William M. Folger

Rear Admiral William Mayhew Folger (19 May 1844 – 22 July 1928) was an officer in the United States Navy. He served in the American Civil War without seeing action. He filled a wide range of roles, including Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, over the following 30 years. He fought in the Spanish–American War as captain of the protected cruiser USS New Orleans. Folger served as a lighthouse inspector before becoming commander of the Philippine Squadron during the Philippine–American War, and was briefly Commander-in-Chief of the United States Asiatic Fleet. He retired in 1905 as a rear admiral.

William M. Folger
RADM William M. Folger
Born19 May 1844
Massillon, Ohio
Died22 July 1928 (aged 84)
Cornish, New Hampshire
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Navy
Years of service1864–1905
RankUS-O8 insignia.svg Rear Admiral
Commands held
RelationsMayhew Folger (1774–1828) (grandfather)

Naval career

Early career

Folger was born in Massillon, Ohio, on 19 May 1844,[1] the son of Robert H. Folger, grandson of the famed whaling captain Mayhew Folger, and descendant of Peter Foulger and Mary Morrill Foulger.[2] He was appointed a midshipman from Ohio on 21 September 1861,[1] shortly after the April 1861 outbreak of the American Civil War. He entered the United States Naval Academy, which moved from Annapolis, Maryland, to Newport, Rhode Island, for the duration of the war, as a member of the class of 1865. He graduated early from the Academy, on 22 November 1864, because of the pressing need for officers in the greatly expanded wartime U.S. Navy, and reported for duty on 6 February 1865 aboard the receiving ship USS North Carolina at the New York Navy Yard in Brooklyn, New York. He then served on the training ship USS Sabine, where he remained through the end of the war in April 1865 and until 25 July 1865.[3][4][5]

USS Hartford and USS Franklin

Folger served aboard the flagship of the Asiatic Squadron, the sloop-of-war USS Hartford, from 25 July 1865 to 6 August 1868, and while aboard was commissioned as an ensign on 1 November 1866 and promoted to master on 1 December 1866 and to lieutenant on 12 March 1868. After leaving Hartford, he had duty at the Norfolk Navy Yard in Portsmouth, Virginia, for a time in 1868 before reporting aboard the screw frigate USS Franklin, the flagship of the European Squadron, in October 1868. He was promoted to lieutenant commander on 27 April 1869 while aboard Franklin. He served on the staff of the European Squadron during 1872.[3][4]

Folger had ordnance duty from 1873 to 1874, then took leave to travel in Europe from 1875 to 1876. He reported for duty aboard the screw sloop-of-war USS Marion in the European Squadron in 1877, then transferred to the staff of the U.S. Naval Academy for duty from 1877 to 1879. He was aboard the screw sloop-of-war USS Swatara in the Asiatic Squadron from 1879 to 1882, then served in the Bureau of Ordnance in 1882 before performing ordnance duty at Annapolis, Maryland, from 1882 to 1885. He was promoted to commander on 1 March 1885.[3][4]

Commodore and captain

Folger and Sergeant aboard USS Baltimore
Folger (right) as a rear admiral in the flag cabin of the protected cruiser USS Baltimore while serving as Commander, Cruiser Squadron, United States Asiatic Fleet, c. 1904–1905. Baltimore's commanding officer, Commander Nathan Sergeant, is at left.

Folger returned to sea as the commanding officer of the screw corvette USS Quinnebaug in the European Squadron. He then was Inspector of Ordnance at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., from 1888 to 1890, and from February 1890 to January 1893 was Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance with the temporary rank of commodore. He commanded the gunboat USS Yorktown in operations in the Bering Sea and in the Asiatic Squadron from 1894 to 1895. He was a lighthouse inspector from 1896 to 1897, and was promoted to captain on 6 February 1898.[3][4]

Spanish–American War

At the outbreak of the Spanish–American War in April 1898, Folger took command of the protected cruiser USS New Orleans in the North Atlantic Squadron, leading her through the end of war in August 1898, seeing service in the Flying Squadron off Cuba and in bombardments of Santiago de Cuba on 6 and 16 June 1898. He detached from New Orleans in February 1899, and then was commander of the Philippine Squadron of the Asiatic Squadron from April to September 1899, during which time the squadron saw action in the Philippine–American War. He next was general inspector on the new battleship USS Kearsarge, still fitting out prior to commissioning, and became her first commanding officer when she was commissioned on 20 February 1900. He detached from Kearsarge in May 1901 and again became a lighthouse inspector, carrying out this duty in the Third District until late 1903 or early in 1904.[3][4][6][7]

Folger became commander of the Philippine Squadron of the United States Asiatic Fleet in early 1904[8] and was soon promoted to rear admiral, on 1 June 1904.[9] Later in 1904, he took command of the fleet's Cruiser Squadron.[10][11] He served briefly as commander-in-Chief of the Asiatic Fleet from 23 March 1905 to 30 March 1905.[12][13]

Folger retired from the Navy on 30 June 1905.[14]

Personal life

Folger was an Original Companion of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.[15] In 1898 he became a Veteran Companion of the Pennsylvania Commandery of the Military Order of Foreign Wars.

