Sachem

The Queen of Brooklyn's Sheepshead Bay Fishing Fleet was Captain Jacob Martin's SACHEM
SACHEM, Brooklyn, NY – 1919  This 1919 photo shows the "SACHEM" long before she started her fishing days.   The Pusey and Jones Corporation built her in 1902 for Mr. J. Rogers Maxwell as the steel-hulled luxury yacht "CELT".   Mr. Manton B. Metcalf later purchased her and renamed her as the "SACHEM".   The US Navy acquired the "SACHEM" from Mr. Metcalf in July 1917 for service during World War I and renamed her as the "USS SACHEM" (SP-192).   During her wartime duties, the Navy assigned her to Thomas A. Edison, who conducted experimental ocean communications work during secret cruises to the Caribbean. She later operated as a harbor patrol craft in the Third Naval District until the US Navy returned her to Mr. Metcalf in February 1919.   Mr. Metcalf later sold her to Philadelphia banker Roland L. Taylor.   In 1932, Mr. Taylor sold her to Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin and she would become one of many yachts purchased during the Great Depression and converted to a party fishing boat.  SACHEM, Brooklyn, NY – 1932  The "SACHEM" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY makes her debut in this very first advertising postcard produced during her initial fishing season in 1932.   The inset displays a very young Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin who was her proud owner and operator.   In 1902, the Pusey and Jones Corporation built the steel-hulled vessel for Mr. J. Rogers Maxwell as the luxury yacht "CELT".   Mr. Manton B. Metcalf later purchased the vessel and renamed her as the "SACHEM".  The US Navy acquired the "SACHEM" from Mr. Metcalf in July 1917 for service during World War I and renamed her as the "USS SACHEM" (""SP-192""). During her wartime duties, the Navy assigned her to Thomas A. Edison, who conducted experimental communications work while on secret cruises to the Caribbean.   She later operated as a harbor patrol craft in the Third Naval District until the US Navy returned her to Mr. Metcalf in February 1919.   Mr. Metcalf later sold the vessel to Philadelphia banker Roland L. Taylor, and in 1932, Mr. Taylor sold her to Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin.   She became one of many yachts purchased at low-cost during the Great Depression and converted to a party fishing boat.  SACHEM, Brooklyn, NY – 1932  The "SACHEM" is shown underway at 'full steam' in this spectacular photo.   In the midst of the 'Great Depression', Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin and several other savvy party boat captains capitalized on the poor economy.   During this period, many beautiful private yachts once owned by the rich and famous were being sold for a fraction of their original cost, and would soon be operating as party fishing boats from several local ports. During these hard financial times, fishing was still a recreation for some folks, but a absolute necessity for others.   With a $2.00 fare and huge fishing pools aboard these vessels, an angler could feed his family (and even the neighbors) with fresh fish, and have a chance at winning a boat pool that was often well over $100.   The fishing was very good and the party boat industry flourished while most other businesses suffered. Besides offering daily local fishing trips, the "SACHEM" was one of the many steam yachts that often sailed from Sheepshead Bay to the fishing grounds off Atlantic City, NJ.   The fare for these special trips was about $5.00; they departed at 12:00 midnight and returned late in the afternoon of the same day.   Massive catches of Black Sea Bass and Porgies were the norm on these trips, which made spending the few extra bucks a very good investment.   Photo courtesy of Captain John Bogan Jr.  SACHEM, Brooklyn, NY – 1934  Captain Jake Martin’s steam powered party boat "SACHEM" from Pier 9, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1934.   The Pusey and Jones Corporation built her in 1902 for Mr. J. Rogers Maxwell as the steel-hulled luxury yacht "CELT".   