Red Headed Stepchild
(The Barrett family memoir of Navy Life)
by Sophie Ruth Meranski with photos

 

Revenue Cutter School buildings
p 33-896 DUPLICATE 41- From the time Jack was a very young boy he loved the sea.He was brought up in South Boston on East Seventh Street between L & M Streets at #634 till May,l902,then next door at #640-& as a young man he swam nearly every day & owned a dory,which he loved, & in which he & Joe Buckley at M & Eighth Street spent many hours rowing & fishing.He supplied his family & neighbors with fish & had enough left over for all the policemen in South Boston.Although he was accepted at Harvard college & planned to enroll & even took some meals that September at the freshman dining hall in the big Civil War Memorial Hall,he could not raise the necessary ($200) tuition funds to attend & turned his attention to the Naval Academy-a natural choice for a young man so at home on the sea.He was first alternate for a Naval Academy appointment (l907 or l908)-had passed all the physical & mental requirements & was told by the first choice candidate that he the latter did not intend to accept, but Jack was stunned when the other fellow took the appointment at the last moment.In l908 Jack turned his attention to the Revenue Cutter Service (merged in l9l5 with the Life Saving Service to form the modern Coast Guard) as the age limit for the Revenue Cutter School at Arundel Cove, South Baltimore Maryland was higher than for the Naval Academy.He spent many hours in his attic & in the Boston Public Library studying history, & scored third in the country of of forty applicants on the l909 Revenue Cutter School examination.He passed the physical exam & entered the three year course in May l909 among a class of twenty-two cadets..During the winter they lived aboard the ORIOLE- his second cousin May Hartigan from D. & Third Streets South Boston remembered visiting in February l9l0 & observing clamshells in the pavements at Arundel Cove. Her father had been a stereotyper at Baltimore & Philadelphia before coming to the Boston Herald.Her eldest brothers "Miah" (Jeremiah) & James had died of spinal tuberculosis, although "Miah had played football at Boston College, as did Edward l889-l978, who graduated from Boston College l9ll & then repeated freshman year at West Point - a classmate of future World War II generals Dwight Eisenhower,Omar Bradley, & James Van Fleet l9l5, whom he saw in later years at reunions. James Hartigan was a newspaper reporter l907 in Bath Maine & wrote essays on philosophy. He was severely crippled for several years & passed away early in l9l2. Jack Barrett spent much time talking with him in his final months, & Edward came home & subsequently entered a seminary & was ordained l9l7.In addition to parish duties in North Weymouth & Everett, he started summer Camp Cedar Crest at Green Harbor,Marshfield for boys & girls,which operated l920's to l970's, & visited O Farrell cousins of the Hartigans & Jack Barrett in l929 at Kilbarry, Templemartin parish, six miles north of Bandon, county Cork,Ireland.It is possible to follow the Revenue Cutter summer cruises by the post cards Jack sent home from the [p.217]ITASCA, the cadet training ship,beginning May 24, l909 at Arundel Cove. The ship was next in drydock at Newport News,Virginia for about a week & headed for the Azores.Designed for the Naval Academy,the ITASCA could travel near ten knots speed with its engines,but sails were added for training purposes & added a couple of knots speed.ITASCA made its first Revenue Cutter School training cruise summer l907.The Revenue Cutter rank system-=different from the Navy- was as follows: they had Third Lieutenants equivalent to Navy Ensigns-then second & first Lieutenants -& a Revenue Cutter Captain with 2 1/2 stripes was equivalent to a Navy Lieutenant Commander. Regulations prescribed that the Superintendant of the Revenue Cutter School shall have the rank of Captain. A few senior officers had higher ranks,but they were not numerous.The highest rank was that of the Commandant in Washington.Mr. Paul Johnson l970's librarian of the Coast Guard Academy at New London has written in the US Coast Guard Aluumni Association Magazine a series of articles on the Arundel Cove years l900-l9l0 & earlier Revenue Cutter Service History, dating to the American Revolution.An important source of material has been Coast Guard Vice Admiral Wilfred N.Derby (Retired) originally of North Newark, New Jesey-a resident ofWeston Massachusetts on Viles Road since his l950 retirement.He was first in academic standing in Revenue Cutter School class of l9ll & was superintendant of the Coast Guard Academy at New London l947-l950.He met his wife in Hawaii where she grew up,& they were married there.Her father [p. 218] was connected with the kona coffee business,& she was a Punahou School classmate of the songwriter Anderson who wrote "Cockeyed Mayor of Kaunakakai" & many other Hawaiian songs.Mrs. Derby's mother was born in New Zealand & an uncle in Melbourne, Victoria. The Derbys had duty in Boston in World War II & designed their own house in Weston upon retirement. The dining room has ricepaper wallpaper & a blue Shanghai rug. Admiral Derby was in White-Russian-held Vladivostok in l922 & served in Shanghai & Nome,Alaska.He made the ITASCA cruises of l908,l909 & l9l0.The l908 cruise was to England & Northern Europe.Jack made the cruises of l909,l9l0 & l9ll.