Thomas Macdonough Gravesite

Riverside Cemetery • Middletown, CT • Middlesex County

Historical Significance

Captain Thomas Macdonough, Jr. (21 December 1783 – 10 November 1825) was an early-19th-century American naval officer noted for his roles in the first Barbary War and the War of 1812. He was the son of Thomas Macdonough, Sr. who lived near Middletown, Delaware. Macdonough's Great Grandfather, also named Thomas Macdonough, lived in Ireland in the Salmon Leap district not far from Dublin.

Photo: Gravesite monument. (Jan Franco)

Thomas Macdonough Jr. entered naval life at an early age, receiving a midshipman's commission at the age of sixteen. He served with Stephen Decatur at Tripoli during the First Barbary War. Macdonough achieved fame during the War of 1812, commanding the American naval forces that defeated the British navy at the Battle of Lake Champlain, part of the larger Battle of Plattsburgh, which helped lead to an end to that war.

Captain Macdonough was of the Protestant faith and in October of 1806, he was ordered to Middletown, Connecticut, to work under Captain Isaac Hull superintending the construction of gunboats. It was here that he met and fell in love with his future wife, Lucy Ann Shaler and they were married in 1812.

Photo: Painting by Gilbert Stuart c.1815 (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)

Macdonough received command of the 44-gun frigate USS Constitution in 1824. However, his health continued to worsen. On 14 October 1825, Macdonough had to relieve himself of his command. Intending to return to New York, Macdonough departed the Mediterranean in the merchant brig USS Edwin. Thomas Macdonough died aboard ship while it was passing Gibraltar on 10 November 1825. Macdonough's body was returned to the United States and was buried in Middletown, Connecticut. He was laid to rest on December 1, 1825 alongside his wife Ann Shaler, a lady of a prominent family in Middletown, who died just a few months earlier. The monument was erected at that time.


"Thomas Macdonough." Wikipedia.
[ view source ]

Pickett, Russ. "Captain Thomas Macdonough"
[ view source ]

Skaggs, David Curtis. "Thomas Macdonough: Master of Command in the Early U.S. Navy" Washington, Naval Institute Press, 2003.

Additional Information

Date(s):  1825

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