J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Birthplaces of the U.S. Navy

Last month I received a lecture announcement that begins:

What do Beverly and Marblehead, MA; Philadelphia, PA; Machias, ME; Providence, RI; and Whitehall, NY, have in common? They all claim to be the birthplace of the U.S. Navy.
Boston 1775 readers might recall that in February I gave a lecture proposing to add Cambridge, Massachusetts, to that list. While living in that town, Gen. George Washington ordered Col. John Glover to prepare armed schooners to attack British shipping. Apparently my proposal hasn’t yet come to the attention of the proper authorities.

This new lecture announcement continues:
To unravel the complicated history of the early years of the United States Navy - and perhaps at last determine who deserves this distinction - the National Archives and the USS Constitution Museum are hosting a public program on October 13, at 5:30 PM.

Using original documents from the holdings of the National Archives in Washington, DC, Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero, a native of Beverly and a Navy veteran, and Trevor Plante, a senior archivist at the National Archives specializing in military records, will shed light on the various arguments made by each town staking the birthplace claim.

Can the controversy be settled once and for all? Come to the program and find out!
This program, “The Founding of the US Navy - Setting the Record Straight,” will be free and open to the public. It starts at 5:30 P.M. on Wednesday, 13 October, at the U.S.S. Constitution Museum in the Charlestown Navy Yard.

(Photo of Constitution above courtesy of the National Park Service.)

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