A piece of history passes from Mellon family to namesake cutter

Capt. Jose Jimenez, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, a 378-foot high endurance cutter homeported in Seattle, gives Timothy Mellon a framed photo of the Mellon. Timothy Mellon donated a set of nearly 300 pieces of silverware to the Mellon March 24, 2015, that belonged to his grandfather, former Secretary of the Treasury Andrew W. Mellon. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Dustin Lake.

Capt. Jose Jimenez, commanding officer, Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, gives Timothy Mellon a framed photo of the Mellon. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Dustin Lake.

Story by Seaman Sarah Wilson

Have you ever looked at an artifact, from another time, and wondered what story it might tell if it could?

A silver fork perhaps…one used at an official’s dinners under the presidential administrations of Harding, Coolidge and Hoover…that passed through the hands of those who built this nation. It might tell a story of men seated around a table discussing politics in the early 1920s, discussing how to reduce the debts from World War I.

That fork, and others like it, is part of a family silverware collection donated by Timothy Mellon to the Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, a 378-foot high-endurance cutter named in honor of his grandfather, the 49th Secretary of the Treasury Andrew W. Mellon.

Capt. Jose Jimenez, commanding officer of the Mellon, welcomed Timothy Mellon aboard the Seattle-based cutter March 24 in Bellingham, Washington, where the ship was in dry dock for routine repairs and maintenance. Timothy Mellon received a tour of the cutter before presenting the silverware collection, which belonged to Andrew W. Mellon himself and features the U.S. Seal with the former Secretary of the Treasury’s initials.

Capt. Jose Jimenez, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, a 378-foot high endurance cutter homeported in Seattle, displays some of the silverware donated by Timothy Mellon, grandson of former Secretary of the Treasury Andrew W. Mellon. Of the original silverware set of nearly 400 pieces, 284 remain. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Sarah Wilson.

Capt. Jose Jimenez, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, a 378-foot high endurance cutter homeported in Seattle, displays some of the silverware donated by Timothy Mellon. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Sarah Wilson.

“We are honored to receive this generous gift from the Mellon family,” said Jimenez. “They are an integral part of the cutter’s history, and we are proud and humbled to be entrusted with such an heirloom.”

Of the original set of nearly 400 pieces, 284 remain. Although the history of silverware set is not completely clear, it is believed that Andrew W. Mellon used them during his tenure as the Secretary of the Treasury from 1921 to 1932, the third-longest tenure of such a secretary.

“I am proud to have my family name associated with such a fine group of people,” said Timothy Mellon after meeting Jimenez and some of the cutter’s crew.

Coast Guard Cutter Mellon is homeported in Seattle and was the 3rd of seven high-endurance cutters built for extended offshore patrols including law enforcement and search and rescue missions. The cutter’s commissioning was sponsored by Timothy Mellon’s sister, Catherine Conover Mellon, Jan. 9, 1968.

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