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James Morton Hoggett

James Morton Hoggett ET/3
James Morton Hoggett ET/3

James Hoggett was born on October 11, 1888 in either Macedonia, Missouri, or according to another record he filled out, Rolla, Missouri. It could be the town changed its name. His father and namesake fought in the Civil War in three units of the Missouri Infantry. The veteran father died in 1921 and is buried in Macedonia.

The family lived in Dillon Township, MO in 1900. Father was a farmer as it turned out James was to become for a while.

James enlisted in the US Navy on December 22, 1908 and is listed on the deck log as a Seaman on board the USS Pennsylvania in 1910.

The exact dates when he volunteered for submarine duty and reported aboard the USS F-4 is yet to be discovered. On March 25, 1915 he was ashore when the F-4 went out on her fateful dive. It was a habit for the early submarines to leave one man ashore during these morning training dives as a watchman, perhaps to keep an eye on ships material left on the dock and to be a contact person for any information that needs to be reported to the vessel as soon as it returns to port. This was the days before ship radios became common. It happened to be his turn this day.

In most all of the the news reports after the sinking reported he was on 'shore leave' at the time instead of being the watchman. There was one other man who escaped the sinking, Artheur Mellien, a Chief Machinist Mate, who transferred off the F-4 a mere few days prior to the sinking.

Hoggett was in the newspaper, the Hawaiian Gazette, on July 13, 1915 as, again, escaping death, this time in a motorcycle accident on the Pali Highway when he and the cycle driver, Joseph H. Hearne, or by some other accounts Joseph J. Hearne barely avoided an head on crash with a Packard touring car. Hearne ran his brand new Excelsior Twin motorcycle into a ditch, or, a tree, accordingly to different newspaper stories. Hoggett was not badly injured, Hearne suffered some head injuries but was released from the hospital at Fort Shafter after treatment. Hearne was also part of the submarine flotilla and later served on the R-14.

It appears that James left the Navy sometime in 1916 after the F-4 sinking. His WW I draft registration paperwork he is listed as a Veteran with 6 years, 2 months and 13 days prior service and as a 2nd Class Electricians Mate. The numbers don't quite match up from his enlistment date as that would make his separation date March 7th, 18 days short of the sinking. We can only suppose he miscalculated the time in service. It seems he was either drafted or enlisted in the US Army 1918 and was discharged when the war ended. He was in the tank corps.

He lists his home address as Detroit, MI at the time of his WW I registration but underscores that he was living in Santa Barbara County, California. He lists himself as single and working as a 'Farmer'. Perhaps he was a migrant worker. He then, again, lists himself as a farmer but living in Butte, Montana.

He was living in Granite City, IL at the time of the 1930 census and married to the former Gertrude Romine and they had one daughter Thelma Lou who was age 6. His wife's father is stated as living with them. He's a welder in a steel foundry.

They are shown as living in the same home in the 1940 census. Thelma is 16 years old and Gertrude is still his wife. He is a acetylene burner in a steel factory, probably the same one as in 1930. He's a veteran. His WW II draft registration say he is working at General Steel Castings, Company and he is 53 years old.

James Hoggett died May 31, 1952 in Rolla, MO. He had served on the USS Pensacola, Pittsburgh, Oregon, Maryland, Pennsylvania, the Alert, (a submarine tender), the USS F-4 and the USS Constellation before being discharged. He was a lucky person to have lived out a normal life span that his shipmates on the F-4 were denied.

Newspaper Photo. Details provided by James Haas.

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