Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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CRAVEN, Thomas Tingey, naval officer, born in Washington, D. C., 30 December 1808; died in Boston, Massachusetts, 23 August 1887. He was the oldest son of Tunis Craven, of the U. S. navy. and his wife, Hannah Tingey, daughter of Com. Thomas Tingey, also of the U. S. Navy. Young Craven attended school until 1822, when he entered the navy, and from 1823 till 1828 served in the Pacific squadron on the "United States" and on the "Peacock." In 1828 he joined the "Erie," of the West India squadron, as sailing-master, and took part in the capture of the pirate "Federal." After being commissioned lieutenant in 1830, he spent three years in cruising on the "Boxer," and in 1835-'6 was attached to the receiving-ship at New York, after which he joined the "John Adams." In 1838 he commanded the "Vincennes," Captain Wilkes's flagship in the Antarctic exploring expedition. He then served on the "Boxer," "Fulton," "Monroe," "Macedonia," and "Porpoise," principally in the African squadron, after which, during 1846, he was attached to the naval rendezvous in: New York. He then served on the "Ohio," in the Pacific squadron, and on the "Independence," in the Mediterranean squadron, returning home in January 1850. In the following July he was made commandant of midshipmen in the U. S. naval academy in Annapolis, becoming commander in December 1852, and remaining at the academy until June 1855. After commanding the "Congress," of the Mediterranean squadron, for several years, he was ordered to resume his post at Annapolis. In October 1860, he was detached from this place, and, after a short time spent in recruiting-service in Portland, Maine, was commissioned captain in June 1861, and assigned to the command of the Potomac flotilla. In the autumn of 1861 he was placed in command of the "Brooklyn," participating in the capture of New Orleans and subsequent operations on the Mississippi. He was made commodore in July 1862, and during the subsequent years of the civil war commanded the "Niagara," on the coast of England and France. In September 1866, he was placed in command of the navy yard at Mare island, California, where he received, in October of the same year, his commission as rear admiral, and continued there until August 1868, when he assumed command of the Pacific squadron. In December 1869, he was retired, but continued on duty in San Francisco until that office was dispensed with. He afterward resided at Kittery Point, Maine -
His brother, Alfred Wingate Craven, civil engineer, born in Washington, D. C., 20 October 1810; died in Chiswick, England, 29 March 1879, was graduated at Columbia in 1829, studied law and then civil engineering. In 1837 he was associated with General George S. Greene on important professional work near Charleston and elsewhere. He was a successful railroad engineer and manager, and rapidly rose to the first rank in his profession. Mr. Craven became engineer commissioner to the Croton water board of New York on its organization in 1849, and continued in that capacity until 1868. Among the many works projected and carried out during these years under his supervision were the building of the large reservoir in Central park, the enlargement of pipes across High Bridge, and the construction of the reservoir in Boyd's Corners, Putnam co. He also caused to be made an accurate survey of Croton valley, with a view of ascertaining its capacity for furnishing an adequate water supply, and was largely instrumental in securing the passage of the first law establishing a general sewerage system for New York City. Later he was associated with Allan Campbell as a commissioner in the work of building the underground railway extending along 4th avenue from the Grand central depot to Harlem river. He was one of the original members of the American society of civil engineers, a director for many years, and its president from November 1869, till November 1871.
--Another brother, Tunis Augustus Mac Donough Craving, naval officer, born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 11 January 1813; died in Mobile bay, Ala., 5 August 1864. He entered the U. S. navy as a midshipman in February 1829 and until 1837 served in different vessels, after which he was at his own request attached to the coast survey. In 1841 he was made a lieutenant and served in the "Falmouth" until 1843, when he was transferred to the "North Carolina." Three years later he was connected with the Pacific squadron as lieutenant of the "Dale," and participated in the conquest of California. In 1849 he returned east, and for some time afterward was associated in the work of the coast-survey, having command of various vessels attached to this bureau. He commanded the Atrato expedition, which left New York in October 1857, for the purpose of surveying the isthmus of Darien by way of the Atrato River for a ship canal. Later he commanded the "Mohawk," stationed off the coast of Cuba to intercept slavers. On one occasion he captured a brig containing 500 Negroes, who were afterward sent to Africa and liberated. He also saved the crew of a Spanish merchant vessel, for which the queen of Spain presented him with a gold medal and a diploma. About the same time the New York board of underwriters presented Mrs. Craven with a silver service of plate for the efficient services rendered to merchant vessels while at sea by her husband. At the beginning of the civil war he was placed in command of the "Crusader," and was instrumental in preserving for the Union the fortress at Key West.
