S.S. GROSSER KURFÜRST - (3rd page)

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Other pages about the Grosser Kurfürst are numbered 70, 71 & 73. Hopefully this page will expand as new data becomes available.

This page is, as is true with other pages, in progress! It will mainly offer the data I presently have available as to the passengers and crew of the Volturno rescued by the Grosser Kurfürst. But there are giant gaps in the data! If you can help me fill in any of those gaps, I would surely welcome the help.

If any of the links do not work, or work incorrectly, please let me know. Test


In the table that follows, I list in the first column the names that were reported as being saved by the Grosser Kurfürst in the New York Times of Oct. 14, 1913. But I have listed those names in a way that hopefully a visitor may today track.

The names are listed not in the sequence in the New York Times, but rather in the sequence that those persons were manifested on Ellis Island, at the indicated manifest pages. The names at times defy reason, but I think the overall result makes some sense. There were 82 persons listed. But 83 manifested, it would seem.

There is a separate table lower on the page of the names I just could not get to match.

Name in New York Times list Age Line # The manifested name as I read it  
MANIFEST PAGES 440 & 439        
Mogrescik, Adolf 45 1 Moyzescik, Adolf  
Kipper, Johann 22 2 Kipper, Johan  
Jabloniki, John 40 3 Jablonecki, John  
Kowoll, Otto 24 4 Kowoll, Otto  
Milstein, David 28 5 Miiklstein, David  
Gatz, Itzig 35 6 Latz, Itzig  
Karpaiski, David 27 7 Karpofsky, David  
Kahan, Ruwen 18 9 Kahan, Ruben  
Pressman, Salman 18 10 Pressman, Salman  
Wechsler, Saloman 46 11 Wechsler, Shlomo, (presumably the Solomon Wechler whose affidavit was referred to in the B. of T. Inquiry)  
Steranko, Ferkus 17 12 Steranka, Ferko  
Xorugat, Josif 26 13 Horryak, Josef  
Gzjurim, Gaja 18 14 Gaja, Gyuric  
Karlowic, Josip 23 15 Karlovic, Josif  
Zibok, Josip 26 16 Cibak, Josif  
Bossawic, Gura 33 17 Posavec, Gyuro  
Macon, Mile 18 18 Mocan, Mile  
Karatevic, Steve 24 19 Kaancevic, Stevo  
Buskaric, Olijans 25 20 Puskaric, Flia  
Dschilikaj, George  22 21 Dschilichaj, George  
Micevio, Marko 20 22 Mi?evic, Marko  
? 22 23 Jerasinovic, Jovan  
? 17 24 Jerasinci, Nasr  
Fastner, Sebasden 39 25 Fastner, Sebastian  
Miljewic, Simon 26 26 Milojevic, Sruso  
Meistorowic, Stojah 22 27 Majtarovic, Stojan  
Gorao, Adam 18 28 Korac, Adam  
Vuletio, Pane 34 29 Pane, Vuletic  
Scheatovic, Gjuro 26 30 Shejatovic, Gyuro  
MANIFEST PAGES 444 & 443        
Bogovic, Urkol 27 1 Bogovic, Jarko  
Schwenk, Heinrich 25 2 Schwenk, Heinrich  
Karwiluk, Simeon 33 3 Hawriluk, Simeon  
? 20  Juric, Rade  
Jabowski, Josef 38 5 Zagorski, Joseph  
Kovatis, Nikolo 25 6 Kovacic, Nikola  
Atanasow, Petir 18 7 Atanassof, Peter  
Reputsky, Konstandon 17 8 Bohutzky, Konstantin  
? 19 9 Berekzewski, Stefan  
Malkevic, Mino 23 10 Malkewitz, Mina  
Losane, Michal 40  11 Lozanj, Michael  
Jurka, Jan 36 12 Surga, Jan  
? 17 13 Lalka, Mativey  
Marquo, Edmund 22 14 Mared, Edmond  
? 37 15 Stefcic, Joso  
? 20  16 Mikulic, Ivan  
? 20 17 Leic, Ivan  
Ventille, Demetri 44 18 Ventila, Demistri  
Petrovic, Michal 41 19 Petrovich, Michal  
MANIFEST PAGES 448 & 447        
Posautz, Walentin 49 1 Bosantz, Valentine  
Selamic, Jwan 29 2 Selanec, Jwan  
Traikobic, Todor 29 3 Traicowitz, Todov  
? 24 4 Petcovitch, Nedelco  
Triciz, Mio 28 5 Fizic, Mijo  
Urost, Mirko 25 6 Horvat, Mirbo?  
Kavour, Rimon 24 7 Kavor, Simon  
Korabe, Jwan 30 8 Kurabav, Jwan  
Matwej, Laiko 33 9 Madyar, Stanko  
? 20 10 Viyanovic, Dragic  
? 30 11 Eviar, Milos  
Silazki, Josef 39 12 Selacki, Joseph  
Stiminow, Alexo 25 13 Stojmenoff, Alexis  
? 21 14 Stokys, Adam  
Cimesa, Milovan 16 15 Cimesa, Jovan  
Rabec, Sime 18 16 Ribic, Simo  
Cimesa, Mile 25 17 Cimesa, Mile  
Zec, Mattia 24 18 Zec, Matea  
Vovcapio, Lazo 18 19 Voikapic, Lazo  
Vovcapic, Mile 25 20 Voikapic, Mile  
Zailac, Bozo 18 21 Zaivaz, Bozo  
Militscheviej, Spurd 28 22 Milicevic, Nicola  
MANIFEST PAGE 436        
Rubin, Reimer 20 1 Rimer, Rubin  
MANIFEST PAGES 432 & 431        
Ginbalinski, Jeremin 31 1 Civibaliski, Jeremin  
Rabinowio, Pinclus 20 2 Rabinovich, Pinches  
Raschitzkl, Josef 43 3 Rzecicky, Josef  
? 33 4 Szyslo, Ignati  
Zagroboski, Josef 24 5 Gziborvski, Josef  
Kowarkoltis, Kasimur 17 6 Kowarkowicz, Kazisan  
Wagadanovic, Dragoma 26 7 Bogdanowitz, Dragonic  
Geusco, Adam 29 8 Getz, Adam  
? 17 9 Vangueu, Vasil  
Zelankevic, Wladislaw 23 10 Celenkewitz, Wladislaw  
Burtbala, Wladimir 18 11 Burbela, Wladimic  
Dragizevic, Jwan 18 12 Dragecevic, Jaadro  


The list that follows is in the right three columns the names & other data that were manifested as above, for those names for whom I could not find a matching name in the New York Times list. The left list is the 'unmatched' names from the New York Times list in the sequence in which the names appeared. So the name at left does not & is not intended to relate to the name at the right. OK? I hope, but must check to see, that there may be another list published later perhaps in that newspaper that would assist me.

It must have been stressful, at the time, for families who had relatives on the Volturno, to check the published list to see if a particular family member was saved. Due to a whole host of problems, I am sure, the names were surely of limited help for many. A name incorrectly written would have made one think that one's family member did not survive, but maybe they did but the name was recorded incorrectly.

Name in New York Times list Age Line # The manifested name as I read it  
Jeresmel, Vaset 22 23 Jerasinovic, Jovan  
Geroseviej, Spurd 17 24 Jerasinci, Nasr  
Rade, Iolls 20  Juric, Rade  
Gortis, Adam 19 9 Berekzewski, Stefan  
Medelkevics, Pelkvio 17 13 Lalka, Mativey  
Taschko, Vasi 37 15 Stefcic, Joso  
Stalcio, Jwan 20 16 Mikulic, Ivan  
Vujanovic, Stefan 20 17 Leic, Ivan  
Milos, Nordzjar S. 24 4 Petcovitch, Nedelco  
Schissne, Jonatz 20 10 Viyanovic, Dragic  
Jandra, Mikulic 30 11 Eviar, Milos  
Vereczewsky, Jaso 21 14 Stokys, Adam  
Dragic, Erar 33 4 Szyslo, Ignati  
  17 9 Vangueu, Vasil  

A list of the names of the Volturno passengers rescued by the Grosser Kurfürst appeared in the New York Times on Oct. 14, 1913. 82 names. Also included, was a list of 23 Volturno crew members similarly rescued. No ages are available & the spelling of the names & ranks may be less that perfect. But I will use that data until I have more definitive data perhaps from another source. So here is that crew list from the New York Times. So far as I can see, until I locate new manifest pages if they exist, only three of the names were manifested.

