President John Adams Appoints an Officer Who Would Serve on the Legendary USS Constitution

The officer, Thomas Johnston, was the ships purser would present a petition on behalf of the officers and crew of the Constitution to obtain prize money due for the ship’s captures

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This is our first document appointing an officer that served aboard the famed USS Constitution

For more than two centuries, America’s Ship of State, the USS Constitution, has been a symbol of the country’s fighting spirit. It was launched in Boston Harbor in 1797 as one of the original six frigates built...

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President John Adams Appoints an Officer Who Would Serve on the Legendary USS Constitution

The officer, Thomas Johnston, was the ships purser would present a petition on behalf of the officers and crew of the Constitution to obtain prize money due for the ship’s captures

This is our first document appointing an officer that served aboard the famed USS Constitution

For more than two centuries, America’s Ship of State, the USS Constitution, has been a symbol of the country’s fighting spirit. It was launched in Boston Harbor in 1797 as one of the original six frigates built for the U.S. Navy. The first captain took over the ship in July 1798, when the ship sailed. The USS Constitution saw a great deal of action during its 58 years of active naval service, including engagements in the Quasi War with France, the Barbary Wars, and the War of 1812 – winning 33 battles while never taking a loss. She took many prizes, some in the Barbary Wars, and the peace treaty with Tripoli was signed on her deck on June 3, 1805. The ship is still in the water, the oldest ship in the world still bobbing on the waves.

Thomas Johnston was the USS Constitution’s purser (thus keeper of the ship’s accounts), serving the renowned Captain John Rodgers. The Annals of Congress record that Johnston presented a petition on behalf of the officers and crew of the Constitution requesting that the proceeds of vessels taken in 1805 by that ship may be paid to the captors.

President John Adams appointed Johnston to the rank of purser, the very post he would hold on the USS Constitution. Document signed, as President, Philadelphia, March 2, 1798, naming Thomas Johnston purser. The document is countersigned by Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Stoddert.

In all our years in this field, we have never before had a document appointing an officer that served aboard the USS Constitution.

Purchase Now $12,500

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