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Edward Francis Qualtrough
Captain, United States Navy
Edward Francis Qualtrough served in the United States Navy from 1871 until his retirement in 30 June 1909. He died in Washington, D.C. 18 November 1913. He married Leila Ray ? in 1879 in Washington D.C.

Edward graduated from the 1871 class of the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland. He served in a variety of areas, including commander of "USS Hartford" at the total solar eclipse at Caroline Island in the Pacific in 1883. He also  commanded the "USS Georgia" on the second leg (from San Francisco to Gibraltar) of the US Navy's tour of the world as the Great White Fleet from 1907-1909, Edward was relieved of his command on 6 February 1909 in Gibraltar and he return to Washington D.C. 

He finished his service with the rank of Lieutenant Commander I believe.

Edward retired from the US Navy on 30 June 1909 and he died 18 November 1913 in Washington D.C. He is buried with his wife at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia in Section 3, Grave 1925.

Edward wrote several books on sailing, his most notable being "The Sailor's Handy Book"



Coutesyof Qualtrough.Org

16 December 1907 – 22 February 1909

It seems that nothing stops a Qualtrough from achieving. And Edward Francis QUALTROUGH of the USA was one such a person.

Edward Francis (sometimes Frank) Qualtrough was born in Rochester, NY, USA in the early 1850’s. Naval sources say 1850, yet if he was 18 in 1870 (see below) so that would mean he would have been born about 1852.

The 1870 Maryland State Archives Census, Index of Anne Arundel County states:

Edward F. Qualtrough. Family Number: 1
Age: 18 Sex: M Race: W Occupation: Midshipman
Birthplace: NY

He was the son of Joseph Qualtrough (born 1825 in Rushen Isle of Man, died 22 February 1898, in Rochester). Joseph was a prominent miller in Rochester, an alderman in the 1860’s and an overseer of the poor. There were many other Qualtroughs in Rochester, but that is another story. It would seem that Joseph was the son of William Qualtrough, late coroner and widow of Rushen, Isle of Man, who
married Miss Elizabeth Qualtrough, spinster, daughter of Mr Thomas Qualtrough of Kentraugh, Rushen, IOM, in 1823. This is still to be established however.

Now let us return to Edward. At age 18, in 1870, he was a midshipman and studying at the Annapolis Naval Academy in Maryland. He graduated in the Class of 1871. He must have been a man of ambition because in a few short years he was holding sway in Naval and Governmental circles.

We hear of him again on May 6, 1883, when a total eclipse of the sun was visible from Caroline Island in the Pacific Ocean. It was observed by a party of American astronomers, headed by Edward S. Holden, and two British observers. They were transported from Callao, Peru, to the island on the U.S.S. Hartford, arriving April 21, 1883. A French expedition also observed this eclipse. A map of the island was made by Lieutenant E.F. Qualtrough, U.S.N., and natural history specimens were collected by Dr. W.S. Dixon, both of the U.S.S. Hartford. Insects were collected by Dr. Palisa of the French expedition.

Not only did he have ambitions in the Navy, he also was a natural writer and he used these abilities to air his opinions. In 1889 he wrote a persuasive article for the OVERLAND MONTHLY magazine, published out of San Francisco, about "Our Naval Necessities" and in it expressed his very strong argument for a strong and independent naval defence force for the United States. He mentioned his
concern about the lack of coastal defence in the time of war especially along the Pacific Coast, and hoped that the US Government would consider spending large sums of money to rectify this.

This and other such expressions must have held great sway because he soon was moving up the ranks. In 1899 we find him as Lieutenant Commander Qualtrough and being on board the PONCE off New York along with other naval personal assessing Marconi’s telegraphy system for possible future use in the US Navy. All were very enthusiastic about the possible future of this system and had a conference with Signor Marconi to arrange for a series of tests on behalf of the US Government.

Edward F Qualtrough must have also had a love of recreational sailing as he contributed three manuals, which became stalwarts of the yachting fraternity as well as in commercial areas of sailing ships.

The first of these was THE SAILOR’S HANDY BOOK AND YACHTSMAN’S MANUAL – adapted for the use of the navy, merchant marine and yachtsman.. This was published in 1881. He also wrote two others – THE BOAT SAILOR’S MANUAL (pub 1886) and what appears to be an update to this in 1889.

In the late 1890’s Edward’s (and I am sure from others within the Navy also) earlier enthusiastic push for stronger naval coastal defence for the US began to bear fruit. The government of the day allocated large sums of money to building many naval ships of various capabilities.

In 1907, as a result of the expansion of naval capacity and strength, the GREAT WHITE FLEET began its tour around the world calling on many international ports in the interests of good will. The tour was to take fifteen months. The Fleet left Hampton Roads, Virginia, in review before President Theodore Roosevelt, on 16 December 1907 and headed to Cuba and then down the coast of South America, visiting several countries on their highly successful cruise. Rounding Cape Horn, the Fleet, comprising of some 16 battleships. gradually made its way up the Pacific coast of the Americas. It met with ships of the Pacific Fleet in another review in San Francisco for the Secretary of the Navy on 8 May 1908.

It was here that Captain Edward F Qualtrough joined the Fleet and he took command of the first-class battleship USS GEORGIA (BB15).

The Fleet left San Francisco on the second leg of the world tour on 7 July 1908, showing the US flag and bringing the message of American sea power to many parts of the world, including the Philippines, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Mediterranean ports. Captain Edward Qualtrough was a Divisional Commander in command of the USS Georgia till the Fleet reached Gibraltar, in all 7 months. The trip must have been a wonderful opportunity for many a young sailor and I am sure that even the ship’s officers would have also had impressions left upon them of this time.

The tour of duty took them to Honolulu , (July 16 – 23 1908)and then the Fleet sailed on to Auckland, New Zealand, (August 8-15 1908). Such a huge flotilla of naval steel sailing into Auckland harbour must have been an impressive sight. Also such a large complement of US naval personnel arriving in such a young British Colony, by now a Dominion, must have also had some repercussions! They
paraded down Auckland’s Queen Street, and I am sure were feted well during their week’s visit.

The Fleet then sailed on to Australia, entering Sydney Harbour on 20 August 1908 where they remained for a week. A Naval Parade was held in Sydney on 23 August 1908.

The Fleet arrived in Melbourne on 29 August and remained till 5 September when most of the Fleet sailed for Albany, West Australia. Albany was important coaling stop for the Fleet.

It was then on to Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Port Said and the Suez Canal and then a variety of Mediterranean ports before assembling at the British Naval Port of Gibraltar. It was here on 5 February 1909 that Divisional Commander Edward Francis QUALTROUGH was relieved of his command. He returned to the United States and retired from the Navy on 30 June 1909.

Edward F Qualtrough had a street named for him. In 1900, San Diego, California (a well-known US naval port) streets were renamed in a huge ordinance because there was too much duplication of names. The La Playa area in the city had its streets named for naval men and more specifically US Naval officers.

Qualtrough Street, San Diego features fairly impressively in that anyone going to the area from where the 1995 America’s Cup was raced, or driving to the Southwestern Yacht Club, San Diego has to go down Qualtrough Street. So Edward Francis Qualtrough has left an indelible mark on the naval city of San Diego.

Edward Francis lived out his retirement in Washington D.C., USA and died on 18 November 1913.


Posted: 31 August 2002 Updated: 25 June 2003 Updated: 7 January 2007
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