Ships in World War II Bearing Kansas Names
May 1947 (Vol. 15, No. 2), pages 113 to 126
Transcription and HTML composition by Tod Roberts;
digitized with permission of the Kansas Historical Society.
AT LEAST fifty-four vessels in World War II were named for Kansans, or for cities, counties and rivers of the state. They included twenty-one navy ships and thirty-three cargo vessels of the U. S. Maritime Commission.
Of these 54 vessels five were named for war heroes, 29 for other individuals associated with Kansas, nine for cities of the state, eight for counties and three for rivers.
The five vessels named for war heroes were navy fighting ships, honoring native Kansans who met death in enemy action. Five other navy ships carried the names of Kansas cities, and eleven navy ships bore the names of counties and rivers in the state.
Four Victory cargo vessels of the U. S. Maritime Commission also were named for cities of the state and 29 Liberty cargo ships for individual Kansans.
The number of navy vessels bearing names of Kansas heroes or names associated with Kansas, by type, were: Two cruisers, one heavy (CA) and one light (CL); two destroyers (DD); three destroyer escorts (DE); three frigates (PF); two cargo, attack vessels (AKA); five transport, attack vessels (APA); one barrack ship, self-propelled (APB), and three oilers (AO).
The cruisers named for Kansas cities were the U. S. S. Wichita and U. S. S. Topeka.
Two destroyers, U. S. S. Hawkins and U. S. S. Timmerman, were named for marine corps heroes born in Kansas, who lost their lives in enemy action in the Pacific and who posthumously received the Congressional Medal of Honor. Three destroyer escorts bore the names of navy heroes, two of them airplane pilots. These vessels were: U. S. S. Kendall C. Campbell, U. S. S. Tabberer and U. S. S. Wintle.
Frigates were named for three Kansas cities: Emporia, Hutchinson and Abilene.
Kansas counties for which the navy named cargo, transport and barrack ships were: Clay, Haskell, Kingman, Logan, Ottawa, Rawlins, Sheridan and Trego.
Ships were named for these Kansas rivers: Caney, Chikaskia and Neosho.
Names of Liberty ships were chosen from more than 60 categories. Liberty vessels were named for 29 individuals associated with Kansas, who held the following posts or practiced these professions:
Agriculturist, American Legion national commander, aviator, builders who developed various natural resources, cabinet member, missionary, educators, engineers, explorers, governors, editors, jurists, pioneers and regional heroes, scientist, railroad men, senators, nurses, women noted in American history and writers.
Four cities after which Victory ships were named were selected as being representative of Kansas communities. The selection was made by the naming committee of the U. S. Maritime Commission, with the navy's approval.
The first launching of a Liberty ship named in honor of a Kansan was the David J. Brewer. Brewer was a Leavenworth jurist who served on both the state supreme court and federal circuit bench prior to more than 20 years' service as an associate justice of the U. S. supreme court. The David J. Brewer went down the ways November 26, 1942, followed in less than a month by the Jim Bridger and Amelia Earhart.
The first Victory ship named for a Kansas city was the Atchison Victory which was launched on April 22, 1944. Other Victory vessels bearing the names of cities within the state were: Chanute Victory, Coffeyville Victory and Salina Victory.
While Liberty and Victory ships are both cargo vessels, identical in carrying capacity, the Liberty is somewhat easier and faster to build and was turned out in great numbers early in the war. It was later superseded by the Victory ship, a vessel of more refined hull lines and 50 to 75 per cent faster than the Liberty, whose speed of 10 to 12 knots was ideal for mixed convoy work. However, the Victory ship's additional speed, ranging from 15 to 20 knots, enabled the vessel to move cargo considerably faster.
The Liberty vessel is a steel, full scantling type vessel with a raked stem and cruiser stern. The propelling machinery consists of a reciprocating steam engine directly connected to a single screw.
The Victory cargo vessel is a steel, shelter deck type vessel with a raked stem and cruiser stern. The propelling machinery consists of cross compound turbines geared to a single screw.
Information concerning ship names, places of construction and launching and commissioning dates used in this article was obtained through correspondence with the bureau of naval personnel, Navy department; director of public information, United States Maritime Commission, and the Historical Society's newspaper clippings.
