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William Isom


The vice president of the North American Transportation & Trading Co. just after the turn of the century.


(Tanker: dp. 7,045; lbp. 293'; b. 47'; dr. 23' (aft); s. 10 ˝ k.; cpl. 44; a. 1 5", 1 3")


William Isom (Id. No. 1555)—a tanker constructed in 1917 at Baltimore, Md., by the Baltimore Drydock & Shipbuilding Corp.—was taken over by the United States Shipping Board on 24 April 1918 from the Sinclair Gulf Corp. and was commissioned at New York on 1 May 1918, Lt. Comdr. Wenzel Habel, USNRF, in command.


Initially assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service, she was reassigned to the Fleet Train by 1 July as a depot tanker. In that role, she carried fuel and supplies to various American ships and stations. She appears never to have seen service overseas but rather remained close to America's shores throughout her 15 months of naval service. On 21 August 1919, she was decommissioned, transferred to the United States Shipping Board, and returned to her owners, all simultaneously.


Following her brief naval career, William Isom resumed mercantile service with the Sinclair Gulf Corp. until 1920 when she was sold to the American Italian Commercial Corp. In the mid-1920's she was sold to the Cuba Distilling Co. In 1930, Edwin B. DeGolia acquired her and the following year renamed her SS Edwin B. DeGolia. She served with the Hillcone Steamship Co. under that name until late 1947 or early 1948 when the Artemis Maritime Co., of Panama, acquired her and renamed her SS Demosthenes. She continued in mercantile service with that company and under that name until late in 1955 or early in 1956. At that point, all mention of her in mercantile lists ceased.