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Ship's Crew

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John Adams

Rank(s): Master’s Mate

Dates of Service: 9/21/1813 - 6/3/1814

Birth Date: 11/11/1787

Death Date: 12/3/1814

Early Life

Adams was born in Boston, Massachusetts on November 11, 1787.

Born in Boston, Adams’ family resided in Marblehead, Massachusetts as late as 1810.

Early Experience

Adams enlisted in the US Navy on March 21, 1803 as a boatswain at the New York Station.
Adams was described as being of stout build with an oval face and a dark complexion. He stood 5 feet, 6 inches.

Adams joined the Constitution crew on September 21, 1813 as a master’s mate. As a master’s mate, Adams was required to display a superior knowledge of seafaring and this granted him privileges and duties beyond those of his fellow petty officers. He left the ship on June 3, 1814.

Master’s mates were assistants to, and under the direction of, the sailing master. A master’s mate was in charge of the log line and glass by which the ship’s speed was recorded. He made regular entries in the log, and saw to the adjustment of the forward sails. He was also to be attentive to the stowage of the anchor cables, making sure they were clean and well coiled so as to be let out quickly when needed. The master’s mate also had to be well versed in stowing ballast and provisions in the ship’s hold. He received $20.00 per month and two rations per day.

Battles and Engagements

While on board the USS Constitution , Adams assisted in the capture of a British man-of-war as well as the victories over three merchant ships.

After leaving Constitution Adams joined the crew of the Ida, a privateer. The Ida was captured by HMS Newcastle on August 9, 1814. Adams died on December 3, 1814 in Dartmoor Prison, England.

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