II. UNITED STATES NAVAL VESSELS
Following is a list of navy ships in World War II named for native Kansans and for cities, counties and rivers of the state:
U. S. S. Wichita (CA-45), launched November 16, 1937; commissioned February 16, 1939; Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pa., shipbuilder; named for city of Wichita.
U. S. S. Topeka (CL-67), launched August 19,1944; commissioned December 23, 1944; Bethlehem Steel Company, Fore River, Mass., shipbuilder; named for city of Topeka.
U. S. S. Timmerman (DD-828), under construction; Bath Iron Works Corporation, Bath, Maine, shipbuilder; named in honor of Sgt. Grant Frederick Timmerman (1919-1944), of the marine corps, a native of Americus, Lyon county. He was killed in action July 8, 1944, on Saipan, Marianas Islands. Sergeant Timmerman was awarded the Medal of Honor, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart with Gold Star, Presidential Unit Citation, 1943, Tarawa, Gilbert Islands; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, American Defense Service Medal and China Service Medal.
The Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously to Sergeant Timmerman with the following citation:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Tank Commander serving with the Second Battalion, Sixth Marines, Second Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Saipan, Marianas Islands, on 8 July 1944. Advancing with his tank a few yards ahead of the infantry in support of a vigorous attack on hostile positions, Sergeant Timmerman maintained steady fire from his anti-aircraft sky mount machine gun until progress was impeded by a series of enemy trenches and pillboxes. Observing a target of opportunity, he immediately ordered the tank stopped and, mindful of the danger from the muzzle blast as he prepared to open fire with the 75-mm., fearlessly stood up in the exposed turret and ordered the infantry to hit the deck. Quick to act as a grenade, hurled by the Japanese, was about to drop into the open turret hatch, Sergeant Timmerman unhesitatingly blocked the opening with his body, holding the grenade against his chest and taking the brunt of the explosion. His exceptional valor and loyalty in saving his men at the cost of his own life reflect the highest credit upon Sergeant Timmerman and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.
U. S. S. Hawkins (DD-873), launched October 7, 1944; commissioned February 10, 1945; Consolidated Steel Corporation, Orange, Tex., shipbuilder; named in honor of First Lt. William Deane Hawkins (1914-1943) of the marine corps, a native of Fort Scott. He was killed in action November 21, 1943, at Tarawa Atoll, in the Gilbert Islands, and was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Other awards received by Lieutenant Hawkins, included: Purple Heart, 1943, Gilbert Islands; Presidential Unit Citation, 1942, Solomon Islands; and Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, 1942-1943, Asiatic Pacific area.
The award of the Congressional Medal of Honor to the marine lieutenant was for service as set forth in the following citation:
For valorous and gallant conduct above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of a Scout Sniper Platoon attached to the Second Marines, Second Marine Division, in action against Japanese-held Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands, November 20 and 21, 1943. The first to disembark from the jeep lighter, First Lieutenant Hawkins unhesitatingly moved forward under heavy enemy fire at the end of the Betio pier, neutralizing emplacements in coverage of troops assaulting the main beach positions.
Fearlessly leading his men on to join the forces fighting desperately to gain a beachhead, he repeatedly risked his life throughout the day and night to direct, and lead attacks on pill boxes and installations with grenades and demolitions. At dawn on the following day, First Lieutenant Hawkins returned to the dangerous mission of clearing the limited beachhead of Japanese resistance, personally initiating an assault on a hostile position fortified by five enemy machine guns and, crawling forward in the face of withering fire, boldly fired point blank into the loopholes and completed the destruction with grenades. Refusing to withdraw after being seriously wounded in the chest during this skirmish, First Lieutenant Hawkins steadfastly carried the fight to the enemy, destroying three more pill boxes before be was caught in a burst of Japanese shell fire and mortally wounded. His relentless fighting spirit in the face of formidable opposition and his exceptionally daring tactics were an inspiration to his comrades during the most crucial phase of the battle and reflect the highest credit upon the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
U. S. S. Wintle (DE-25), launched February 18, 1943; commissioned July 10, 1943; Navy Yard, Mare Island, Cal., shipbuilder; named in honor of Lt. Comdr. Jack William Wintle (1908-1942), native of Pittsburg. He died November 13, 1942, in enemy action in the Pacific area.
