USS J.M. Guffey was the first ship produced at New York Shipyard. It started out as the freighter M.S. Dollar for Dollar Steamship Company. Mr. Robert Dollar owned lumber interest in the Pacific North West and owned steam schooners to bring lumber to California. He wanted to expand by shipping lumber to China and other locations in Asia. After the freighter was launched (1901) it was taken over by the J.M. Guffey Petroleum Company and converted to a tanker (1902). The ship was 292 feet long, beam of 22 feet and capable of a speed of 11 knots.
J.M. Guffey in 1902 (USS J.M. Guffey ID # 1279)
James McClurg Guffey organized a petroleum company in 1901 with about 7/15 of his own money and the remainder of money from the Mellon family. The company financed Spindletop's "oil gusher" in 1901 (near Beaumont Texas) and the ship J.M. Guffey. In 1907 the petroleum company, pipeline and other oil interests were organized as Gulf Oil Corporation.
Launching of the M.S. Dollar (1901).
The ship transported oil along the East Coast of the United States. During World War I the ship operated out of the British Isles and north west Europe as USS J.M. Guffey (ID # 1279). After the war, the ship sailed back to the US and was returned to Gulf Oil Corporation. The return trip was eventful in that leaking boiler tubes forced the ship to stop in Newfoundland for repairs. Between 1919 and 1926 the ship remained laid up until reactivated as SS Meloria. It was scrapped in 1935.
J.M. Guffey Petroleum purchased a new tanker, SS Oklahoma from N.Y. Shipyard in 1908. The new ship had more than twice the capacity of Guffey.
The Guffey house flag.