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Matthew Fontaine Maury
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Sneakin Deacon
N 37° 32.026 W 077° 27.402
18S E 282932 N 4156923
Quick Description: Matthew Fontaine Maury made many important contributions to charting winds and ocean currents, including pathways for ships at sea. He was nicknamed Pathfinder of the Seas and Father of Naval Oceanography.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 9/19/2006 9:36:08 AM
Waymark Code: WMQWN
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member cache_test_dummies
Views: 67

Long Description:
Matthew Fountaine Maury was born on January 14, 1806 near Fredericksburg, Virginia. He was appointed a midshipman in 1825, and saw varied duties at sea until a stagecoach accident in 1839 made him permanently lame. In 1842 he was placed in charge of the Depot of Charts and Instruments, which was later known as the U.S. Naval Observatory and Hydrographical Office. Soon his wind and current charts of the Atlantic began to appear, and they eventually cut sailing time on many routes. He wrote widely on navigation and naval reform, and his Physical Geography of the Sea in 1855 was the first classic work of modern oceanography. With the outbreak of the Civil War, he resigned and served the Confederacy, first in harbor defense and then as an agent in England. After the war he served in 1865–66 under Maximilian in Mexico, where he attempted to establish colonies of ex-Confederates. He returned to the United States in 1868 and was professor of meteorology at the Virginia Military Institute until his death. In the fall of 1872, he became ill during one of his lecturing tours. He died several months later on February 1, 1873 and was temporarily buried in Lexington, Virginia but was later moved to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond where he remains today. The Grave of Matthew Fontaine Maury is located in Presidents Circle immediately adjacent to the grave of President John Tyler and just a few steps away from the tomb of President James Monroe.
(Information taken from (visit link)
Matthew Fontaine Maury was born on January 14, 1806 near Fredericksburg, Virginia. The years of his youth were spent in Tennessee; but he looked forward to joining the navy, emulating his older brother who was a naval officer. From 1825 to 1834, Maury made his first three extended voyages -- to Europe, around the world, and to the Pacific coast of South America. Upon his return in 1834, Maury married Ann Hull Herndon and settled in Fredericksburg. During the years 1834 to 1841, Maury produced published works on sea navigation and detailing sea journeys. He also began writing political essays pushing for navy reform. In 1842, Maury was appointed superintendent of the Depot of Charts and Instruments of the Navy Department in Washington. In this position he began publishing his research on oceanography and meteorology, as well as charts and sailing directions. By the fall of 1853 Maury had become internationally recognized for his work. He was sent to an international congress at Brussels as the United States representative. Maury's system of recording the oceanographic data of naval vessels and merchant marine ships was thereafter adopted worldwide. In 1855, he published The Physical Geography of the Sea, which is now credited as "the first textbook of modern oceanography". Maury had always been very interested in the commercial construction of the South. As tensions increased between the South and the North, his regional interests became solidified. On April 20,1861, three days after Virginia seceeded from the Union, Maury resigned from the United States Navy. Several days later, he accepted the position of commander in the Confederate States Navy. Because of his international fame, he was sent to England as a spokesperson for the Confederate government and the Southern cause. During the Civil War, Maury was successful in acquiring war vessels for the Confederacy and in the progress he made in harbor defense, experimenting with electrical mines. After spending a few post-Civil War years in England, Maury returned to Lexington, Virginia in 1868 to accept the position of professor of meteorology at Virginia Military Institute. In the fall of 1872, Maury became ill during one of his lecturing tours. He died several months later on February 1, 1873 and was temporarily buried in Lexington. Maury's body was then moved to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond where it remains today. Source/Credit:

Date of birth: 01/14/1806

Date of death: 02/01/1873

Area of notoriety: Historical Figure

Marker Type: Monument

Setting: Outdoor

Visiting Hours/Restrictions: Daily - 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Fee required?: No

Web site: [Web Link]

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