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4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all,

I've been stumped for a month looking for information on four smallish passenger liners built for a company co-operating with the old Atlanta,Birmingham & Atlantic Railroad. Apparently in the 1906-1910 range, some principals or members of that railway decided the best way to increase rail traffic into their chosen port was form their own steamship line. So the formed the Brunswick Steamship Company, home ported in Brunswick Georgia. In that era, their were quite a few luxury destination in that vincinity. They even contracted to have the four sisters built new instead of acquiring other vessels. I've found a NY Times article that says they were built by a New York yard. However, two of them were clearly built in the New England Gildersleeve yards. From whats available, all four are said to be of a design of a Theodore Ferris type, to the 5000 ton size. The ships were the S.S. Satilla,Ogeechee,Ossabaw and Ocmulgee; after Georgia rivers. Initially they plied from New York to Jacksonville, and later on ran out to Houston Texas.

Exact times appear conflicting. The NY Times article publishing the commencement of service is dated in November of 1906. Another article announces the announcement the Clyde Line acquired the route in August of 1910, but not the (five!!!!!!!No other ship name is known) Ships. Anoyingly, Gildersleeve's records appear to be a very lagging list of expenses incured some years after construction. It also seems the Satilla was the first deep water vessel to grace Houston's new harbor, as many Texas histories show. Other sources appear to indicate Brunswick Steamship was acquired by Clyde Line. Then perhaps Clyde Mallow Line by way of Atlantic Gulf Steamship. This was eventually bought by A.H.Bull and the Bull Line. But the fate of the ships remains unclear.

Update: I have found a new record that five were built for Brunswick Steamship between 1905 and 1907. The fifth ship was the SS Altamaha. They were all on the register at the Fore Yard(Bethlem Steel Yard later). According to the list, the Satilla and another were sunk during WWI in 1917. Two were scrapped in the late 1920's, while the Altamaha was placed on a barge and abandoned in 1933. Records also show they were in the 2670 ton range and 313 feet long. I still would like any pictures if anyone knows of any.

Basically I was looking for information about the ships themselves. Any picture or plans of them, or other Ferris Steamships circa 1906. Any help would be appreciated.

1,234 Posts
After a little hunting in Marimar and the web I have discovered the Five ships owned by Brunswick S.S.Co Inc, Brunswick

All were built by Fore Rivers at Quincy

OGEECHEE launched 5.11.06
Tons 2,667
Yard no 138
Renamed GYLDENPRIS 1917
9.1.1917. Sold to Willy Gilbert, Bergen.
9.7.1917 Sold to A/S D/S Gyldenpris (John Waage) Bergen
Fate 29.7.1917 sunk by UB35
Position 43.33N 08.06W

OCMULGEE launched 29.1.07
Tons 2,667
Yard no 139
Fate 5.2.1929 Broken up Danzig

SATILLA launched 21.8.1906
Tons 2,667
Yard no 137
30.12.1916 Sold to A/S D/S Hans Kinck (Olaf Orvig), Bergen
Fate 7.2.1917 sunk by UC 39
Position 52.05N 02.40E
On Passage Rotterdam to Newcastle in ballest

OSSABAW launched 27.12.1906
Tons 2,667
Yard no 140
Fate 30.8.1933 Broken up Baltimore

ALTAMAHA launched 26.11.1907
Tons 2,667
Yard no 144
Fate wrecked 12nm E Pensacola 27.6.23, cut down to barge & abandoned 1933

349 Posts
Welcome, Danny.

You beat me to it with your update. Yes, there did seem to have been 5 of these ships. According to the Miramar Ship Index, all five were built by the Fore River Ship & Engine Company in Quincy, Massachusetts (later Bethlehem Steel Company). All were of 2,667 tons and the same dimensions.

Not very much on these ships in The Times (London), I'm afraid.

The Times, Wednesday, 23 Jun 1909
Marine Insurance Market
"The Brunswick Steamship Company's Ochmulgee (sic),
of 2,667 tons, built in 1907, has arrived at Galveston
with cargo on fire, and though the fire has been
extinguished, the cargo is described as coming out
in very bad order. The Ochmulgee is valued at

The Times, Wednesday, 01 Dec 1909
"A message from New York states that the Brunswick
Steamship Company's Altamaha has her propeller
broken and stern frame fractured. The Altamaha is
a steamer of 2,667 tons, built in 1907, and valued at
$218,250 (£44,000)."

The Times, Monday, 08 Nov 1915
An American note of protest against British policy:
"The steamer Ogeechee, which left Bremen 3rd April
last for the United States, was detained at Sheerness,
and compelled to discharge its entire cargo, which
consisted of approximately 200 shipments of goods
urgently needed by American citizens. In most, if
not all, cases, it appears that ownership of these
goods at the time of the seizure had passed to American
consignees. In many instances American citizens
had contracted for the sale of the goods consigned to
them, and were prevented from carrying out their
The release of shipments on the vessel has been
allowed on the production of proofs of American
ownership of the goods prior to the 11th March, 1915.
American consignees in order to avoid loss, have
endeavoured to comply with the requirements in the
prevesentation of proofs."

If you search via Google Books, you'll find a photo of Ossabaw alongside "the old ABC Terminal" unloading freight in the book "Brunswick: The City by the Sea" by Patricia Barefoot. Though you can't view it, there seems to be one of the Satilla in "Album of American History" by James Truslow Adams, Joseph G. E. Hopkins. You might want to search for the others in Google Books to see what comes up.


4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Great Replies!

...Well , a big Thanks. At least I know what the hullform looked like. Not at all what I expected either. By the ads, I was thinking more of a passenger ship. And probably ill-suited to attracting the type of cleintele the Rail service envisioned. I'll keep looking for more info of the three in service of Southern Steamship Company. It appears the owner was a bit shady and seemed to have draw alot of attention in his day. Maybe that translated to his ships as well-lol.......

1 Posts
Brunswick Steamship Company


Some information. Was looking at The Museum of the City of New York images web-site earlier today for pictures of Pier 14at West Street in the City of New York and found a picture of the pier with superimposed "Brunswick Steamship Company," etc. added to a photograph of the pier when the American Line and Red Star Line were using it circa 1900. In the picture are two ships docked at the pier which appear to be the ZEELAND and WESTERNLAND. Am not sure if Brunswick Steamship Company ever used this pier, but starting in 1912 [after being rebuilt after a major fire on the pier] was used by the Fall River Line.

Had never heard of Brunswick Steamship Company before so "googled" it and found your comments which were very helpful.

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