From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
Isaac Hester '53

Date of birth: January 20, 1832

Date of death: January 18, 1859

Age: 26


Isaac died of "pulmonary consumption" on January 18, 1859 in Adamsville, Florida.

Other Information

From the Tennessee Baptist on March 12, 1859:

Died on Tuesday, 18th ult., of pulmonary consumption, in Adamsville, Fla., Lieut. Isaac W. Hester, of U. S. Navy. The deceased was born in Granville County, N. C:, on the 20th January, 1832. He left North Carolina quite young, his father having moved to Lincoln County, Tenn., in 1837. He entered the United States Naval Academy on the 12th October, 1848, as Acting Midshipman, and in the short space of six years and eleven months he rose to be a Lieutenant, having filled the offices of Acting Midshipman, Midshipman, Passed Midshipman, Master, and his commission as Lieutenant is dated September 16th, 1855. He was with the U. S. Frigate Independence during her last-cruise in the Pacific, and obtained “leave of absence” at Aspinwall in Central America. A desire to see his friends, led him to visit Tennessee immediately, and the sudden transition from the tropics to Tennessee, was more than his constitution could bear, especially at the season of the year at which he came—the middle of January—and every one can recollect two years ago what cold weather was in January. This brought on that fatal disease, consumption. At the suggestion of his friends in Tennessee, he applied to the Navy Department for orders for the Pensacola Navy Yard, at which place and in the vicinity he remained until April, 1858, when he again visited his friends in Tennessee. Deeming it imprudent to spend the winter in Tennessee, in October, he with his brother, Dr. W. W. Hester, left for Tampa Bay. The yellow fever being in Tampa, they did not deem it prudent for them to remain there, so they came to this place. They had not been here long, but by their gentlemanly deportment had attracted to themselves a large circle of friends; and for the satisfaction of his relatives, I would say, though he died among strangers, he died surrounded by friends. He had been for a number of years a member of the Baptist Church, and the day before his death a minister of the gospel had a conversation with him. He said he felt perfectly resigned to the will of God. He breathed his last about 6 o’clock on the morning of the 18th, He died without a struggle. J.T. Andrews, Adamsville, Fla.

From researcher Kathy Franz:

His father Joseph was born 1793 in Granville County, NC, and his mother Mary H. was born 1801 in Wake County NC. They had nine children. Brother Wilson William born 1825 was the physician who went with Isaac to Florida.

Isaac served on the Independence (1850-1852, 1855-57), Sloop Marion (1853-1855), and St. Mary’s (1857-1858).

He was court-martialed in September 1856 (Volume 75, #1854, 133 pages). The charges were pressed by Commodore Mervine of the Pacific Squadron, who seemed to do so frequently; he also charged David McDermut '47 with various minor offenses. Isaac was charged with, among other things, failing to set a sail as directed because the "weather had turned squally." He was found not guilty of all counts.

He was appointed from Tennessee.


From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Midshipman, 12 October, 1848. Passed Midshipman, 15 June, 1854. Master, 15 September, 1855. Lieutenant, 16 September, 1855. Died 18 January, 1859.

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Class of 1853

Isaac is one of 9 members of the Class of 1853 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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