Commander Wintle received the American Defense Medal -- Fleet Clasp, 1939-1941, and the posthumous award of the Navy Cross with the following citation:
For extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession during action with enemy forces on the night of November 12-13, 1942, on which occasion the force to which he was attached engaged at, close quarters and defeated a superior enemy force. His daring and determination contributed materially to the victory which prevented the enemy from accomplishing their purposes.
He was assigned on April 29, 1942, as aide and flag lieutenant, South Pacific and South Pacific Force. He was advanced to lieutenant commander on June 15, 1942.
U. S. S. Tabberer (DE-418), launched February 18, 1944; commissioned May 23, 1944; Brown Shipbuilding Company, Houston, Tex., shipbuilder; named in honor of Lt. (jg) Charles Arthur Tabberer (1915-1943), native of Kansas City. He died as a result of enemy action in the Pacific area, the presumptive date of his death being August 8, 1943. He was officially reported missing in action as of August 7, 1942, having been attached to a fighting squadron when the plane he was piloting was lost in the Pacific area.
Lieutenant Tabberer was awarded the American Defense Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal, and the Distinguished Flying Cross with the following citation:
For heroism and extraordinary achievement during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands on August 7, 1942. Leading a two-plane section of his squadron against a hostile force of 27 twin-engined bombers, Lieutenant (junior grade) Tabberer, although viciously intercepted by Zero fighters, gallantly pressed home his attacks until his plane was shot down. His courageous fighting spirit and resolute devotion to duty contributed to the destruction of at least five enemy bombers and undoubtedly played a major role in disrupting the Japanese attack.
U. S. S. Kendall C. Campbell (DE-443), launched March 19 1944; commissioned July 31, 1944; Federal Shipbuilding & D. D. Company, Newark, N. J., shipbuilder; named in honor of Ens. Kendall Carl Campbell (1917-1943), a native of Garden City. He died as a result of enemy action in the Asiatic area, the presumptive date of his death being May 9, 1943. Ensign Kendall was officially reported missing in action May 8, 1942, when the plane in which he was flying failed to return from the Battle of the Coral Sea.
He was awarded the American Defense Service Medal, 1939-1941, the Navy Cross and the Gold Star in lieu of the second Navy Cross.
The Navy Cross was awarded with the following citation:
For extraordinary heroism and extreme disregard of his own personal safety as pilot of an airplane of a Scouting Squadron in attacks against enemy Japanese forces during the period of May 4-8, 1942. Participating in offensive action against the enemy with aggressive skill and courageous determination, in the face of tremendous anti-aircraft barrage, Ensign Campbell contributed materially to the sinking or damaging of eight enemy vessels in the Tulagi Harbor on May 4 and to the sinking of an enemy aircraft carrier in the Coral Sea on May 7.
Again, on May 8, while on anti-torpedo plane patrol, he fiercely engaged the combined attack of enemy bombing and torpedo planes and their heavy fighter support. His conscientious devotion to duty and gallant self-command against formidable odds were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
U. S. S. Emporia (PF-28), launched August 30, 1943; commissioned June 12, 1944; Walter Butler Shipbuilders Inc., Superior, Wis., shipbuilder; named for city of Emporia.
U. S. S. Hutchinson (PF-45), launched August 27, 1943; commissioned February 3, 1944; Consolidated Steel Company, Los Angeles, Cal., shipbuilder; named for city of Hutchinson.
U. S. S. Abilene (PF-58), launched August 21, 1943; commissioned October 28, 1944; Globe Shipbuilding Company, Superior, Wis., shipbuilder; named for city of Abilene.
U. S. S. Trego, (AKA-78), acquired by the navy July 4, 1944; commissioned December 21, 1944; North Carolina Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, N. C., shipbuilder; named for Trego county.
U. S. S. Ottawa (AKA-101), acquired by navy January 9, 1945; commissioned February 8, 1945; North Carolina Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, N. C., shipbuilder; named for Ottawa county and also for counties of the same name in three other states.
U. S. S. Neosho (AO-48), acquired by navy August 4, 1942; commissioned September 12, 1942; Bethlehem Steel Company, Sparrows Point, Md., shipbuilder; named for Neosho river.
