(ScStr: dp. 5,850; l. 290'0"; b. 42'2"; dph. 21'0"; dr. 18'9" (mean); s. 10.0 k.; cpl. 55; a. 2 4", 1 mg.)
Winifred—a steel-hulled, single-screw freighter— was laid down on 31 January 1898 at Bath, Maine, by the Bath Iron Works; launched on 8 July 1898; and delivered to her managing owners, Hiller, Bull, and Knowlton, of New York City, on 1 October 1898. Reputed by some to be the first American "tramp" steamer—a freighter steaming on non-scheduled, cargo-carrying runs between a varying slate of ports—Winifred initially operated on the New York to Puerto Rico route.
By late in 1917, Winifred was operating under the auspices of the Gulf Refining Co., of Port Arthur, Tex. In the autumn of that year, the ship was armed; and, on 17 October 1917, a Navy armed guard unit under the command of Chief Boatswain's Mate W. A. Moon was placed on board the ship. After docking at Bayonne to take on a cargo of oil, Winifred shifted to Hampton Roads, where she joined a convoy. Departing Hampton Roads on 8 November, the steamer reached Dover, England, on the 29th and Gravesend on the 30th. She remained in British waters for the remainder of 1917, touching at Sheerness, Cardiff in Wales, and at Dover.
Winifred operated in European waters into the summer of the following year. Assigned Identification Number 1319, Winifred was commissioned as a vessel of the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS) on 21 June 1918, while in drydock at Liverpool, Lt. J. B. Barneson, USNRF, in command.
Operating primarily from Cardiff, Wales, Winifred performed coastwise and cross-channel service, lifting supplies from English to French ports and vice-versa. She operated for NOTS in this vital logistics capacity through the end of World War I.
Winifred departed Liverpool, England, on 12 December 1918; proceeded homeward via the Azores; and arrived at New York on 8 January 1919. Shifting to Philadelphia soon thereafter, the ship was placed out of commission there on 13 March 1919. Simultaneously struck from the Navy list, she was turned over to the United States Shipping Board on the same day for disposal. Winfield was returned to her prewar owner, the Gulf Refining Co., and homeported at Port Arthur, Tex., until 1936 when she was abandoned due to age and deterioration.