Recall that I started this series explaining that I’m drawing from photos in the archives of the Canal Society of New York. 

It’s fitting that this post in the series gets designated as M;  M for Matton. Here’s a quote from the shipyard history site:  “John E. Matton started his original shipyard in 1899, on the Champlain Canal, about three miles north of the Waterford side-cut: he moved to Cohoes in 1916. [I know the second site, but the 1899 site on the old Champlain Canal I’m not familiar enough with Waterford to know its location.] His son Ralph joined him in 1922 and the company became, first, John E. Matton & Son, and, later, John E. Matton & Sons.  The yard closed in 1966 and was sold to Bart Turecamo, who kept the Matton name, operating it as Matton Shipyard Company, until it closed again in 1983.” 

Two more installments of this post are coming, but a frustration of an exercise like this is that no fewer than five boats carried the name John E. Matton between 1911 and 1964.  Initially I imagined the photo below to show the 1911 John E. Matton, but that was a canal boat–not a tug–and the signboard in the photo below shows the company name, post 1922. 


Having cleared that up, this is an intriguing photo.  In this closer up view, you see no fewer than 15 men on board, some of them with white boards or drafting tables and instruments on tripods, either theodolites [likely] or cameras.  A good number of the men–but not all of them– are looking in the direction of the photographer, which makes this a somewhat casual shot.

Also, notice the name board on the bow begins with a P, then a C and ends with an N

The name board on the wheelhouse also begins with a P.  However, looking at the shipyard history site, I find no Matton-built boat that begins with a P. So what tugboat is this, and what would all these men be doing?  Did Matton own a tugboat which they did not build?

If that is complicated, it gets more so.  The 1939 John E. Matton was sold to the USN in 1940 and renamed Tamaque, YN 52, and the next  one was not built until 1945.  If this is not the 1939 build, what is it?

Identity of the tug aside, it’s interesting to see the barge max out the space available in lock E-2.

The photo below is clear, so is this the 1939 John E. Matton, which became Tamaque, Athena, Jesse D, and Atlantic 7?

With a clearer photo and better angle, I might be able to determine if the photo above and below show the same vessel.  Lightening of the photo thanks to Bob Mattsson.

This archive is no help for photos of the 1945 John E. Matton (then Hollywood and Brevard). 

The 1958 John E. Matton has been covered here as Cissy Reinauer, Cissi, Mischief, and finally Thornton Bros, which was scrapped in 2014. 

The 1964 John E. Matton also does not appear;  it became Helen J. Turecamo at some point after 1966 and sank in 1988, although I don’t know any of the details or location of that loss.      

More Matton boats–less frustrating ones– are up in next post.

Many thanks to the Canal Society of New York for allowing me access to these photos.