U. S. S. Chikaskia (AO-58), acquired by navy January 10, 1943; commissioned November 10, 1943; Bethlehem Steel Company, Sparrows Point, Md., shipbuilder; named for Chikaskia river.
U. S. S. Caney (AO-95), acquired by navy March 25, 1945; commissioned March 25, 1945; Marinship Corporation, Sausilito, Cal., shipbuilder; named for Caney river.
U. S. S. Clay (APA-39), acquired by navy June 29, 1943; commissioned June 29, 1943; Western Pipe & Steel Company, San Francisco, shipbuilder; named for Clay county and also for counties of the same name in 17 other states.
U. S. S. Sheridan (APA-51), acquired by navy July 31, 1943; commissioned July 31, 1943; Moore Shipbuilding Company, Oakland, Cal., shipbuilder; named for Sheridan county and also for counties of the same name in four other states.
U. S. S. Haskell (APA-117), acquired by navy September 9, 1944; commissioned September 11, 1944; California Shipbuilding Corporation, Wilmington, Cal., shipbuilder; named for Haskell county and also for counties of the same name in two other states.
U. S. S. Logan (APA-196), acquired by navy October 14, 1944; commissioned October 14, 1944; Kaiser Company, Vancouver, Wash., shipbuilder; named for Logan county and also for counties of the same name in nine other states.
U. S. S. Rawlins (APA-266), acquired by navy November 11, 1944; commissioned November 11, 1944; Kaiser Company, Vancouver, Wash., shipbuilder; named for Rawlins county.
U. S. S. Kingman (APB-47), launched April 17, 1945.; commissioned June 16, 1945; Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Company, Evansville, Ind., shipbuilder; named for Kingman, county.
III. SHIPS OF THE UNITED STATES MARITIME COMMISSION
Following are the 29 Liberty ships named for individuals associated with Kansas and the four Victory cargo vessels named for cities of the state:
Mary Bickerdyke, launched at Permanente Metals Corporation, shipyard No. 1, Richmond, Cal., October 27, 1943; named in honor of Mrs. Mary Bickerdyke (1817-1901), best known as "Mother Bickerdyke," who achieved fame as one of the most capable and beloved women who ministered to the sick and wounded during the Civil War. She made enlisted men her special care and was a champion of their rights. In 1867 she initiated a movement to get ex-soldiers to go West and the migration of 300 families to Kansas is attributed to her influence.
David J. Brewer, launched at Permanente Metals Corporation, shipyard No. 1, Richmond, Cal., November 26, 1942; named in honor of David J. Brewer (1837-1910), an, associate justice of the United States supreme court for more than 20 years. He settled at Leavenworth shortly after being admitted to the New York bar in 1858. In 1870, at the age of 33, Judge Brewer was elected to the Kansas supreme court. His elevation to the United States supreme court came in 1889 after service on the federal circuit court of the eighth circuit.
Jim Bridger, launched at Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Portland, Ore., December 17, 1942; named in honor of James Bridger (1804-1881), frontiersman. and scout, who was the first white man to visit the Great Salt Lake. He established a station, Fort Bridger, on the Oregon trail in southwestern Wyoming in 1843. Prior to becoming a government scout in the 1850's, he purchased a farm near Kansas City. He retired from the plains and mountains in 1868 and died at his home near Kansas City in 1881.
William H. Carruth, launched at California Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Wilmington, Cal., October 31, 1943; named in honor of William H. Carruth (1859-1924), author and one of the leading linguistic scholars of the West. He served the University of Kansas, from which he was graduated, as professor of modern languages, head of the department of German language and literature, and from 1887 to 1913 as vice-chancellor. "Each in His Own Tongue," a poem, was, his best known work.
Arthur P. Davis, launched at California Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Wilmington, Cal., July 23, 1943; named in honor of Arthur P. Davis (1861-1933), director of the U. S. Reclamation Service from 1914 to 1923 and known as the father of Boulder or Hoover dam. He was hydrographer in charge of hydrographic examination of the Panama canal route, 1898-1901, and planned and supervised construction of more than 100 dams including Roosevelt dam and the large reservoir on the Mokelumne river, source of water for the San Francisco bay area. Davis was reared at Junction City and was graduated from the Kansas State Normal School at Emporia.
Lewis L. Dyche, launched at Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Portland, Ore., November 26, 1943; named in honor of Lewis L. Dyche (1857-1915), naturalist. He made 23 scientific expeditions and hunted over North America from Mexico to Alaska and Greenland, securing for the University of Kansas its extensive collection of North American vertebrates. He was professor of anatomy and taxidermist and curator of mammals, birds and fishes at the university. The fish hatchery at Pratt was expanded by him.
Destroyer U. S. S. Hawkins, named in honor of Marine First Lt. William Deane Hawkins (1914-1943),
native of Fort Scott, as it appeared on the day it was commissioned, February 10, 1945.
Destroyer Escort U. S. S. Kendall C. Campbell, named in honor of
Ens. Kendall Carl Campbell (1917-1943), a native of Garden City.
These ships are among several named for native-born Kansans
who were honored as heroes of the navy and marine corps.
The U. S. S. Ottawa, a cargo, attack vessel, was named for Ottawa county
and counties of the same name in three other states. This picture was taken
February 13, 1945, at the U. S. navy yard, South Carolina,
five days after the ship was commissioned.
Launching of the U. S. S. Topeka, a light cruiser named for the capital city of Kansas,
at the Fore River yard, Quincy, Mass., August 19, 1944. The cruisers Wichita and Topeka
are the heaviest Kansas ships afloat. The U. S. S. Kansas, a battleship, was scrapped in 1924.
Amelia Earhart, launched at Houston Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Houston, Tex., December 18, 1942; named in honor of Amelia Earhart (Mrs. George P.) Putnam (1898-1937), the first woman to make a solo flight across the Atlantic and the second person to make that flight alone. The famous aviatrix was a native of Atchison. She was voted the Distinguished Flying Cross by congress and was the first woman to receive the gold medal of the National Geographic Society, the highest award of the society.
Wyatt Earp, launched at California Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Wilmington, Cal., July 25, 1943; named in honor of Wyatt Earp (1848-1929), frontier marshal. Earp was a hunter for a railroad surveying party and later a professional buffalo hunter. He gained fame for his courageous exploits as a peace officer at Wichita, Dodge City and Tombstone, Ariz., where he encountered some of the most notorious gunmen of the frontier.
Carl R. Gray, launched at California Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Wilmington, Cal., November 9, 1943; named in honor of Carl R. Gray (1867-1939), president of the Union Pacific Railroad for 17 years and director of the division of operations of the United States Railroad Administration in World War I. Successive promotions in the Frisco railroad's freight department at Wichita, marked the early path of his career which began as telegraph operator for that railroad at Oswego. He served as president of the Great Northern and Western, Maryland railroads and chairman of the board of the Wheeling and Lake Erie prior to becoming president of the Union Pacific in 1920.
James B. Hickok, launched at Permanente Metals Corporation, shipyard No. 2, Richmond, Cal., February 26, 1943; named in honor of James B. Hickok (1837-1876), popularly known as Wild Bill, frontier marshal at Hays and Abilene as well as Union scout and spy in the Civil War. Captured and sentenced to be shot as a spy more than once, he was successful in escapes from his Confederate captors. He was marshal of Hays in the late 1860's and became marshal of Abilene in 1871, when it was a shipping point for Texas cattle.
Cyrus K. Holliday, launched at California Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Wilmington, Cal., November 4, 1943; named in honor of Cyrus K. Holliday (1826-1900), father of the Santa Fe railroad. He was with the party which selected the Topeka townsite and was the first president of the town company. In 1859, while a member of the territorial council, Holliday secured enactment of a bill chartering the Atchison & Topeka Railroad Company, which later became the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad. He was an adjutant-general of Kansas in the Civil War.
Richard J. Hopkins, launched at Houston Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Houston, Tex., October 2, 1944; named in honor of Richard J. Hopkins (1873-1943), judge of the United States district court for Kansas for more than 13 years. He served in all three branches of the Kansas state government -- executive, legislative and judicial. He was speaker pro tem of the house of representatives in 1909, lieutenant governor in 1911-1912, attorney general from 1919 to 1923 and associate justice of the state supreme court from 1923 to 1929.
