Andrew Richardson Knowland
Rank(s): Boatswain’s Mate
Dates of Service: -
Birth Date: 2/16/1772
Andrew Knowland was born in Marblehead, Massachusetts around February 16, 1772, the son of James Knowland and Hannah Richardson Carr.
Little is known of Knowland’s early life, but he seems to have worked as a fisherman for many years. At the outbreak of the War of 1812, he joined the privateer schooner Swordfish. The vessel was captured by HMS Elephant and the crew imprisoned in Chatham. Knowland was exchanged in July 1813 and was sent home in a cartel ship.
Knowland joined Constitution’s crew as a boatswain’s mate on October 5, 1813 at Boston and was discharged on August 18, 1815.
The boatswain’s mates were subordinate to the boatswain and aided him with his duties. They were specifically bidden to keep the men at their allotted tasks. Like the boatswain, they carried silver calls or whistles with which to give commands. Many boatswain’s mates carried short, knotted pieces of rope called “starters” or “colts” with which they would strike crew members who were slow or awkward in their duties. It was also the boatswain’s mates’ duty to flog malefactors (who were duly convicted) with the “cat-of-nine-tails.” Boatswain’s mates’ pay amounted to $19.00 per month.
Battles and Engagements
Knowland was on board when Constitution captured a British man-of-war schooner and three merchant vessels. He fought in the battle with HMS Cyane and HMS Levant on February 20, 1815 and received $126.93 in prize money for the first vessel, while sharing in $20,000 allotted for the second.
In 1838, Knowland’s widow wished to receive a pension for her later husband’s service during the war. According to her petition, he died shortly after he was discharged for injuries he received in the line of duty. His death was occasioned “…by excessive ‘blowing,’”[presumably on his pipe], after which “sickness was induced on account of which he was unfit for duty, left the service, returned home, and died soon after, of that sickness.” Mrs. Knowland’s attorney, Aaron Lummus, argued that he was “fatally indisposed, from service on board….and his family in justice, if not in law, [is] entitled to relief as much as if he had fallen in action.”
Despite this declaration in 1838, there is evidence that Knowland died of yellow fever during a voyage to Matanzas, Cuba in 1819.