Home / Featured Story / Profile: Rear Adm. Mordecai T. Endicott, CEC, USN, 1844 – 1926

Profile: Rear Adm. Mordecai T. Endicott, CEC, USN, 1844 – 1926

By Frank A. Blazich Jr., Historian, U.S. Navy Seabee Museum

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Rear Adm. Mordecai T. Endicott’s formal portrait as chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks and as chief of the Civil Engineer Corps, circa 1900. Source: U.S. Navy Seabee Museum

As the “Father of the Civil Engineer Corps,” Rear Adm. Mordecai Thomas Endicott’s influence on the Bureau of Yards and Docks (BuDocks) and on the Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) cannot be understated. As the first CEC officer to serve as bureau chief and hold flag rank, Endicott’s tenure featured an expansion of the corps to coincide with the growth of the naval shore establishment, abolishment of relative for permanent rank, development of a program of professional civil engineering training at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, promulgation of advances in dry dock technology and even creation of distinct insignia for the CEC. During his naval career, Endicott served on isthmian boards for Nicaragua and Panama, notably presiding on the latter with the development of the canal in its final form.[i]

Endicott was born at Mays Landing, N.J., on Nov. 26, 1844, the son of Thomas Doughty and Ann (Pennington) Endicott.[ii] He was a direct descendent of John Endecott, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1629.[iii] He received his primary education in the schools of the Presbyterian Church and through private instruction in Mays Landing.[iv] In February 1865, he entered Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. A member of the Theta Xi Fraternity, he graduated on June 30, 1868, with his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, having written a thesis reviewing N.W. Wheeler’s patent for a triangular beam engine.[v]

Following graduation, he began his civil engineer career in the booming industries of mines and railroads. Endicott was first employed as an office assistant from July until December 1868 by R.P. Rothwell, a civil and mining engineer of Wilkes-Barre, Penn., surveying the Wyoming Valley in northeast Pennsylvania.[vi] After his time with Rothwell, Endicott next served as a rodman and assistant engineer in the Brooklyn Navy Yard from May 1869 until January 1870, when he moved to New York City to take a position as a draftsman for the New Haven, Middletown and Willimantic Railroad Company.[vii] After spending five months in the office, in May Endicott was detailed to the field to serve as an assistant on the construction of the foundations and approaches of the Connecticut River Bridge at Middletown, Conn. He served on this project until November 1870, when he accepted an appointment as assistant engineer in charge of the “Dresden Extension” of the Cincinnati and Muskingum Valley Railway, from Zanesville to Dresden, Ohio.[viii]

Completing his work in Ohio in January 1872, Endicott received an appointment on Feb. 1, 1872, to serve in a civilian capacity as an assistant civil engineer at the newly established League Island Naval Station at Philadelphia.[ix] He returned to Dresden, Ohio, to marry Elizabeth Adams on May 29, 1872.[x] After rendering meritorious services for a period of eight months in the development of the new naval station and on the construction of public works and public utilities, he was given orders placing him in charge of the Civil Engineering Department of the Philadelphia Navy Yard.[xi] He continued in this post until he was commissioned a civil engineer in the Navy on July 13, 1874, the fifteenth member of the CEC, and ordered to the Naval Station at New London.[xii]

As the civil engineer at New London, Endicott spent the ensuing five years designing and constructing wharves, buildings and other improvements at the station. In July 1879, BuDocks ordered Endicott to Portsmouth Navy Yard to improve the yard in a fashion similar to New London.[xiii] In June 1881, the Navy ordered Endicott back to League Island Navy Yard, as the yard’s public works officer.[xiv] While at League Island, Endicott received the relative rank of commander in 1882.[xv] In May 1886, he returned to the Norfolk Navy Yard, where he was placed in charge of the construction of a Simpson timber dry dock, begun in November 1887, and completed in the fall of 1889.[xvi] In July of that year, Endicott was appointed to a board to prepare plans and estimates for improvement of the League Island Navy Yard, which reported its findings that October.[xvii]

Returning to Norfolk, the following year in April he received orders to report to BuDocks in Washington, D.C., as a consulting engineer and was placed in charge of all civil engineering work under the cognizance of the bureau.[xviii] In this new capacity, Endicott orchestrated the modernization of the naval shore establishment to accommodate the latest technological developments and better serve the new vessels of the Navy. In 1890, oxen-drawn carts still met transportation needs, yards lacked electric installations for light and power, and streets remained compacted dirt or poorly graded surfaces. Lumber remained the principle material used for dry dock construction, with brick and lumber the primary building materials. The day of steel and concrete for Navy Yard construction had not arrived. Endicott impressed all his energies into modernization efforts. From 1890 to 1906, Endicott’s tenure at BuDocks in Washington witnessed a tremendous period of growth and advancement in all lines of engineering and industrial accomplishment, overseen with his constant aim that the Navy should keep up with the pace set by the country’s industrial plants and establishments.

