JESSE M. ROPER, LCDR, USN
Jesse Roper '72
Date of birth: October 29, 1851
Date of death: March 31, 1901
Jesse Mims Roper was admitted to the Naval Academy from Glasgow, Missouri on June 23, 1868 at age 16 years 7 months.
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.
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.
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.
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.