John J. Ingalls, launched at California Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Wilmington, Cal., July 8, 1943; named in honor of John James Ingalls (1833-1900) of Atchison, United States senator from 1873 to 1891. Ingalls achieved a national reputation as an author and orator. His sonnet, "Opportunity," is ranked among the best American poems. He was a member of the Wyandotte constitutional convention and judge advocate of the Kansas militia in the Civil War.
Martin Johnson, launched at California Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Wilmington, Cal., April 12, 1944; named in honor of Martin Johnson (1884-1937), famous motion-picture explorer, was educated in the Independence schools. He and his wife, Osa Leighty Johnson, were in the South Sea islands 12 years, Australia one year, Borneo two years, and Africa five years. They made a film record of the vanishing wild life in Africa and a sound film of the life of the pygmies.
Vernon L. Kellogg, launched at California Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Wilmington, Cal., July 15, 1943; named in honor of Vernon L. Kellogg (1867-1937), one of Kansas' most distinguished scientists and a native of Emporia. He served on the faculty at the University of Kansas from 1890 to 1894. He was director in Brussels of the American Commission for Relief in Belgium in 1915 and 1916 and from 1917 to 1919 was assistant to the United States food administrator. From 1919 to 1931 he was secretary of the National Research Council.
John Chester Kendall, launched at New England Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, South Portland, Maine, May 9, 1944; named in honor of John Chester Kendall (1877-1941), state dairy commissioner of Kansas in 1907-1908. He subsequently served as professor of dairy husbandry at Kansas State Agricultural College until 1910.
James Lane, launched at Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Portland, Ore., October 30, 1943; named in honor of James Henry Lane (1814-1866), Free-State leader and one of the first two United States senators elected from Kansas. He was president of the Topeka constitutional convention. In the Civil War he was appointed a brigadier-general of volunteers by President Lincoln with authority to raise two regiments. These troops operated in western Missouri in 1861. He obtained enactment of congressional measures granting lands to Kansas to aid in the construction of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe and the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Fort Gibson railroads.
Isaac McCoy, launched at Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Portland, Ore., December 2, 1943; named in honor of Isaac McCoy (1784-1846), pioneer Baptist missionary to the Indians. In the 1820's he advocated a plan to remove the Indians living east of the Mississippi to new reservations in the West. He was appointed by the secretary of war in 1830 as surveyor and agent to assist the Indians in this removal. He surveyed or arranged for the survey of most of the Indian reservations in Kansas and the Cherokee outlet in Oklahoma and also devoted his efforts to establishing and sustaining missions for the Indians.
Enos A. Mills, launched at Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Portland, Ore., December 6, 1943; named in honor of Enos A. Mills (1870-1922), naturalist, lecturer and author, who was a native of Linn county. He was a guide on Long's Peak, which he climbed more than 250 times. Mills extensively explored the Rocky Mountains on foot and was the father of Rocky Mountain National Park, which was created after several years of almost single-handed campaigning on his part. He was an exponent of forest conservation and served as federal lecturer on forestry, from 1907 to 1909, being appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt. Among his books were In Beaver World and The Story of a Thousand Year Pine.
Ralph T. O'Neil, launched at the Permanente Metals Corporation, shipyard No. 2, Richmond, Cal., May 19, 1944; named in honor of Ralph T. O'Neil (1888-1940), attorney and national commander of the American Legion in 1930-1931. He was a native of Osage City and a graduate of Baker University. In World War I, he served with the 11th U. S. infantry, advancing to captain. He was a member of the state board of regents from 1932 to 1940 and chairman of the board in 1938-1939.
Vernon L. Parrington, launched at Permanente, Metals Corporation, shipyard No. 2, Richmond, Cal., October 21, 1943; named in honor of Vernon L. Parrington (1871-1929), author and historian. He was reared in Emporia and attended the College of Emporia where he was later an instructor from 1893 to 1897. Parrington gained renown as the author of Main Currents in American Thought, published in 1927 when he was professor of English at the University of Washington.