During his eight years of service as consulting engineer at BuDocks, 110 construction contracts were entered into, embracing miscellaneous and varied engineering structures. One of Endicott’s first projects involved designing a graving dry dock for the newly established Puget Sound Navy Yard. Designed in 1891 and completed in 1896, Endicott’s design resulted in his receiving a patent on March 16, 1892, for improvements in general dry dock design, which he allowed the government to use free of charge.[xix] Other projects as BuDocks consulting engineer included the following: construction of a timber dry dock for the Puget Sound Navy Yard; turn-tables for 40- ton cranes; timber dry docks at New York and Port Royal, S.C., with improvements similar to those adopted for the dry dock at Puget Sound; and the design of 40-ton locomotive job-cranes capable of handling the armor plates required by the battleships then being constructed.[xx]

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Epaulettes worn by Rear Adm. Mordecai T. Endicott, chief of the Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) from 1898 to 1907, were recently on display at the U.S. Navy Museum on the Washington Navy Yard, D.C., Sept. 29. Endicott was the first engineer to hold both the title of chief of the CEC and chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, NAVFAC’s predecessor. (U.S. Navy photo by Don Rochon/092915-N-BV851-003)

Endicott’s reputation as an engineer and his success in naval civil engineering work led to his appointment by Pres. Grover Cleveland on April 2, 1895, as the Navy member of the Nicaragua Canal Commission.[xxi] Led by Col. William Ludlow, Army Corps of Engineers, the commission traveled to Nicaragua and examined the route of the canal as proposed by the Maritime Canal Company, returning to the U.S. to report on its feasibility, cost and permanence.[xxii] Endicott appeared before the House Commerce Committee in April 1896 to testify on behalf of the Commission’s report. His testimony supported the Commission in advocating a legislative delay for the Nicaragua Canal project, which was eventually abandoned in favor of the Panama Canal route.[xxiii]

By Act of Congress approved on July 19, 1897, the Navy was specifically forbidden by law to pay more than $300 per ton for battleship armor. The Secretary of the Navy was authorized to take steps to establish a government factory of sufficient capacity to make such armor if he could not purchase armor within the price range. The Act further directed the Secretary of the Navy to appoint an Armor Factory Board, consisting of competent naval officers, to advise and assist him in executing the authority conferred. Endicott was selected as the civil engineer member of the board.[xxiv] The board’s report of December 1897 went carefully through the design, construction and the operation of a government-owned armor plant which impressed Congress with the feasibility and economy of the project.[xxv]

In the spring of 1898, the four-year term of office for Commodore Edmund O. Matthews as chief of BuDocks expired, and a replacement would have to be appointed. War with Spain was looming on the horizon, and Matthews’ successor would face a task of enormous responsibility, supporting naval vessels in both the Atlantic and Pacific. Of the corps of Navy civil engineers, few could match the intimate knowledge of the naval shore establishment like Endicott. To appoint him chief of the bureau, however, involved breaking the traditions and precedents of the preceding 56 years when only officers of the line held the position.

Nonetheless, on March 21, 1898, Endicott was promoted to the rank of Captain and the following day Pres. William McKinley, on the recommendation of Secretary of the Navy John D. Long, broke precedent and nominated Endicott as the next BuDocks chief.[xxvi] Long’s decision angered some line officers in position to gain the job, but the secretary more than likely based his decision on the upcoming construction of five new dry docks, necessitating a bureau chief with the technical knowledge and experience only a civil engineer would possess.[xxvii] The Senate confirmed Endicott’s selection on April 4, 1898, and he was formally appointed chief of BuDocks with the rank of commodore, the first CEC officer to be honored with this appointment and to hold flag rank.[xxviii] Under the provisions of the March 3, 1899 Act to Reorganize and Increase the Efficiency of the Personnel of the Navy and Marine Corps, relative rank was abolished and Endicott received promotion to the rank of rear admiral, the first CEC officer to hold the rank. The legislation further increased the strength of the CEC to 21 officers.[xxix] Assuming his duties on April 7, 1898, Endicott’s success in his first four years of administration resulted in his reappointment on April 7, 1902 by Pres. Theodore Roosevelt for another four-year term, and a third term on April 7, 1906.[xxx]

It is natural to assume that a technically trained man with administrative ability is better qualified to handle the work of a strictly engineering bureau than one who has to rely on assistants for the technical advice and information on which he has to make his decisions. Endicott’s efforts were untiring to promote the welfare of BuDocks and the CEC, and prior to this retirement he successfully convinced Congress of the advisability of restricting future appointment to officers trained in civil engineering as BuDocks chief, with legislation passed in 1906 codifying the practice into law.[xxxi]

During Endicott’s nearly nine years of service as BuDocks chief, the organization and its people transformed and modernized. From 1898 to 1906, Endicott oversaw the development and maintenance of a doubling of  navy yards and stations, thanks in part to an increase in the surface fleet and acquisitions from the Spanish-American, notably the Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico and Cuba.[xxxii] When Endicott was first appointed as Bureau chief, the CEC comprised only 13 officers. This small body was inadequate to meet the rapidly expanding requirements of the Navy. Through the discretionary power to make additional appointments vested in McKinley, the CEC increased to 18; and later, on March 3, 1903, through the lobbying efforts of Endicott, Congress fixed the number of officers in the CEC at 40.[xxxiii] For his growing corps, Endicott took steps to increase the visibility and quality of its members. On July 10, 1903, he wrote to the Bureau of Navigation requesting a change in the CEC device from the letters “CE” to the now familiar two sprigs of live oak leaves each garnished with an acorn, symbolic of crossed dividers. The Navy adopted Endicott’s proposal for use on January 21, 1905, with the CEC insignia being the first Navy Staff Corps insignia symbolic of its trade.[xxxiv] The following year, Endicott began a program at his alma mater of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) to enable the CEC to fill its vacancies with men educated in civil engineering. Beginning in 1906, Naval Academy graduates who were disqualified physically from sea service would enroll in RPI for two years of post-graduate study, earning a bachelor’s in civil engineering before joining the CEC.[xxxv]

