William & Mary | Earl Gregg Swem Library Special Collections Database


Barron Family Papers, 1793-1942

Barron Family Papers, 1793-1942
Mss. 65 B29
7.0 Boxes
Scope and Contents

Papers and correspondence of three generations of Samuel Barrons, all of whom were involved in naval affairs. Papers, 1793-1809, of Samuel Barron (1765-1810), commander of one of the Mediterranean squadrons sent to defeat Tripoli. Papers concern naval business and the War with Tripoli. Includes correspondence with his brother James Barron, Stephen Decatur, William Eaton (concerning his controversy with Tobias Lear over the Tripolitan peace settlement), Tobias Lear, Edward Preble, John Rodgers, Robert Smith (Secretary of the Navy), and Thomas Truxton. Includes letters written by Preble and Rodgers on board the USS Constitution and letters concerning the capture of William Bainbridge and the seamen of the USS Philadelphia.

Collections includes manuscript volume, 1834-1847, of sea service of Samuel Barron (1808-1888) aboard ships in Carribbean and Mediterranean seas and includes a copy made by Samuel Barron (1836-1892) of an account by James Barron of his duel with Decatur. The volume also has genealogical material concerning the Barron family.

Papers of Samuel Barron (1808-1888) concern his service off South America and as an officer of Confederate States Navy in command of the European theater. Correspondents include Zebulon Baird Vance, Stephen R. Mallory and Raphael Semmes (giving an account of the engagement between the USS Kearsage and the CSS Alabama). There is a memoir by James Barron Hope in vindication of the censure of Samuel Barron for the loss of Fort Hatteras, N.C., and there are some papers relating to the service of Samuel Barron (1836-1892) as acting master and lieutenant in the Confederate States Navy.

The collection is arranged into 4 Series. Series 1-3 contain materials related to three generations of naval officera in the Barron family. Respectively, they are Samuel Barron (1765-1810), Samuel Barron (1809-1888), and Samuel Barron (1836-1891). Series 4 contains reference materials relating to the Barron family.
Barron, Samuel, Capt. (1765-1810)
Barron, James (1769-1851)
Barron, Samuel (1808-1888)
Barron, Samuel, Lt. (1836-1892)
Decatur, Stephen (1779-1820)
Eaton, William (1764-1811)
Hope, James Barron (1829-1887)
Lear, Tobias (1762-1816)
Mallory, Stephen R. (Stephen Russell) (1813-1873)
Preble, Edward (1761-1807)
Rodgers, John (1773-1838)
Semmes, Raphael (1829-1887)
Smith, Robert (1757-1842)
Truxton, Thomas (1755-1822)
Vance, Zebulon Baird (1830-1894)
Administrative/Biographical History

Samuel Barron (1765-1810) was an officer in the United States Navy who served during the American Revolution, Quasi-War with France, and the First Barbary War. Barron studied at the College of William & Mary before serving in the Virginia State Navy during the American Revolution. Following the Revolution, he was a merchant captain before joining the United States Navy. He served in the Navy during the Quasi-War with France and the First Barbary War, attaining the rank of Commodore before returning to the United States due to poor health in 1805. After his return, he commanded the Gosport Shipyard in Virginia, but he never fully recovered his health and died in 1810. Barron's younger brother, James Barron, also attained the rank of Commodore. He was involved in the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair in 1807, which resulted in his court marshal for neglect of duty. He was also a participant in the duel which resulted in the death of Commodore Stephen Decatur in 1820.

Samuel Barron's son, Samuel Barron (1809-1888), was ordered to duty at the Gosport Shipyard at the age of six, making him the youngest person ever commissioned to active duty in the U.S. Navy. Barron sailed for the first time at age ten. He sailed in the Mediterranean, West Indies, West coast of Africa, and both coasts of South America. He also served during the Mexican-American War. Barron was made a lieutenant at age 18, and was promoted to captain in 1855. In 1861, Barron resigned his commission to join the Confederacy during the Civil War. He was tasked with building a navy, and helped procured ships and arms. In August 1861, he was captured by Union forces during an attack on Fort Hatteras. Barron was a prisoner until 1862, when he was exchanged. In 1863, Barron was made a commodore and sent to Europe as the senior Confederate Naval officer there. Following the war, he returned to Virginia and took up farming until his death in 1888.

His son, Samuel Barron (1836-1891), was also a Naval officer. He served as a liuetenant during the Civil War, and achieved the rank of captain by the end of his career.

Material on Samuel Barron (1809-1888) reference from Encyclopedia Virginia (http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Barron_Samuel_1809-1888<span style="display: none;"> </span>)

Alabama (Cruiser)
Barron family
Confederate States of America. Navy
Constitution (Frigate)
United States. Navy--History--19th century
United States. Navy--History--Tripolitan War, 1801-1805
Financial records

Detailed Description

Full Finding Aid/Box List

Administrative Information

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.
Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.
Acquisition Note
 Source: Mrs. James S. Barron, James Barron, and Salley C. Barron.
Related Materials
Samuel Barron Papers (II), Samuel Barron Papers (III), James Barron Papers (Mss. 65 B27), and James Barron Hope Papers (Mss. 65 H77), Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.
Preferred Citation
Samuel Barron Papers (I), Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.
Finding Aid Revisions:
Finding aid and box list updated by Matt Anthony, SCRC Staff, March 2015.
Collection Material Type:
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