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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Franklin's Admiral James Findlay Schenck

Dallas Bogan on 4 August 2004
original article by Dallas Bogan
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

Mr. Schenck was born at Franklin, Warren Co., Ohio, June 11, 1807. He was the brother of General Robert C. Schenck. He was the son of Gen. William C. and Betsy Rogers Schenck, the former from New Jersey and the latter from Long Island, N.Y. General William Schenck, along with Daniel Cooper, laid out the town of Franklin in the winter of 1795-96.
In 1822, our subject received an appointment to the United States Academy at West Point, New York. Through some difficulties with an officer, Cadet Schenck and others tendered their resignations.
On March 1, 1825, Mr. Schenck received an appointment as midshipman in the United States Navy, and in the following August was ordered to the sloop HORNET, this being his first assignment.
After many ships and many years, Lieutenant Schenck was called upon to engage in the Mexican War (1846). He was involved, on the frigate CONGRESS, in the bombardment and capture of Guaymas and the taking of Mazatlan, in Mexico.
In October 1848, Lieutenant Schenck returned from the Pacific squadron as bearer of dispatches and was granted leave.
He was promoted to the rank of Commander, September 14, 1855. He entertained this position until the breaking out of the War of the Rebellion. His location at the time was at Hong Kong, China.
In February 1862, Commander Schenck received orders to return home, his arrival being made at the New York Harbor March 17. He was ordered to take command of the frigate ST. LAWRENCE. His orders were to join the West Gulf blockading squadron. The vessel proved of little value in this operation and was converted into a store ship. He was not relieved from the command of the ST. LAWRENCE until the 14th of April 1863.
On the 6th of October 1864, he received the notification of his promotion to the rank of Commodore, his commission dating back to the 2nd of January 1863.
On the 14th of October 1864, he was given command of the POWHATAN. This ship was attached to the North Atlantic squadron under the command of Rear Admiral Porter. Under the command of Commodore Schenck, she took a prominent part in the two attacks upon Fort Fisher, North Carolina; Schenck, who in these attacks also, commanded the Third Division of the North Atlantic Squadron.
In Admiral Porter's dispatch, in relation to the fight, he said: "Commodore James F. Schenck and his vessel, the POWHATAN have come up to my expectations in every respect. This officer in battle has shown himself worthy to command so fine a ship. He performed his duty most faithfully, and I am proud not only to have had him under my command, but also to see him reinstated in the position to which he has done so much credit. He deserves all I can say of him, and is worthy of promotion."
Commodore Schenck applied to be relieved of the POWHATAN, which was done upon his arrival at Key West, the 12th of May 1865.
In November 1865, he was ordered to command the Naval station at Mound City, Illinois, and in the following November, was detached and placed on waiting orders. This was his last assignment of duty, and on the 11th of June 1869, having reached the age of 62; he was, in accordance with the law governing the Navy, placed upon the retired list. On July 18, 1870, he was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral on the retired list.
Admiral Schenck had maintained a home in Dayton, Ohio, for many years, and after spending forty-four years in the service of his country, retired to his home place.
Admiral Schenck was married in 1829 to Dorothy Ann Smith. His life, which was very productive, came to an end December 21, 1882, in Dayton, Ohio.

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This page created 4 August 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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