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 David Porter

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David Porter

  • Birth 1 Feb 1780 Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Death 3 Mar 1843 Ankara, Ankara, Turkey
  • Burial Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Plot Section CC, Lot 222
  • Memorial ID 4291

US and Mexican Naval Officer. He served in the US Navy from 1798 until 1825 and in the Mexican Navy from 1826 until 1829. His first tour, after enlisting, was as a midshipman on board the frigate USS Constellation in which he participated in the capture of the French ship L'Insurgente during the Quasi-War (or Undeclared War) with France in 1799. He then served at the rank of 1st lieutenant of on board the schooner USS Experiment and later in command of USS Amphitheatre. During the First Barbary War (1801 to 1807) he was a 1st lieutenant of the schooner USS Enterprise, the frigate USS New York, and frigate USS Philadelphia, and was taken prisoner when USS Philadelphia ran aground in Tripoli harbor on October 31, 1803. After his release in June 1805, he remained in the Mediterranean as acting captain of the USS Constitution and later captain of the USS Enterprise. He befriended fellow naval officer and Revolutionary War veteran George Farragut, and when he became ill in the Spring of 1808, Farragut took him into his home and his wife cared for him. After Farragut and his wife died two months later, he offered to take the Farragut's eight-year-old son, James Glasgow Farragut into his home at Washington DC in 1809. From 1808 until 1810 he was in charge of the US Naval forces at New Orleans, Louisiana. During the War of 1812 he commanded the frigate USS Essex and captured the first British warship of the conflict, the HMS Alert. In February 1813 he sailed the USS Essex around Cape Horn in South America and cruised the Pacific Ocean warring on British whalers. Over the next year, he captured 12 whale ships and 360 prisoners. On March 1814 her was forced to surrender off Valparaíso, Chile after an engagement which became known as the Battle of Valparaiso with the British frigate HMS Phoebe and the sloop HMS Cherub, when his ship became too disabled to offer any resistance. He then returned to the US and in 1814 he was given command of the brig USS Firefly, the flagship of a five ship squadron destined for the West Indies to disrupt British shipping, but the Treaty of Ghent was signed with Britain and the mission was canceled. From 1815 to 1822, he was a member of the Board of Navy Commissioners but gave up this post to command the expedition for suppressing piracy in the West Indies and while there, he invaded the town of Fajardo, Puerto Rico (a Spanish colony) to avenge the jailing of an officer from his fleet. The US government did not sanction his act of aggression and he was court-martialed upon his return to the US. He then resigned from the US Navy and in 1826 entered the Mexican Navy as its Commander-in-Chief. In 1829 he left the Mexican Navy and accepted a post as US Minister to the Barbary States. He then became the US ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in Turkey and died there at the age of 63. He was the father of Mexican War and Civil War veteran Admiral David Dixon Porter. He was played by actor Jeff Chandler in the film "Yankee Buccaneer" (1952). There were several US Navy ships that were named in his honor and that of his son.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 4 Jan 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 4291
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for David Porter (1 Feb 1780–3 Mar 1843), Find A Grave Memorial no. 4291, citing Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .