Sep 20

Hispanic Heritage Month: Admiral David Glasgow Farragut

Friday, September 20, 2019 9:18 AM

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Spanish stamp honoring Admiral David Farragut

 

One of our foremost Hispanic Naval figures is Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, who’s brilliant career is well-known. What may not be so well known is his interesting early life.David Glasgow Farragut was born July 5, 1801 Campbells Station, Tennessee. His father was Jordi Farragut Mesquida who anglicized his Catalan name to George Farragut when he came to America and joined the South Carolina Navy. George Farragut was of unmixed Spanish decent born in Minorca where his family had been prominent for centuries. He married the former Elizabeth Shine of Dobbs County, North Carolina and the family moved to New Orleans where David Glasgow Farragut and his older brother were raised.

In 1808, George Farragut was fishing in Lake Ponchartrain, when he gave aid to another fisherman who was suffering from heat stroke. George took him to his own home where he was cared for until he passed away. The fisherman turned out to be the father of Captain David Porter, and the grandfather of the future Admiral David Dixon Porter. The Porter family was grateful for the care & comfort given to David Porter the elder on his deathbed. While this was happening, Mrs. Farragut was also suffering from yellow fever and passed away shortly before David Porter. The funeral for both families took place on the same day.

Soon after the funeral, then Commander David Porter visited the Farragut family and offered to adopt one of their boys. Young David Farragut accepted the offer, with Porter promising to always be a friend and Guardian. Soon, David Farragut was on his way to Washington with Commander Porter where he would be educated & introduced to the Secretary of the Navy, Paul Hamilton, by his guardian. The Secretary of the Navy, impressed with young Farragut’s enthusiasm, promised David a “midshipman’s warrant” when he would turn ten years old.

At age nine and a half, the warrant came through but David Porter kept Farragut under his charge. Porter moved his family from New Orleans to Chester, Pennsylvania. Farragut was also moved from Washington to Chester where he was enrolled in another school, but a year later went to sea with his guardian on the Essex, where at the age of ten David Glasgow Farragut was midshipman of Captain Porter’s special boat or “gig” as it was called. Thus began his 60 year long naval career during which he fought in several wars, most notably the American Civil War.