When he turned eighteen, Robert enlisted in the Navy. It was the era of the Spanish American War and patriotism was running high. It was also an opportunity for a rural country boy to travel the world. The war with Spain had been basically won and now the United States was recognized as a world naval power. Peurto Rico, Cuba and the Phillipines were under our control temporarily and many "mopping up" operations were continuing.
As a sailor in the U. S. Navy at the turn of the century, Robert kept a log of the ports that he visited, the Naval displays and the engagements he attended from enlisting on the US Receiving ship VERMONT, Oct. 14, 1899 until Sept. 1903.
From his log: "Enlisted on US Receiving Ship Vermont, Oct. 14, 1899
US Auxiliary cruiser Prairie Oct. 29, 1899
transfered November 10, 1899 to Naval Hospital Broolyn, NY with vaccination
USRS Vermont, NY yard Dec. 19, 1899
US Auxiliary cruiser Dixie Dec. 22, 1899
Supply Ship Glacier (Manila, PI) June 4, 1900
US Battle Ship Oregon (Hong Kong, China) June 20, 1900
US armored cruiser Brooklyn (Cavite, PI) April 3, 1901
USRS Wabash (Boston, Mass) Oct. 3, 1902
US Protected cruiser Olympia (New York) Oct. 21, 1902
The USS Brooklyn represented the US in the opening of the first Parliament in Australia and New Zealand in 1901. Brooklyn represented the U.S. at the inauguration of President Palma at Havana Cuba, May 20, 1902. The Brooklyn conveyed the body of Lord Ponneforte from Annapolis, MD to Southhampton, England 1902. The USS Olympia was reviewed with the several squadronsof USships of war by President Rosevelt Aug. 17, 1903 at Oyster Bay, Long Island.
USS Oregon grounded on an uncharted rock in the gulf of Pechelie, June 28, 1900. The Oregon was ordered from Nagasachi, Japan to Nu Sung, China to assist the allied fleets and forces in preventing an out break of the Boxer uprising.
USS Brooklyn grounded off New Bedford, Mass., Sept. 3, 1902. USS Olympia ordered from Culebra USVI March 1903 to Purto Cortes, Honduras, Central America to liberate five American citizens and also to protect US interest while a revolution was going on in Honduras.
USS Olympia grounded off Portland, Maine Aug. 29, 1903. Two men were killed in an explosion that occured onboard the USS Olympia while in dry dock at Norfolk, VA, Sept. 12, 1903. While three more were badly hurt, they recovereed.
Somethings very interesting which has intrigued the family are a couple of women's names written in the back of his log at the bottom of one page. No one knows who they are, when the names were written and what part they played in his life. I wrote letters to the addresses but both were returned unopened as not forwardable and not at that address. They are still a mystery.
Jennie Baird, 1223 So 19th Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
Anna C. Knowles, 1201 Mifflin Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
September 1998 Web Page author, George E. Richardson III