Monday, January 13, 2020


Vane Brothers operate Tugs and barges out of Baltimore and today service the West coast as well as the East coast.  The people that started it were from the Eastern Shore, first the Vane Brothers from Dorchester than the Hughes family from Quantico and Tyaskins.  A large number of people in Delmar and the area are related to them.  

photo from Vane Bros facebook page

Vane Brothers ship chandlery Baltimore was founded in 1898  by Capt. William (Bert) Burke Vane (1867 -1949) and his brother Capt. Allen P. Vane (1863-1941) of Church Creek Dorchester County Md.  They supplied ships with food, drink, rope, block and tackle, mops and brooms - anything needed for a ship.  They developed a-one-stop-shop shipping supplies business for sailing ships.  When a ship comes into port they cannot spend a lot of time tied up at dock due to dock fees, and money lost while they are sitting around a dock trying to find supplies. The ship chandler dealt with the time-consuming task of the butcher, the baker, the fishmonger, the cooper, the iron monger, and even the post office. It was a marine supply general store, complete with a wood pot belly stove to sit around while the order was being filled.  The Vane brothers started their business in Fells Point, in 1904 moved to Pier 4, Pratt Street.  Capt. Claude Venables Hughes had wanted to marry a Wicomico County girl but his future wife said he was away too much on his schooner.  He looks for employment at Vane Brothers, distant cousins, and in 1920 he joined the firm.  In 1921 his brother Capt. Charles Fletcher Hughes fresh out of the Army Air Corp. joined the firm. By 1941 they had bought out the Vane Brothers. In 1958 they moved to 916 South Broadway.   Due to the nature of the business, opportunities would come up to buy a ship or buy shares in a ship and Vane Bros had many ships over the years.   The Vane Brothers and the Hughes brothers were known for down to the earth common sense business people who got where they were by hardwork.

In 1951 Charles F. Hughes Jr joined the firm and was made president in 1971.  He started moving the company interests from chandlers to cargo transfers, bunkering, launch service, marine transportation, coastal ships, tugs and barges.  Its fleet of tugs and barges move petroleum products from New England to the Gulf of Mexico.  In 1991his son, Duff Hughes, took control.

Vane Brothers use Chesapeake Shipbuilders in Salisbury for the manufacturing of some of their tugs and by 2018 Chesapeake had built 20 tugs for Vane Brothers. 
Today Vane Brothers have 50 tugs, 75 barges and 2 tug/barge combination units.  They have over 1,000 employees. In 2018 the business is made up of a number of companies but the primary address is at 2100 Frankfurst Ave, Baltimore.

The Hughes brothers were descendents of seafaring men who all bore the title of Captain in front of their name.  They were from the Whitehaven/Quantico area of Wicomico county.   Going back to Hezekiah Hughes (1733-1767) who married Mary E. North (1745-1767).  Their son was Jesse Hughes.
Jesse Hughes (1767-1838) who married Sarah McClester (1755-1800) and had a son named Caleb Hughes.
Caleb Hughes ( 1787-1869) who married Charlotte Venables (1793-1868) and who had a son Thomas B J Hughes.

Thomas Benjamin Franklin Hughes (1828-1864) who married Elizabeth Jane White (1840-1913).  Their son Charles Venable Hughes (1859-1930) married Mary Amelia Rider Fletcher (1861-1950). 

3Claude Venables Hughes (1887 -1982 ) son of Capt Charles Venable Hughes (1859-1930) and Mary Amelia Rider Fletcher (1861-1950).  Claude Hughes married in 1919 to Eva Virginia Taylor ( -1966) daughter of George Handy and Virginia Lynch Taylor.

Claude and Eva had a son, Bruce T. Hughes (1926-1995), who  married Joyce Marie Holman of Montana in 1956.  They had Kimberly Scott Hughes (1957- ) and Kathleen Laurie Hughes (1963- ).  Bruce was involved in banking.
Claude and Eva had a daughter, Mary Virginia Hughes (1920-2003).  She was unmarried and lived in California.  Claude was the classic sailor with tattoos of the American flag and the marine emblem on his arms.

   Charles Fletcher Hughes (1895-1982) son of Capt Charles Venable Hughes (1859-1930) and Mary Amelia Rider Fletcher (1861-1950). Charles married first in 1925 Aleda Pauline (Polly) Taylor ( -1974) daughter of O. W. Taylor of Quantico.  They had a son; Charles F. Hughes Jr ( -2016) who married Elizabeth (Betsy) Anne Smith in 1952. Charles Jr and Betsy had a daughter, Ann and a son, Charles Duff Hughes. Charles jr. took over Vane Brothers and moved it from being a chandler to being a tug boat and barge operation.

No comments:

Post a Comment