The Families of Adam Keith

“Once upon a time ...”, family facts and tales


Rear Admiral Mervine

Obituary 1868


Rear Admiral Mervine, U. S. N. was born near Philadelphia, March 14, 1791. He died Sept.15, 1868. He entered the navy in January, 1809, and had been in service nearly sixty years, twenty-five years at sea and four years on shore or other duty, and twenty-eight years unemployed. He was on duty on board the sloop-of-war John Adams when the War of 1812 broke out, and, with other young officers he volunteered to join in the hostilities on Lake Erie. In an engagement with the British at Black Rock, on the Niagara River, he was severely, wounded by a musket ball in the side. (See Cooper Naval History, Pages 339-341.) Before the close of the war he was stationed at Sackett's Harbor. Mr. Mervine was married to Miss Amanda M. Crane, of New York, in 1815, who survives him. From this period until the nullification troubles in 1832 he made cruises in the Mediterranean sea and off the coast of South America in the Atlantic, and also one cruise in the Gulf of Mexico, after pirates. He went out as Lieutenant in the guard-ship sloop-of-war Cyane with the first colony sent out to Liberia. Here he suffered a severe attack of yellow fever.


In 1832 he took his first command and went to Charleston Harbor to look after the secessionists and nullifiers, in the schooner Experiment. During the Mexican difficulties, before the war, he took the responsibility of capturing a Mexican brig, which had two American vessels under her guns. This was an act of war, in which he was sustained by General Jackson. He afterwards made several cruises, and in 1845 or 1846, went out in the sloop-of-war Cyane with sealed orders to Commodore Sloat, commanding the Pacific squadron. His orders proved to be very stringent, to attack and take possession of California in case any hostilities were committed. After the first overt act on the part of the Southern Californians. A council of war was held and Captain Mervine was ordered to attack the fort which he did, and took it, planting the first American flag, in that now State of California, at Monterey. When Commodore Stockton relieved Commodore Sloat, Capt. Mervine took command of the frigate (74) Savannah, remaining in charge of it till the fall of 1847. In 1849 or 1850 he was offered the command of the navy yard at Mare Island, San Francisco, but preferring sea service he was soon ordered to the command of the Mediterranean Squadron, with the steam-frigate Powhattan as his flag-ship, which, however, he did not reach, being recalled to some urgent duty on our own coast.


In I854 he was ordered to fit out the frigate Independence (40) and proceed to the Pacific and take command as flag-officer of that squadron. He sailed in the fall of that year from New York and cruised there three years. In 1861, at the outbreak of the rebellion, he was ordered to take Command of the Gulf Blockading Squadron, and sailed from Boston in the Mississippi (steamer) in June. He planned the attack which was so heroically carried out by Lieut. Russell (see Harpers' Magazine, Nov., 1866, pp. 705, 706.) He was recalled in the fall of the same year. He was a brave officer, with a untarnished record--a man of spotless integrity. Admiral Mervine was a gentleman of the old school, of a high sense of honor, punctual and exact in the discharge of all his duties. He was in his 78th year at the time of his death and departs in a good old age, having faithfully served his generation and taken, a most active part in the most stirring events of the last fifty years. His name and services will be ever remembered.

William Crane Mervine was the son of Rear Admiral William Mervine [1791-1868]




MERVINE, William, naval officer, born in Pennsylvania in 1791 died in Utica, New York, 15 September, 1868. He entered the navy, and was made midshipman, 16 January, 1809, lieutenant, 4 February, 1815, commander, 12 June, 1834, and captain, 8 September, 1841. He was placed on the retired list, 21 December, 1861, promoted commodore, 16 July, 1862, and rear-admiral, 25 July, 1866. He spent twenty-five years in active duty afloat, four years in performing shore service, and the remainder of the time on furlough or awaiting orders. At the beginning of the civil war, although seventy years of age, he reported promptly for duty, and did good service during the first year of the war, but his health was inadequate to the heavy duties of that period, and he reluctantly submitted to be retired.

William Crane Mervine [1816-1905]


Ancestry: Adam Keith1>Balthasar Keith2>Peter Keith3>Elizabeth [Keith] [m. Joseph] Shirley4>Ruhama [Shirley] [m. William Crane] Mervine5