James Findlay Schenck   [1807-1882]

Military Leader

James Schenck rose to the rank of admiral in the United States Navy, and actively participated in the Mexican-American War and in the Civil War. A United States Navy destroyer, the USS Schenck [DD-159] was named after him, and was active in the United States Navy from 1918 until 1946, but especially during the Second World War.

James Schenck was born in Findlay, Ohio on June 11, 1807. He was the older brother of Robert C. Schenck, who was a United States Congressman for about 20 years, and served in the Union Army during the Civil War, rising to the rank of major general. James Schenck was the son of William Cortenius Schenck [1773-1821] and Elizabeth Rogers [1776-1853]. The father, William Schenck, descended from a prominent Dutch family, and was born in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The mother, Elizabeth Rogers, was born on Long Island, New York.

In 1822, Schenck was able to be sponsored for enrollment into the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. After he enrolled in the military academy, he realized that the army environment did not suit his taste, and after some time resigned from the academy. Several years later, in March 1825, he was able to receive an appointment as a midshipman in the United States Navy. After many years of training and service, in 1846, Schenck rose to the rank of lieutenant, and participated in the Mexican-American War. He served on the USS Congress, and participated in the bombardment and capture of Guaymas and Mazatlan in Mexico.

In 1855, Schenck was promoted to Commander, and following that he served for some time in Hong Kong, China. In 1862, after the start of the Civil War, he was given the command of the frigate, the USS St. Lawrence, and served for some time on the West Gulf blockading squadron. In 1864, Schenck was promoted to the rank of Commodore, and was given the command of the USS Powhatan. Under his command the USS Powhatan took a prominent part in the two attacks on Fort Fisher, North Carolina. In the attacks on Fort Fisher, Schenck was also in command of the Third Division of the North Atlantic Squadron. In 1865, Schenck was ordered to command the Naval Station at Mound City, Illinois. Schenck was retired in 1869, because he had reached the age of 62, the mandatory age for retirement. He was placed on the retired list and in 1870, Schenck was promoted to the rank of rear admiral on the retired list, 45 years following his entry into the United States Navy.

In 1918, a brand new destroyer was named the USS Schenck, in honor of the service of Admiral James Schenck to the United States Navy. Initially, the USS Schenck was largely used for patrol and training operations. During the 1930’s, the USS Schenck was extensively used in the Pacific Ocean, because of the tensions occasioned by the Japanese military action in Manchuria and in the Shanghai, China area. With the start of World War II, the USS Schenck was moved to the Atlantic Ocean operations, and began convoy escort duty in the North Atlantic. She was engaged in a number of skirmishes with submarines during the next seven years of the war, participated in the sinking of submarines, and was able to survive the war reasonably intact. By the end of the War, in 1945, the USS Schenck had become one of the old ladies, and she was retired in 1946, after 28 years of very active service, often under dangerous conditions.

Rear Admiral James Schenck passed away at Dayton, Ohio on December 21, 1882. He had been a navy man nearly his entire life.



Schenck, http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/s7/schenck.htm

James F. Schenck, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_F._Schenck

Franklin’s Admiral James Findlay Schenck, http://www.rootsweb.com/~ohwarren/Bogan/bogan123.htm


About the New Netherland Institute

For over three decades, NNI has helped cast light on America's Dutch roots. In 2010, it partnered with the New York State Office of Cultural Education to establish the New Netherland Research Center, with matching funds from the State of the Netherlands. NNI is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. More

The New Netherland Research Center

Housed in the New York State Library, the NNRC offers students, educators, scholars and researchers a vast collection of early documents and reference works on America's Dutch era. More


Subscribe Now

Subscribe to NNI's  e-Marcurius and DAG to receive information about New Netherland-related events, activities, conferences, and research.


Support NNI

By supporting NNI you help increase awareness of the 17th century Dutch colony of New Netherland and its legacy in America.