Mr. Manton B. Metcalf later purchased her and renamed her as the "SACHEM".   The US Navy acquired the "SACHEM" from Mr. Metcalf in July 1917 for service during World War I and renamed her as the "USS SACHEM" (SP-192).   During her wartime duties, the Navy assigned her to Thomas A. Edison, who conducted experimental ocean communications work during secret cruises to the Caribbean.   She later operated as a harbor patrol craft in the Third Naval District until the US Navy returned her to Mr. Metcalf in February 1919.   Mr. Metcalf later sold her to Philadelphia banker Roland L. Taylor. In 1932, Mr. Taylor sold her to Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin and she would become one of many yachts purchased during the Great Depression and converted to a party fishing boat.   She made regular trips to the fishing grounds off Atlantic City, NJ.   Their advertisements ask you to "See the NY Daily News and NY American newspapers for daily sailings or telephone Sheepshead 3-3985".   In 1936, Captain Martin replaced her coal-fired boiler with a 750 HP Fairbanks-Morse diesel engine.   While the new diesel was more convenient to operate, her speed dropped to 12 knots (she could make 15 knots when she was steam powered.) The "SACHEM" sailed as a party boat until the start of World War II when the federal government appropriated her (a second time) for the then tidy sum of $65,000.   The US Navy again converted her to an armed yacht and used her to patrol the waters off the Florida Keys under the name "PHENAKITE".   At the end of the war, the US Navy returned the "SACHEM" to Captain Martin, who promptly sold her to the Circle Line in New York City.   She was modified to carry 492 passengers on two decks and renamed the "SIGHTSEER" (she later became the "CIRCLELINE SIGHTSEER" and "CIRCLE LINE V"); and ran sightseeing trips around Manhattan.   She was the flagship of the Circle Line fleet and their fastest vessel.   At the end of her life, she was stripped of all of her fine mahogany millwork and brass fittings; and was purportedly dismantled in 1984.  SACHEM Advertising Sign, Brooklyn, NY – 1934  Framed advertising signs like this one for Captain 'Jake' Martin's party fishing boat "SACHEM" promoted the "Queen of the Fleet" at sporting goods stores and other local businesses in Brooklyn, NY circa 1934. 
SACHEM, Brooklyn, NY – 1937  A 1937 postcard for Captain Jake Martin’s diesel yacht "SACHEM" from Pier 9, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY.   The Pusey and Jones Corporation built her in 1902 for Mr. J. Rogers Maxwell as the steel-hulled luxury yacht "CELT".   Mr. Manton B. Metcalf later purchased her and renamed her as the "SACHEM".   The US Navy acquired the "SACHEM" from Mr. Metcalf in July 1917 for service during World War I and renamed her as the "USS SACHEM" (SP-192).   During her wartime duties, the Navy assigned her to Thomas A. Edison, who conducted experimental ocean communications work during secret cruises to the Caribbean.   She later operated as a harbor patrol craft in the Third Naval District until the US Navy returned her to Mr. Metcalf in February 1919.   Mr. Metcalf later sold her to Philadelphia banker Roland L. Taylor. In 1932, Mr. Taylor sold her to Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin and she would become one of many yachts purchased during the Great Depression and converted to a party fishing boat.   She made regular trips to the fishing grounds off Atlantic City, NJ.   This advertising postcard was produced shortly after Captain Martin replaced her coal-fired boiler with a 750 HP Fairbanks-Morse diesel engine.   While the new diesel was more convenient to operate, her speed dropped to 12 knots (she could make 15 knots when she was steam powered.)  The "SACHEM" sailed as a party boat until the start of World War II when the federal government appropriated her (a second time) for the then tidy sum of $65,000.   