Rush, 1885 (Richard Rush)

Nov. 2, 2020

Rush (Richard Rush), 1885

A photo of USRC Rush

Richard Rush (1780 - 1859) was nominated by President John Quincy Adams to be the 8th Secretary of the Treasury. He served throughout the Adams Administration from 7 March 1825 until 5 March 1829.

He was a statesman, diplomat, brilliant orator and key figure in two Administrations (Madison and John Quincy Adams), and came from a distinguished family, carving a distinguished career in public affairs in his own right.  Quickly gaining statewide then national attention as a public speaker and successful trial lawyer, Rush was appointed Attorney General in Pennsylvania in 1811.  In that same year, President James Madison made him Comptroller of the Treasury.

Rig: Topsail Schooner

Builder: Hall Brothers, San Francisco

Completed: 10 November 1885

Decommissioned: 30 September 1912

Length: 175’

Draft: 12’ 6”

Beam: 26’

Displacement: 300 tons

Propulsion: Steam/Sail

Machinery: Compound-expansion 400 h.p. steam engine, single propeller

Maximum Speed:

Complement: 40

Armament: 3 x 6-pounders


The hull of the 1874 cutter Rush was sold for $4,000 and miscellaneous articles for $511.25.  A new hull was constructed and the work was completed on 10 November 1885 under contract with Hall Brothers of San Francisco at a cost of $74,000.  The "new" Rush now had a longer hull of 175 feet, displacing 300 tons and rigged as a topsail schooner.  She still had the boiler and engine of the old-Rush, both of which had been thoroughly reconditioned.

On 5 December 1885 she was ordered to cruise to the Bering Sea in search of the crew of the whaling bark Amethyst but returned in February of 1886 without success.  She was then assigned to the San Francisco station with her cruising grounds being the coastal waters of California.  

On 28 May 1887 she was ordered to cruise to the Seal Islands and remain there until September unless relieved earlier by the Revenue Cutter Bear.  She returned on 8 October 1887.  In 1888 she again cruised in Alaskan waters from July 3rd to until October 2nd.  In 1889 she sailed for Alaska on June 1st and visited Unalga and Unalaska, returning on October 14th.  In 1890 she was in Alaska and the Seal Islands from June until October, and in 1891 she made two trips, one from May until September and another from October until December 15th.  Her 1892 cruise began in May and ended in the fall.

She sailed for Honolulu on 21 March 1893 and arrived back in San Diego on April 18th.  She was to have remained in the Hawaiian Islands until fall but instead returned to San Francisco after visiting Seattle and Port Townsend in May.  On 23 July 1894 she sailed for the Bering Sea and returned with Assistant Secretary Hamlin.  The 1895 cruise in Alaska extended from May 5th until October 6th; the 1896 cruise from April 28th until October 6th.

On 26 February 1897 the Rush was ordered to prevent the landing of any expedition upon the Farallon Islands for the purpose of killing sea lions.  The following May 5th she sailed for the Bering Sea and was placed at the disposal of Professor Jordan, returning from St. Paul Island on August 15th and reaching San Francisco on September 30th.

On 9 April 1898 she was ordered to "cooperate" with the Navy by executive order in the war with Spain and remained in that status until August 15th when she returned to the control of the Treasury Department.  On 13 June 1899 she sailed from Seattle, arriving at St. Michaels on July 14th with the Nunivak in tow.  She arrived back in San Francisco on September 28th.  In 1900 the Rush sailed from Seattle on May 18th and arrived at Dutch Harbor on June 4th, returning to Port Townsend on October 15th.

On 23 May 1901, while at Port Townsend, she was ordered to go to the assistance of the vessel Grant.  In May 1902 she proceeded to Sitka and was ordered to convey Mr. Coyle to various points in Alaska, returning to Seattle on October 29th.  On 9 July 1903 she proceeded to St. Michaels, Alaska, to receive on board Judge Wickersham and officers of his court to convey them to such points as he might wish to visit in discharge of his duties.  On November 27th of that year the Rush proceeded to search for the survivors of the Discovery which had wrecked near Yakutat, but she returned from Yakutat with no views of them.

