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Ammen, Daniel (16 May 1819–11 July 1898), naval officer, author, and inventor, was born in Brown County, Ohio, the son of David Ammen and Sally Houtz, farmers. While still a boy, Ammen exerted an unanticipated influence on later national affairs when he pulled his friend and schoolmate ...

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Brooke, John Mercer (18 December 1826–14 December 1906), naval officer, scientist, and inventor, was born at Fort Brooke, Tampa Bay, Florida, the son of George Mercer Brooke, a brevet brigadier general in the U.S. Army, and Lucy Thomas. His Brooke forebears had been prominent in affairs of the state of Virginia since the late seventeenth century. Brooke’s family moved frequently before he accepted an appointment as acting midshipman at age fourteen. His irregular formal education included a short stint at Aaron’s School in Burlington, New Jersey. His scientific education continued in the navy. Brooke served briefly aboard the warship USS ...

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Charles Henry Davis. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-104940).

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Davis, Charles Henry (16 January 1807–18 February 1877), naval officer and hydrographer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Daniel Davis, solicitor general of Massachusetts, and Lois Freeman, the sister of James Freeman, the first Unitarian minister in New England. Davis entered Harvard College in 1821 but left two years later to become a midshipman and did not complete his degree until 1841. From 1824 to 1840 Davis served in the Mediterranean, the Baltic, the West Indies, the South Atlantic, and the Pacific; made warm friends, including ...

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Davison, Gregory Caldwell (12 August 1871–07 May 1935), naval officer and inventor, was born in Jefferson City, Missouri, the son of Alexander Caldwell Davison, a physician, and Sarah Pelot Eppes. In 1888 he was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, and graduated with the class of 1892....

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Fiske, Bradley Allen (13 June 1854–06 April 1942), naval officer and inventor, was born in Lyons, New York, the son of William Allen Fiske, an Episcopalian minister, and Susan Matthews Bradley. After obtaining his primary education in a public school and then a private military school in Cincinnati, Ohio, where the family had moved, Fiske was nominated as a candidate to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1870. He served as secretary and treasurer of his class and graduated second in the class of 1874. He then began serving in a navy that had reached its post–Civil War nadir....

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Furer, Julius Augustus (09 October 1880–05 June 1963), naval officer and inventor, was born in the rural township of Mosel, Wisconsin, the son of Rev. Edmund F. Furer and Caroline Louis Wedemeyer. He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1897 and graduated at the top of his class in 1901. After sea duty on the USS ...

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Hall, Basil (31 December 1788–11 September 1844), captain in the British navy and author of scientific works and books of travel, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of Sir James Hall, a geologist of repute who published on a variety of other subjects as well, including architecture, and Helen Douglas. After a basic education in Edinburgh, Basil at age fourteen joined the Royal Navy and set out on the first of many voyages. By age twenty he was made lieutenant and at twenty-nine was a captain....

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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 ...

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McArthur, William Pope (02 April 1814–23 December 1850), hydrographer and naval officer, was born in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, the son of John McArthur and Mary Linn, occupations unknown. He was appointed a midshipman in the U.S. Navy on 11 February 1832 and spent his early years on the South Pacific Station. He was promoted to passed midshipman on 23 June 1837 and then attended the Naval School at Norfolk. Upon completion, he reported to naval lieutenant Levin M. Powell’s expedition to the Everglades, a special group of sailors, soldiers, and militiamen using small boats and canoes to operate against the Indians in south Florida during the Second Seminole War (1835–1842)....

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Pillsbury, John Elliott (15 December 1846–30 December 1919), naval officer, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, the son of John Gilman Pillsbury and Elizabeth Wimble Smith. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in the class of 1867. The following year Pillsbury completed the requisite period at sea as a passed midshipman aboard the USS ...

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Rickover, Hyman George (27 January 1900–08 July 1986), nuclear engineer and naval officer, was born in Makow, Russian Poland, the son of Abraham Rickover, a tailor, and Rachel Unger. Because of poverty and the persecution of Jews, Abraham Rickover fled to the United States. His wife, son, and daughter followed in 1906. They lived in Brooklyn, New York, in straitened circumstances. The family moved to Chicago in 1909 or 1910....