The US Navy again converted her to an armed yacht and used her to patrol the waters off the Florida Keys under the name "PHENAKITE".   At the end of the war, the US Navy returned the "SACHEM" to Captain Martin, who promptly sold her to the Circle Line in New York City.   She was modified to carry 492 passengers on two decks and renamed the "SIGHTSEER" (she later became the "CIRCLELINE SIGHTSEER" and "CIRCLE LINE V"); and ran sightseeing trips around Manhattan.   She was the flagship of the Circle Line fleet and their fastest vessel.   At the end of her life, she was stripped of all of her fine mahogany millwork and brass fittings; and was purportedly dismantled in 1984.  SACHEM Advertising Poster, Brooklyn, NY – 1938  A 1938 advertising poster for Captain Jake Martin's "SACHEM" announcing their famous Atlantic City Sea Bass and Porgy trips and daily fishing trips. It is interesting to note that even in 1939, some of the larger boats were expanding their offerings with moonlight sails, Coney Island fireworks trips, a full line of fishing tackle and better food (the ad touts the boat's galley as a modern restaurant.)  SACHEM, Brooklyn, NY – 1941  "The Queen of the Sheepshead Bay Fleet!"   This colorized postcard depicts Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin's diesel yacht "SACHEM" sailing from Pier 9, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY and is dated 1941.   The Pusey and Jones Corporation built her in 1902 for Mr. J. Rogers Maxwell as the steel-hulled luxury yacht "CELT".   After exchanging ownership several times and being acquired by the US Navy for service during World War I, she was sold to Captain Martin in 1932.   The "SACHEM" sailed as a party fishing boat until the start of World War II when the federal government appropriated her (a second time) for the then tidy sum of $65,000.   The US Navy again converted her to an armed yacht and used her to patrol the waters off the Florida Keys and New York under the name "PHENAKITE". At the end of World War II, the US Navy returned the "SACHEM" to Captain Martin, who promptly sold her to the Circle Line in New York City.   She was modified to carry up to 492 passengers on two decks and renamed the "SIGHTSEER" (she later became the "CIRCLELINE SIGHTSEER" and "CIRCLE LINE V") and ran sightseeing trips around Manhattan until 1977.   During that time, she was the flagship of the Circle Line fleet and their fastest vessel.  SIGHTSEER, New York, NY – 1949  In 1949, the "SIGHTSEER" was the flagship of the Circle Line Fleet.   Once her party boat fishing days as the "SACHEM" had ended, she spent many years carrying tourists around Manhattan Island under the Circle Line flag.   She was later named the "CIRCLELINE SIGHTSEER" and the "CIRCLE LINE V" before being taken out of service in the early 1980s. : 2010 MMM vintage boats  SIGHTSEER, New York, NY – 1951  Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin sold the "SACHEM" to the Circle Line after the end of World War II.   This 1951 Circle Line postcard shows her when she was named the "SIGHTSEER".   The vessel spent many years sailing around Manhattan Island under the Circle Line flag.   She was later named the "CIRCLELINE SIGHTSEER" and lastly as the "CIRCLE LINE V" before being taken out of service. 
CIRCLE LINE V, New York, NY – 1960  The "CIRCLE LINE V" is shown heading up New York City's East River circa 1960.   In her earlier years, she sailed as the famous Sheepshead Bay party fishing boat "SACHEM".   She joined the Circle Line fleet at the conclusion of World War II as the "SIGHTSEER", and was later named the "CIRCLE LINE SIGHTSEER" before becoming the "CIRCLE LINE V''.   This vessel has a long and fascinating history from her construction in 1902 as a luxury yacht, serving as an experimental vessel for early radio transmissions for inventor Thomas A. Edison, serving as a Coastal Patrol Vessel in both World Wars, and finally as a sightseeing vessel and focal point for Jeremiah Timothy Driscoll's 1980 book, "Crime Circles Manhattan".   (Recommended reading for the New York waterfront enthusiast.)  