Cities in Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Ohio.
(AK: dp. 6,200; l. 339'; b. 45'1"; dr. 19'8"; s. 8 k.; cpl. 112; a. 1 4")
Canton was launched in 1913 as Hercules by A. Yuick and Zonen, Holland; chartered to the Shipping Board on time charter between 18 February and 20 March 1918; seized by Customs officers at New York 20 March 1918 and turned over to the Shipping Board who manned her until 12 June 1918; acquired by the Navy 12 June 1918; commissioned as Canton 18 June 1918, Lieutenant Commander O. Arnesen, USNRF, in command; and reported to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service.
After loading cargo at Brooklyn and Baltimore, Canton cleared Norfolk 13 July 1918 for Genoa, Italy, in convoy. After discharging aviation material for the Italian Ministry of Shipping, Canton called with her convoy at Corfu, Greece, and La Pallice, France, before taking departure from Gibraltar for New York City. From 18 September to 1 October, she discharged and reloaded cargoes, then sailed in convoy for Sydney, Nova Scotia, jumping-off place for Northern Atlantic convoys. On 8 October, she sailed for English ports, where she delivered cargo, and loaded supplies such as ammunition, no longer needed in the war zone. She returned to New York 2 January 1919.
Canton was returned to the Shipping Board at Norfolk 11 March 1919, but continued to operate with a Navy crew. She loaded a cargo of general food supplies and grain at Baltimore, then sailed for Copenhagen, where she arrived 23 April. At Amsterdam, where she arrived 1 May, she was inspected and, on 10 May 1919, decommissioned and delivered to the Royal Netherlands Steamship Co.