During the early years as BuDocks chief, Endicott worked diligently to change the then-standard design of naval dry docks from timber to concrete and stone. Having recognized the lessons of the Spanish-American War, Endicott realized that wooden dry docks would not be able to meet the requirements of future steel battleships. Moreover, with their higher costs for maintenance and repairs they were not economical for an expanding Navy. Despite formidable opposition from various factions, Endicott convinced Congress of the soundness of his recommendations, which resulted in Congressional authority to change the construction of four dry docks, scheduled for construction, from timber to concrete and stone, marking the end of wooden dry docks in the U.S. Navy.[xxxvi]

Endicott’s stance on the future of dry docks proved prophetic. Eleven dry docks were constructed under Endicott’s supervision. Two of these docks were revolutionary floating steel structures, and both served in two world wars. Both constructed at Sparrows Point, Md., the first of the two, YFD-2, could dock a 16,000-ton vessel.[xxxvii] Completed in 1901, she was towed to Naval Station New Orleans and serviced a variety of vessels. Relocated to the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard in 1904, she suffered damage during the Japanese attack of Dec. 7, 1941, but rejoined the fleet in 1942. The second, larger floating dry dock capable of handling a 20,000-ton vessel was built in 1905 and survived a tow across the Pacific to Naval Station Subic Bay in the Philippines the following year. Christened the USS Dewey (YFD-1), she was the largest floating dry dock ever built, patterned after an English design but with improved and strengthened features. The Dewey remained in service up to the outbreak of World War II, and was scuttled in April 1942 to prevent her capture by the Japanese.[xxxviii]

On April 1, 1905, Pres. Roosevelt appointed Endicott with Senate confirmation as the Navy member of the Panama Canal Commission. Headquartered in Washington, Endicott retained his position as BuDocks chief while serving on the commission until resigning on March 15, 1907, when the commission was abolished and a new one appointed which made its headquarters in the Canal Zone in Panama.[xxxix]

Although planning to retire on Nov. 26, 1906, having reached the then-mandatory retirement age of 62, the secretary of the Navy requested for Endicott to remain as BuDocks chief until he resigned the office on Jan. 5, 1907.[xl] He remained on duty in the Navy Department, however, until March 1907 when he was detailed to the Department of Justice as technical adviser to the attorney general of the United States on suits being prosecuted against the Navy Department. Upon completion of this assignment, he was relieved of active duty and ordered home on June 30, 1909.[xli] In 1914 and again in 1917, he was called back to active duty with the Department of Justice, in connection with suits against the Navy Department.[xlii]

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Rear Adm. Mordecai T. Endicott, circa WWI. Source: U.S. Navy Seabee Museum

Following the outbreak of World War I, Endicott was ordered back to active duty on Oct. 12, 1917 and detailed to BuDocks. In addition to various technical duties assigned to him, he acted at different times as president of four naval examining boards to review candidates for appointment to the CEC. One of these boards for the appointment of reserve engineers handled and rated the paperwork for over 7,000 applicants.[xliii] In 1918, the Navy ordered him to Norfolk for temporary duty as a member of a board to report on the extension of the harbor line at the Naval Operating Base at Hampton Roads, Va. Postwar from March 17 to October 31, 1919, Endicott served as a member of the Knight Board created to recommend award recipients for the Medal of Honor, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal and the Navy Cross. This board was reconvened again in 1920, with Endicott serving from January to June 30, 1920 when it concluded its work.[xliv] Relieved from active duty on June 30, 1920, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels presented Endicott with a letter of commendation, declaring that: “He performed exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility. Acting in an advisory capacity to the Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, and a member of various special Boards dealing with matters of great importance in connection with the prosecution of the war.”[xlv]

An active family man, Endicott and his wife had one son and seven daughters and remained in Washington, D.C. from 1889 until his death in 1926.[xlvi] His tall, striking figure became a familiar and welcome sight on the streets of the Capital. Throughout his life he was active in church circles, having served as a vestryman of the Church of the Epiphany (Protestant Episcopal) of Washington and as a trustee of the Protestant Episcopal Church Home of Washington.[xlvii] He held memberships in the New Jersey Historical Society, the Cosmos Club and Monday Evening Club of Washington, and an honorary membership in the Washington Society of Civil Engineers.[xlviii] He was elected a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers on April 4, 1877, retaining his connection with it for 49 years. He served as a director from 1901 to 1903; as Vice President in 1908 and 1909; as President in 1911; and on the Board of Directors, as Past-President from 1912 to 1916.[xlix]

