams according to family stories served on the USS Pueblo but it is not know how long he was aboard ship.

When Wilfred Williams was discharged from the Navy in 1922, he went to visit his mother Mary Elizabeth in Helper, Utah. Wilfred did not like Utah and sold his cornet, which was Silver to get enough money to go to Pennsylvania to visit an uncle who’s last name may have been Odgers, looking for work in the coal mines but had no luck.

In short Pennsylvania wasn't much better than Utah as far as finding work so Wilfred hopped a train back to San Francisco, California to rejoin the US Navy but at the flip of a coin decided he had to visit his brothers that were still back in England. One brother had gone to South Africa to work the Gold mines and he joined the South African Army in 1914 where he died in Cape Town sometime in 1963 or 1964. The other brother remained all his life in Wales. When Mary Elizabeth passed away in 1926 she was buried under the name of Northey. She was laid to rest in the Price, Utah Cemetery, where her grandson Jim Williams on a visit from England had contacted a local stonemason about placing a stone on her gravesite. Jim described it in this way, “I walked into his office, explained what I wanted, gave him the plot number and paid him in full, and left to return to England not knowing if he would do the job. But he was honest and came through, now could you do that today?”

Wilfred never returned to the United States, as after his mother died he had no reason to return. Wilfred Williams did receive a veteran’s pension from United States Government from 1968 until he died in Southampton, England on March 23, 1979.

Seaman Bror Sigfrid Eliasson

CBM Eliasson's gravestone in the
San Francisco National Cemetery.

In mid summer 1910 as the Colorado is in the Bremerton Navy Yard the Federal Census is taken and on July 30 Seaman Bror Sigfrid Eliasson’s name is recorded. Seaman Eliasson was at the time a 32-year old single man, born in Sweden about 1877 or 1878. Eliasson would come to America, join the U. S. Navy and rise through the ranks until he had obtained the rating of Chief Boatswain Mate. CBM Bror S. Eliasson would pass away on April 8 of 1926 and he was buried in the San Francisco National Cemetery, Section A, Site 1113.

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 Find-A-Grave.com.

Corporal Earl Law Snyder, USMC Marine Detachment USS Pueblo

Above on the right is Corporal Earl Law Snyder, USMC the sailor on the left is not identified.
Corporal Snyder during his Recruiting tour seen posing as a boxer, after the First World War.

Earl Law Snyder was born on September 30, 1898 in Oregon to Jacob E. (1868-1931) Olive Edith Law Snyder (1874-1931). Snyder sometimes went by the nickname of ‘Gomper’ during his life. Earl ‘Gomper’ Snyder passed away in March of 1979 in Kings County, Washington. His body was cremated and his ashes were scattered along the beach at the Adobe Hotel in Yachats, Oregon. Yachats is a small coastal city in Lincoln County, Oregon and the Adobe Hotel is now known as the Adobe Resort located along Highway 101 in Yachats. Earl was married likely after he was discharged from the Marine Corps in 1921. Her name was Gladas V. Cury (Feb. 25, 1903- July 24, 1992) and when she passed away her body was cremated and her ashes were spread along the same spot where Earl’s ashes were spread 13-years before. Earl and Galdas had one daughter named Lajune Snyder McPherson Samples (1923-1968). There was little doubt that Earl had something to do with picking her first name of Lajune, after all she was the daughter of a Marine so what could be a more fitting Marine name. Earl ‘Gomper’ Snyder enlisted into the United States Marine Corps in 1916 and served through 1921.

The following are excerpts of the autobiography of Corporal Earl Law Snyder.

The next four years I will skip over rather hurriedly, and I believe that military service is pretty much the same, as it always has been, since the times of the Roman conquest to the present. Of course, the weapons have become more deadly and more impersonal, and probably more cruel, but the life and (unreadable) has not changed too much. The Marine Corps is a hard school, but it does do some good to the men who go through it, and I think it did some good for me.

One of the benefits I received from military was travel. The accommodations were far from first class, but I did get a lot of travel.

Everyone seemed to think that United States involvement in the war in Europe, if any, would be naval, and as Villa was no longer a threat, I volunteered for sea duty. When my boot training was complete, I was assigned to a detachment to serve on the USS Pueblo, which was anchored in San Diego, California, and in a few weeks was at sea enroute to Panama Canal Zone. There, the cruiser was in dry dock for about two-weeks, and then went through the canal to Balboa, where we took on coal. Soon after we were at sea again, under sealed orders.

Somewhere among my souvenirs, I must have record of dates of my comings and goings, but for this story I don’t think that dates are too important, so I will just try to give a general idea, which should be close enough. The first port of call after leaving Panama was Bahia, Brazil. Then on to Rio de Janeiro, then on to Montevideo, Uruguay, and a two or three week trip up the Platte River to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

For a year or more, the Pueblo, along with three other cruisers of the south Atlantic fleet, was on patrol along the coast of South America and Africa. Montevideo and Rio de Janeiro were the two homeports, and the men were given lots of shore leave.

The principle mission of the fleet was to run down the German raider Count Von Luckner, but we learned later that he had sailed around the horn and was raiding in the south Pacific. The second mission was diplomatic and in this we were a little more successful, as Brazil and Uruguay did enter the war on our side and Argentina at least remained neutral.

I fell in love with Latin America. I liked everything about it, and felt that some day I would surely go back there, and in a small measure this dream did come true.

I was so very homesick for my family. The mail came about once a month by coal ship and everything seemed so far away. We did not even know how the war was going except that the United States was sending over a great army of men including a large force of Marines. So, when the Pueblo sailed toward the north, I was pleased even though I felt regrets at leaving the wonderful land of the Southern Cross, and the smiling Latin’s and the warm, reversed seasons.

