Benjamin Crowninshield, U.S. Secretary of the Navy

Is your surname Crowninshield?

Research the Crowninshield family

Benjamin Crowninshield, U.S. Secretary of the Navy's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Benjamin Williams Crowninshield, Jr.

Birthdate: (78)
Birthplace: Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
Death: February 3, 1851 (78)
Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
Place of Burial: Cambridge, MA, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Captain George Crowninshield and Mary Crowninshield
Husband of Mary Crowninshield
Father of Francis Boardman Crowninshield; Mary Mifflin; George Casper Crowninshield; Benjamin Varnum Crowninshield; Elizabeth Boardman Crowninshield and 5 others
Brother of Capt. George Crowninshield, Jr.; Hon. Capt. Jacob Crowninshield; Richard Crowninshield; John Crowninshield; Edward Crowninshield and 1 other

Occupation: Secretary of the Navy 1815-1818
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Benjamin Crowninshield, U.S. Secretary of the Navy

Benjamin Williams Crowninshield (December 27, 1772 – February 3, 1851) served as the United States Secretary of the Navy between 1815 and 1818, during the administrations of Presidents James Madison and James Monroe.


Crowninshield was born in Salem, Massachusetts the son of a sea captain and merchant of the Boston Brahmin Crowninshield family. He worked in the family shipping business, Geo. Crowninshield & Sons, served at sea, and was also active in politics. His family owned the lands near Mineral Spring Pond, where the first Crowninshield family was cradled in the country. He was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1811 and the state Senate in 1812.

Crowninshield became Secretary of the Navy in January 1815, a position almost held by his brother Jacob Crowninshield ten years earlier, at the end of the War of 1812 and managed the transition to a peacetime force. This included implementation of the new Board of Commissioners administrative system and the building of several ships of the line, the backbone of a much enhanced Navy. He also oversaw strategy and naval policy for the war with Algiers in 1815.

After leaving Navy office in 1818, Crowninshield returned to business and political affairs in Massachusetts, prospering in both. In addition to serving two more terms in the Massachusetts House, he was also elected to four terms the United States Congress from 1823 to 1831.

On his passing in 1851, Benjamin Williams Crowninshield was interred in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Crowninshield was the great-great-grandfather of Charles Francis Adams III, also Secretary of the Navy from 1929 to 1933.


The destroyer USS Crowninshield (DD-134) was named in his honor.

BENJAMIN WILLIAMS CROWNINSHIELD ..... Birth: Dec. 27, 1772 Salem Essex County Massachusetts, USA Death: Feb. 3, 1851 Boston Suffolk County Massachusetts, USA

Secretary of the Navy under Presidents Madison and Monroe, 1814-1818; United States Representative from Massachusetts, 1823-1831.

Family links:

 George Crowninshield (1734 - 1815)
 Mary Derby Crowinshield (1737 - 1813)

 Margaret Lambert Crowninshield*
 Mary Boardman Crowninshield (1778 - 1840)*

 Anna Casper Crowninshield Mason*
 Hannah Crowninshield Armstrong (1789 - 1834)*
 Mary C. Crowninshield Mifflin (1806 - 1893)*
 George Casper Crowninshield (1812 - 1857)*
 Annie G. Crowninshield Warren (1815 - 1905)*
  • Calculated relationship

Burial: Mount Auburn Cemetery Cambridge Middlesex County Massachusetts, USA

Edit Virtual Cemetery info [?]

Maintained by: Find A Grave Originally Created by: Garver Graver Record added: Oct 10, 2002 Find A Grave Memorial# 6844018

view all 14

Benjamin Crowninshield, U.S. Secretary of the Navy's Timeline

December 27, 1772
Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
November 18, 1804
Age 31
August 9, 1806
Age 33
Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
May 22, 1808
Age 35
June 4, 1809
Age 36
Salem, MA, USA
February 2, 1812
Age 39
Salem, MA, USA
Age 39
Salem, MA, USA
September 19, 1815
Age 42
Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
October 22, 1815
Age 42
Salem, MA, USA