Tuscarora, 1902

Sept. 10, 2020

Tuscarora, 1902

A Native American people formerly inhabiting parts of North Carolina, with present-day populations in western New York and southeast Ontario, Canada.  The Tuscarora migrated northward in the 18th century, joining the Iroquois confederacy in 1722 and adopting aspects of the Iroquois culture.  Also a mountain range in south-central Pennsylvania.  The name is Iroquois Indian and means "hemp gatherers."

Builder: William R. Trigg Company, Richmond, Virginia

Length: 178'

Beam: 30'

Draft: 10' 11"

Displacement: 620 tons (1902)

Cost: $173,814

Commissioned: 27 December 1902

Decommissioned: 1 May 1936


Machinery:  Triple-expansion steam engine

Performance & Endurance:

        Cruising: 4.2 knots

Complement: 65

Armament: 2 x 6-pounders


Tuscarora was built in Richmond, Virginia by the William R. Trigg Company and was launched on 12 October 1901.  After trials she was accepted by the Revenue Cutter Service on 29 September 1902 and was commissioned at Baltimore, Maryland on 27 December 1902.  She was assigned to duty on the Great Lakes.  She was based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and her cruising grounds included the areas of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.  Her main duties were customs, law enforcement, patrolling regattas, and search and rescue.  Like other cutters on duty on the Great Lakes, she was laid up during the winter months.

During the World War I period she operated under the Navy.  On 1 October 1919 she was stationed at the Naval Station, Key West, Florida, but only long enough to undergo repairs and overhauling.  After performing special duties en route north along the Atlantic coast, she resumed her permanent station at Milwaukee on 6 October 1920.

On 17 December 1926 she was transferred to Boston, Massachusetts.  By 22 March 1930 her new permanent home-port was St. Petersburg, Florida and she was assigned to the Gulf Division.  During 1931 she temporarily operated out of Mobile, Alabama and then out of Section Base 21 at St. Petersburg.

From 6 September to 1 November 1933 she assisted the Navy on the Cuban Expedition, after which she returned to St. Petersburg.  Tuscarora was decommissioned on 1 May 1936, as the Coast Guard's all-out war against smuggling during the Prohibition era drew to a close.


Cutter History File.  USCG Historian's Office, USCG HQ, Washington, D.C.

Donald Canney.  U.S. Coast Guard and Revenue Cutters, 1790-1935.  Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1995.

U.S. Coast Guard.  Record of Movements: Vessels of the United States Coast Guard: 1790 - December 31, 1933.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1934; 1989 (reprint).