Name in New York Times list Rank  
Lloyd, Edward 2nd officer  
Duesselmann, Walter 3rd officer  
Pintsch, Alfred 3rd engineer  
Sodorstroem, Viktor boatman  
Kalwing, August carpenter  
Funken, Frank storekeeper  
Reisewitz, Robert (manifested 456) steamcook  
Williges, Jacobus barber  
Dunexter waiter  
Jacobus, Jan waiter  
Heberle, Friedrich galleryman  
Fischer, Maximilian galleryman  
Kwasnewski, Wladislaus (manifested 452 - 1) steward  
Ohlsen, Sigurd sailor  
Jungquirt, Albert sailor  
Pershon, Ferdinand stoker  
Graun, Alfred stoker  
Lebrecht, Paul (possibly Klusmeier, Paul as manifested 452 -3) stoker  
Rudoll, Sam stoker  
Burns, John (manifested 452 - 4) stoker  
Redbi, Meikel stoker  
Madamusme, Ahmed trimmer  
Silc, Adam stoker  

If any visitor can clarify (or correct) or provide more information about any of these matters, I would truly welcome their help.


In Mar. 2008, a collection of press images were offered for sale on e-Bay. From the files of the 'San Francisco Examiner". Were they published by that newspaper in 1913? I do not know the answer to that question. It is not impossible, however, that they were published in 1913 & could well have had some accompanying words that today might be of great interest. Anyway, included in the sale offerings was the following fine 1913 image of a group of Volturno passengers on the deck of the Grosser Kurfürst - which vessel had rescued them.

I should advise that I have not sought the approval of the e-Bay vendor, 'sfxarchive', for the use of the following image. I do hope that its use on this non-profit & informational site will be considered to be in order. It is only fair to note, however, that the vendor's e-Bay store is available here, & I invite you to drop by!

Let me also tell you that the press image had the following words, (the italics are mine) recorded on its rear.

Safe at last. Survivors of the Volturno horror on the deck of the rescuing steamer Grosser Kurfuerst.

So here is the image. Adjusted in size to permit viewing without scrolling, cleaned up & sharpened a little. Now it would be wonderful to be able to identify even a single one of the persons in the image. But that is impossible today, for the webmaster at least. There were, of course, 105 Volturno survivors rescued by Grosser Kurfürst & of that number 85 (all men) were passengers (the rest were Volturno crew). This image is then, with almost 30 people, about a third of the passengers that the ship rescued. That fact will not likely make identification a particularly easy task for anyone. But a family descendent might just be able to recognise & identify a face. Let us hope that proves to be so.

It has proved to be so, at least for one 'face' so far. Eric Czerwonka, in Apl. 2012, advised that his grandfather, Jan Surga, is shown in the photograph below. He is in the third row of the men standing. He is not wearing a hat and has a thick handlebar moustache. Jan Surga died June 25, 1953 and was buried on Jun. 29, 1953 at Holy Sepulchre cemetery, Burlington, Ontario, Canada. He is buried in section 2 west, row 11, lot 12. If I understand Eric's words correctly, Jan is the person immediately below this red arrow.           


I really can tell you nothing about the next item - a letter dated Jun. 12, 1931 & the best image of a number of similar items that have sold on e-Bay in 2004 (the right part of the image is a portion of the envelope rear). However it would seem that the envelope, & particularly the orange stamped image at left, is self explanatory to a degree i.e. that the S.S. City of Los Angeles (the name of the Grosser Kurfürst in the 1922/1932 period) has a claim to fame indeed!

I am puzzled as to how there can be so many similar items coming up for sale on e-Bay. Were you to check at this moment there probably are two or three such items for sale. The ship-to-shore transfer must, at the time, have either been a most significant event or else the marketing types of 1931 had a field day. Maybe both! Can anybody tell us more?

Since that was written, an e-Bay item has provided a little more detail. It would seem that on Jun. 12, 1931, the 'First Ship to Shore Service by Dirigible' took place. Goodyear airship 'Volunteer' carried a considerable amount of mail on the first Pacific coast ship to shore air mail transfer - from the City of Los Angeles, located 50 miles out at sea, to the roof of the U.S. Post Office in San Pedro, California. The wording is, however, a bit confusing. Was it the first ship to shore transfer in history, or perhaps & instead, the first Pacific coast ship to shore transfer in history? From the image on the envelope, one would have thought that the City of Los Angeles would have been located in the Hawaiian Islands, rather than just 50 miles off the California coast! Just maybe I have misunderstood what I have read? I still need your help!

The above item is very pretty, don't you think. But here is what to me is an even better looking cover of the same event, also ex e-Bay. It also had a similar stamp on the rear as above, as all of such items seem to bear.

