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Chatham County Historical Markers

SS Savannah and SS John Randolph

  • Source: David Seibert
  • Marker: SS Savannah and SS John Randolph
  • Location: Bay St. Just East of City Hall, Savannah



The first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean, the SS

SAVANNAH, sailed from this harbor on May 22, 1819 and

reached Liverpool 27 days later. The anniversary of her sailing, May 22, is

celebrated as National Maritime Day. Captain Moses Rogers was

her master. James Monroe, President of the United States, inspected

the vessel here and was taken on a trial excursion on May 12. The

Savannah Steamship Company (of which William Scarbrough was

principal promoter,) fitter her with a 90 H.P. engine and boiler.

She was of 330 tons burden, 98’6” long, 25’2” breadth, 12’11” draft,

equipped with paddle-wheel, spars, and sails. She depended pri-

marily upon sail power in the open seas. Before returning to

Savannah she visited St. Petersburg, Crondstadt, and Stockholm.

The SS JOHN RANDOLPH, American’s first successful iron steam-

ship in commerce, was launched in this harbor July 9, 1834. Pre-

fabricated in Birkenhead, England for Gazaway B. Lamar of Savannah,

she was shipped in segments and assembled here. She was 100’

long 22’ breadth. Unlike the SS SAVANNAH, she was an immediate

commercial success in the river trade, and was the first of a great

fleet of iron steamboats on the rivers of America.