Folger House, his home of many years in Cornish, New Hampshire, is on the National Register of Historic Places in the United States.[16]


Folger died in Cornish on the evening of Sunday, 22 July 1928, after an illness of three weeks. He is buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge and Watertown, Massachusetts.[5]

Military offices

Military offices
Preceded by
Yates Stirling
Commander-in-Chief, United States Asiatic Fleet
23 March 1905 – 30 March 1905
Succeeded by
Charles J. Train

See also

  • P vip.svg Biography portal
  • United states confederate flag hybrid.png American Civil War portal
  • Emblem of the United States Navy.png United States Navy portal


  1. ^ a b Randall, p. 221.
  2. ^ Neff, p. 125.
  3. ^ a b c d e Hamersly, p. 102.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Naval History and Heritage Command: Officers of the Continental and U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, 1775–1900". History.navy.mil. 2006-04-07. Archived from the original on May 2, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  5. ^ a b "Rear Admiral Folger Dies at Cornish". Portsmouth Herald. Newspaperarchive.com. July 24, 1928. p. 8. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  6. ^ "Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships: Kearsarge II". History.navy.mil. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  7. ^ Langland, James, ed. (1903). The Chicago Daily News Almanac and Year-Book For 1904. Chicago: Chicago Daily News Company. p. 187. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  8. ^ "America Considers Asiatic Fleet Too Small". The Morning Oregonian. Portland, Oregon. February 23, 1904. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  9. ^ Tribune Almanac and Political Register. New York: The Tribune Association. January 1905. p. 45. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  10. ^ Blue Book of American Shipping (9 ed.). New York: Penton Publishing Company. 1904. p. 269. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  11. ^ "United States Government—Executive". Brooklyn Daily Eagle Almanac. New York. 20 (1): 546. January 1905. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  12. ^ Tolley, p. 318.
  13. ^ "Warships Off For Hongkong: Stirling Takes the Wisconsin, Oregon, and Others From Cavite". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. March 19, 1905. p. 2. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  14. ^ United States. Bureau of Naval Personnel; United States. Navy Dept; United States. Bureau of Navigation (1906). Register of the Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps and Reserve Officers on Active Duty. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 167. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  15. ^ "Original Companions of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States: Surnames Beginning with the Letter F". Suvcw.org. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  16. ^ "crcj.org Trail 6: Folger House". Crjc.org. Retrieved 2013-04-06.


External links



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Bureau of Ordnance

The Bureau of Ordnance (BuOrd) was the U.S. Navy's organization responsible for the procurement, storage, and deployment of all naval weapons, between the years 1862 and 1959.

Charles J. Train

Rear Admiral Charles Jackson Train (14 May 1845 – 4 August 1906) was an officer in the United States Navy. He served in the Spanish–American War and later as the second Commander-in-Chief of the United States Asiatic Fleet.


Folger is an English and German surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Abiah Folger (1667–1752), mother of Benjamin Franklin

Abigail Folger (1943–1969), American civil rights activist

Alonzo Dillard Folger (1888–1941), American politician

Charles J. Folger (1818–1884), American politician

Dan Folger (1943–2006), American singer and songwriter

Emily Jordan Folger (1858–1936), Shakespeare scholar

Henry Clay Folger (1857–1930), founder of the Folger Shakespeare Library

J. A. Folger (1835–1889), founder of the Folgers Coffee Company

John Clifford Folger (1893–1981), United States Ambassador to Belgium (1957-59)

John Hamlin Folger (1880–1963), American politician and lawyer, United States Secretary of the Treasury

Jonas Folger (born 1993), German motorbike racer

Joseph P. Folger (21st century), American professor of communication

Mary Morrell Folger, grandmother of Benjamin Franklin, referenced in Moby Dick

Mayhew Folger (1774–1828), American whaler and grandfather of William M. Folger

Peter Folger (1905–1980), American businessperson

Peter Folger (Nantucket settler) (1617–1690), Baptist missionary, teacher, and surveyor, grandfather of Benjamin Franklin

Walter Folger Jr. (1765–1849), American politician

William M. Folger (1844–1928), United States Navy rear admiral and grandson of Mayhew Folger

List of burials at Mount Auburn Cemetery

This is a list of notable burials at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge and Watertown, Massachusetts, USA.

Military Order of Foreign Wars

The Military Order of Foreign Wars of the United States (MOFW) is one of the oldest veterans' and hereditary associations in the nation with a membership that includes officers and their hereditary descendants from all of the Armed Services. Membership is composed of active duty, reserve and retired officers of the United States Armed Services, including the Coast Guard, National Guard, and allied officers, and their descendants, who have served during one of the wars in which the United States has or is engaged with a foreign power.

Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States

The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS), or simply as the Loyal Legion is a United States patriotic order, organized April 15, 1865, by officers of the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps of the United States who "had aided in maintaining the honor, integrity, and supremacy of the national movement" during the American Civil War. It was formed by loyal union military officers in response to rumors from Washington of a conspiracy to destroy the Federal government by assassination of its leaders, in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. They stated their purpose as the cherishing of the memories and associations of the war waged in defense of the unity and indivisibility of the Republic; the strengthening of the ties of fraternal fellowship and sympathy formed by companionship in arms; the relief of the widows and children of dead companions of the order; and the advancement of the general welfare of the soldiers and sailors of the United States. As the original officers died off, the veterans organization became an all-male hereditary society. The modern organization is composed of male descendants of these officers (hereditary members), and others who share the ideals of the Order (associate members), who collectively are considered "Companions". A female auxiliary, Dames of the Loyal Legion of the United States (DOLLUS), was formed in 1899 and accepted as an affiliate in 1915.

Naval and Military Order of the Spanish War

The Naval and Military Order of the Spanish War was a short lived military society formed by American officers who had served during the Spanish–American War.

South Carolina-class battleship

The South Carolina-class battleships, also known as the Michigan class, were built during the first decade of the twentieth century for the United States Navy. Named South Carolina and Michigan, they were the first American dreadnoughts—powerful warships whose capabilities far outstripped those of the world's older battleships.

In the opening years of the twentieth century, the prevailing theory of naval combat was that battles would continue to be fought at relatively close range using many small, fast-firing guns. As such, each of the ships in the United States' previous battleship class (the Connecticut class) had many medium-sized weapons alongside four large guns. This paradigm, however, was soon to be subverted, as American naval theorists proposed that a ship mounting a homogeneous battery of large guns would be more effective in battle.

As their ideas began to enjoy wider acceptance, the US Congress authorized the country's Navy to construct two small 16,000-long-ton (16,000 t) battleships. This displacement was roughly the same size as the Connecticut class and at least 2,000 long tons (2,000 t) smaller than the foreign standard. A solution was found in an ambitious design drawn up by Rear Admiral Washington L. Capps, the chief of the navy's Bureau of Construction and Repair; it traded heavy armament and relatively thick armor—both favored by naval theorists—for speed.

With their superfiring main armament, press accounts billed South Carolina and Michigan, alongside the British HMS Dreadnought, as heralding a new epoch in warship design. Both, however, were soon surpassed by ever-larger and stronger super-dreadnoughts. The class's low top speed of about 18.5 knots (21.3 mph; 34.3 km/h), as compared to the 21-knot (24 mph; 39 km/h) standard of later American battleships, relegated them to serving with older, obsolete battleships during the First World War. After the end of the conflict and the signing of the Washington Naval Treaty, both South Carolinas were scrapped.

USS Kearsarge (BB-5)

USS Kearsarge (BB-5), the lead ship of her class of pre-dreadnought battleships, was a United States Navy ship, named after the sloop-of-war Kearsarge. Her keel was laid down by the Newport News Shipbuilding Company of Virginia, on 30 June 1896. She was launched on 24 March 1898, sponsored by Mrs. Elizabeth Winslow (née Maynard), the wife of Rear Admiral Herbert Winslow, and commissioned on 20 February 1900.

Between 1903 and 1907 Kearsarge served in the North Atlantic Fleet, and from 1907 to 1909 she sailed as part of the Great White Fleet. In 1909 she was decommissioned for modernization, which was finished in 1911. In 1915 she served in the Atlantic, and between 1916 and 1919 she served as a training ship. She was converted into a crane ship in 1920, renamed Crane Ship No. 1 in 1941, and sold for scrap in 1955. She was the only United States Navy battleship to not be named after a state.

United States Asiatic Fleet

The United States Asiatic Fleet was a fleet of the United States Navy during much of the first half of the 20th century. Before World War II, the fleet patrolled the Philippine Islands. Much of the fleet was destroyed by the Japanese by February 1942, after which it was dissolved and incorporated into the naval component of the South West Pacific Area command, which eventually became the Seventh Fleet.

The fleet was created when its predecessor, the Asiatic Squadron, was upgraded to fleet status in 1902. In early 1907, the fleet was downgraded and became the First Squadron of the United States Pacific Fleet. However, on 28 January 1910, the ships of that squadron were again organized as the Asiatic Fleet. Thus constituted, the Asiatic Fleet, based in the Philippines, was organizationally independent of the Pacific Fleet, which was based on the United States West Coast until it moved to Pearl Harbor in the Territory of Hawaii in 1940.

Although much smaller than any other U.S. Navy fleet and indeed far smaller than what any navy generally considers to be a fleet, the Asiatic Fleet from 1916 was commanded by one of only four four-star admirals authorized in the U.S. Navy at the time. This reflected the prestige of the position of Asiatic Fleet commander-in-chief, who generally was more powerful and influential with regard to the affairs of the United States in China than was the American minister, or later United States Ambassador, to China.

Yates Stirling

Yates Stirling (6 May 1843 – 5 March 1929) was a rear admiral in the United States Navy.

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