William S. Cowles

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Not to be confused with Walter C. Cowles.
William S. Cowles
Birth name William Sheffield Cowles
Born (1846-08-01)August 1, 1846
Farmington, Connecticut
Died May 1, 1923(1923-05-01) (aged 76)
Farmington, Connecticut
Place of burial Riverside Cemetery, Farmington, Connecticut
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch Seal of the United States Department of the Navy.svg United States Navy
Years of service 1863—1908
Rank Rear Admiral
Battles/wars Spanish–American War

William Sheffield Cowles (August 1, 1846 – May 1, 1923) was an rear admiral in the United States Navy.

Naval career[edit]

In July 1863 he was appointed an acting midshipman at the United States Naval Academy and graduated in June 1867. He was commissioned as an ensign in December 1868. He rose through the ranks and was commissioned as a commander in June 1898.

Cowles commanded the gunboat, Topeka during the Spanish–American War, and served as naval aide to President McKinley. He was in command of the battleship Missouri when it collided with the Illinois, and when thirty-three men were killed in an explosion (he was cleared of responsibility in both cases).[1]

He served as the Commander-in-Chief, Asiatic Fleet, and retired from the Navy in August 1908 after 45 years in service.

He was a companion of the District of Columbia Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States and an honorary companion of the Connecticut Commandery of the Military Order of Foreign Wars.

On December 2, 1908, Cowles submitted a report, prepared by Lieutenant George C. Sweet, recommending the purchase of aircraft suitable for operating from naval ships on scouting and observation mission to the Secretary of the Navy.[2]

Cowles was an official representative at the coronation of King George V in 1911.[1]

Personal life[edit]

On November 25, 1895, he married Anna "Bamie" Roosevelt, daughter of philanthropist Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. and socialite Martha Stewart "Mittie" Bulloch and elder sister of President Theodore "T.R." Roosevelt, Jr.. William and Bamie had one son, William Jr. (1898–1986). William and Bamie are buried at Riverside Cemetery in Farmington, Connecticut.


  1. ^ a b "Milestones: May 12, 1923". Time. May 12, 1923. Retrieved August 9, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Dates in Naval History: December". history.navy.mil. Retrieved August 9, 2010. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Willard H. Brownson
Commander-in-Chief, United States Asiatic Fleet
1907–August 1908
Succeeded by
John Hubbard