Circle Line business card – 1960  A business card from Francis Barry of the Circle Line circa 1960.   Besides being the president and founder of the Circle Line Company, Francis 'Frank' Barry was instrumental in shaping the regulations and inspections the United States Coast Guard instituted for passenger carrying vessels during the late 1950s.   At the time, the Coast Guard was considering draconian and unreasonable regulations that would have crippled the passenger carrying business and in particular, the party fishing boat industry.   Mr. Barry was successful in his efforts to have more realistic vessel requirements enacted and to this day, many boatmen credit him with saving the industry.   Francis Barry passed away in June 1986 at the age of 79.   Card courtesy of Captain Dave Bogan Sr.  CIRCLE LINE V, New York, NY – 1969  The "Queen of the Fleet" in more ways than one, no matter where she went… As a yacht, as a Navy patrol vessel, as a party fishing boat or as a sight-seeing excursion vessel.   She was in service for nearly seventy years and during her tenure, she served an estimated 2.9 million passengers, not to mention serving her country during both World Wars.  Crime Circles Manhattan – 1980  The cover of the 1980 book "Crime Circles Manhattan" by Jeremiah Timothy Driscoll (1909-1994).   The "CIRCLE LINE V" is silhouetted on the cover of Captain Driscoll's book about New York City's Circle Line.   While long on accusations of wrongdoings, but short on details, the book depicts the early years of the Circle Line, "America's Favorite Boat Ride".   Driscoll alleges that the company misled Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin into a deal where the "SACHEM" was purchased by the Circle Line for a fraction of her true value and where Captain Martin lost a boat he loved.  SACHEM, Weehawken, NJ – 1983  A mere silhouette of her once majestic beauty, the now derelict "SACHEM", AKA "CIRCLE LINE V" rests along an abandoned pier at Weehawken, New Jersey circa 1983.   After the Circle Line stopped using the vessel for tours, they stripped her of all useful equipment and timber, and removed the pilothouse for use as a ticket sales kiosk.   They donated what was left to the Sea Scouts and she wound up sitting idly at this pier at Weehawken, New Jersey.   In 1984, we thought she was dismantled, but it turned out that this was not the end of the story. 
THE SACHEM & MADONNA, Bayonne, NJ – 1986  The "SACHEM" did it all!   From a luxury yacht, to being the 'Queen of the Party Boat Fleet', to serving in two world wars, to becoming the flagship of the Circle Line Excursion Fleet, to the topic of a book (Crime Circles Manhattan) and YES, she was in a Madonna video!   This still frame from Madonna's "Pappa Don’t Preach" 1986 music video shows Madonna seated on a pier in Bayonne, NJ along with the bow of the "SACHEM".  SACHEM Discovered, New York, NY / Kentucky – 2009  On the Mike's Maritime Memorabilia pages, we have mentioned that the famous Sheepshead Bay party fishing boat "SACHEM" (also known as the "CELT", the "USS SACHEM" (SP-192), the "SIGHTSEER", the "CIRCLELINE SIGHTSEER" and lastly as the "CIRCLE LINE V") was dismantled in 1984.   After much debate and many unfounded claims that she was never scrapped, something wonderful happened. Seeing is believing!   The remains of the "SACHEM" are shown in this photo taken on Halloween Day October 31, 2009.   All that is left of this 108-year old vessel is a rusted hull, but the distinctive lines of her bow and the peeling and faded paint showing the remnants of the Circle Line logo and "CIRCLE LINE V" name cannot be denied.   A couple of years ago, the final remains of this ghost ship were discovered on private property, hidden from view, and lying in the mud of a narrow and shallow creek.   The creek is off the Ohio River in of all places, the state of Kentucky, and the only way to get to the spot is by kayak. It is truly amazing that someone had the compulsion to sail the "SACHEM" from New York and put it in their back yard in Kentucky.   