Onondaga, 1898

March 6, 2021

Onondaga, 1898

Photo of Onondaga

A Native American people formerly inhabiting the eastern Finger Lakes region of west-central New York, with present-day populations in this same area and in southeast Ontario.  The Onondaga are one of the original members of the Iroquois confederacy.

Builder: Globe Iron Works, Cleveland, Ohio

Length: 205' 6"

Beam: 32'

Draft: 13' 2"

Displacement: 1,190 tons

Cost: $193,800

Commissioned: 24 October 1898

Decommissioned: 5 November 1919

Disposition: Sold

Machinery:  Triple-expansion steam engine.

Performance & Endurance:

        Max: 16 knots

Complement: 73

Armament: 4 x 6-pounders (1915)

Cutter History:

The Onondaga was a 205-foot, 1,190-ton Algonquin-class cutter that was commissioned on 24 October 1898.  She saw no action during the Spanish-American War.  Until 1917 was listed as an independent vessel operating out of Savannah, Georgia.  Her assigned cruising district extended from Cape Romain to Cape Canaveral.  She along with a number of other cutters patrolled the 1901 America’s Cup race in New York waters.

Transferred to the Navy 9 April 1917 by Executive Order, she continued to perform patrol, escort, and rescue operations out of Savannah.  The highlight of her naval service occurred 20 February 1918, when she rescued the entire crew of the British steamship Veturia after that ship foundered on Diamond Shoals off the North Carolina coast.  For acting in the best tradition of the seagoing services, Captain Frederick C. Billard, USCG, former superintendent of the Coast Guard Academy and commanding officer of the cutter, together with the entire crew, received a commendation 20 May from the British Admiralty.

At the end of hostilities Onondaga was returned to the Treasury Department.  She resumed patrol and rescue operations out of New London, Connecticut until 1920, at which time she transferred to Baltimore, Maryland. 

She continued to operate out of Baltimore until 1923, where she decommissioned and was sold for scrap.



Photo of Onondaga

Onondaga patrolling the 1901 America’s Cup Race, New York;
Library of Congress image, No. 4a15300r.

                                                      Photo of Onondaga

Onondaga patrolling the 1901 America’s Cup Race;
Library of Congress image, No. 4a15300r.


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).