Puritan, a 1762 gross ton passenger steamship, was built at Toledo, Ohio, in 1901. She was 233 feet long when built but was lengthened by 26 feet in 1908. Before World War I the ship operated on Lake Michigan, mainly between Chicago, Illinois, and Holland and Benton Harbor, Michigan. The Navy took her over on 19 April 1918 and after a lengthy conversion placed her in commission on 20 November 1918 as USS Puritan (ID # 2222). Although reported to be suitable for coastal transport service in the English Channel, she does not appear to have left the Great Lakes during her naval service. USS Puritan was decommissioned on 23 July 1919 and was sold to a Chicago firm on 23 September 1919.
Returning to commercial passenger service in Lake Michigan in 1920, Puritan operated until 1929, when she was laid up. In 1933 the steamer was purchased for service between Chicago and ports on the northern Great Lakes. Elegantly refitted and renamed George M. Cox after her new owner, her maiden voyage ended prematurely on 27 May 1933 when she ran aground on the Rock of Ages shoals off Isle Royale, in Lake Superior, while steaming at 17 knots through a foggy night. No lives were lost in this accident, but the ship sank. George M. Cox's wreck is now a tourist dive site.
This page features all available views concerning the American passenger steamship Puritan, which was USS Puritan (ID # 2222) in 1918-1919.
Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.
Photo #: NH 105242
S.S. Puritan (American Passenger Steamship, 1901)
Underway in commercial service before World War I. This ship was acquired by the Navy in April 1918 and after conversion at Chicago served in commission on the Great Lakes as USS Puritan (ID # 2222) from 20 November 1918 to 23 July 1919.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 54KB; 740 x 480 pixels
Page made 11 September 2007