From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
Benjamin Thurston '83

Date of birth: April 6, 1864

Date of death: June 8, 1896

Age: 32

Naval Academy Register

Benjamin Easton Thurston was admitted to the Naval Academy from Indiana on September 22, 1879 at age 15 years 5 months.



Benjamin died of typhoid fever at the naval hospital in Yokohama, Japan on June 8, 1896.

Other Information

From the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, Minnesota, on July 17, 1896, quoting a letter:

UNITED STATES NAVAL FORCE ON ASIATIC STATION. Flagship Olympia, Yokohama, Japan, June 11, 1896.
In further confirmation of my cablegram of the 9th instant, I have the honor to Inform the department that Lieut. (junior grade) Benjamin E. Thurston, U. S. Navy, attached to the U. S. S. Detroit, died at the United States naval hospital, Yokohama, Japan, on the evening of the 8th inst., of typhoid fever.…

From the Saint Paul Globe on May 18, 1897:

The remains of Lieut. Benjamin E. Thurston, of the United States navy, who died in the naval hospital, Yokohama, Japan, June 8, last year, arrived in his native land for burial on the United States steamer Detroit yesterday. The vessel to which he had been attached steamed up New York harbor yesterday morning, and the telegraph announced to his relatives in Minneapolis the arrival of the body for which they have been waiting nearly a year.

Lieut. Thurston's immediate family are all residents of Minnesota, although he was appointed from Indiana. They are his mother, Mrs. M. A. Thurston, and son, Rev. T. P. Thurston, of Winona; James S. Thurston, of the Minneapolis post office, and Robert B. Thurston of the Tribune. James Thurston and T. P. Thurston, in anticipation of the arrival of the vessel, went to New York, and will accompany the body to this city. It will arrive Thursday morning, and the interment at Lakewood will take place at 10 o'clock, with a short service at the grave, conducted by Rev. Harry P. Nichols.

Lieut. Thurston was thorough and conscientious in his duty, and had a bright prospect before him when the final call to quarters came.

From researcher Kathy Franz:

Benjamin was first interred in the foreign cemetery at Yokohama. Officers and detachments of enlisted men from the “Olympia,” Detroit” and the French flagship “Bayard” accompanied the remains. All military honors were rendered. His remains were brought back to the United States by the U. S. Steamer Detroit on her first trip home in May 1897.

Benjamin's father died when he was six years old. His brothers were Robert, James, and Theodore. Robert, once assistant manager of The Tribune newspaper, died in 1934. James was secretary/treasurer of the Yerxa-Andrews-Thurston company. Theodore, a reverend, became Bishop of Oklahoma.

He is buried in Minnesota. (He was survived by a brother, who named his eldest son Benjamin Easton Thurston; this Benjamin graduated West Point in 1926 and retired a Colonel following combat service in World War II.)


From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Cadet Midshipman, 29 September, 1879. Ensign, 1 July, 1885. Lieutenant. Junior Grade, 2 February, 1895. Died 8 June, 1896.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

January 1883
First Class Midshipman, Naval Academy

Others at this command:
January 1884
Naval Cadet, Shenandoah
February 1885
Naval Cadet, Shenandoah
January 1886
Ensign, Ranger
February 1887
Ensign, Minneapolis, Minnesota
January 1888
Ensign, Receiving ship New Hampshire
January 1889
Ensign, Receiving ship New Hampshire
January 1890
Ensign, Monocacy
January 1891
Ensign, Monocacy
January 1892
Ensign, Monocacy
January 1893
Ensign, leave of absence
July 1894
Ensign, under instruction in ordnance, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

Others at this command:
January 1895
Ensign, Detroit

Others at this command:
January 1896
Lieutenant, Detroit

Others at this command:

Memorial Hall Error

Illness is not a criteria for inclusion in Memorial Hall.

Class of 1883

Benjamin is one of 4 members of the Class of 1883 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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