Isthmian Lines
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Misc

Karsten Kunibert Krüger-Kopiske © 2005

If anyone has access to maritime photos or memorabilia that might be of interest to the viewers of this site, please contact us.

The Mathews Men


The Mathews Men: Seven Brothers and the War Against Hitler’s U-boats, by William Geroux, will be published April 19, 2016, by Viking/Penguin/Random House. The book tells the story of the U.S. Merchant Marine’s heroics and sacrifices in World War II, through the experiences of merchant mariners from Mathews County, Virginia, a rural outpost on the Chesapeake Bay. Mathews had been a cradle of sea captains and other merchant mariners since before the American Revolution. When America entered World War II in December 1941, Mathews mariners were scattered on ships across the world’s oceans. Those in the Atlantic theater of the war immediately became prime targets for German U-boats trying to choke off the Allied supply line. The U.S. Navy initially lacked the forces and inclination to protect the unarmed merchant ships, even in U.S. waters, and the toll exacted by the German submarines was staggering. Mathews mariners faced U-boats in the North and South Atlantic, the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean, and Indian Ocean, and even the icy Barents Sea in the Arctic Circle. Some died terrible deaths. Others survived torpedo explosions, flaming oil slicks, storms, shark attacks, and harrowing lifeboat odysseys—only to ship out again as soon as they’d returned to safety. Nearly every family in tiny Mathews (population 7,500) had a personal stake in the U-boat war, and none had a greater stake than the family of Capt. Jesse and Henrietta Hodges and their seven sons. The Hodges family would experience the war in all its horrors and triumphs. Through the experiences of the Mathews men, the book tells the broader story of the Merchant Marine’s critical role in winning the war. Merchant mariners hauled the supplies that kept the Allies fighting. In the process, they suffered a higher casualty rate than any branch of the U.S. military except the Marines. But after the war they were forgotten by the government and the public, and denied veterans benefits for decades. The Mathews Men finally gives them their due.


S-IVB-206


Alan Lawrie, who is doing research for an upcoming book about the Sacramento Area Commerce & Trade Organization, contacted us with some unique information. In his research, he discovered some nearly 50 year-old photos that had been sitting in a guy's garage. They show the loading of Saturn rocket stages (S-IVB) aboard States Marine-Isthmian ships in California for transport to Florida and Louisiana. This was the beginning of the Apollo program. Click here to see the States Marine photos.





We got an email from Fred Koster of Seattle. He scanned some photos from an old scrapbook that has been laying around the MMP union hall for at least 20 years. They show the Beaver State, the Steel Seafarer, the Thunderbird and the Hawaiian Trader (Matson?). We love old photos. Thanks for thinking of us, Fred. Click here to see the photos.

Fred is also a skilled builder of ship models. Click here to see the model of the Garden State that took him four months to build.

Photo courtesy of Thomas W. Norton © 2016 - All rights reserved.

Pusan Office

circa 1954-1955

My name is Thomas W. Norton. Just finished running through the States Marine web site. My father, also Thomas W. Norton worked for Eastern Steamship lines in the 1930s through about 1948 and was, I think their Insurance Manager - I recall all the conversations during the War years about problems with their ships and the ones they were managing - in any event, he left Eastern and joined States Marine about 1948 or 1949. I recall many of the names mentioned in the web site - Henry Mercer and several others - but never met them. In 1954-1955 I was stationed in Pusan Korea with the US Army and through my father's connections at States Marine, was able to wangle a real dinner on board one of the ships that was docked in Pusan (now Busan). Don't recall the name of the ship though and not that of the Captain who was nice enough to have a 22 year old kid in for dinner.

So much for the story - I found in my collection of photo's a picture I took of the office building in which States Marine Lines was located on the main street in Pusan. I am sure, from what I have seen on the Internet that nothing looks the same in that part of Pusan any more.
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Photo courtesy of Roni Jones © 2009 - All rights reserved.

Seattle Office

circa 1966

Doris Holce, Fred Wilson, Roni Jones, Ted Plessner and Eva. Jeannine Pomeroy (in front).
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Photo courtesy of Roni Jones © 2009 - All rights reserved.

S.S. Pelican State

circa 1962

Photo of shifting on-deck cargo, at sea.
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Photo courtesy of Roni Jones © 2009 - All rights reserved.

S.S. Pelican State

circa 1962

Photo of shifting on-deck cargo, at sea.
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Photo courtesy of Björn Larsson © 2003 - All rights reserved.

Sailing Schedule

Trans-Pacific
20 June 1949

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Photo courtesy of TheStandardEdition.com © 2010 - All rights reserved.

N.S. Savannah

Launch
1959

That is Mamie Eisenhower swinging the champagne bottle.
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Photo courtesy of C.F. Kozel © 2005 - All rights reserved.

N.S. Savannah

Maiden voyage mail.
1962

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Photo courtesy of C.F. Kozel © 2005 - All rights reserved.

N.S. Savannah

Maiden voyage mail.
1962

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Photo courtesy of Kate Terres © 2004 - All rights reserved.

Edward A. Terres

Robert Stone

States Marine office in Korea
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Photo courtesy of David A. Dent © 2004 - All rights reserved.

S.S. Hoosier State

Sailing Board

David writes,
"It was given to me by Capt. R. O. Elsensohn's widow a couple of years ago. I sailed with Capt. E. on the "COTTON STATE" and the "LUCILE BLOOMFIELD" (under SML house flag). He died a few years ago in Spokane and my wife and I had been to visit him a few times when he was ill."
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Photo courtesy of C.F. Kozel © 2003 - All rights reserved.

Erie Basin Terminal

At the foot of Columbia Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY. Governor's Island and lower Manhattan Island in the background. Circa early 1950s? Before States Marine Lines bought Isthmian.
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Photo courtesy of Judy Moller © 2005 - All rights reserved.

S.S. Sea Perch

Later, the S.S. Gopher State.

Commisary Prices
circa 1945

Cigarettes ..... 50 cents a carton.
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Photo courtesy of Judy Moller © 2005 - All rights reserved.

S.S. Sea Perch

Later, the S.S. Gopher State.

Drawing by SSgt. O.L. Davis
(Judy's dad)
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The information on this web site is the kind contribution of our Historian, Skip Lewis, © 2003. Skip, whose dad sailed for Isthmian, is an avid collector and researcher of everything Isthmian and States Marine. In his quest, he has used many sources and publications including Lloyd's of London and Imperial Steel by John Atherton.

If you have any questions about, or information for, this website, please contact us.

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