From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
Jesse Roper '72

Date of birth: October 29, 1851

Date of death: March 31, 1901

Age: 49

Naval Academy Register

Jesse Mims Roper was admitted to the Naval Academy from Glasgow, Missouri on June 23, 1868 at age 16 years 7 months.


1872 Roper 1.jpg

From Wikipedia:

Born at Glasgow, Missouri, Roper was appointed midshipman in June 1868 and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1872. Commissioned lieutenant commander in 1899, he assumed command of USS Petrel (PG-2) shortly thereafter. On 31 March 1901, while Petrel was moored at Cavite, Philippine Islands, fire broke out in the sail room, adjacent to the magazines. Lieutenant Commander Roper went down into the burning area twice to rescue trapped seamen. Lieutenant Commander Roper was overcome by smoke on his second descent and suffocated before help could reach him.

He is buried in the Naval Academy Cemetery.


From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Midshipman, 23 June, 1868. Graduated 1 June, 1872. Ensign, 15 July, 1873. Master, 25 November, 1877. Lieutenant, Junior Grade, 3 March, 1583. Lieutenant, 5 June, 1884. Lieutenant Commander, 3 March, 1899.


USS Roper (DD 147) was named for Jesse; the ship was sponsored by his widow.


Jesse's classmates erected a plaque to his honor in Memorial Hall.

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.

July 1870
Second Class Midshipman, Naval Academy

January 1872
First Class Midshipman, Naval Academy

Others at this command:
January 1873
Midshipman, Omaha
January 1874
Midshipman, Omaha
January 1875
Midshipman, Omaha
January 1876
Ensign, Naval Academy

July 1877
Ensign, Supply

Others at this command:
July 1878
Master, Supply
January 1879
Master, Supply
January 1880
Master, Training-ship Minnesota

Others at this command:
July 1881
Master, Training-ship Minnesota
January 1882
Master, Gunnery Training-ship Minnesota
January 1883
Master, Lackawanna

Others at this command:
January 1884
Lieutenant (j.g.), Wachusett
February 1885
Lieutenant, Wachusett
January 1886
Lieutenant, Office of Naval Intelligence
February 1887
Lieutenant, Naval Academy
January 1888
Lieutenant, Naval Academy
January 1889
Lieutenant, Vandalia

January 1890
Lieutenant, Petrel
January 1891
Lieutenant, Petrel
January 1892
Lieutenant, Naval Academy
January 1893
Lieutenant, Naval Academy
July 1894
Lieutenant, Naval Academy
January 1895
Lieutenant, New York
January 1896
Lieutenant, New York
January 1897
Lieutenant, Monadnock

Others at this command:
January 1898
Lieutenant, Light-House Inspector (3rd District)
January 1899
Lieutenant, Hydrographic Office, Washington, D.C.
January 1900
Lieutenant Commander, Training-ship Dixie
January 1901
Lieutenant Commander, commanding officer, Petrel

Others at this command:

Class of 1872

Jesse is one of 2 members of the Class of 1872 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of alumni in Memorial Hall.