From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
Harry Wakenshaw '77

Date of birth: December 1856

Date of death: February 15, 1890

Age: 33

Naval Academy Register

Harry Charles Wakenshaw was admitted to the Naval Academy from New Jersey on June 10, 1873 at age 16 years 6 months.



Harry died of pneumonia on February 15, 1890 in New York City, New York. His death was listed in the Probate Court records of (Dayton) Montgomery County, Ohio.

He had been admitted to the hospital in July 1889.


From researcher Kathy Franz:

Harry (also known as Henry) C. Wakenshaw, born 1857 in Newark, died 2/15/1890.

Harry’s father was Major William Wakenshaw, and his mother was Mary. They were married on December 31, 1855. His brother Edwin was born on August 4, 1858. The family then moved to Owosso, Michigan. His father enlisted in Company H of the Fifth Michigan regiment in 1862. The company participated in the Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia in May 1864. When Colonel Pulford was injured, Harry’s father was in command until he was wounded on May 6. He later had his right arm amputated in January 1866. From 1868 to 1872, he was superintendent of the New Jersey Home for Disabled Soldiers, and his wife served as the matron of the Home.

In 1883 Harry was on leave and visited his father who now lived at 167 Allen Street in Dayton, Ohio. On July 27, 1889, at the age of 32 and 8 months, Harry returned to the United States from Gibraltar on the S. S. Alsatria. In September he visited his father in Dayton and then visited his friends in Owosso, Michigan. In December he attended a music program at the U. S. Naval Temperance Union meeting at the Brooklyn Navy Yard with Captain and Mrs. Beardslee. His illness increased, and his father and fiancé came to see him at the hospital. On seeing Harry so thin, she fainted into Mrs. Beardslee’s arms.

From The Standard Union newspaper: Harry’s funeral services were held on the gun deck of the Vermont. Conterno’s Band, a company of marines, and many naval officers and sailors attended. At the conclusion of the service, the body was born to the Yard tug Nina to convey the remains to Jersey City. As the body left the receiving ship and passed between the lines of marines who were stationed on Cob Dock, the vessel’s flag was lowered to half mast and the sailors and officers fell into line and followed the remains. As the tugboat dropped anchor, Capt. Meeker fired three volleys, the bugler played “Pipe Down” and Conterno’s Band struck up “The Retreat.”

Harry was buried in Newark on February 17, 1890. No grave site has been found yet.


From records of the US Naval Academy Graduates’ Association:


H. C, Wakenshaw was appointed a cadet midshipman in the Navy June 12, 1873; June 20, 1877, detached from the Naval Academy and placed on waiting orders; September 20, 1877, ordered to the Pensacola; September 20, 1878, detached and ordered to Lackawanna; April 28, 1879, detached and ordered to examination for graduation, June 5; June 20, 1879, detached from Naval Academy and placed on waiting orders.

June 26, 1879, appointed midshipman from June 18, 1879; September 12, 1879, ordered to the Shenandoah; May 22, 1882, detached and ordered to examination for promotion; June 10, 1882, commissioned as ensign to rank from February 2, 1881; June 23, 1882, ordered to the Coast Survey; July 25, 1883, detached and placed on waiting orders; September 1, 1883, ordered to the Miantonomoh ; September 15, 1883, detached and ordered to the Alert; September 23, 1886, detached and placed on waiting orders.

November 12, 1886, ordered to ordnance instruction, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. ; March 15, 1887, detached and placed on waiting orders; March 19, 1887, ordered to the receiving ship New Hampshire; June 18, 1887, ordered to examination for promotion; August 6, 1887, commissioned as Lieutenant (Junior Grade), to rank from June 30, 1887; October 3, 1887, detached from the New Hampshire and ordered to the Enterprise; July 27, 1889, he was admitted to the Naval Hospital, New York; September 7, 1889, he was detached from the Enterprise, discharged from the hospital, and granted two months’ leave.

November 5, 1889, ordered to the receiving ship Vermont. He died at New York City, New York, on February 15, 1890.

Lieutenant H. C. Wakenshaw entered the Naval Academy in June 1873. He made his first cruise in the Pacific, and then we became shipmates on board the Shenandoah during her cruise in the South Atlantic, from ’79 to ’82. There our acquaintance ripened into a friendship which was only broken by his death. In 1882 he entered the Coast Survey, and afterwards made a cruise in China and a partial cruise in Europe, on board the Enterprise, from which ship he was sent home sick with nervous prostration. From this trouble he was rapidly recovering, on board the Vermont, when pneumonia seized him and, after a short sickness of one week, ended his career.

Wakenshaw was a capable, zealous officer, and furthermore, he had the happy faculty of making duty lighter for others by being such a bright, genial messmate. Thus I found him on board the Shenandoah; and steerage life puts men to a severe test. His reputation on shore and on board other ships was the same. I make no mistake when I say that he never had an enemy. It would have been difficult indeed to bear unfriendly feelings towards one who was so uniformly kind, courteous, gentlemanly and obliging. On board the Vermont he was perfectly contented and happy. Her pleasant atmosphere was precisely the treatment he needed for the trouble that sent him home from Europe, and the hand of death more than usually ruthless when it snatched him away to an early grave. A.F. Fechteler, '77


From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Cadet Midshipman, 10 June, 1873. Graduated 18 June, 1879. Ensign, 2 February, 1881. Lieutenant, Junior Grade, 30 June, 1887. Died 15 February, 1890.

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Class of 1877

Harry is one of 4 members of the Class of 1877 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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