A heavy cold that he contracted in the latter part of February 1926 developed into pneumonia and after a few days’ illness he quietly passed away on March 5.[l] He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on March 8, 1926 with full military honors.[li] Several posthumous honors commemorated the accomplishments of the late rear admiral. On December 11, 1926, the new hydraulic dredge YM-12 was commissioned as the Endicott at Mare Island Navy Yard, then the largest such dredge in the Navy.[lii] In 1927, members of the CEC raised funds to provide a monument in honor of Endicott at Arlington National Cemetery.[liii] On April 4, 1943, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox dedicated the Naval Construction Training Center at Davisville, R.I., as Camp Endicott in honor of the first CEC officer to head BuDocks.[liv] His widow, Elizabeth Adams Endicott, continued to make her home in Washington, and lived to the age of 104. She died on February 21, 1955, days shy of her 105th birthday.[lv] Having witnessed the Civil War, Spanish-American War and two world wars, perhaps most of all Mrs. Endicott lived to witness her husband’s work blossom into the creation of the Naval Construction Force and the incredible expansion of the CEC.

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At the U.S. Navy Museum on the Washington Navy Yard, D.C., Sept. 29, members of the NAVFAC wardroom hold up artifacts found recently from Rear Adm. Mordecai T. Endicott, chief of the Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) from 1898 to 1907. Endicott was the first engineer to hold both the title of chief of the CEC and chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, NAVFAC’s predecessor. These artifacts were among items found in an attic of a house before it was torn down. In addition to the World War II Seabee banner that NAVFAC Commander and Chief of Civil Engineers Rear Adm. Kate Gregory and NAVFAC Chief of Staff Antonio Edmonds are holding, other items found were Endicott’s ceremonial sword, cover (hat) and epaulettes. Most of the items will be transferred to the Seabee Museum in Port Hueneme, Calif. (From left to right) Lt. Sarah Ursetti, Edmonds, Lt. Pete Fovargue, Gregory and Lt. Cmdr. Nick Mueller. (U.S. Navy photo by Don Rochon/092915-N-BV851-018)

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At the U.S. Navy Museum on the Washington Navy Yard, D.C., Sept. 29, Rear Adm. Kate Gregory (right), commander, NAVFAC and chief of civil engineers, compares with Lt. Sarah Ursetti a cover (hat) from today’s Navy with one worn in the early 1900s by Rear Adm. Mordecai T. Endicott, chief of the Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) from 1898 to 1907. (U.S. Navy photo by Don Rochon/092915-N-BV851-013)

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At the U.S. Navy Museum on the Washington Navy Yard, D.C., Sept. 29, Jim Bruns, director, Naval History and Heritage Command, shows Rear Adm. Kate Gregory, commander, NAVFAC and chief of civil engineers, the epaulettes from Rear Adm. Mordecai T. Endicott, chief of the Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) from 1898 to 1907. (U.S. Navy photo by Don Rochon/092915-N-BV851-015)

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At the U.S. Navy Museum on the Washington Navy Yard, D.C., Sept. 29, Rear Adm. Kate Gregory, commander, NAVFAC and chief of Civil Engineers, gets a closer look at the ceremonial sword from Rear Adm. Mordecai T. Endicott, chief of the Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) from 1898 to 1907. (U.S. Navy photo by Don Rochon/092915-N-BV851-016)

