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Old 07-21-2016, 02:52 PM   #1
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Default How Many Mailboats Served on the Lake

Was fascinated going through the various cards & historical pictures and then it dawned on me --

Anyone know how many Mail boats have actually been in service on the lake ?
I found Uncle Sam and the the Columbia.
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Old 07-21-2016, 05:54 PM   #2
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Default Mail Boats

A PT boat named the Uncle Sam II replaced the old Uncle Sam on the island mail routes on the west side of the lake, now handled by the Sophie C. Other boats have serviced the east side of our wonderful lake.
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Old 07-21-2016, 05:55 PM   #3
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Default 7?

This thread claims seven: the five listed by WMUR (linked slideshow) plus two more RG notes:
http://www.winnipesaukee.com/forums/...ad.php?t=16553

Blue Ghost (out of Wolfeboro) was not mentioned
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Old 07-21-2016, 06:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barney Bear View Post
A PT boat named the Uncle Sam II replaced the old Uncle Sam on the island mail routes on the west side of the lake, now handled by the Sophie C. Other boats have serviced the east side of our wonderful lake.
I would suggest that there was never an Ex- PT Boat used as a mail boat on the lake. I suspect this PT Boat thing was just a popular local story.

PT Boats ranged from 77 to 80 feet in length and had three Packard 2500 cubic inch V-12 engines in various configurations. This would never have been economically viable for a mail boat. Just Sayin. NB

Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PT_boat
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Old 07-21-2016, 06:41 PM   #5
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Default Uncle Sam II

The PT boat was trucked up from the coast and was in service for a few years. Lakeport was her home port. On one trip, the Uncle Sam II encountered "pirates" whose den was at Camp Lawrence located on the south end of Bear Island. 🐻 ⚓️ ☠ ⚔
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Old 07-22-2016, 05:47 AM   #6
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PT boats...

The US Navy primarily used two types of PT Boats but had a few from pre-war experimental batches as well. US yards also made several British MTB/MGB models under Lend/lease for export and several of those were retained for training and coast patrol (TV's PT-73 was one of those.) Towards the end of the war they were being made from aluminum and most of the wooden boats were stripped and burned after VJ Day.

Without the weight of weapons, a PT Boat could make a good bit of speed with one engine removed and removing two would be adequate for a mail-boat. Changing from aviation-gas guzzlers to regular gas or diesel engines would also reduce operating expenses tremendously. I have no knowledge to confirm this type of vessel ever operated on the lake but there would have been several types available that might have been candidates for this service.
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Old 07-22-2016, 07:50 AM   #7
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Default Mail Boats

Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam II (PT- Boat), Sophie C, (Lakeport and Weirs) TONIMAR (Alton Bay), now on the lake as Great Escape, BLUE GHOST (Wolfeboro). The Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam II and Sophie C are the only mail boats USPS on board. The others delivered mail only. Pictures Port to Starboard: Uncle Sam II being invaded by the Birch Island Navy (field day event 1967-68), Uncle Sam II off the Weirs, TONIMAR and Uncle Sam II Weirs Channel.
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Old 07-22-2016, 12:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoBozo View Post
I would suggest that there was never an Ex- PT Boat used as a mail boat on the lake. I suspect this PT Boat thing was just a popular local story.

PT Boats ranged from 77 to 80 feet in length and had three Packard 2500 cubic inch V-12 engines in various configurations. This would never have been economically viable for a mail boat. Just Sayin. NB

Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PT_boat
What say you now?
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:15 PM   #9
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What say you now?
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Picture an 80' long x 20'8'' beam PT Boat traveling over the road on a flat bed truck. A sight to be seen for sure. Even a rail car transport would not be without it's problems. NB

Ref. "United States PT-Boats of WWII" by Frank D. Johnson (160 Pg)
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Old 07-22-2016, 03:56 PM   #10
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See the link below to Bruce Heald's book below, if it doesn't work search "Uncle Sam II Lake Winnipesaukee". Basically this states that it was a converted PT boat, 72 x 20 trucked to the lake for use as the mail boat. Top speed is listed at 15 knots which would seem to indicate a change of power plant. I know we have an old copy of "Follow the Mount" somewhere, I believe this is a passage from that book.


https://books.google.com/books?id=ZR...saukee&f=false
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Old 07-22-2016, 06:49 PM   #11
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Local Myths and Folklore are hard for locals to address when the story has been the same for decades. I'm not trying to rob you of your "heritage". I think we are having a conversation..and that is good. NB

PS: I have a copy Bruce Heald's Book...Follow the Mount. It is signed by the author..Dated Sept 22, 2004....addressed to John..that could be me,... BUT.. I think I bought this copy used, from a book seller on Cape Cod a few years ago. I think RG made me buy it... We both like History. NB

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Old 07-22-2016, 11:14 PM   #12
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Well the Uncle Sam II was a PT boat that was converted to a personal yacht/cruiser. Somehow it found it's way to Lakeport to become the Uncle Sam II replacing the Uncle Sam that served for many years to the Islands of Winnipesaukee, East Bear, Birch, Sandy, Jolly and a few others.
It only served as a mailboat for a short period of time (1966-68), there was some management or financial issues that ended her service,and then the Sophie C became the mailboat from Weirs and has served her duty well.
I have more detailed info on this and will research for the forum.
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Old 07-28-2016, 06:28 PM   #13
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Default Getting a Lotta Flak...about PT-719 (Uncle Sam II)

From Bruce Healds own books.

https://books.google.com/books?id=G9...pg=PA51&lpg=PA

Looking at NavSource..PT-719:

http://www.navsource.org/archives/12/05719.htm


Bruce Heald quotes the Uncle Sam II (PT-719) as being 80 tons, presumably without the big Packards, and no weapons.

