1-13 of 13 results  for:

  • Armed forces and intelligence services x
  • water transport x
Clear all

Article

Burns, Otway, Jr. (1775–25 October 1850), privateer, shipbuilder, and state legislator, was born on Queen’s Creek, Onslow County, North Carolina, the son of Otway Burns and Lisanah (maiden name unknown), farmers. Little is known of Burns’s education or youth. Apparently he went to sea at an early age and became a skilled seaman. In 1806 the Onslow County Court apprenticed an orphan lad to Burns to learn navigation. Prior to the War of 1812, Burns was master of a merchantman engaged in the coastwise trade between North Carolina and New England....

Article

Claghorn, George (06 July 1748–03 February 1824), army officer and shipwright, was born in Chilmark, Massachusetts, the son of Shubael Claghorn, a soldier, and Experience Hawes. He was a great-grandson of James Claghorn of Scotland, who was captured at the battle of Dunbar and deported to the colonies by Cromwell. His father was a veteran of the Louisburg expedition of 1745. Claghorn himself eventually settled in New Bedford and in 1769 married Deborah Brownell of Dartmouth. They had eight children....

Article

Ericsson, John (31 July 1803–08 March 1889), inventor and engineer, was born in Langbanshyttan, province of Wermland, Sweden, the son of Olof Ericsson, a mine proprietor and inspector, and Brita Sophia Yngstrom. His earliest education was instruction by his parents and private tutors. John often spent his days drawing and building models of the machinery in his father’s mine. His father was well educated, but John’s strong character traits were attributed to the influence of his mother. Sweden’s war with Russia ruined John’s father financially, but he was able to secure a position as an inspector on a canal project and to obtain appointments for his two sons as cadets in the Corps of Mechanical Engineers. Thus at age thirteen John began his first formal education, and his natural aptitudes for mechanical drawing and solving engineering problems were encouraged and developed....

Article

Fink, Mike (1770–1823), scout, keelboatman, and trapper, was born at Fort Pitt, part of present-day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His ancestry was probably Scotch-Irish and Pennsylvania German. It is hard to separate fact from fiction concerning Mike Fink. Early in his life he was an expert marksman with his Kentucky rifle. While still a teenager, he was probably a hunter who sold meat to Pittsburgh butchers and was surely a scout who gathered information for the settlements about Indian activities beyond the western frontier. The battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794, followed by the Treaty of Greenville a year later, guaranteed the security of the Northwest frontier and established a boundary in the Northwest Territory between Indian lands and areas open to further white settlement. So Fink moved into his second career, that of a keelboatman....

Article

Grimes, Absalom Carlisle (22 August 1834–27 March 1911), Confederate mail runner and steamboat pilot, was born in Anchorage, Kentucky, the son of William Leander Grimes and Charlotte Platt Wright. He was born while his parents were visiting his father’s hometown relatives. After he was one month old, his parents took him to their home at Saverton, Missouri (near Hannibal), where his father worked as a Mississippi River steamboat pilot. During his youth in St. Louis the rambunctious Grimes disliked school intensely and at the age of twelve stowed away on a steamboat to New Orleans, only to be retrieved by his anxious parents before he could carry out his plan to go to sea as a cabin boy. When he was sixteen, he worked briefly as a messenger boy for the Morse Telegraph Company when its service was first introduced to St. Louis, but later in the year he was introduced to steamboat piloting by his father. Ab, as Grimes was familiarly known, was so short at the start of his apprenticeship that he had to stand on a box to see over the boat’s steering wheel. After obtaining his first annual license in 1852, he piloted various steamboats in the lively upper Mississippi trade between St. Louis and St. Paul until the start of the Civil War in 1861....

Article

Hichborn, Philip (04 March 1839–01 May 1910), naval officer and shipwright, was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, the son of Philip Hichborn and Martha Gould. After he graduated from high school in 1855, Hichborn took work as a shipwright apprentice at the U.S. Navy’s shipyard at Charlestown. His reputation for excellent craftsmanship won him recognition from the navy in the form of special instruction in naval construction. After brief employment as a ship’s carpenter aboard the clipper ship ...

Article

Hunley, Horace L. (29 December 1823–15 October 1863), promoter and financier of three Confederate submarines, was born Horace Lawson Hunley in Sumner County, Tennessee, just north of Nashville, the son of John Hunley, a cotton broker, and Louise Lawson Hunley. In 1830, with his family, Horace moved, by way of Mississippi, to New Orleans, where his father had served during the War of 1812 at the Battle of New Orleans under General ...

Article

Isherwood, Benjamin Franklin (06 October 1822–19 June 1915), marine engineer, was born in New York City, the son of Benjamin Isherwood, a physician, and Eliza Hicks. His father died soon after the boy was born, and his mother married a civil engineer, John Green, in 1824. In 1831 Isherwood enrolled in Albany Academy, an exacting preparatory school that emphasized “mechanical pursuits” (Sloan, p. 6). At age fourteen, in his final school year, Isherwood was expelled for unspecified “serious misconduct.”...

Article

King, William (09 February 1768–17 June 1852), merchant shipper, army officer, and governor of Maine, was born in Scarborough, Maine, the son of Richard King, a merchant and shipowner, and Mary Black. He was educated at home, but he spent one term at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts....

Article

Meserve, Nathaniel (1705–28 June 1758), shipbuilder and provincial military leader, was born in Newington, New Hampshire, the son of Clement Meserve, a joiner, and Elizabeth Jones. In 1725 he married Jane Libby; they had two children. Meserve soon afterward moved to Portsmouth, where he prospered as a shipbuilder and, in 1740 built one of the town’s more elegant houses adjoining his shipyard....

Article

Ogden, Aaron (03 December 1756–19 April 1839), soldier, public official, and entrepreneur, was born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, the son of Robert Ogden II, a lawyer, and Phebe Hatfield. He attended the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) and graduated with the class of 1773. Over the next three years he taught school, first in Princeton, then in Elizabethtown, but with the outbreak of hostilities between Great Britain and its American colonies, he was quickly drawn into the revolutionary confrontation....

Article

Shreve, Henry Miller (21 October 1785–06 March 1851), steamboat captain, army engineer, and steamship designer, was born in Burlington County, New Jersey, the son of Israel Shreve and Mary Cokely, farmers. During the American Revolution British forces had destroyed the Shreve home, so Shreve’s father took his family to the frontier in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, when Henry was about three years old....

Article

Taylor, David Watson (04 March 1864–28 July 1940), naval architect and naval officer, was born in Louisa County, Virginia, the son of Henry Taylor and Mary Minor, farmers. Taylor’s early education was at home before attending Randolph-Macon College from 1877 to his graduation in 1881. He received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in October 1881 and enrolled that month as a cadet-engineer, graduating in June 1885 with the highest academic marks achieved since the academy’s founding in 1845. Taylor served on the USS ...