Chronology for Rear Adm. Mordecai T. Endicott, CEC, USN

  • November 26, 1844…Born in Mays Landing, NJ
  • June 30, 1868…Graduates with Bachelors in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
  • July – December 1868…Office Assistant for R.P. Rothwell, CE, Wilkes-Barre, PA
  • May 1869 – January 1870…Rodman and Assistant Engineer, Brooklyn Navy Yard, NY
  • January – May 1870…Draftsman, New Haven, Middletown, and Williamantic Railroad Company, NYC, NY
  • May – November 1870…Assistant for Construction of Foundations and Approaches, Connecticut River Bridge, Middletown, CT
  • November 1870 – January 1872…Assistant Engineer in charge of “Dresden Extension,” Cincinnati and Muskingum Valley Railway, Zanesville to Dresden, OH
  • February 1 – October 1872…Assistant Civil Engineer, League Island Navy Yard, PA
  • May 29, 1872…Married Elizabeth Adams, Dresden, OH
  • October 1872 – July 1874…Civil Engineer, Philadelphia Navy Yard, PA
  • July 13, 1874…Commissioned as Civil Engineer, U.S. Navy, ordered to Naval Station, New London, CT
  • 1874 – 1879…Civil Engineer, Naval Station New London, CT
  • April 4, 1877…Elected Member of American Society of Civil Engineers
  • July 1879 – May 1881…Civil Engineer, Portsmouth Navy Yard, NH
  • June 1881 – April 1886…Civil Engineer and Public Works Officer, League Island Navy Yard, PA
  • 1882…Appointed to relative rank of Commander
  • May 1886 – 1889…Civil Engineer, Norfolk Navy Yard, VA
  • July – October 1889…Appointed member of board investigating improvements at League Island Navy Yard
  • April 1890 – March 1898…Consulting Engineer at BuDocks, in charge of all civil engineering work under Bureau’s supervision
  • March 15, 1892…Receives U.S. Patent No. 470,750 for improvements in dry docks developed while designing dry dock for Puget Sound Navy Yard
  • April 2, 1895…Appointed by Pres. Grover Cleveland as Navy member of Nicaragua Canal Commission
  • May 7 – July 21, 1895…Travels to Nicaragua to examine and survey route for proposed isthmian canal
  • March 21, 1898…Promoted to relative rank of Captain
  • March 22, 1898…Appointed Chief of Bureau of Yards and Docks subject to Senate confirmation
  • April 4, 1898…Confirmed by Senate as next Chief of Bureau of Yards and Docks and Chief Engineer, CEC; promoted to relative rank of Commodore
  • March 3, 1899…Promoted to rank of Rear Admiral (relative rank abolished)
  • 1901 – 1903…Director, American Society of Civil Engineers
  • 1902…Appointed by Pres. Theodore Roosevelt as Chief of BuDocks for second term
  • July 10, 1903…Requests and proposes design for new distinguishing device for Civil Engineer Corps; adopted Jan. 21, 1905
  • April 1, 1905…Appointed by Pres. Roosevelt as Navy member of Panama Canal Commission
  • 1906…Reappointed by Roosevelt for third term as Chief of BuDocks; initiates a CEC – RPI relationship wherein future naval civil engineers from the Naval Academy will receive civil engineering postgraduate training prior to joining the CEC
  • November 26, 1906…Intended date of retirement; requested by Secretary of Navy to remain at post
  • January 5, 1907…Resigned as Chief of BuDocks
  • March 15, 1907…Resigned as member of Panama Canal Commission
  • March 1907 – June 30, 1909…Technical Adviser to U.S. Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, for suits being prosecuted against Navy Department
  • 1908 – 1909…Vice President, American Society of Civil Engineers
  • 1911…President, American Society of Civil Engineers
  • 1912 – 1916…Board of Directors, American Society of Civil Engineers
  • 1914…Called to active duty with Department of Justice as Navy adviser
  • 1917…Called to active duty with Department of Justice as Navy Adviser
  • October 12, 1917…Ordered to active duty, BuDocks, serving as President of Naval Examining Boards for CEC
  • 1918…Temporary duty, Norfolk, VA, as board member reporting on extension of harbor line at Naval Operating Base, Hampton Roads, VA
  • March 17 – October 31, 1919…Member of the Knight Board recommending awards of Medal of Honor, Navy Cross and Navy Distinguished Service Medal for World War I
  • January – June 30, 1920…Member of reconvened Knight Board
  • June 30, 1920…Relieved from active duty.
  • March 5, 1926…Died, Washington, DC
  • March 8, 1926…Interred, Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, DC

 

