Rank(s): Able Seaman
Dates of Service: 2/17/1812 - 12/29/1812
Birth Date: 11/8/1789
Death Date: 1/22/1832
Churchill was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts on November 8, 1789. He was the second son of Solomon and Elizabeth Bartlett Churchill.
Churchill never married. He had three brothers and three sisters, but all but two brothers died in infancy.
Churchill joined Constitution ’s crew as an able seaman on May 6, 1812, while the ship lay at the Washington Navy Yard. He left the ship sometime after February 17, 1812.
The able seaman was an elite member of the crew. Having sailed for years “before the mast” on merchant vessels or worked his way up through the ranks in the navy, it was on him that the officers relied for the smooth operation of the ship. The traditional requirements for the seaman were that he be able to “hand (furl or take in a sail), reef (reduce a sail’s area), and steer,” but these were in fact the barest requirements for the seaman rating. In addition, they were expected to be familiar with nearly all aspects of shipboard labor. He had to be able to cast the sounding lead, be able to sew a sail with a palm and needle, and understand all parts of the rigging and the stowage of the hold. Furthermore, he had to know how to fight, as part of a gun crew or with small arms. The able seaman made $12.00 per month.
Battles and Engagements
Churchill participated in victories over HMS Guerriere on August 19, 1812 and HMS Java on December 29, 1812, and received $42.62 ½ and $42.30 in prize money. During the second battle he served as second sponger for gun no. 6 on the gun deck.
Churchill died in New York on January 22, 1832.