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Stephen McCarthy papers

Biographical note

Stephen McCarthy was born on 25 November 1859 in Connecticut. In 1875, he joined the Navy as a teenage seaman apprentice aboard the USS Minnesota. He officially joined the Navy as an enlisted man in 1877 and was appointed a Boatswain in the Navy on 13 May 1887 while in the state of New Jersey. He served various assignments in and around Newport, RI before being appointed a Chief Boatswain’s Mate in 1899 by Act of Congress. His career shifted between assignments at sea—on the USS Chicago in the European Squadron in 1903 and aboard a succession of screw tugs near the U.S. Coast, the USS Potomac, USS Ontario, and USS Montgomery. Most of his naval career was spent stationed in Newport, RI at the Newport Training Station, Torpedo Station, or aboard one of the training ships. He authored “The Boatswain’s Calls,” published in the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, 1913, a description of the calls and pipes used by boatswains in the U.S. Navy. His article was cited in a 2002 review of piping. Stephen McCarthy married Leonora Sharpe (1863-1905) and they had three daughters, one of whom, Leonora Muria married a naval officer, Lieutenant Commander Dallas Wait. Lieutenant McCarthy retired to Newport and lived at 82 Kay Street until his death in 1938.


1859Born in Connecticut
1875Seaman apprentice, USS Minnesota
1880Won first class medal for sword exercise at “Naval Review”
1886Aboard the Receiving-Ship New Hampshire, Newport, RI as Acting Boatswain
1887Appointed Boatswain
1889Appointment to Boatswain formalized by Commission
1891Assigned to Training Station and Training-Ship USS Constellation
1898Assigned to Torpedo Station, Newport, RI
1900Chief Boatswain, USS Constellation, Training Ship, Newport, RI
1903Chief Boatswain, USS Chicago, European Squadron
1904Ordered back to the Torpedo Station, Newport, RI
1908Chief Boatswain, USS Nina, submarine tender, Newport RI
1909Assigned to Torpedo Station, Newport, RI.
1911Chief Boatswain, USS Potomac (tug)
1912Takes command of the USS Ontario (AT-13)
1913Publishes “The Boatswain’s Calls” in U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings
1916Chief Boatswain, USS Montgomery (C-9)
1920Lieutenant, Naval Training Station, Newport, RI
1938Died in Newport, RI