[i] This biography is based off of a biographical memoir written by Harry H. Rousseau, Charles L. Strobel, and Arthur N. Tablot immediately following Endicott’s death in 1926 and published in 1927 in the Proceedings of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
[ii] American Biographical Directories, District of Columbia, 1908 – 1909 (Washington, DC: Potomac Press, 1908), 145; U.S. Census, 1850: Hamilton, Atlantic, New Jersey, NARA roll M432_442, 63; U.S. Census, 1860: Hamilton, Atlantic, New Jersey, NARA Roll M653_682, 134.
[iii] “Mordecai T. Endicott, Rear Admiral, Dies,” New York Times, March 7, 1926, 30. Governor John Endecott (also spelled Endicott) had two sons, John Endecott and Dr. Zerubabbel Endecott. Mordecai’s connection with Governor Endecott is with Zerubabbel’s son and grandson. Technically, Mordecai was the Great-great-great-great-great grandson of the governor. In order: John Endecott – Dr. Zerubbabel Endecott – Joseph Endicott – John Endicott – Benjamin Endicott – William Endicott – Thomas Doughty Endicott – Mordecai Thomas Endicott.
[iv] Merrill E. Gates, ed., Men of Mark in America: Ideals of American Life told in Biographies of Eminent Living Americans, vol. 1 (Washington, DC: Men of Mark Publishing Co., 1905), 320; “Admiral Endicott, Famed as Engineer, Dies of Pneumonia,” Washington Post, March 6, 1926, 8.
[v] Henry B. Nason, ed., Biographical Record of the Officers and Graduates of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1824 – 1886 (Troy, NY: William H. Young, 1887), 387; Division B, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, The Transit (Troy, NY: A.W. Scribner, December 1865), 6; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Forty-Fourth Annual Register of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, for the Academical Year 1867-68 (Troy, NY: Wm. H. Young, July 1868), 8, 18; Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute, Forty-Fifth Annual Register of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, for the Academical Year 1868-69 (Troy, NY: Wim. H. Young, November 1868), 17.
[vi] Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute, Forty-Fifth Annual Register, 55; Nason, ed., Biographical Record, 387.
[vii] Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Forth-Sixth Annual Register of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, for the Academical Year 1869-70 (Troy, NY: Wm. H. Young, December 1869), 55; Nason, ed., Biographical Record, 387.
[viii] Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Forty-Seventh Annual Register of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, for the Academical Year 1870-71 (Troy, NY: Wm. H. Young, July 1871), 47; Nason, ed., Biographical Record, 387-88.
[ix] Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Forty-Eighth Annual Register of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, for the Academical Year 1871-72 (Troy, NY: Wm. H. Young, September 1872), 47; Nason, ed., Biographical Record, 388.
[x] “Admiral Endicott, Famed as Engineer, Dies of Pneumonia,” Washington Post, March 6, 1926, 8; American Biographical Directories, District of Columbia, 145.
[xi] Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Forty-Ninth Annual Register of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, for the Academical Year 1872-73 (Troy, NY: Wm. H. Young, December 1872), 47.
[xii] Department of the Navy, Register of the Commissioned, Warrant, and Volunteer Officers of the Navy of the United States, including Officers of the Marine Corps and Others, to January 1, 1875 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1875), 73.
[xiii] Department of the Navy, Register of the Commissioned, Warrant, and Volunteer Officers of the Navy of the United States, including Officers of the Marine Corps and Others, to January 1, 1880 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1880), 77, 144.
[xiv] Department of the Navy, Register of the Commissioned, Warrant, and Volunteer Officers of the Navy of the United States, including Officers of the Marine Corps and Others, to July 1, 1881 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1881), 43.
[xv] Department of the Navy, Register of the Commissioned, Warrant, and Volunteer Officers of the Navy of the United States, including Officers of the Marine Corps and Others, to July 1, 1882 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1882), 43. Relative rank was a practice from 1871 to 1899 for the early CEC and other Navy staff corps officers whereby a rank relative to that for an officer’s experience, competency, and service was recognized commiserate with an officer of the line, but it was not a permanent rank. A civil engineer held the actual rank and address of “Civil Engineer,” even if possessing the relative rank of lieutenant or commander.
[xvi] Department of the Navy, Register of the Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the Navy of the United States, and of the Marine Corps to July 1, 1887 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1887), 63; Report of the Chief, Bureau of Yards and Docks to the Secretary of the Navy, 1 October 1888; 14 October 1889, folder labeled “Chiefs’ Annual Report to SecNav, 1881 – 1898: Report (2 of 3),” Record Group (RG) 16, Series 3, Box 3, U.S. Navy Seabee Museum, Port Hueneme, CA (USNCBM).
[xvii] “The League Island Navy Yard,” Washington Post, July 28, 1889, 6; ; Report of the Chief, Bureau of Yards and Docks to the Secretary of the Navy, 14 October 1890, folder labeled “Chiefs’ Annual Report to SecNav, 1881 – 1898: Report (3 of 3),” RG 16, Series 3, Box 3, USNCBM.
[xviii] “Naval Intelligence,” New York Times, April 6, 1890, 5.
[xix] Timothy P. Sullivan, “The Portsmouth Navy Yard, The New Dry Dock, and Henderson’s Point,” The Granite Monthly 37, no. 2 (February 1904): 81; Mordecai T. Endicott, 1892, Dry-Dock, U.S. Patent 470,750, filed August 28, 1891, and issued March 15, 1892; “Minor Items of City News,” Washington Post, March 16, 1892, 12; Department of Commerce and Labor, Report of the Secretary of Commerce and Labor Concerning Patents Granted to Officers and Employees of the Government Under the Provisions of Public Resolution No. 15, Approved by the President February 18, 1907 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1908), 63.