The rear of both of the above envelopes was, I believe, blank except for the green stamp - maybe 'cachet' is the correct word? But in Jun. 2006, a wonderful envelope was sold (for U.S. $24.99) via e-Bay and it had lots of signatures & facsimile signatures on its rear. I trust it is in order to use the listing image on this non-profit & informational site. You will find it to be most interesting. The vendor, whom I sincerely thank, was 'cobbiestamps' whose e-Bay store is here. Do drop by!

Now who are all the envelope signatories, both facsimile & real in the image below? The facsimile signatories seem to be two in number: F. I. Hamma, whom I believe was Fred I. (Irvin) Hamma, the Captain of the City of Los Angeles (data now confirmed by Brian Schupp, Fred's grandson. Thank you Brian!) and Richard H. Robinson, the ship's purser. The signature vertically at left seems to me to be a real signature, that of C. P. Wright, apparently the Postmaster at San Pedro, California. The others, all perhaps real signatures, seem to be 'Bert? D. Chilson, Capt. J. F. Nicholson and David Heenan Jr. Help me with those names if I have recorded them incorrectly. A document included with the listing referred to a 'captain of the flight'. Maybe Capt. Nicholson? But would the 'captain of the flight' have been aboard the ship? But who are the others? If you can help with data, do please be in contact.

Dianne McQuaid has been in touch (thanks so much Dianne!) to advise that the name Bert D. Chilson is indeed correct. She advises that he is listed in  'Men of Hawaii : being a biographical reference library, complete and authentic, of the men of note and substantial achievement in the Hawaiian Islands : volume 1 (Volume 2) page 8' by John William Siddall. Published in 1921 & earlier too, in 1901 perhaps. Wherein Chilson is described essentially as 'Born San Francisco, Jan. 20, 1874; son of William D. and Lydia L. (Plaisted) Chilson; married Mabel Putnam, at San Francisco, Dec. 30, 1899; one child. Genevieve Plaisted, died Aug. 15, 1904. Grammar school and correspondence course education. With Vickery's Art Store, San Francisco, 1887-97; followed by conducting art store of his own for several years, and later went into architecture and building. Arrived Hawaii, November, 1912, and was connected with photographic supply trade, with headquarters in Honolulu. Went to Hilo in 1918, having acquired cane land property there. Advertising mgr. Hilo Tribune, Hawaii. As a vocation has specialized in photography and natural sciences. Member Lodge le Progres de 1'Oceanie, F. & A. M., Honolulu. Republican'. No indication there of any association with a 'Ship to Shore' flight in 1931 involving City of Los Angeles. But then there couldn't be if the volume was indeed published in 1921. Dianne further advises that Bert had no children - he was one of 10, all listed in the 'Descendants of Walsingham Chilson' by Sue Roe 2011. Dianne also advises that a 1918 'Draft Registration Card' signed by Bert. D. Chilson, is available via - type in 'Bert D' and 'Chilson' into the search facility and you will find the card bearing Bert's signature. Access to that site may prove to be difficult so the document in question can be seen directly here.


And, while it is on my mind, two more and quite separate Jan. 2005 e-Bay items may help a little - re events dated 4 1/2 months prior to the above.

It would seem that on Jan. 24, 1931, a Curtiss Wright Flying Service aircraft left the California coast with mail aboard to meet the City of Los Angeles at sea - a shore to ship experimental air drop - i.e. the reverse direction from that of the previous section. The aircraft dropped a sack of mail to the deck of the ship with a life preserver attached. To be strictly accurate about it the aircraft did not do that! It tried to do it & it missed! How do I know that? An Apr. 2005 e-Bay item, now long gone, included two 1931 newspaper clippings part of which was an image of the ship with the aircraft above it & a caption which included these words: 'The mail bag missed the ship by twenty feet, but was quickly retrieved.' But the sack was waterproof! The postal cover, 'First Pacific coast experimental flight of air mail shore to ship', was signed by Hal Sweet, said to be a famous air ace & air show pilot, & by E. Cunningham who signed as the 'Dropper of the Sack'. (The initial E. looked liked Eaw but I probably could not read it any better than could the e-Bay vendor). Somehow, though the true meaning escapes me, the item was referred to as a 'Roessler' cover. AAMS Trans-Oceanic section #1131. Rubber stamped #648 on reverse. And facsimile signed on the reverse by F. I. Hamma, Captain of the City of Los Angeles. The rear of the envelope indicated 'Copyrighted by A. C. Roessler, of East Orange, New Jersey'. I presume they were the manufacturer of the envelope?

And another e-Bay item also with that very same date i.e. Jan. 24, 1931, offered a postal cover of the 'First Pacific coast experimental flight of air mail shore to ship'. Also involving the City of Los Angeles. Signed (or surely, in fact facsimile signed) by Earle Ovington, pioneer air mail pilot & also, on the rear, by F. I. Hamma the co-pilot.

