Statement of Significance (as of designation - April 19, 1994):
Built in 1899 by master carpenter Frank Laird near Oriole, Maryland, Wm. B.TENNISON is the last bugeye oyster buy-boat on Chesapeake Bay. She represents one of the first bugeyes to be converted to power and one of the few log-hulled vessels left in the world. Tennison was a part of the sailing oyster dredge fleet of the Chesapeake; the bugeye type dredged more oysters than any other vessel type in the world. As the oyster harvest on the Chesapeake began to wane, the smaller, eaiser to handle, and cheaper to build skipjack became popular, replacing the bugeye. Buy-boats bought the catch off these skipjacks; in the off season, the buy-boats were used to haul produce, lumber, and even livestock to markets in Baltimore, Norfolk, Richmond, and Washington, DC.