William W. Burrows, Lt Col, Commandant USMC

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William Ward Burrows

Birthplace: Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Death: Died in Washington, District of Columbia, DC, USA
Place of Burial: Arlington, Arlington, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Judge William Burrows and Mary Burrows
Husband of Mary Burrows
Father of Lt William Ward Burrows II and Frances Harriotte Nelson
Brother of Mary Ward Atkinson

Managed by: Keith Neville Bystrom
Last Updated:

About William W. Burrows, Lt Col, Commandant USMC

Online memorial at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=8154555 and another photo of him from the old family Bible on his wife's memorial page at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=37176431

In the Burrows-Thompson bible, it is recorded that Mary Bond, daughter of Dr. Thomas Bond of Philadelphia, granddaughter of Dr. Thomas Bond of the same place, married William Ward Burrows. The Bible was presented to the United States Marines Corps. by Mary Virginia (Neill) Neville in 1971. (She was my great grandmother)

-Sharon Lynn (Hanson) Frey


His Wikipedia page at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_W._Burrows reads as follows:

William Ward Burrows I

Lieutenant Colonel William Ward Burrows I (January 16, 1758 – March 13, 1804 {INCORRECT DATE OF DEATH - SEE IMAGE OF GRAVE MARKER UNDER "MEDIA" TAB, AS WELL AS DEATH NOTICES UNDER "SOURCES" TAB}) was the second Commandant of the Marine Corps. His son, William Ward Burrows II, was a decorated officer in the United States Navy.

BiographyBurrows was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He served in the American Revolutionary War with the state troops of South Carolina, but later become a citizen of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On July 12, 1798, the day following the approval of an act of Congress establishing a permanent United States Marine Corps, President John Adams appointed him as Major Commandant of the newly created organization which consisted of 881 officers, noncommissioned officers, privates and musicians. (Samuel Nicholas was in charge of the Continental Marines and by tradition is considered the first Marine Commandant.)

The Marine Corps, as well as the Navy, had had its humble beginning a short time prior to its actual authorization as a Corps and both were formed to meet an impending national crisis. The first Marine units to be organized by Major Burrows were ship detachments for newly acquired vessels of the American Navy, which were being hurriedly placed in commission at Philadelphia and hurried off to sea to fight cruisers and destroy commerce in the Quasi-War with France. During the first several months that he was Commandant, his principal concern was the supplying and keeping up to strength the Marine detachments for the vessels of the Navy.

Headquarters of the Corps was in camp near Philadelphia until the national capital began its move to Washington in 1800. A small detachment of Marines was sent to the new capital in March of that year to protect the newly-established navy yard, while Major Burrows, with his staff and headquarters troops, moved to Washington in late July and set up their camp.

Major Burrows was promoted to lieutenant colonel on May 1, 1800. The Quasi-War with France continued until September of that year, when matters were finally adjusted. The insistence of Congress that the cost of the naval establishment be immediately reduced caused considerable embarrassment to Burrows in his effort to establish the Marine Corps on a peacetime basis. The Barbary Wars broke out soon afterwards and the main concern of the Corps was to supply detachments to naval vessels for duty in the Mediterranean.

Lieutenant Colonel Burrows is credited with beginning many of the Corps' institutions, including, most notably, the U.S. Marine Band, which he financed in part by levying contributions from his officers. He demanded high standards of professional performance and personal conduct of his officers and these have become hallmarks of the Corps. Ill health forced his resignation on March 6, 1804.

Lieutenant Colonel Burrows died in Washington, D.C.. He was buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery, Georgetown, in the District of Columbia. His remains were re-interred in Arlington National Cemetery on May 12, 1892


This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

"Lieutenant Colonel William Ward Burrows, USMC". Who's Who in Marine Corps History. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 2010-12-29.

Allan Reed Millett and Jack Shulimson, ed. (2004). Commandants of the Marine Corps. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. pp. 27–35. ISBN 9780870210129. http://books.google.com/books?id=Qns8bW_SESYC.

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William W. Burrows, Lt Col, Commandant USMC's Timeline

January 16, 1758
Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Age 26
June 14, 1798
Age 40
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States