And utterly astounding that they got this 186-foot long vessel so far up the little creek.   The story goes like this... After the Circle Line stopped using the vessel for tours, they stripped her of all useful equipment and timber, and removed the pilothouse for use as a ticket sales kiosk.   They donated what was left to the Sea Scouts and she wound up sitting idly at a pier at Weehawken, New Jersey.   In 1984, we thought she was dismantled, but it turned out that this was not the end of the story. The events that took place after that are still unclear, but the vessel was removed from Weehawken and temporary repairs were made.   Outfitted with an outboard propulsion unit, the "SACHEM" headed up the Hudson River, traversed the Great Lakes, went through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, down the Mississippi River and finally up the Ohio River to this Kentucky creek in the late 1980s.   The passage took forty days and she has remained there for more than twenty years! We wish to extend our gratitude to Henry Dorfman and James Happe for venturing to her out-of-the-way location in their kayaks and photographing her.   To most folks, she is nothing more than a rusted hulk, but to a few, she represents an era long gone, or an old friend thought to be lost.  SACHEM Discovered, New York, NY / Kentucky – 2009  Paddling up the little creek in Kentucky, you can see the remains of the "SACHEM", AKA "CIRCLE LINE V" in the distance.   Photo courtesy James Happe.  SACHEM Discovered, New York, NY / Kentucky – 2009  Stern of the "SACHEM", AKA "CIRCLE LINE V" taken on August 8, 2009.   Photo courtesy James Happe.  SACHEM Discovered, New York, NY / Kentucky – 2009  Bow-on photo of the "SACHEM", AKA "CIRCLE LINE V" taken on August 8, 2009.   Photo courtesy James Happe. 
SACHEM Discovered, New York, NY / Kentucky – 2009  Port bow of the "SACHEM", AKA "CIRCLE LINE V" taken on August 8, 2009.   Photo courtesy James Happe.  SACHEM Discovered, New York, NY / Kentucky – 2009  Forward section of the starboard side of the "SACHEM", AKA "CIRCLE LINE V" taken on August 8, 2009.   Photo courtesy James Happe.  SACHEM Discovered, New York, NY / Kentucky – 2009  Aft portion of the starboard side of the "SACHEM", AKA "CIRCLE LINE V" taken on August 8, 2009.   Photo courtesy James Happe.  SACHEM Discovered, New York, NY / Kentucky – 2009  The outboard drive used to get the "SACHEM", AKA "CIRCLE LINE V" from New York is visible in this photo of the stern taken on October 31, 2009.   Photo courtesy of Henry Dorfman.  SACHEM Discovered, New York, NY / Kentucky – 2009  Bow-on photo of the "SACHEM", AKA "CIRCLE LINE V" taken on October 31, 2009.   Photo courtesy of Henry Dorfman. 
SACHEM Discovered, New York, NY / Kentucky – 2009  Close-up of part of the Circle Line marking on the starboard side of the "SACHEM", AKA "CIRCLE LINE V" taken on October 31, 2009.   This photo shows the circular steel plates that have been welded over her portholes.   Photo courtesy of Henry Dorfman.  SACHEM Discovered, New York, NY / Kentucky – 2009  An amidships photo showing the remnants of the cabin of the "SACHEM", AKA "CIRCLE LINE V" taken on October 31, 2009.   Photo courtesy of Henry Dorfman.  SACHEM Discovered, New York, NY / Kentucky – 2009  The round cabin front and cutaway for the passenger ramp on the starboard side of the "SACHEM", AKA "CIRCLE LINE V" are shown in this October 31, 2009 photo.   Photo courtesy of Henry Dorfman.  SACHEM Discovered, New York, NY / Kentucky – 2009  Port bow of the "SACHEM", AKA "CIRCLE LINE V" taken on November 1, 2009.   Photo courtesy James Happe.  SACHEM Discovered, New York, NY / Kentucky – 2009  A closer view of the port bow of the "SACHEM", AKA "CIRCLE LINE V" taken on November 1, 2009.   Photo courtesy James Happe. 
SACHEM Discovered, New York, NY / Kentucky – 2009  Close-up of the Circle Line logo on the port bow of the "SACHEM", AKA "CIRCLE LINE V" taken on November 1, 2009.   Photo courtesy James Happe.