Hopley Yeaton

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Hopley Yeaton
DiedMay 12, 1812(1812-05-12) (aged 73)
Occupation(s)Mariner, ship's master
Known forFirst commissioned officer of the Revenue Cutter Service

Hopley Yeaton (1739 – May 14, 1812) was the first officer commissioned (March 21, 1791) under the Constitution of the United States by George Washington into the Revenue Marine (later known as the Revenue Cutter Service), one of the forerunners of the modern-day United States Coast Guard.[1][2] The Coast Guard was created when Congress merged the Revenue Cutter Service with the U.S. Lifesaving Service in 1915.

Born in Somersworth, New Hampshire, Yeaton was a veteran of the Continental Navy and the commanding officer of the Revenue Marine cutter Scammel. Yeaton probably brought along his slave, Senegal, during Scammel's patrols, as was this practice was permitted by the Treasury Department at this time. Yeaton fired three of his crew after their first few months of service. The men had been in "open rebellion" over issues of pay and daily food rations—particularly after they learned that their fellow sailors aboard USRC Massachusetts received more and varied foods each day than they did.

Yeaton resigned his commission on September 11, 1809.[3] He suffered from poor health and retired to a farm at Eastport, Maine.[4]


Captain Hopley Yeaton Memorial[edit]

The tomb of Hopley Yeaton lies on the grounds of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. He was originally buried in Lubec, Maine, but in 1975 his burial site was threatened by modernization. The Corps of Cadets sailed the barque Eagle to Lubec, where his remains were exhumed and laid to rest at the Academy.

Hopley Yeaton Walk of History Plaque[edit]

On August 2, 2008, in a bid to help affirm Grand Haven, Michigan, as "Coast Guard City USA", the Walk of History was revealed to the public at Coast Guard Station Grand Haven. The first point of history on the walk was the Hopley Yeaton Plaque, which was ceremonially unveiled by Vice Adm. Clifford Pearson and Andrew Yeaton, a direct descendant of Hopley Yeaton.


  1. ^ Evans, p 6
  2. ^ King, p 8
  3. ^ Noble, p 81
  4. ^ King, p 43


  • Evans, Stephen H. (1949). The United States Coast Guard 1790–1915: A Definitive History. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland. No ISBN
  • Kern, Florence (1975). Hopley Yeaton's U.S. Revenue Cutter Scammel, 1791-1798. "The most effectual check to the mischiefs. [sic]". Alised Enterprises, Washington, DC. No ISBN
  • King, Irving H. (1989). The Coast Guard Under Sail: The U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, 1789–1865. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland. ISBN 978-0-87021-234-5.
  • Noble, Dennis L. (1990). Historical Register U.S. Revenue Cutter Service Officers, 1790–1914. Coast Guard Historian's Office, U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, DC No ISBN.
  • Hopley Yeaton Genealogy
  • Coast Guard Monuments & Memorials
  • Captain Hopley Yeaton Memorial
  • History of the Scammel
  • Festival honors heritage in Walk of History
  • Yeaton biographical note