[xx] Summation of reports from the Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks to the Secretary of the Navy, 1890 – 1898, folder labeled “Chiefs’ Annual Report to SecNav, 1881 – 1898: Report (3 of 3),” RG 16, Series 3, Box 3, USNCBM.
[xxi] “Nicaragua Board Appointed,” New York Times, April 4, 1895, 5; “To Move on Nicaragua,” Charlotte Observer, April 2, 1895, 2; “Nicaragua Canal Inquiry,” New York Times, April 23, 1895, 5; “Nicaraguan Canal Commission Deparis,” Washington Post, May 8, 1895, 8.
[xxii] Henry I. Sheldon, Notes on the Nicaragua Canal (Chicago: A.C. McClurg and Co., 1898), 165.
[xxiii] “Nicaragua Canal Work,” New York Times, February 8, 1896, 14; “Nicaragua Canal Plans,” New York Times, April 18, 1896, 9.
[xxiv] “The United Service,” New York Times, August 8, 1897, 10; “View Big Steel Mill,” Chicago Daily Tribune, August 31, 1897, 12.
[xxv] Department of the Navy, Report of the Armor Factor Board with Accompanying Documents (Washington, DC: GPO, 1897); “Armor Plate Too Costly,” New York Times, July 14, 1897, 2; “Armor Board Report,” New York Times, December 2, 1897, 3; editorial, “The Armor Plate Folly,” New York Times, December 4, 1897, 6.
[xxvi] Department of the Navy, Bureau of Yards and Docks, Bureau News Memorandum No. 104, Section E – Historical and General, “Chiefs of the Bureau (Twelfth),” July 2, 1934, E-1, folder labeled “Endicott, Mordecai: biography, n.d.,” RG 4, Box 1, USNCBM; “Engineer Endicott’s Promotion,” Los Angeles Times, March 22, 1898, 3; “Chief of Yards and Docks,” Philadelphia Inquirer, March 22, 1898, 9; “Civil Engineer a Bureau Chief,” New York Times, March 22, 1898, 2; “Vacancy in Bureau Filled,” Washington Post, March 22, 1898, 2.
[xxvii] See “Ready for a Crisis,” Chicago Daily Tribune, April 3, 1898, A12; “A Change in Naval Custom,” New York Sun, March 31, 1898.
[xxviii]  “Confirmation,” Washington Post, April 5, 1898, 4; Cong. Rec., 55th Cong., 2d sess., 1898, 31, pt. 4: 3512.
[xxix] Act to Reorganize and Increase the Efficiency of the Personnel of the Navy and Marine Corps of the United States, Public Law 413, 55th Cong., 3d sess. (March 3, 1899), 1006;  “To Rank as Rear Admirals,” New York Times, March 8, 1899, 5. This same legislation also stated that “officers whose rank is so defined shall not be entitled, in virtue of their rank to command in the line or in other staff corps. Neither shall this Act be construed as changing the titles of officers in the staff corps of the Navy.” This legislation would be readdressed in 1942, when CEC officers received command authority for the newly established Construction Battalions.
[xxx] “Admiral Endicott Reappointed,” Washington Post, March 27, 1902, 4; “Admiral Endicott Reappointed,” Duluth (Minnesota) News-Tribune, March 18, 1906, 6.
[xxxi] Act Making Appropriations for the Naval Service for Fiscal Year 1907, Public Law 336, 59th Cong., 1st sess. (June 29, 1906), 564.
[xxxii] Department of the Navy, Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 55th Cong., 3d sess., 1898, H. doc. 3, 240; Department of the Navy, Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 59th Cong., 2d sess., 1906, H. doc. 3, 219.
[xxxiii] Department of the Navy, Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 57th Cong., 1st sess., 1901, H. doc. 3, 207-08; Department of the Navy, Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 57th Cong., 2d sess., 1902, H. doc. 3, 153-54;  Department of the Navy, Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 58th Cong., 3d sess., 1904, H. doc. 4, 167-68; Department of the Navy, Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 59th Cong., 1st sess., 1905, H. doc. 3, 142-43; Department of the Navy, Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 59th Cong., 2d sess., 1906, H. doc. 3, 217-18; An Act Making Appropriations for the Naval Service for Fiscal Year 1903, Public Law 1368, 57th Cong., 1st sess. (July 1, 1902), 671; An Act Making Appropriations for the Naval Service for Fiscal Year 1904, Public Law 1010, 57th Cong., 2d sess. (March 3, 1903), 1197; Department of the Navy, Secretary of the Navy, Annual Reports of the Navy Department for the Year 1898 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1898), 237-39.
[xxxiv] Mordecai T. Endicott to Henry C. Taylor, July 10, 1903, folder labeled “Changes in Corps Device and Uniforms: correspondence,; insignias; memoranda; newsletter; report, 1903; 1943-44; 1950-52; 1955; 1961; 1963,” RG  3, Series 1, Box 4, USNCBM; Department of the Navy, Regulations Governing the Uniform of Commissioned Officers, Warrant Officers, and Enlisted Men, 1905 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1905), 31.
[xxxv] Helen R. Fairbanks, “RPI and the CEC,” U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps Bulletin 11, no 2. (February 1957): 10-11; Palmer C. Ricketts, History of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1824 – 1934 (New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1934), 190-91.
[xxxvi] Department of the Navy, Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 56th Cong., 1st sess., 1899, H. doc. 3, 154, 158; Department of the Navy, Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 56th Cong., 2d sess., 1900, H. doc. 4, 143-44; Department of the Navy, Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 57th Cong., 1st sess., 1901, H. doc. 3, 140, 145, 147-52; Department of the Navy, Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 57th Cong., 2d sess., 1902, H. doc. 3, 108, 136; Department of the Navy, Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 58th Cong., 2d sess., 1903, H. doc. 3, 103-04; Department of the Navy, Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 58th Cong., 3d sess., 1904, H. doc. 4, 143; Department of the Navy, Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 59th Cong., 1st sess., 1905, H. doc. 3, 88; Department of the Navy, Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 59th Cong., 2d sess., 1906, H. doc. 3, 151-53; “Hospital for Ships,” Washington Post, December 9, 1905, A1; “More Dry Docks Needed,” Washington Post, December 13, 1906, 5; Gates, ed., Men of Mark, 320; Sullivan, “The Portsmouth Navy Yard,” 71, 80.
