Editor's Note: The following is a compilation of information about the Steamship Shickshinny, supplied
to the NEWS by N. Brian Caverly, Esquire, a member of the Shickshinny Historical Society.
According to reports in a local paper dating back to 1919, the Steamship Shickshinny was a steel cargo carrier, named
the "Shickshinny" by Mrs. Woodrow Wilson. The ship was christened on August 5, 1919, at Hog Island Shipyard,
Philadelphia, by Miss Natalie Beach Crary, daughter of Nathan Crary, one of the founders of the town of
Shickshinny.Witnessing the ceremony were a number of officials and representatives of the borough, as well as officials of the United Shipping Board and the American International Shipbuilding Corporation.
Miss Natalie Beach Crary, the sponsor, was accompanied by her two sisters, Misses Martha L. and Sarah W. Crary,
Mrs. W.G. Watkins and Miss Laura M. Reidy, all of Shickshinny, Mrs. W. Murray Alexander of Wilkes-Barre,
Mrs. Flora Limbert of Rebersville and Mrs. J.E. Jones and Mrs. J.B. Anderson of Philadelphia. Miss Crary was chosen
as sponsor for the "Shickshinny" by the Shickshinny Chamber of Commerce, which presented, for the use of the
crew of the ship, a library. What follows is a portion of the speech given by Sarah Wood Crary to the Rotary Club of Shickshinny, it is believed in the 1920's: "We hold in our possession belonging to Nathan Beach,
my father's grandfather, a deed from John and Thomas Penn, Governors of Pennsylvania, dated 1772. Therein is mention
of 'Shickshinny Brook' running through the village of that same name." "Shickshinny was formed of Union and Salem
townships, Union being taken from Huntington Township in 1813, and Shickshinny remained a part of the township until
1861. The borough was not chartered until November 30,1861, and the first borough officers were: Jesse P. Enke,
burgess G.W. Search, B.D. Koons, N.B. Crary, John F. Nicely, and Thomas Davenport."
"Shickshinny", the place where five mountains (Newport, Lee's, Rocky, Knob, and River) meet, was thus
indicated by the Indians, hence Shickshinny's unusual name, but no more unusual than other Indian names. "
"N.B. Crary had a store in the upper part of Union Street at the site of the Freeman Robbins residence, Later he built a store at the comer of Union and Main, where the First National Bank is now located and continued business there until 1906."
" At the close of the war, before the dismantling of Hog Island, a very interesting event took place to the interest
of Shickshinny. A number of Merchant Marines ships were built and launched and given Indian names by Mrs. Woodrow
Wilson. She was a descendant of Pocahontas, thus her interest in Indian names. The first vessel launched was
sponsored by Mr. Woodrow Wilson, the second just a year later." "The steamship 'Shickshinny' was
sponsored by Natalie B. Crary on August 5, 1919, at Hog Island, PA. The Chamber of Commerce of Shickshinny felt that a daughter of one of the founders should be sponsor. By vote of this official body, Nathan Crary, was the one chosen.
Steamship Shickshinny is still on the high seas. Its sponsor still secures a knowledge of its goings and comings."
"An interesting incident happened at Steamship Shickshinny's christening. Natalie Crary took a bottle of lovely
mountain water with which to christen the boat, for we are decidedly people of temperate principle. She was instructed at
Hog Island that the sailors were superstitious. They felt the liquid must be champagne, so that was used. Now for the
incident: We as a family have always been taught that our mouths must be tightly closed physically always and mentally only
occasionally (just enough to relax). I erred from this accepted rule of the Crary family. As my sister gave the ship a tremendous whack with the champagne bottle (I was close to her and looking up), I was conscious of a very pungent taste in my mouth which must have been some escaped champagne -my first and last taste."
There are also pictures of the Steamship Shickshinny being berthed at Cette, France
on December 2l,1919. The next known information uncovered moves to April of 1939, where it was
reported that the U.S.S. Shickshinny, an emergency war freighter, twenty years earlier, had been launched at the Norfolk
Navy Yard. It reported that Natalie Crary and the Shickshinny Chamber of Commerce presented a set of silverware to
the ship's officers, and that after the war, Georgia interests purchased the ship and that its home port was probably Savannah. It noted that at that time, the ship was probably still sailing the seas. There was also an article which noted
that a raft of lumber in the London, England West India docks bore the name "Shickshinny". The thought was that the
timber came over to England from Georgia and was taken over on the freighter "Shickshinny", and that the sign might be a
designation as being from that ship. The last information was from an article dated September 22,1939, which indicated
that the ship was seized by the British on September 17, 1939, at Glasgow. It reported that 1,350 tons on rock phosphate was confiscated aboard the Steamship Shickshinny. The cargo, it was noted, was destined for Germany, and the seizure was to be reviewed by the Prize Court, which was to be setup in the near future. In a letter to the NEWS, N. Brian Caverly
stated that it was his recollection that the ship was in service of some South American country and stopped by the British while used to run guns into Germany on the eve of, or during the early days of WW2. He concluded by stating that he had
recently heard an unconfirmed report that the ship was still sailing the seas.