From: DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN NAVAL FIGHTING SHIPS, Vol. VI, p 30
One who wanders; a military scout.
The fourth Ranger, an iron-hulled steam-powered vessel with a full-rig auxiliary sail was laid down in 1873, launched in 1876 by Harlan and Hollingsworth, Wilmington, Del., and commissioned at League Island Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, Pa., 27 November 1876; Comdr. H. D. Manley in command.
After completion of fitting out, Ranger was assigned to the Atlantic Station, but remained in the Gosport (Portsmouth) Navy Yard and Hampton Roads until 8 March 1877, when she was assigned to the Asiatic Fleet. Following a special fitting out for her new duty, Ranger left New York 21 May 1877, arriving Hong Kong 24 August 1877, via Gibraltar Suez Canal, and Malacca Straits. The ship served on the Asiatic Station until the fall of 1879, protecting American interests and national policy in the Far East. Arriving at Mare Island Navy Yard 24 February 1880, she was converted into a survey vessel. From 1881 to 1889, she was engaged in hydrographic survey work off Mexico, Baja California Central America, and the northern Pacific; except when protecting American national interests in the politically turbulent Central American nations. The survey ship was decommissioned from 14 September 1891 to 26 August 1892 at Mare Island Navy Yard. Upon reactivation, she was assigned to protect American seal fisheries in the Bering Sea. On 31 January 1894, she relieved Alliance in protecting American interests in Central America, where she remained until placed out of commission 26 November 1895, except for temporary duty in the Bering Sea in May 1894. Recommissioned 1 November 1899, she was a survey ship for 2 years off Mexico and Baja California, then operated with Wisconsin off Central America, protecting American national interests. She was again decommissioned from 11 June 1903 to 30 March 1905 at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. She departed Puget Sound 16 April 1905 for the Asiatic Station, arriving Cavite 30 May. Due to reoccurring maintenance problems, she was decommissioned again at Cavite from 21 June 1905 to 10 August 1908. Departing Cavite 16 August, she arrived Boston 12 December via the Suez Canal, and was decommissioned immediately. On 26 April 1909, she was loaned to the State of Massachusetts as a school ship to replace Enterprise.
Her name was changed to Rockport (q.v.) 30 October 1917 and then to Nantucket (q.v.) 20 February 1918. As the Nantucket, she operated as a gunboat in the First Naval District during World War I, as well as a training ship for Navy midshipmen. Designated PG-23 in 1920, she was redesignated IX-18 on 1 July 1921, and was returned to the state of Massachusetts as a school ship. 30 November 1940, she was struck from the Navy list. On 11 November 1940, she was transferred to the Maritime Commission for final disposition, to be used as a school ship for the Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y.