On 4 July 1904 she again sailed for Alaskan waters, conveying Judge William A. Day and party to Sitka and other places.  When she returned ton July 26th her Alaskan headquarters were changed from Sitka to Juneau and she was directed to sail to Nome where she arrived August 25th.  Before returning to Seattle on October 22nd, she had visited Dutch Harbor, Sitka, and Juneau.

Revenue Captain Francis Tuttle assumed command of the Rush on 26 May 1905, and after participating in a July 4th celebration at Santa Cruz, California, was ordered to proceed to Sitka on November 6th, with cruising grounds the inland and coastal waters of Southeastern Alaska, touching at Juneau when necessary.  She sailed for Sitka on December 8th.  Arriving at Juneau on December 27th she was detained there on account of a heavy snow storm.  On 12 February 1906 she arrived at Seward in search of the Dora.  In March she was directed to convey the Deputy Collector of Internal Revenue, with the Deputy U.S. Marshals, to Valdez, Alaska.  In April she left Sitka for Port Townsend.  A month later she proceeded to Juneau and on June 19th she sailed for the Yakutat cannery cruise.  On August 29th, she was ordered to proceed to Seattle and convey Mr. Hanihara, 2nd Secretary of the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C., to the Pribilof Islands and such other points as he might desire to visit.  In September, 1906, she transported records and government property of the Surveyor General's Office, with clerical force and families, from Sitka to Juneau, and on the 21st took four engineers of the American Smelting and Refining Company, who had been wrecked on the Oregon, from Valdez to Juneau.

In January 1907 she was ordered to proceed to the relief of people of Yakataga.  In April she was ordered to return with command to Sitka and resume her duties there.  In May, 1907, she was ordered to be at Juneau on June 1st to take Agent Cobb on a cannery cruise and after his departure at St. Michael's to proceed to Nome and receive the Governor of Alaska and take him on an inspection trip of southern and southeastern Alaska.  On May 24th, she arrived at Sitka and on the 27th was cruising the Fairweather Ground for sealers until needed for the cannery cruise.  On June 18th she arrived at Moran Shipyard, Seattle, to have a new crank pin fitted and then sailed for Dutch Harbor on the 30th.  Arriving at Unalaska on August 14th, she was retained on the Seal Island patrol in place of the Revenue Cutter Manning.  By 6 February 1908, she was back in Seattle.

She sailed again for Alaska on 21 May 1908, following the coastline to Unalaska, and remained on Bering Sea Patrol until October 11th.  The 1909 tour began on May 8th and continued until 9 February 1910, taking in Juneau, Kodiak, Valdez, and Unalaska.

In 1911 she sailed from Unalaska on June 5th.  She was ordered to be at Juneau on September 1st to convey the governor of Alaska on a tour of inspection.  Later these orders were amended and she was to be at Unalaska the latter part of August to convey the governor to Juneau, touching at various points enroute.  She returned to Port Townsend on November 3rd.

In 1912 the Rush sailed for the Juneau Station on January 1st and on April 1st left to maintain the patrol of the Alaskan coast for sealing.  She returned to Port Townsend on May 25th.  On June 20th, she was detached from the Northern Division and ordered to San Francisco to relieve the Snohomish, which was having batteries installed.  After patrolling the Lipton Cup Races at San Diego on August 29th to the 20th, she was ordered, on September 14th, to Port Townsend.

Rush was decommissioned at Port Townsend on 30 September 1912.  She was sold to the Alaska Junk Company for $8.500.00 on 22 January 1913.


USRC Rush; no caption/date/photo number; photographer unknown.



USRC Rush being worked on at an unidentified shipyard; 2 August 1904; no photo number; photographer unknown.


“U.S.R.C. ‘Richard Rush,’ on her departure Jan. 2d, 1886, in search of the ‘Amethyst.’”; Photo No. 1378; 2 January 1886.



USRC Rush, dressed, in Sitka harbor, firing an Independence Day salute, 4 July 1901; no photo number; photographer unknown


A photo of two crewman aboard the USRC Richard Rush


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).