Arbutus, 1871; ex-Jonas Smith; ex-Aaron Wilbur; ex-USS Daffodil

April 15, 2020

Arbutus, 1871; ex-Jonas Smith; ex-Aaron Wilbur; ex-USS Daffodil

Any of 20 species of evergreen shrubs or trees of the heath family found in southern Europe and western North America.

Builder: B. C. Terry, Keyport, New Jersey

Commissioned: 1862 (commercial); 1862 (USN); 1871 (LHS)

Decommissioned: 1874

Length: 125'

Beam: 22' 6"

Draft: 7' 3"

Propulsion: Single beam steam engine; single boiler; side paddle wheels


Armament: None (LHS)


Arbutus was launched in 1862 as the freighter Jonas Smith. She was purchased by the Navy for service during the Civil War and was commissioned in 1862 as USS Daffodil.

She was sold and returned to commercial work as the SS Aaron Wilbur but was purchased by the Lighthouse Service in 1871. She was commissioned as the LHT Arbutus and served as an engineering tender in the 7th Lighthouse District. She was declared unfit in 1874 and was sold in 1875.


Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Vol. I, Part A, p. 346.

Douglas Peterson, U.S. Lighthouse Service Tenders, 1840-1939 (Annapolis: Eastwind Publishing, 2000), p. 46.