[xxxvii] “The Algiers Naval Dry Dock,” Times-Picayune (New Orleans), September 12, 1898, 4.
[xxxviii] Norman Polmar, The Naval Institute Guide to the Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet, 18th ed. (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2005), 365; Department of the Navy, Building the Navy’s Bases in World War II: History of the Bureau of Yards and Docks and the Civil Engineer Corps, 1940 – 1946, vol. 1 (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1947), 209. The dry docks received the numbers YFD-1 and YFD-2 after the Secretary of the Navy instituted the hull classification system on July 17, 1920.
[xxxix] “Bishop Not on List,” Washington Post, July 3, 1906, 3; “Canal Commissioners Out,” Washington Post, March 15, 1907, 3; “Canal Commission Named,” New York Times, February 15, 1907, 2; Ira E. Bennett, History of the Panama Canal: Its Construction and Builders (Washington, DC: Historical Publishing Co., 1915), 470.
[xl] “Twelve Admirals to Retire,” Washington Post, August 30, 1906, 6; “Will Succeed Endicott,” Washington Post, November 29, 1906, 4.
[xli] “Admiral Endicott is Retired,” Bellingham (Washington) Herald, June 22, 1909, 3.
[xlii] Department of the Navy, Bureau of Yards and Docks, Bureau News Memorandum No. 104, Section E – Historical and General, “Chiefs of the Bureau (Twelfth),” July 2, 1934, E-1, folder labeled “Endicott, Mordecai: biography, n.d.,” RG 4, Box 1, USNCBM.
[xliii] The boards themselves took place throughout 1917. See Department of the Navy, Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 65th Cong., 3d sess., 1918, H. doc. 1450, 432; Department of the Navy, Activities of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, World War 1917 – 1918 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1921), 35; “Liggett Appointment Pleases Line,” Washington Post, March 11, 1917, 41; “Army and Navy Gossip,” Washington Post, May 13, 1917, AN3; “Army and Navy Gossip,” Washington Post, June 3, 1917, A3; “Army and Navy Gossip,” Washington Post, September 9, 1917, A3; “News of Army and Navy,” Washington Post, November 11, 1917, R2.
[xliv] Named after its head, Admiral Austin M. Knight, the uniformed Navy viewed the board with skepticism for its composition of Knight and eight retired officers of whom none had been overseas in the war zone. Nonetheless, Endicott served at the pleasure of the Secretary of the Navy, fulfilling his duties. See “News of Army and Navy,” Washington Post, June 15, 1919, R8; “News of Army and Navy,” Washington Post, October 12, 1919, 66; “News of Army and Navy,” Washington Post, November 2, 1919, F12; Arthur S. Henning, “Daniels Heeds Sims’ Protest on Sea Honors,” Chicago Daily Tribune, December 27, 1919, 1; “Knight Offers His Medal Plan,” Los Angeles Times, January 24, 1920, 14; Harry R. Stringer, The Navy Book of Distinguished Service (Washington, DC: Fassett Publishing Co., 1921), xii-xvi; Tracy Barrett Kittredge, Naval Lessons of the Great War (Garden City, NJ: Doubleday, Page and Co., 1921), 45-48, 72-73.
[xlv] Stringer, Navy Book of Distinguished Service, 192.
[xlvi] His daughters were Anna, Elizabeth, Edith, Grace, Louise, Mary, and Maude. His only son, John, died of tuberculosis in July 1907. See “Mrs. Endicott Has Birthday, for 102d Time,” Washington Post, February 29, 1952, 19; “Mother Brings Body Home,” Washington Post, August 2, 1907, 2; “Death Follows His Exile,” Washington Post, July 31, 1907, 4.
[xlvii] “Episcopalians in Convocation,” Washington Post, June 13, 1894, 5; “Vestrymen Elected,” Washington Post, April 18, 1906, 2; “Easter Elections Held,” Washington Post, April 22, 1908, 2;   “Church Officers Elected,” Washington Post, March 30, 1910, 5; “Epiphany Unveils Tablet: Lejeune and Endicott Assist in Dedication of War Memorial,” Washington Post, October 2, 1922, 7; “Annual Elections Held by Episcopal Churches,” Washington Post, April 7, 1923, 7.
[xlviii] Gates, Men of Mark, 321; American Biographical Directories, District of Columbia, 145.
[xlix] “Cleveland Man Chosen,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, January 17, 1901, 2; John Fritz Medal Board of Award, The John Fritz Medal (New York: Bartlett Orr Press, 1917), 14, 17-18.
[l] “Mordecai T. Endicott, Rear Admiral, Dies,” New York Times, March 7, 1926, 30.
[li] “Admiral Endicott, Famed as Engineer, Dies of Pneumonia,” Washington Post, March 6, 1926, 8. Funeral services were held at the Church of the Epiphany in Washington. Endicott’s pallbearers included RADM Harry H. Rousseau, RADM Charles W. Parks, CEC; RADM Luther E. Gregory, CEC; Captain Frank T. Chambers, CEC; Captain Homer R. Stanford, CEC; Captain George A. McKay, CEC; and Dr. A.R. Shands. See Department of the Navy, Bureau of Yards and Docks, Bureau News Memorandum no. 14, “Death of Rear Admiral Endicott,” March 15, 1926, 120, folder labeled “Endicott, Mordecai: news-memo, 1926-1955,” RG 4, Box 1, USNCBM.
[lii] Department of the Navy, Bureau of Yards and Docks, Bureau News Memorandum no. 29, “Dredge Named for Admiral Endicott,” November 15, 1926, 279, folder labeled “Endicott, Mordecai: news-memo, 1926-1955,” RG 4, Box 1, USNCBM.
[liii] Department of the Navy, Bureau of Yards and Docks, Bureau News Memorandum no. 44, “Personnel Notes,” July 1, 1927, 558, folder labeled “Endicott, Mordecai: news-memo, 1926-1955,” RG 4, Box 1, USNCBM.
[liv] “Knox Bids Nation Expect Long War,” New York Times, April 5, 1943, 2; Navy, Building the Navy’s Bases, vol. 1, 142-43.
[lv] “Mrs. Endicott Dead at 104; Saw Lincoln,” Washington Post, February 22, 1955, 24.

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