The wooden-hulled motor boat USS Beaumere II --built in 1914 by the Gas Engine and Power Co., and the Charles L. Seabury Co., of Morris Heights, New York -- was acquired by the Navy on a free-lease basis from theatrical manager Edward Franklin Albee (1857-1930) on 29 June 1917. Enrolled and ordered delivered on 18 July 1917, Beaumere, which, for some reason, was given a Roman numeral suffix “II” by the Navy since contemporary yacht registers list the boat as simply Beaumere, was designated as a section patrol craft and designated SP-444. She was commissioned at the New York Navy Yard on 22 October 1917, Chief Boatswain A. Anderson, USNRF, in command.
Attached to the 3d Naval District, Beaumere II operated principally from the New York Navy Yard, the Barge Office at Battery Park, and the Marine Basin at Ulmer Park in Brooklyn, N.Y., as a despatch boat. She spent her entire naval career carrying passengers between various locations on the shores of the East and North Rivers, to Staten Island, and as far north as West Point on the Hudson. She interspersed these active operations and stand-by periods with upkeep at the Marine Basin. During portions of April, May, June and September of 1917, and again in January of 1919, she alternated with Get There (SP-579) as despatch boat at the Barge Office.
Among the naval officers transported numerous times by Beaumere II were Rear Admiral Cameron McRae Winslow, Inspector of Naval Districts on the Atlantic Coast, and RearAdmiral Nathan R. Usher, Commandant of the 3d Naval District, and the latter’s chief of staff, Capt. Louis R. DeSteiguer, who was a frequent passenger. Other distinguished passengers included Vice Admiral DeWitt Coffman and his staff, on a trip from the New York Navy Yard out to the French cruiser Dupetit-Thouars on 27 June 1918; Major General J. Franklin Bell, USA, who was embarked with a small party for an excursion up the Hudson to West Point on 1 September 1918; Admiral William S. Benson, the Chief of Naval Operations, whom Beaumere II transported to the transport Northern Pacific on 17 October 1918; and the Brazilian Ambassador to the United States E. H. DeGama and his wife, whom the boat took out to Pueblo (Armored Cruiser No.7) on 22 October 1918 for the start of the Latin American diplomat’s journey back to Rio de Janeiro.
Perhaps Beaumere II’s most eventful trip occurred during the summer of 1918, when, with Capt. DeSteiguer embarked, she was en route back to the Barge Office at Battery Park on 10 July, when she encountered a heavy swell caused by the passage of an outward-bound battleship. Water entered the boat’s engine room through an open port, short-circuiting the port motor. Although hampered by having to proceed on one engine, the boat proceeded on her way and delivered her passenger to his destination none the worse for wear.
Ultimately proceeding to Pier 72, New York City, on 15 February 1919, Beaumere II was returned to her owner on 24 February 1919 and her name was struck from the Navy list simultaneously. Reverting back to her original name, Beaumere, she remained in Albee’s ownership through 1929, after which time she became the property of the Marine Sales and Service Co., of New York City. Her last owner appears to have been a Joseph White, through 1949, after which time the name Beaumere disappears from contemporary yacht registers.
- Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships