Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MARSTON, John, naval officer, born in Boston, 12 June, 1795; died in Philadelphia, 7 April, 1885. He carried the first news of Commander Isaac Hull's capture of the "Guerridre" to John Adams at Quincy, and through the ex-president's influence was appointed a midshipman, his commission being dated 15 April, 1813. He saw some service during the war of 1812-'15, and later was on board the "Constitution" when Lord Byron visited the famous frigate. In 1825 he was promoted to the grade of lieutenant, and was on board the "Brandywine" when she conveyed Lafayette to France. In 1827-'9 he served in the Pacific squadron, and again in 1833 and 1834. In 1840 he was assigned to the frigate "United States," and in the following year was commissioned commander. In 1850 he was assigned to the command of the "Yorktown," on the coast of Africa, and he was in charge of the Philadelphia navy-yard from 1853 till 1855, being in the latter year made captain. Although placed on the retired list in December, 1861, he was assigned to the "Cumberland," of the Brazil squadron, in which service he continued for a year, when he was commissioned commodore, 16 July, 1862, and was in command of the frigate "Roanoke" at Hampton Roads when the "Merrimac" destroyed the "Congress" and " Cumberland." He was afterward made rear-admiral, and for several years after the war was in charge of the navy-yards at Portsmouth and Philadelphia, and of the naval station at Key West. He also acted as a light-house-inspector. In his many voyages he had served under Commodores Rodgers, Hull, Perry, and Chauncey, of the old navy, and had seen altogether, before his retirement, half a century of active service. His tastes were scholarly, and he was a fine specimen of a gentleman of the old school. He was a communicant of the Protestant Episcopal church. His eldest son, Matthew R.. entered the regular army, and was brevetted major for gallant conduct during the siege of Vicksburg.
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