A Mohican chief—the son of Owenoco—was born in or near 1588. In 1626, he married the daughter of Sassacus, chief of the Pequots, and thus became a chief of the Pequot tribe. When a rebellion against Sassacus lead to his banishment, Uncas fled to the Narragansett tribe; but he subsequently made peace with the Pequots and returned. In 1637, he joined the English in a war against the Pequots, receiving a portion of captured Pequot land. This conduct earned him the enmity of the Pequots, Narragansetts, and other Indian tribes. In 1643, Uncas defeated the powerful Narragansett chief Miantonomo and executed him at the behest of the English colonists. In 1648 the Mohawks, Pocomtocks, and other Indian tribes made war on Uncas but failed to defeat him. Besieged by the Narragansett chief Pessacus, he was saved by Ensign Thomas Lefflngwell. In gratitude, it is said that Uncas gave the Englishman all the land on the site of present-day Norwich, Conn. During his life, he allied with the English in all the wars waged against the Indians, ending with King Philip's War in 1675. Uncas died in 1682 or 1683.
(ScTug: dp. 441; 1. 119'8"; b. 25'; dr. 12' (mean); s. 12 k.; cpl. 15; a. 1 1-pdr., G.g.)
The second Uncas—built as Walter A. Luckenbach in 1893 by John H. Dialogue and Sons, of Camden, N.J., for the Luckenbach and Co. shipping firm, of New York, N.Y.—was acquired by the Navy on 2 April 1898 for Spanish-American War service as an ocean-going tug; was renamed Uncas and commissioned on 6 April 1898, Lt. Frederick R. Brainard in command.
Assigned to the North Atlantic Fleet, Uncas operated on blockade duty off Matanzas on the north coast of Cuba. On 3 May 1898, Uncas, in company with Hudson, captured the Havana-bound Spanish sailing vessel Antonio Suarez. On 13 July, again in company with Hudson, the tug overtook two sloops. Together, Hudson and Uncas captured one sloop—Bella Yuiz, a Spanish vessel bound for Havana—and sank the other, taking two prisoners.
After the conclusion of hostilities, Uncas underwent repairs at the Philadelphia Navy Yard before she sailed south for the Caribbean, via Port Royal, S.C. In the fall of 1899, Uncas inspected lighthouse facilities in the Danish West Indies and at Puerto Rico before she served a brief tour towing Army Quartermaster Corps barges. She then resumed lighthouse inspection and harbor survey duties in the Puerto Rican area and, during this tour, carried a selection board to Culebra Island to seek out a site for a target range.
While engaged in local operations in Puerto Rican waters into the late winter of 1901, Uncas assisted Mayflower off a shoal near San Juan on 15 March 1901. She subsequently carried Army passengers and towed targets for Army Coast Artillery units at San Juan into mid-1901. Sandwiched in between her routine operations, Uncas towed the disabled merchantman SS Longfellow from Arecibo, Puerto Rico, to San Juan, for repairs, on 14 November 1901.
Operating as a tender for the North Atlantic Fleet, Uncas continued her Caribbean-based operations, carrying dispatches, mail, and provisions and serving again on lighthouse inspection duties into 1902. She carried an inspection and survey team to look over land on Culebra for a possible coaling station site from 26 to 28 June 1903 before she headed north for temporary duty at the Norfolk Navy Yard.
Returning to the Caribbean soon thereafter, Uncas operated out of San Juan for the first half of the year 1904 before she returned to the Norfolk Navy Yard for repairs. The tug subsequently received assignment to Guantanamo Bay and operated out of that port on "special" and "general" service with the Fleet until she was assigned to the Norfolk Navy Yard in late 1915.
On 7 June 1916, while operating at the Washington Navy Yard, Uncas—by then designated Ocean Tug No. 51—was inspected and adjudged to be no longer satisfactory for service off the Atlantic coast.
As a result, she conducted only local operations out of Washington through the end of World War I. Uncas was redesignated as a yard tug—YT-110—on 10 June 1921. Decommissioned at Washington on 6 March 1922, she was struck from the Navy list on 14 March and put up for sale. Purchased by the Wood Towing Corp., of Norfolk, Va., on 25 July 1922, the tug then entered mercantile service and operated out of the Norfolk area.