In April 1861, he was made a commander, and ordered to the charge of the "Tuscarora," in search of Confederate cruisers. While so occupied he succeeded in blockading the "Sumter," so that, after it had been kept a close prisoner for two months in Gibraltar, the officers and crew deserted her. On his return home, he was given command of the monitor "Tecumseh," and directed to join the James River flotilla. A few months later he was attached to Admiral Farragut's squadron, then collected for the attack on Mobile. In the subsequent battle the "Tecumseh" was given the post of honor, and on the morning of 5 August leading the fleet, she fired the first shot at 6.47 A. M. The general orders to the various commanders directed them, in order to avoid the line of torpedoes at the entrance of the bay, to pass eastward of a certain red buoy and directly under the guns of Fort Morgan. The Confederate ram "Tennessee" was on the port-beam of the "Teeumseh," inside of the line of torpedoes, and Crayen, in his eagerness to engage the ram, passed to the west of the buoy, when suddenly the monitor reeled and sank with almost every one on board, destroyed by a torpedo. As the "Tecumseh" was going down, Com. Craven and his pilot, John Collins, met at the foot of the ladder leading to the top of the turret. Craven, knowing it was through no fault of the pilot, but by his own command, that the fatal change in her course had been made, stepped back, saying: "After you, pilot." There was no "after" for him. When the pilot reached the top round, the vessel seemed "to drop from under him," and no one followed. A buoy that swings to and fro with the ebb and flow of the tidemarks the scene of Com. Craven's bravery and of his death, and beneath, only a few fathoms deep, lays the "Tecumseh." He has been called the " Sydney" of the American navy.
--Charles Henderson, naval officer, son of Thomas Tingey, born in Portland, Maine, 30 November 1843, was graduated at the U. S. naval academy in 1863, promoted to ensign, and served in that capacity in the South Atlantic blockading squadron until 1865. He participated in many of the engagements in the vicinity of Charleston and Savannah during 1863-'4, and was attached to the "Housatonic "when she was blown up in February 1864. During 1865-'7 he served in the European squadron on the "Colorado," and was commissioned lieutenant commander in November 1866. He then served on the "Wampa-noag," and was made lieutenant commander in March 1868, after which he was attached to the Pacific squadron. Subsequently he served on shore duty at Mare Island, California In 1874 he became executive officer of the "Kearsarge," of the Pacific squadron, and later of the "Monocacy." He was detached from duty in June 1879, broken down by over-work, and was retired in May 1881.
--Henry Smith, another son of Thomas Tingey, civil engineer, born in Bound Brook, New Jersey, 14 October 1845, studied in St. John's College, Annapolis, Maryland, and later in the scientific department of Hobart, but was not graduated, as he entered the army shortly before the close of the civil war. He obtained employment on the Croton works in New York City, but in 1866 went to California and became secretary, with the rank of lieutenant, to his father, then commanding the North Pacific squadron, and in 1869 was appointed assistant civil engineer of the navy yard at Mare island. This office he resigned in 1872, and then practiced his profession in San Francisco until 1879. He was commissioned civil engineer in the U. S. navy during the latter year, and ordered to Chester, Pennsylvania, where he was occupied with the construction of the iron floating dock then building for the Pensacola navy yard. Later he was ordered to the navy yard at League Island, Pennsylvania, and in July 1881, was sent to the navy yard at Portsmouth, N. H., and in September 1882, assigned to special duty at Coaster's harbor training-station. He was granted leave of absence in 1883, and took charge of the construction of the new Croton aqueduct in New York, up to March 1886. He is the inventor of an automatic trip for mining-buckets (1876), and of a tunnelling machine (1883). Mr. Craven was given the honorary degree of B. S. by Hobart in 1878, and is a member of the American society of civil engineers.
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