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Matthew F. Maury. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-1335).

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Maury, Matthew Fontaine (14 January 1806–01 February 1873), naval officer and oceanographer, was born near Fredericksburg, Virginia, the son of Richard Maury and Diana Minor, farmers. In 1811 the family settled on a farm near the frontier village of Franklin in Central Tennessee. Matthew Fontaine Maury, who is usually known by all three of his names, attended country schools in the area, but in 1818 he enrolled in Harpeth Academy at Franklin. One of his older brothers was a naval officer, and in 1825 Maury received a midshipman’s warrant in the U.S. Navy. During the next nine years he sailed to Europe, around the world on the USS ...