Tuesday, December 15, 2009




Pottsville has the proud distinction of having two famous men, graduates of West Point Military Academy and the Naval Academy.
Lt. Col. Francis Ulric Farquhar
Was born in Pottsville on October 31st, 1838 and died in Detroit, Michigan on July 3rd , 1883.
Col. Farquhar entered the Military Academy at West Point in 1857, and was graduated June 24,1861, second in his class, was appointed 2nd Lt. of the Corps of Engineers, June 29, 1861. It Is Interesting to note that Col. Farquhar was a classmate of the famous George Armstrong Custer who graduated last in the class of 1861, but made his mark on history.


He served for a short time at Washington, D. C. and took an active part in the Civil war, was first on the staff of Gen. Heintzelman, and was in the Manassas campaign. He also took part in the Virginia Peninsular campaign, and was in the siege of Yorktown: Following the battle of Williamsburg, he was, as chief engineer of the department of North Carolina, in the expedition which destroyed the railroad bridge over the Tar river. After the battle of Cold Harbor he participated in the siege of Petersburg. He was assistant Professor of Engineering at West Point from Aug. 1864 to June 1865. He served as Assistant Engineer on the survey of the northern lakes from Mar. 1867 to Nov. 1868, and as superintending
engineer of harbor improvements on the eastern shore of lake Michigan from Nov. 1868 to June 1872. He was from then, until Aug. 1873, chief astronomer of the survey of the 49th parallel of latitude to fix the northern boundary of the United States. He was a member of the Board of Engineers in various works, including the improvement of the low-water navigation of the Mississippi river, and the preservation of the Falls of St. Anthony;1 his work in connection with the preservation of these Falls was regarded as one of the most notable feats of engineering of the times.
He was brevetted at different times during his service in the Civil war; 1st Lt., Major, and Lt. Col. for gallant and meritorious services; At the time of his death, he was stationed at Detroit in charge of the Gov't improvements of the lakes and rivers of Michigan.
Col. Farquhar is mentioned in many books and periodicals of the era. What a great part in history this soldier from Schuylkill County contributed. We can be very proud of him and his service. He was a son of George W. Farquhar.

Rear Admiral Norman H. Farquhar

Admiral Farquhar

Admiral Farquhar was one of the oldest sailors in the Navy, being older than Admiral’s Dewey, Sampson and Schley. He was among the foremost of the ranking officers in the service and had seen a great amount of active fighting.
graduated from the Naval Academy in 1859, at the age of 19, soon after, he was made second in command of a captured slave-ship, sailing from Africa to Charleston S. C. and later brought another captured slave-ship, the "Triton," from Africa to Norfolk Va.; having full command of this vessel, being the only
officer on it, he was the first midshipman to have entire command of a vessel on a voyage across the ocean.
He was a midshipman on the breaking out of the Civil war, was made Lieut. in 1861, he served on several steamships and gunboats of the North Atlantic Squadron, was Executive Officer on the U. S. S. "Mystic," in the battle at Hampton Roads, between the "Monitor" & "Merrimac;" was also in both attacks on Ft. Fisher.
He served at the Naval Academy. as Lt. Com. in 1865, and in 1868-9 was on the "Swatara" on the European station, and at the Boston Navy yard in 1870, was later an officer of the "Severn," then had command of the "Kansas" in the Tehuantepec Canal Survey, one of the three routes surveyed for the purpose of constructing the Panama Canal, and of the U. S. S. "Powhatan." He was made Commander, and was stationed at Annapolis in command of the "Santee" in Dec. 1872, having also supervision of the buildings and grounds at Annapolis till 1878.
After commanding in the European Squadron till 1881, he was made Commandant of cadets at Naval Academy. commanded "Constitution" on practice cruise in 1883-4, was made Capt. in 1886, ordered to command of Flag-ship "Trenton" in the Pacific; the ship being wrecked at Apia Samoa, during a hurricane, Capt. Farquhar, by good seamanship, saved the lives of all the officers and men; the Humane Society of Mass. presented to him a gold medal, for saving life, with a complimentary letter
Admiral Farquhar was in command of the Ship “Trenton” in the Pacific station when it was wrecked by the great hurricane at Apia, Samoa, on March 16th, 1889. In this memorable disaster American and German war vessels were wrecked, but Admiral Farquhar succeeded in running his ship aground and saved the lives of the entire crew. He also assisted in saving men from other ships and for the service rendered in this trying time he was appointed Chief of the Bureau of Docks and Yards, with the rank of Commodore.
He was a member of the Lighthouse Board, Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, 1890 to 1894: Commandant of the Navy-yard League Island, Philadelphia. Pa. in command of U. S. S. "Newark,"1 President of the Naval Examining Board, Commandant of Norfolk Va. Navy-yard; was made Commodore in 1897, Rear Admiral in 1898, and Commander in Chief of the North Atlantic Squadron till 1901, when he was appointed chairman of the Lighthouse Board: he retired Apr. 11, 1902. He was a Mason, a member of the Loyal Legion and of the Army & Navy Union.
Rear Admiral Farquhar was one of the most progressive of the officers of the Navy; he was presented with a gold medal, in 1885, by the Naval Institute, for an essay on "Inducements for Obtaining Seamen for the Navy" many of the suggestions being adopted by the Department; he
1. "The old cruiser 'Newark' is to be sold by the Navy Department; it was built in Phila. Pa. in 1888, and for many years was on duty as station ship, at Guantanamo, Cuba."—From Newark Evening News, May 17, 1913.
is said to have had command of more vessels than any other officer; he was in command of the Norfolk Navy Yard, when the Spanish war broke out, and applied for sea duty, but the Navy Dept. felt that his experience and executive ability were needed at the Navy Yard, where he was kept in command and where he accomplished almost impossible tasks, to enable our fleet to be in condition to meet the enemy successfully. Tho' a strict disciplinarian, he was also most considerate toward those over whom he had command and held their affection and respect.
Admiral Farquhar has visited Pottsville, his native home town, quite frequently of late years and was always glad to get back among his friends of younger days.
Admiral Farquhar died on July 3rd, 1907, from the effects of a stroke of apoplexy at the Hotel Throndyke, Jamestown, Rhode Island, where he made his summer home. He was the son of the late George W. Farquhar.

Destroyer named after the Admiral

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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