=Admiral Derby remembers marching in President William Howard Taft's inaugual parade, March 4,l909.It was cold, stormy weather,& the Naval Academy contingent from Annapolis failed to show up for the Parade,but the Coast Guard, true to their motto of "Semper Paratus" -(Always Prepared) were present & in the parade. Spectators mistakenly said,"Here come the 'middies!" But for a long time the Revenue Cutter School teased the Navy about the inauguration, Admiral Derby said.The survival of the Coast Guard during this decade was a somewhat chancy matter. Many persons in the Navy felt the Navy should take over the functions of the Revenue Cutter Service, which was under the Department of the Treasury.In l906 a very embarassing scene occured when Theodore Roosevelt's Secretary of the Treasury Shaw, a smalltime Iowa banker,was commencement speaker at the Revenue Cutter School exercises.He was the boss of the Revenue Cutter Service & stated he saw no reason for its existence.He implied the cadets were there only because they were too lazy to work for a living or get into the Navy.His speech was coldly received by the prospective Coast Guardsmen, who were deeply shocked- & for the next couple of years, Revenue Cutter Commencement exercises were [p.219]conducted without a graduation speaker because of this experience.Fortunately Congress had voted the funds for a Coast Guard School,which played an important part in the survival of the Revenue Cutter Service with an image independent of the Navy.__42- At one period the Coast Guard Academy had no land base.It moved about in the training ship CHASE. The l900 Arundel Cove site, the larger training ship ITASCA & the new location of the Academy in the fall of l9l0 at old Civil War Army Fort Trumbull on the Long Island sound south of New London Connecticut were important steps in the development of the modern Coast Guard.The size of the Academy fluctuated.There was comparative prosperity around l9l0-then a drop in funds in l9l4 lowered the enrollment-then there was steady expansion to an enrollment around two hundred in l93l, the last year at Fort Trumbull.In l932 the Academy moved to its present site on the right bank of the Thames River, a short distance north of New London.New buildings have been steadily added on the attractive campus,which now offers a four year curriculum with an academic degree & now l970 houses nine hundred students.The course originally of two years was lengthened to three years in l903 & subsequently after Jack's time to four years.Many of the cadets are college graduates.Admiral Derby,one of the younger cadets,had already spent a year at the Webb school of Naval Architecture on Long Island.Jack's l9l2 classmate Floyd Sexton now a Rear Admiral, had nearly finished the Naval Academy when he failed the physical requirements on being found underweight.Undaunted he [p.220]attended the Revenue Cutter School & had a distinguished career & was in Hawaii l940's.The class of l9l0 was the Senior Class when Jack entered in l909.Of this class Leo Mueller from Alabama did a great deal of photography, & many photos were duplicated & available for sale to cadets from the cruises.Only five seniors made the l909 cruise- of these I met Jack's close friend William Keester at Norfolk,Virginia in l934.The Revenue Cutter catalogue of July l,l909 lists sixteen members of the class of l9ll, who were all photographed aboard the ITASCA on the l9l0 cruise.Their names are Trilck, Eberle, Derby,Starr, Bothwell,Scammel,Anstett,Klinger, Zeusler,Kniskern,Mueller,Stika,Hemingway, Yeandle,Lucas -& Clarence H. Dench made the cruise but apparently missed the picture.Fourteen of twenty-two cadets of the l9l2 class appear in the l9l0 ITASCA photo.Jack's classmate Joe Farley was later Commandant of the entire Coast Guard l947.Admiral Sexton was in charge of the Coast Guard in Hawaii in World War II.Fred Birkett of l9l2 wrote a Naval Institute article on conditions in Alaskan waters. The names of Jack's classmates Chester Kain & C.H. ("catch hell") Abel occasioned humorous comment.Kain later worked with Johnson & Higgins Company in general average adjustment & marine insurance in New York.I met Jack's classmate David Marvin in San Diego California in l938.He was attached to the Coast Guard Academy at New London around l929 & wrote Jack a friendly letter about life at the Academy then. He sold Jack a