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Thomas Tingey Craven (1808–1887) was a 19th-century United States Navy officer who rose to prominence during the Civil War.

Origins and educationEdit

He was the oldest son of Tunis Craven, a navy purser, and Hannah (Tingey) Craven, the daughter of Commodore Thomas Tingey, a longtime commandant of the Washington Navy Yard. His brother Tunis Craven also joined the navy, and perished with the USS Tecumseh at the Battle of Mobile Bay. Another brother, Alfred Wingate, was a noted civil engineer who constructed railroads. Thomas, like his brothers, was a graduate of the American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy, the forerunner of Norwich University, entering in 1822 and graduating in December 1823.

Naval careerEdit

From 1823 until 1828, he served in the Pacific Squadron on the USS United States and on the USS Peacock. In 1828 he joined the USS Erie, of the West India Squadron, as sailing master, and took part in the capture of the pirate Federal. After being commissioned lieutenant in 1830, he spent three years in cruising on the USS Boxer, and in 1835/6 was attached to the receiving ship at New York, after which he joined the USS John Adams. In 1838 he commanded the USS Vincennes, Captain Charles Wilkes' flag ship in the Antarctic exploring expedition. He then served on the USS Boxer, USS Fulton, USS Monroe, USS Macedonia, and USS Porpoise, principally in the African Squadron, after which, during 1846, he was attached to the naval rendezvous in New York. He then served on the USS Ohio, in the Pacific Squadron, and on the USS Independence in the Mediterranean Squadron, returning home in January 1850.

In the following July he was made commandant of midshipmen in the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, becoming commander in December 1852, and remaining at the academy until June 1855. After commanding the USS Congress of the Mediterranean Squadron for several years, he was ordered to resume his post at Annapolis. In October 1860, he was detached from this place, and, after a short time spent in recruiting service in Portland, Maine, was commissioned captain in June 1861, and assigned to the command of the Potomac Flotilla.

In the autumn of 1861 he was placed in command of the USS Brooklyn, participating in the capture of New Orleans and subsequent operations on the Mississippi River. He was made commodore in July 1862, and during the subsequent years of the American Civil War commanded the USS Niagara off the coasts of England and France.

In September 1866, he was placed in command of the navy yard at Mare Island, California, where he received, in October of the same year, his commission as rear admiral, and continued there until August 1868, when he assumed command of the Pacific Squadron. In December 1869, he was retired, but continued on duty in San Francisco until that office was dispensed with.[1]


He married Virginia Wingate, and later Emily Henderson. He had eight children, and four of his sons attended the naval academy or were connected with the U.S. Navy: Charles Henderson (1843–1898), Henry Smith (1845–1889), Alfred (1846-?) and Macdonough (1858-?) His grandson (Henry's son) Thomas Tingey Craven served in the U.S. Navy in the early 20th century and played a prominent role in the development of naval aviation. His daughter Ida married Frank W. Hackett, who would go on to become Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[2]


  1. Wikisource-logo One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900) "Craven, Thomas Tingey" Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography New York: D. Appleton 
  2. Thomas Tingey Craven, Rear Admiral, United States Navy

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