Just info that I have uncovered. You decide.

The REAL PT-719 is 39 tons'. ..and only 70 feet.

A Fully Loaded & Armed ELCO 80 foot PT-Boat (The last and most sucessful version) is listed as 56 tons.

CRITICS:........ What say you...? NB

CREDITS: Bruce Heald, PhD, is a prolific writer.

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&ke...l_22338zxcem_p

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Old 07-29-2016, 01:53 PM   #14
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Default I Stand Corrected

I decided to google 70' Vosper PT Boat and this is what I found:

https://www.google.com/search?q=70%2...iw=880&bih=570

The images shown Definitely resemble The Uncle Sam II, particularly in the bow area along the rubrail directly ahead of the torpedo tubes. Bruce Heald had the weight and dimensions wrong, leading me to believe that Uncle Sam II was NOT a PT Boat.

Vosper was a British design built under license in the US. Quite a few of them were shipped to Russia under lend lease during/after the war. NB
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Old 04-07-2019, 09:25 PM   #15
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Not that this was not solved a long time ago, but here is a brochure from then, for historical reference.



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Old 04-07-2019, 09:35 PM   #16
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Lakeport docking slip.



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Old 04-08-2019, 06:22 AM   #17
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Mail began to be carried on the Lake in the late 1800s, but the first official date was 1892 when Rural Free Delivery Route #7 was set up under contract to Dr. George Saltmarsh with the vessel Robert and Arthur the first mailboat. In 1896 the Dolphin replaced it in service, and in 1906 the mail contract put the newly launched Uncle Sam onto the run as the third mailboat. In 1916, by Act of Congress (the only such incident in the United States to date), the Uncle Sam became the only floating-post office. For the years 1932 & 3 the Marshall Foch took the honors, but it was displaced in 34 by the Uncle Sam I, which ran uninterrupted until destroyed due to old age after the end of the 1961 season. 1962 saw a new Uncle Sam II, a 72 foot converted PT-Boat, brought in by rail and launched for the increased traffic from many countries.

My dad was stationed at the naval supply station in Newfoundland during WWII. When the mailboat goes by, he mentioned it was a 'Higgins'.

https://www.lakewinnipesaukee.net/boating/mail-boats/
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Old 04-08-2019, 09:17 AM   #18
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My recollection is that when the Uncle Sam went out of service there was a 34'(+/-) steel hulled cabin cruiser used to keep the mail contract active. I think she served for a season or two until the PT boat was fitted out. The PT boat was launched in Glendale. No RR connection there so I have to believe she was shipped by road. The only rail siding/launch I recall was in Lakeport, and probably inactive if not removed, by 1961.
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Old 04-08-2019, 09:29 AM   #19
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Summer of 1964: I have a memory of the Uncle Sam slowing down, and gliding up to the Camp Alton outer dock with docking precision, in the mid-morning, on a very regular basis. The inner dock area was home to green, canvas over wood, C.A. designated, Camp Alton canoes. Whenever the Uncle Sam arrived or departed, all the canoes tied bow and stern within the inner dock, would all do a little shimmy together, like they were saluting or greeting or waving good bye to the Uncle Sam .....it always happened....as the canoes were generally not in use too much at mid-morning .... say 10:30-am.

The Camp Alton docks are basically still there, and were located directly below the 'Rocks', an outdoor assembly sitting structure of small granite boulders embedded into the hillside, amphi-theatre style, where the entire camp of 275 would assemble, morning and evening, to salute the Flag with Flag raising and lowering ceremony accompanied by a different bugler, every day. So, if the young bugler was not too confident with his pre-breakfast performance, his bugle warm-ups could be heard after lunch getting ready for his second play at the pre-dinner Flag ceremony.

The Uncle Sam was a very happening boat .... the bow area benches would almost always be crowded with passengers .... out to see the lake ..... and it was loaded with camper packages from home ... delivered to campers ....that got inspected by Camp Alton mail security, looking for contraband candy in the packages and all candy was confiscated ..... no 5-cent Milky Ways or 5-cent M & M's for you, buddy ..... boo-hoo!
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Old 07-05-2019, 08:35 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BroadHopper View Post
My dad was stationed at the naval supply station in Newfoundland during WWII. When the mailboat goes by, he mentioned it was a 'Higgins'.

https://www.lakewinnipesaukee.net/boating/mail-boats/
The Higgins boats were marine plywood.
Andrew Higgins - invented or perfected or adopted the use of marine plywood.

Some of the WWII boats were made by the Higgins company in Louisiana. Landing craft and PT boats among two. Now a museum.

After WWII the Higgins company entered the pleasure boat market. There were a few dealers in the Lakes Region selling such. It's pretty rare to see a Higgins runabout at the annual Antique Boat Show on the big lake.
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Old 07-05-2019, 08:30 PM   #21
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Default Plywood

Most of the PT boats that served were made up with 2'' thick mahogany planking that was laid up on the diagonal and planked for and aft . It was referred to as "ply wood". not the same plywood purchased today at lumber yards. They were not veneers glued up but there strength was the 'cross planking" method of mahogany. Visit Battleship Cove in Fall River MA and see the process.

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