M/V Isle of June, plied Miami-Nassau Bahamas, 1926 to 1938, mail boat, passengers and freight

A very rare and scratchy image of the Isle of June, taken from the deck of the Monarch of Nassau.

Photo source: The Miami News, August 28, 1938, http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2206&dat=19380828&id=2AUtAAAAIBAJ&sjid=QNQFAAAAIBAJ&pg=4596,4335568


PAST NAMES: did not have one
DIMENSIONS: 83 feet long, steam propelled with auxiliary sail (two masts in photo, could be aerial), registered to Nassau, N.P., Bahamas. Official # 151910
BUILDER: Edward Roberts, Harbour Island, North Eleuthera
EARLY CAREER: on the Miami-Nassau freight run
BAHAMAS CAREER: served Nassau with mail, passengers and freight from Miami up to 1938
CAPTAINS: Richard H. Sweeting, Captain Frank Johnson, Captain, W. H. Wheeler (skipper 1926 – 1928 when he shot himself on board, see below). Leslie Albury was the Chief Engineer in early 1930. The Second Engineer in 1928 was Walter Albury.
FATE: taken off the Miami run in Sept. 1938, replaced by the Betty K. and the Monarch of Nassau. By 1940 she was not listed in the British Mercantile Navy List of Steamers.
OWNERS: Kelly Lumber company of Nassau, N.P., Bahamas
NOTES: There is a fascinating, detailed article about the retirement of the Isle of June by Cecil R.

Warren Staff Writer for the The Miami News. It is dated August 28 1938 (web citation below) and here are relevant excerpts:

“Isle of June, First to Ply City-Nassau Route, to Retire”:

Photo (above): Pinched between Monarch of Nassau and dock… Isle of June set to retire

Frederick C. Mader, Saunders and Mader of Miami were the shipping agents for Bahamas Vessels
Since 1926 Isle of June plied Miami-Nassau three times a week – the new replacement vessel is bigger than Monarch of Nassau and Isle of June.
Captain was Richard H. Sweeting – took her through a hurricane in 1929 en route from Miami to Nasssau. The rudder was swept away. Sweeting rigged up a makeshift rudder of wood.
Owners were Kelly Lumber Co. of Nassau.
First captain, W. H. Wheeler shot himself in the mouth aboard her. A “Negro woman” killed herself off the gangplank.
Was the first boat on the Miami-Nassau run from 1926 until 1927 was the only one till the Ena K. – another Bahamas mailboat, joined the route.
In the spirit of friendly competition the Monarch of Nassau was called a “prissy old tub” with a “hifalutin name.”
Betty K. was built in Harbour Island, as was the Isle of June. Betty K. took over Isle of June run in September, 1938. Betty K may be used between New York and Miami. She was having her staterooms renovated in Nassau. Could carry 12 passengers and cargo.

When 17 people drowned from the 35-foot sponging sloop Pretoria which was trying to seek shelter from a storm at Staniard Cay, Abaco, on the 17th of February, 1930, the Isle of June rescued some of the survivors. Leslie Albury was said to have been the Chief Engineer of the Isle of June at the time. Twenty survived. The Pretoria was said to have been owned by H. P. Treco.

Source: Plattsburgh (New York) Sentinel, 28 February 1930, http://news2.nnyln.net/plattsburgh-sentinel/1930/plattsburgh-sentinel-1930-january-march%20-%200092.pdf

The Captain of The ‘Isle Of June’ Is Found Dead on Ship, 
Kingston (Jamaica) Gleaner, Monday 3 Sept. 1928

Nassau, August News reached Nassau on Sunday of the death of Captain W. C. Wheeler, of the m.v. Isle of June who was found shot in his cabin that morning. Captain Wheeler was well known in Nassau, having lived here for six or 7 years, and be had commanded the Isle of June for the last three years. During the war he served in the Royal Navy in mine-sweepers In both the North Sea and, the Mediterranean, and the end of the war saw him leave the service as an officer. He was a daring seaman and a fine navigator.

There are many stories of his pluck in adversity, among them one relating to his navigating his ship to port after being severely wounded by one of his crew who ran amok and having bound up his wounds himself. His periodical brushes with the American Coast- Guard service and the story of his being shelled by one of their vessels last March and arrested tor failure to stop after being signaled to do so by a destroyer several miles from Miami Beach, are well known for they have led to a protest being lodged by the British Ambassador at Washington.

Captain Wheeler was to leave returned to Nassau on Sunday to assist in taking cargo from the Harrison liner Discoverer but that vessel arriving earlier than was expected, Mr. C. J. Kelly, the owner of the Isle of June, cabled him not to return so soon. He cabled back that he would leave on Monday. On Saturday night he was very despondent and told his second engineer, Walter Albury, that he had made his last voyage and would not go back in the Isle of June. He was brooding over his misfortunes and told the crew to take shore leave while be remained on board.

At 6.30 next morning when one of his crew went to call him he was found dead in his berth, sitting upright with a bullet wound in his month and a revolver lying between his legs It is said that no inquest was held in Miami, but circumstances pointed to suicide. The Isle of June returned to Nassau yesterday afternoon with a full cargo under the command of Captain Frank Johnson.

Sources: Mr. Kendall Butler, historian of wooden craft built in the Bahamas,