large colored print of[221]"Famous Old Coast Guard Cutter Bear" copyright l929by U.S.Coast GuardAcademy Athletic Association.Visitors to our house in West Roxbury will remember seeing this picture over the living room fireplace.Jack remained very friendly with this close-knit group of shipmates,who always occupied considerable space on our Christmas card list. Clement J.Todd was another classmate who apparently was a frequent social companion of Jack's.He appears in a number of photos in Jack's album.including one at the David Farragut statue (l893) in South Boston near City Point.Apparently Todd met Jack's family, because he sent postcards from New London to Jack's young sisters Mollie & Kate after Jack left the Academy November l9ll. Twomother classmates in many photographs are Peacock & "Gus" Stewart.After Stewart's death in l960's Jack corresponded with his widow at Stinson Lake New Hampshire & on one occasion tried to find her there when out on a drive.Other members of the class who made the l9l0 cruise included E.M. Webster,Edward Earle,J.J.Talbott, Brown, & J.M.Earp- who was lost in World War I along with E. A Bothwell of the class of l9ll.They were both on the ship TAMPA lost in the English Channel as the result of a German submarine about l9l5 after their ship had completed crossing the Atlantic in a convoy.In addition to the regular cadets there were a few cadet engineers who attended the academy for shorter periods-usually one year at this date.They received higher pay- $900 annually versus $500 for the regular [222]cadets. In the class of l9l3 Jack had one close friend, William Rupertus- later a Marine General at Guadalcanal-Tulagi.Rupertus married the sister of his Coast Guard classmate Gorman-but she & their daughter died of an unusually virulent scarlet fever epidemic at Peking when Rupertus was there l929-l93l working on new gunnery methods.I met Rupertus there November l93l when Jack was sent to Peking for a physical examination for his promotion to Lieutenant Commander.Another famous member of the class of l9l3 was Stone,who flew the Atlantic via the Azores from Newfoundland to Lisbon, Portugal as co-pilot of an airplane. This was the first heavier-than-air crossing of the Atlantic, although it did not capture the imagination of the public as much as the later non-stop flights of the British co-pilots Alcock and Brown and the highly publicized 1927 Lindbergh solo flight. These three appear in the 1910 ITASCA photo, and so does the well-known "Iceberg" Smith of the Ice Patrol. Yeandle 1911 and Von Paulsen 1913 were later distinguished aviators._- 48 Revenue Cutter service : Admiral Derby recalls him (Jack Barrett) as a pleasant outgoing personality with moderately reddish hair.Many of his friends called him"Redhead," though the consensus of his earlier acquaintances is that his hair was not a really bright(light) red (it photographs dark- a dark red as far as we have been able to determine).Admiral Sexton recollects that Jack had a special interest in history & would sometimes talk at length on ancient military campaigns. Apparently this was the influence of Pennypacker,Henderson, and Grace & Botsford & Selah Howell of the Latin School.Jack visited the Naval Academy at Annapolis in l9l0.He came home for Christmas l909. A plumbing acquaintance of Jack's father was in the Navy at this time & sent Mr. Barrett postcards from Malta & other ports.His name was Ben. He had worked for Jack's father & claimed to be aboard the fastest ship in the Navy (the .....?) Joe Buckley of South Boston often sent postcards to Jack as did Jack's family.His aunts in California had a highly favorable opinion of Jack & took great interest in his cruises.Jack's address books from this period indicate he had more or less "code" Greek names for several girl friends: (Greek letters " Helene" was Helen Cochrane of South Boston of Girls Public Latin School, who he l905-6 dated & perhaps thereafter- she was a neighbor on East.Fourth Street of Mollie & Anna Manning,, who later came to West Roxbury- Helen sent Jack a note when her mother died in l937) One of the others was "Athene." At the Overseas Transportation Office Pearl Harbor he often used Greek letters to keep confidential or secret information from being seen over his shoulder by unauthorized passers-by. From this period dates a friendship (probably not romantic) with Ora Whittlesey Sterry, who married Edgard Waterman & lived at Camaguey,Cuba, where Jack visited several times in l920's when stationed at Guantanamo. They had two daughters Bonnie & Garda Waterman.Jack had a very good relationship with Academy Superintendant John E. Reinburg, who unfortunately for Jack left in February l9l0 because of tuberculosis.His successor W.V.E. Jacobs played an important role in Academy history, but Jack did not have as easy a relationship with him.
Subject: (9)Revenue Cutter School buuildings
Year: 1910