Jessamine, 1881

Feb. 3, 2021

Jessamine, 1881

A variation of the term Jasmine, a woody vine of the genus Gelsemium, especially G. sempervirens of the southeastern United States, with fragrant yellow flowers.

Builder: Malster & Reaney, Baltimore, Maryland

Length: 156'

Beam: 39' (over paddle wheel guards); 24' 2" (hull)

Draft: 9' 6"

Displacement: 499 tons

Cost: $37,500 (contract); $41,911 (actual)

Commissioned: 1 October 1881

Decommissioned: 20 May 1921

Disposition: Sold

Machinery: Marine condensing beam steam engine; return flue "lobster back" coal-fired boiler; side paddle wheels; 400 BHP

Performance & Endurance:


Deck Gear: 

Complement: 21

Armament: None

Tender History:

The Jessamine was one of two Holly-class side wheel bay and sound tenders that were built for service in the Chesapeake Bay region, the other being the Holly.  They had composite hulls, with wood frames and iron sheathing, and were built by Malster & Reaney of Baltimore, Maryland. 

Built at the same time as sister-ship Holly, the Jessamine entered service in October of 1881 as a replacement for the tender Tulip.  She was assigned to the 5th Lighthouse District and was based out of Baltimore where she served as an engineering tender.  She had new boilers installed in March 1884 and again in May 1889.  She was laid up in 1921 and was sold in 1922.  She was replaced in service by the tender Hawthorn.

She eventually ended up in Honduras as a private vessel by 1957.


Douglas Peterson.  United States Lighthouse Service Tenders, 1840-1939. Annapolis: Eastwind Publishing, 2000.