The Kaiser Tug, originally known as the William J. Keyser tug, sank during a hurricane in August of 1848. It was an iron-hulled tug built in 1882 at Philadelphia. It was named after a prominent Pensacola timber exporter.
She was 92.4 feet long, 19.5 beam and displaced 97 tons. Keyser had left Pensacola towing the dredge, Herndon, bound for Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas.
Hugging the coast, her captain, W.H. Allen, with a crew of 12, was caught unawares by the fast-approaching storm. As the seas mounted and the winds howled, Capt. Allen gave the order to cut loose the dredge. As the dredge drifted away the men began to fear for their lives as the eye of the storm passed over them. All afternoon and evening the coal-fired tug kept her bow into the waves and battled the storm. Inevitably, as water entered her coal chutes, the boiler fires were extinguished. With no power the pumps quit and the tug began to settle into the Gulf. At 1:30 in the morning she slipped beneath the waves, seven miles west of St. Joseph's Point and four miles from Crooked Island, in 45 feet of green Gulf water. The dredge washed ashore near present-day Beacon Hill and was later refloated.
The Kaiser Tug is deteriorated from time and the affects of salt water corrosion. A small portion of the bow and stern remains with its boiler. Verfified by Bob & Carol Cox on 14 Jul 2010.