William Peffer, launched at Permanente Metals Corporation, shipyard No. 2, Richmond, Cal., January 7, 1944; named in honor of William Alfred Peffer (1831-1912), United States senator from 1891 to 1897. He was a pioneer lawyer and newspaper editor and became a leading Populist writer and speaker. In 1881 he assumed the editorship of the Kansas Farmer. When the Farmer's Alliance entered the state, the Farmer became the official paper for one branch of the organization.
Albert A. Robinson, launched at Permanente Metals Corporation, shipyard No. 2, Richmond, Cal., November 29, 1943; named in honor of Albert A. Robinson (1844-1918), railroad builder and a leading figure in the construction of much of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad system. He served as chief engineer and second vice-president and general manager in his 22-year span of service. More than half of the 9,000 miles comprising the system when he left it in 1893, was built under his direction as chief engineer, and his skill was credited with playing a vital part in the rapid extension of the Santa Fe. He also helped in the construction of the St. Joseph & Denver City railroad.
Charles Robinson, launched at Permanente Metals Corporation, shipyard No. 2, Richmond, Cal., June 28, 1943; named in honor of Charles Robinson (1818-1894), first governor of the state of Kansas. A physician and editor, he came to Kansas in 1854 as resident agent of the New England Emigrant Aid Company. He conducted two groups of emigrants who began the settlement of Lawrence. Robinson was elected governor in 1859 under the provisions of the Wyandotte constitution but did not take office until Kansas was admitted as a state in 1861.
Edmund G. Ross, launched at Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Portland, Ore., October 22, 1943; named in honor of Edmund G. Ross (1826-1907), United States senator from 1866 to 1871. He was a Free-State leader and member of the Wyandotte constitutional convention. Ross edited newspapers at Topeka and Lawrence before entering the senate and afterwards edited papers at Coffeyville and Lawrence. He was appointed governor of the New Mexico territory in 1885.
Samuel Vernon Stewart, launched at Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Portland, Ore., January 7, 1944; named in honor of Samuel Vernon Stewart (1872-1939), who was reared in Coffey county and served as governor of Montana from 1913 to 1921. He attended Kansas State Normal School at Emporia two years and received an LL. B. degree from the University of Kansas in 1898. Stewart served as associate justice of the Montana supreme court from 1933 until the year of his death.
Robert J. Walker, launched at Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Portland, Ore., February 2, 1943; named for Robert J. Walker (1801-1869), territorial governor of Kansas in 1857. Prior to the governorship he had served as senator from Mississippi and was secretary of the treasury in President Polk's cabinet. It was Governor Walker's rejection of fraudulent returns in Oxford precinct, Johnson county, which enabled the Free-State majority to gain control of the legislature in 1858.
William Allen White, launched at the Permanente Metals Corporation, shipyard No. 2, Richmond, Cal., May 8, 1944; named in honor of William Allen White (1868-1944), newspaper editor and author. He was sent to France in 1917 as an observer by the American Red Cross. White in 1940 was founder and chairman of the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies. Among his best known books are: The Court of Boyville, Stratagems and Spoils, In Our Town, A Certain Rich Man, The Old Order Changeth and In The Heart of a Fool.
Samuel W. Williston, launched at Permanente Metals Corporation, shipyard No. 2, Richmond, Cal., October 6, 1943; named in honor of Samuel W. Williston (1852-1918), paleontologist and physician, and also one of the world authorities on diptera. He was reared in Manhattan and was graduated from Kansas State Agricultural College, after which he was employed by Othniel C. Marsh of Yale University as a collector in Cretaceous chalk beds of western Kansas. He became professor of anatomy at Yale and later served at the University of Kansas as professor of geology and vertebrate anatomy and dean of the medical school. He was the author of Manual of North American Diptera, which has been widely used in Europe.
Atchison Victory, launched at California Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Wilmington, Cal., April 22, 1944; named for city of Atchison.
Chanute Victory, launched at California Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Wilmington, Cal., January 19, 1945; named for city of Chanute.
Coffeyville Victory, launched at Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Portland, Ore., July 3, 1945; named for city of Coffeyville.
Salina Victory, launched at Permanente Metals Corporation, shipyard, Richmond, Cal., November 24, 1944; named for city of Salina.
HAROLD J. HENDERSON is research director of the Kansas Historical Society.