It seems to me that they cannot both be first, can they? And F. I. Hamma could not have been aboard aircraft piloted by two different persons at the very same time, could he? Just possibly he was not the co-pilot & maybe was a postal official. But I learned, from an e-Bay item in March 2006, that F. (Fred) I. Hamma was, in fact, the Captain of the City of Los Angeles. And Ovington, Lieut-Commander U.S.N.R., acted as a co-pilot & flight commander.

I learn that Earle Lewis Ovington (died 1936) was the very first U.S. air mail pilot. He took off on Sep. 23, 1911 in his 70 horsepower Bleriot Queen monoplane named the Dragonfly, from an air show at Garden City, Long Island, New York 'with a load of 640 letters and 1,280 postcards in a mail bag tucked between his legs - the first airplane carry of United States mail authorized by postal authorities.' He flew to Mineola, just three or so miles away, where, 'as agreed, he dropped the bag in a prearranged spot to waiting postal officials. The drop landed on time and on target, but unfortunately the bag broke on impact with the ground, scattering the mail hither and yon. After a scramble, all the letters and cards were retrieved and sent on their way via regular postal channels, all of them bearing the cancellation 'AEROPLANE STATION No.1 - GARDEN CITY ESTATES, N.Y.' For this feat Ovington was awarded the title 'AIR MAIL PILOT No.1.' But another site says it was 6 miles to Mineola & that during the course of the week-long air show he carried a total of 32,415 postcards, 3,993 letters, & 1,062 circulars. A 1911 photo of him is here. I did hope to find a reference to the Pacific Coast flights in Time-Life Books 'Flying the Mail' in the 'Epics of Flight' series. No references however. But there is a most interesting image of Ovington accepting the first sack of mail in Garden City & one also of Dragonfly airborne there, which image can be seen on this page, along with another of him aboard Dragonfly. 'Flying the Mail' states that there were 43,427 pieces of mail rather than 37,470 as above. All of this was 20 years before the Pacific Coast experimentation.

Now I am puzzled by the reference to Earle Ovington re any Jan. 24, 1931 flight. I have read in an e-Bay item that Ovington retired to Santa Barbara, California. And flew the mail only once again after 1911, before his death in 1936. 'He and Frank Hitchcock joined in a 20th anniversary round-trip flight between Los Angeles & Tucson, Arizona with the letters they carried bearing the signatures of both men.' Did Ovington later live in Santa Barbara? It would seem so. Since I have seen on the screen via e-Bay an envelope with Earle Ovington, Consulting Engineer of Santa Barbara printed upon it & mailed Feb. 11, 1930. What was his involvement with the above Jan. 24, 1931 'shore to ship' flight? Probably nothing at all. A famous name, who provided his facsimile signature for a fee is my guess. Am I wrong? If so, please give me the facts & I will record them here.

That quote in the previous paragraph is from an e-Bay item in Sep. 2006. Most interesting. It quotes from an article in the Mar. 29, 1912 'Town Crier' of Newton, Massachusetts, Ovington's birthplace it would seem, in which Ovington spoke at a local church of his 'thrilling experiences'. It also provided some background about the Garden City flight of 1911. Frank Hitchcock was the Postmaster General at the time of that 1911 flight, & was most unhappy that the Bleriot Queen monoplane, being a single seater, could not accommodate him & he was not therefore aboard that very first airmail flight. But was it the aircraft made by Bleriot, a most famous French company. I think not. It was, it would seem, an American aircraft & a copy of a Bleriot. No problem with that however! As I said above, am I wrong in that? Do tell me if I am. All the above is most interesting, however. But the subject of these pages is really Volturno & I have digressed! There was more data in that listing which I have accordingly not recorded here. It does continue to amaze me what data emerges in e-Bay listings! Information on just about anything at all is 'out there' somewhere! And very often e-Bay vendors do seem to have background data available & often share it via their item descriptions. 


And, until I find a better place to put it, a 1st Class Grosser Kurfürst luggage label, 4" x 6" in size, & dating from the early 20th century. This was an e-Bay item of long ago, so I cannot tell you today what it sold for. But a similar item sold in early Sep. 2005, for U.S. $19.20.

May I suggest you navigate the pages via the site index on page 01. PRIOR PAGE / NEXT PAGE

Other pages about the Grosser Kurfürst are numbered 70, 71 & 73.

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