The harbor at Newport News was blocked with ice when we arrived, but it seemed good to go ashore again in the States. We sailed north to New Hampshire where we were in dry dock for a couple of weeks, then to New York where we started escorting convoys of troop ships to Brest, France.

While I was aboard, I was made permanent Corporal, which was no small accomplishment when you consider that the detachment consisted of about sixty-five men, most of whom were old time professional soldiers. We accompanied five convoys, and then I was selected to attend Officers Training School at Quantico, Virginia. Living aboard ship in the cold North Atlantic was miserable and I was glad to get ashore.

There followed about four months of rugged training and then all hell broke loose. The war was over. I was never quite sure which side won. I think that maybe both sides lost. Anyway, I was given a thirty-day leave, and told to report for duty at Bremerton Navy Yard. While I had been away, my family had moved to Corvallis, Oregon, so I did not get to go back to Pendleton. My dad had served as a chaplain at Fort Lewis, Washington during the war. It was good to see the folks again after over two years. I missed all my Pendleton friends, but all of my dreams of that time included my folks. It never entered my head at that time that someday they would be gone.

Wayne and Raymond were both married and Walter had grown up while I was away. They were all living in Corvallis. I had a few pleasant months of service at Bremerton, and was then transferred to Mare Island to join a recruiting tour of the Pacific Coast and Rocky Mountain states, which took about six months. The detail consisted of the Mare Island Marine Band, and several stage acts. My part was boxing and we played in all the major cities and towns of the west.

A view of the ice filled Hampton Roads taken from the Pueblo in January 1918. The ship in the center is the battleship USS Missouri (BB-11) and several wooden three and five masted sailing ships can be seen on the far side of the Missouri. This photo came from Corporal Snyder, USMC of the Pueblo’s Marine Detachment. Photo of newly ducked Shellbacks during the crossing made on June 10, 1917. This photo came from the collection of Corporal Earl Law Snyder, USMC who was then serving in the Marine Detachment aboard the Pueblo.

A photo of the beach area at the Adobe Resort in Yachats, Oregon where Earl and Galdas Snyder’s ashes were scattered.

Ellis P. Robertson, Musician, USS Pueblo

Ellis P. Robertson, was a musician, and served his country on the USS Pueblo during WWI. He was born in the Deep South, near Ellisville, Mississippi on August 13, 1890. Robertson went to school at Ruskin Cave, Tennessee, taught school in Arkansas, met a young lady while visiting a friend in Newton, Kansas, and a romance continued throughout the war, and they were married in Kansas April 30, 1919. Robertson kept a journal beginning at the time he left home in about 1908, and continued through the end of the war in 1918. One of the USS Pueblo’s tailors had custom made his wedding suit, and Robertson’s daughter today has a silver server that was a wedding gift from the same gentleman.

Among the personal effects Robertson’s daughter has today is a copy of Capt. F. B. Upham’s Neptune’s welcome, a two-page typewritten (carbon) of the oration welcoming his Majesty King Neptune once again aboard the Pueblo as an introduction to the ceremonies for the first-timers crossing the equator.

Robertson’s daughter, Mary Joan Robertson Anderson of Topeka, Kansas describes the Neptune welcome, “It is quite eloquent and complimentary of the men on board. I remember dad describing that baptism and had it figured how he could escape after one (each) of the administrator’s paddles across his backside.” She went on to tell how, “He referred to the disappointment of the officers and crew of the Pueblo when on April 2, 1918 Admiral Sims (in command of the flotilla of destroyers in European waters) relayed orders telling them not to report in at Brest, France, but to return to America. They promptly swung around and bid farewell to the transports and destroyers and began the homeward voyage.”

The convoy consisted of the Martha Washington, Finland, Occidental, and the Powhattan. Three of those carried troops, the other ammunition, airplanes, etc. Aboard the Pueblo there were 10-12 cases of diphtheria in the sick bay, and the scuttlebutt on the ship was that they were going to put in at Newport; RI, and transfer some sick men before going to Portsmouth, NH for repairs. The seas had been rough from some heavy weather, and there were hopes of some furloughs. It turned out the Pueblo was “lost at sea” for about 24 hours as they lost their bearings in the fog while “laying to” and awaiting orders.

After transferring the sick, more outbreaks of diphtheria occurred and the medics swabbed the throats of all the men on board twice a day with iodine. There was a 24-or 48-hr Liberty for the Starboard watch, but Robertson and a couple friends (Wahrenbrock and Monfort) got Liberty and left the Pueblo, attended a church, and spent the night at the Army, Navy Association. When they returned to the ship, the quarantine flag was flying. Those with rated furloughs could not go back aboard, and those men aboard were not able to leave the ship. So it turned out that Robertson got a free 12-dayfurlough and took the train back to Mississippi and surprised his family after being gone for over two years.

Robertson later used to tell his daughter that while the Pueblo was at sea, the band rehearsed and played concerts on the main deck around noontime, and for officers’ dinners/parties, as well as other events. She remembers his lingering resentment that when the ship entertained dignitaries, and some of the coveted ice cream was served to the officers and guests, the band members who played all evening without a break were not served any, and that which was left at the end of the evening was thrown overboard. The day before his furlough, the band members had been held back to play for a funeral; however, the ground was so frozen, they couldn’t bury the body, so they had to postpone it.

After her fathers death in 1981 Mary Joan Robertson commented that, “Needless to say, it was my privilege to be the one to retain his journals from his early life and time in the navy, and I really learned to know my father, not just at the age when I knew him, but before I was born, as he faced the world and challenges of life. His tiny New Testament, worn and obviously much used, undoubtedly was a part of his personal uniform, and his life attested to its frequent use and source for guidance.”


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This page is owned by Joe Hartwell ©2004-2014. This page was created on 17 February, 2004 and last modified on: 3/16/14

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