Gunner John Lord
John Lord enlisted in the United States Navy on November 4, 1812 and, after serving in the War of 1812, was warranted as a gunner in 1817. As gunner, Lord oversaw all of the ship’s cannon and equipment, small arms, gunpowder, shot, magazine tools, and gunnery drills. Gunpowder is highly flammable, so great attention was paid to properly securing the powder magazine. The captain kept the keys and only the gunner was allowed to open the space.
Lord joined USS Constitution’s crew on October 10, 1824 and served as gunner during the second long Mediterranean cruise between 1824 and 1828. He was transferred to the Charlestown Navy Yard on July 16, 1828 and succumbed to a lingering illness in 1829 at age 40.
While Lord saw no action aboard Constitution, he is remembered due to the sheer number of personal effects that bear his name. Lord was in the habit of inscribing his name, usually as “J. Lord,” on personal possessions and articles of clothing. He also adorned some items with his personal motif, an image of a cannon and fouled anchor crossed over a stack of cannon balls. Many of these inscribed items have found their way to the USS Constitution Museum one by one, offering a glimpse into the life of a sailor aboard Constitution, the people he encountered, and the belongings he collected while at sea.Read More