U.S. Coast Guard Lightships

& Those of the U.S. Lighthouse Service


VESSEL DESIGNATION: LV 4


YEAR BUILT: 1855

BUILT AT: Boston Navy Yard

BUILDER: Same

APPROPRIATION: ?

CONTRACT PRICE: ? (Funds appropriated for lightship "for Bishop & Clerks in the Vineyard Sound")

SISTER VESSELS: None

DESIGN: Wood-white oak, locust & yellow pine; copper, iron, and locust treenail fastenings; 2 masts; daymarks at both mastheads

LENGTH: 770" (lbp)

BEAM: 20'0" DRAFT: 9'6"

TONNAGE: 104 gross

PROPULSION: Sail-schooner rig

ILLUMINATING APPARATUS: Single lantern on main, 8 Argand fountain, Funck burner oil lamps with reflectors

FOG SIGNAL: Hand operated 978-lb bell


CONSTRUCTION NOTES - MODIFICATIONS - EQUIPMENT CHANGES & IMPROVEMENTS:

Beached at Hyannis, repaired/refitted 1868 Jul; 1871; 1885; 1888-
Major overhauls at New Bedford 1872; 1876; 1893; 1899; 1900-
1878: Rebuilt, reported "old and worn out"-
1879: "No berths are on this vessels berth deck, but hammocks are used instead, to the advantage of the crew and cleanliness of the vessel"-
1919: Equipped with radio-
1920: Illuminant changed from oil to acetylene-
1920: Submarine bell signal installed

STATION ASSIGNMENTS:

1856-1858: Bishop and Clerks (MA)
1858-1916: Handkerchief Shoal (MA)
1916-1924: Relief (MA)

(1869 Station moved "short distance northward" to reduce risk of collision)
(1897 "Now shows 2 lights")
(Prior to 1867 when No. 4 was assigned, official records identify this vessel by the name of station on which it served)


HISTORICAL NOTES: 

1856, Jan 10, placed on Bishop & Clerks (MA) until lighthouse activated in 1858-
1858, Oct 1, placed on Handkerchief Shoal (MA)-
Passing vessels collided with this vessel in 1874 Sep 6; 1876 Aug & Oct 10; 1880; 1881; 1883 (2); 1885; 1887 Jul; 1890 Sep; 1899 Aug 15; 1899 Jun 6; 1902 Jan 27, Mar 18; 1903 Sep 15; 1907 Mar 12. Except for 3 instances of coal barges under tow, all involved sailing vessels. In 1885, records state "she has suffered more from collision than any other lightship in the district."  Investigations concluded these accidents were "invariably" caused by vessels failing to allow for tidal current while attempting to cross the bow of the lightship.-
1874, Nov 17: parted chain, sailed to Hyannis awaiting replacement-
1875: Carried off station by moving ice, slipped chain and put to sea, off station 12 days-
1879, Jan 4: broke adrift in heavy gale, off station 18 days-
1884: Logged 21,109 vessels passing station during the year - 4 full rigged ships, 212 barks, 281 brigs, 18,221 schooners, 148 sloops and 2,247 steamers-
1898: Nov 27, dragged halfway to Cross Rip in gale back on station Dec 4-
1899: Feb 13, dragged 1 mile southwest of station, off station 2 days-
1916: Withdrawn and assigned as Relief (MA) until 1924

More notes:

RETIRED FROM LIGHTSHIP DUTY: 1924

AGE: 33

SUBSEQUENT DISPOSITION: 

Surveyed and condemned 1924; sold 1925 - Said to have been burned at Boston in 1940s.


COMMANDING OFFlCERS: LV 4

? - 1884: Stephen Howes, Keeper
1886-1890: A L Ellis, Asst Keeper
1890(1 mo. ): Charles E Ireland, Asst Keeper
1890-1893: A L Ellis, Keeper
1893-1902: A L Ellis, Master
1903-1904: Theodore B Brown, Mate
1906-1907: James B Frizzel, Mate
1907-?: Josiah P Hatch, Mate
?-1914: Ebenezer F Kelley, Mate
1914-1915: Walter D Chase, Mate
1915: Seth N Baker, Mate
1915: M F Rogers, Mate
1915-1918: William Kelley, Mate


A photo of LV 4, 1895

"HANDKERCHIEF LIGHT-VESSEL, NO. 4, MASS."  Scanned from the 1901 Light List, Plate VIII.  Photographer unknown, no date listed (circa 1900).

Office of the Lighthouse Board. List of Lights and Fog Signals on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States. Corrected to June 30, 1901. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1901. 


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Last Modified 2/29/2012