Saturday, February 09, 2008

Horace Johnson / Joshua A. Hatfield

Who are we?

The Horace Johnson was built by the American Ship Building Company in Lorain, Ohio and launched on June 20, 1929. The ship was built for the Pittsburgh Steamship Company. On January 1st, 1953; as a result of restructuring, the Pittsburgh Steamship Company was renamed Pittsburgh Steamship Division, U.S. Steel Corporation. The Horace Johnson and her fleet mates, including the Joshua A. Hatfield, were transferred directly to U.S. Steel Corporation. The ship last sailed until 1980 and was eventually scrapped at Thunder Bay, Ontario, in June 1984. The Joshua A. Hatfield was also built by the American Ship Building Company for the Pittsburgh Steamship Company. She was launched on January 25, 1923. The Joshua A. Hatfield plied the Great Lakes for over 50 years before making her last run in 1977. The ship was sold Hyman-Michaels Company of Duluth, Minnesota on July 1, 1984 for scrapping. She was eventually scrapped in 1988.


Anonymous MikeM said...

Two Pittsburg Steamship boats being towed, but to where? Scrapyard? They look too new and both seem to have their boilers fired up. To a winter lay up?

February 16, 2008 10:44 PM  
Anonymous The Rock said...

You know, I will go out on a limb again and may even fall off ( again). I am not sure those two Pittsburgers are being towed. Rare for one tug to be towing two, and in those cases where they are towed in tandem, they are towed hull to hull, no separation between the two. And even a single tow consists of both a tug in front and one astern to keep the towed vessel in line.
Could be a single tow, with the older vessel being towed, but as Mikem says, these both look like they are under steam, so why?
Names of the two vessels? Good questions. About 20 vessels are in the running.

February 17, 2008 8:03 AM  
Anonymous MikeM said...

Is the one on the right in the photo being towed, while the one on the left is passing it?

February 17, 2008 12:46 PM  
Anonymous the rock said...

I'd give that some credibility,mikem, but the passing vessel appears to be or so close to the towed vessel. Way too close, unless its the angle of the camera. Better get out Chapman's Guide, and see if the skipper is in violation. Calm water works to his benefit, but I would be nervous if I were on that tug.

February 17, 2008 4:56 PM  
Blogger jim said...

The two steamers are rafted together. You can see the forward mooring lines stretching between the ships. I imagine the boat with the lesser amount of smoke is the damaged vessel, the same one which the tug is yanking. The other vessel, rafted with her stern farther back than the damaged vessel would provide power and rudder. Out on the lake, if calm, the two boats could proceed without the tug, but I'm sure it was necessary to have the tug in the rivers- perhaps the Coast Guard even demanded it. I've never seen this done before, but I have heard old-timers talk about doing it on Cliffs boats. Just some thoughts!

February 17, 2008 11:09 PM  
Anonymous MikeM said...

Interesting. For all that smoke, they're hardly making a ripple on the water.

February 17, 2008 11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect that the Silver Stacker on the "left" is the Horace Johnson. Four boats (Affleck/Johnson/Lamont, and Williams) had a 2nd level cabin added in the 1940's in front of the stack. Although blurry, it appears that the boat has two names, not initials for first and middle name.

March 11, 2008 7:36 AM  
Blogger scooterboy said...

My late uncle Benson "Buck" Griffith served as the Chief Engineer on the Joshua A. Hatfield before he retired.
I was on the ship while she was docked in Cleveland, before she was sold.

August 21, 2009 9:11 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Just came across this after my brother sent some pics and I Googled - My great-grandfather on my mother's side (Cynthia Smith) was master of the Hatfield for some time. In our house was a giant blowup B&W picture of the Hatfield sailing thru ice on the river (I still have a small version).

When I was growing up, during a visit to my grandparent's house, my brother and I (maybe 10 years old, so 1970?) jumped out of the car and ran to their back yard, right on the St. Clair River, and the Hatfield was just passing by. I believe that was the last time she sailed.

I researched her for some stuff to give to my mother as a gift, came across a postcard, 2 news articles about her (1st long steamer to honor a VIP passing by anchoring and blowing her horn for a time, after she was moored to be decommissioned, a huge storm broke her moorings and she blew across the bay, beaching on the other side). I also contact a former porter (for 1 season), which was nice. Also found someone who had pics of her being cut up - which I did not share with mom. :-)

Only saw her once, but she was a big part of my life growing up!

March 07, 2019 10:22 AM  

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