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Charles Francis Adams III

Charles Francis Adams III Secretary of the navy

Secretary of the navy
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Secretary of the navy
Countries United States of America
Occupations Politician Lawyer
Gender male
Birth 2 August 1866 (Quincy, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, U.S.A.)
Death 10 June 1954 (Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, U.S.A.)
Star sign LeoLeo
Politics Republican Party
Education Harvard Law School, Harvard University
The details

Charles Francis Adams III known as Deacon (August 2, 1866 – June 10, 1954), was an American politician. He was a member of the prominent American Adams family, was the United States Secretary of the Navy under President Herbert Hoover and a well-known yachtsman.

Early life

Charles Francis Adams III was born on August 2, 1866 in Quincy, Massachusetts to Frances "Fanny" Cadwalader Crowninshield (1839–1911) and John Quincy Adams II (1833–1894).

Adams graduated cum laude from Harvard College in 1888, where he was a brother of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Alpha chapter). He later graduated from Harvard Law School in 1892.


A scion of the Adams family that produced two presidents, Charles Francis III, the son of John Quincy Adams II, the oldest son of the Charles Francis Adams, Sr. (1807–1886), was the great-grandson of the sixth U. S. President John Quincy Adams (1767–1848), and the great-great-grandson of the second U.S. President John Adams (1735–1826). His mother Fanny Crowninshield was the granddaughter of U.S. Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Williams Crowninshield. Adams was also the third cousin twice removed of Otis Norcross (1811–1882), the 19th Mayor of Boston. Both descending from their fourth great grandfather, Joseph Adams; Otis from his first wife Mary [Chapin], and Charles from his second wife Hannah [Bass].

Charles Francis Adams, Jr. (1835–1915) was the uncle, not the father of Charles Francis Adams III, an assumption regularly made by virtue of sequential name succession. Charles F. Adams, Jr. had five children, the first three being daughters, which may explain why his brother John Q. Adams II took the prerogative to name his son after their uncle. Charles, Jr.'s only sons (twins) were born in 1875.


After graduating from Harvard Law and being admitted to the bar in 1893, he was first a lawyer, then went into business. From 1896 to 1897, Adams served as mayor of Quincy, Massachusetts.

In 1903, while serving as president of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Adams proposed to Congress that the famed frigate USS Constitution be restored and returned to active service. This led to Congress authorizing funds for the restoration of Constitution and opening her to the public in 1907.

In 1916, the Massachusetts legislature and electorate approved a calling of a constitutional convention. Adams was elected as a delegate at large to serve as a member of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1917.

At one time, he was an officer in 43 corporations, including several banks and many of the country's largest corporations such as the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, the Union Pacific Railroad, and the Harvard Corporation.

Secretary of the Navy

From 1929 until his retirement in 1933, Adams served as the Secretary of the Navy under President Herbert Hoover. While Secretary, Adams vigorously promoted public understanding of the Navy's indispensable role in international affairs, and worked strenuously to maintain naval strength and efficiency during a period of severe economic depression. He served at the London Naval Treaty in 1930 where he successfully maintained the principle of United States naval parity with Britain.

Adams was a supporter of limited presidential terms, well before the 22nd Amendment passed, and advocated that the Presidents should be required to renounce political parties and that after they left the presidency, should be made ex-officio members of the United States Senate.

Activities and interests

In 1920, Adams skippered the America's Cup defender Resolute and soon became known as the "Dean of American Helmsmen". He was posthumously inducted into the America's Cup Hall of Fame in 1993. In 1939, he won the King's Cup, Astor Cup, and Puritan Cup, the three most coveted domestic yachting trophies in a single season.

In 1929, he became a member of the District of Columbia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. His national membership number was 48,952. He was also an honorary companion of the Naval Order of the United States. In 1932, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Personal life

On April 3, 1899, Adams married Frances (née Lovering) (d. 1956), the daughter of U.S. Representative William C. Lovering (1835–1910), at St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. Together, they had two children:

  • Catherine Frances Lovering Adams, (1902-1988), who married Henry Sturgis Morgan, son of J. P. Morgan, Jr. and one of the founders of Morgan Stanley (1935), along with Harold Stanley, on June 26, 1923. Together, they had five sons.
  • Charles Francis Adams IV, (1910-1999), who was a prominent businessman and the first president of Raytheon Company, was married firstly to Margaret [Stockton], and had issue: Abigail Adams, Allison Adams, Charles Francis Adams V, and Timothy Adams. He married secondly, widow Mrs. Beatrice D. Penati.

Adams died on June 11, 1954, and was interred in Mount Wollaston Cemetery in Quincy, Massachusetts, on June 13, 1954. His estate, valued at $192,000 in 1954, was left to his widow.


The Charles Francis Adams Memorial Trophy for yacht racing was established in his memory, and the Navy destroyer USS Charles F. Adams was dedicated in his honor.

Family tree

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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