CDR John Faron, Chief Engineer

Commander John Faron was born circa 1828 in New Jersey and entered the Navy a third assistant engineer on 31 October 1848 [4].

His first duty station was Norfolk where he was an assistant superintendent for the construction of the U.S.S. Powhatan. After her commissioning on 2 September 1852, he served aboard her for three and a half years, including the time period when she was part of COMO Matthew C. Perry's expedition to Japan. [2], [3]

Faron's next duty station was the U.S.S. Niagara as her senior assistant engineer [2], [3], during which time the Niagara was participating in the attempt to lay the first transatlantic telegraph cable.

Faron was promoted to the grade of Chief Engineer on 23 April 1859 [4].

He was ordered to another round of sea-duty as the chief engineer of the U.S.S. San Jacinto from July 1859 to November 1861 . Notable events during that time includes her cruise off the coast of Africa for anti-slavery patrol and the Trent Affair incident that nearly started a war between the US and the United Kingdom. Also aboard the San Jacinto at the time was a young midshipman by the name of Roderick Prentiss [4], whom also would die a few years later at the Battle of Mobile Bay.

Next he was ordered to the Brookyn Navy Yard to serve as engineering superintendent of the monitors being constructed by Secor & Co. in Jersey City. One notable incident that is mention in records about Faron was during the sea trials of the monitor U.S.S. Weehawken in January 1863. Faron was riding along as an observer when the Weehawken encountered a gale off the coast of Maryland on 20 January 1863. Water started to enter through the hawsepipe into the bilge and the bilge pumps failed due to the accumulation of trash in the bilges. Water came up above the inner bottoms and covered the ash pits, causing issues with keeping the fires going and enough steam pressure built up. In the midst of a major engineering casualty with a risk of the Weehawken foundering in a storm with 30 foot seas, Faron took over and got her plant back up and the pumps cleared out. The Weehawken's CO, CAPT John Rodgers, later rewarded Faron with a letter of appreciation. The Weehawken would later founder in a storm off Charleston on 6 December 1863 due to water entering the vessel with the loss of 4 officers and 27 enlisted men.

One of the monitors being constructed by Secor & Co. at the yards of Joseph Coldwell in Jersey City under the supervision of Faron at the time was the Tecumseh. Shortly before she was to be launched, Faron received orders to the monitor U.S.S. Onondaga as her CHENG. But Faron preferred to go to sea in a ship he helped to build. He pulled some strings and got his Onondaga orders canceled and new ones written for the Tecumseh as her CHENG.

On 30 July when the Tecumseh arrived in Pensacola, Faron was all but carried off the ship to the naval hospital in a severely weaken condition brought on by cystitis. With Faron still confined to his bed due to fatigue brought on by his illness and the day of Farragut's planned entry into Mobile Bay drawing closer, ENS Frederick Barlow, CHENG of the Owasco, volunteered to replace him. When Faron was told of this, the evening before the Tecumseh was to sail to join the fleet off Mobile Bay, he insisted on leaving the hospital and dragged himself out of bed and down the road to the pier to join her. [5]

CDR Faron left behind a wife and four children, one whom he would never see, for the youngest, George Faron was born 5 September 1864, a month after his father's death.

Dependents [1]

Wife: Sarah Ann Faron (married 4 March 1849)
Son: John Rogers Faron (born 28 July 1852)
Daughter: Eleanor Hall Faron (born 24 December 1856)
Daughter: Lillie Graham Faron (born 17 May 1859)
Son: George Birbeck Faron (born 5 September 1864)

Awards & Memorials


Alternate Spellings of Name


References and Sources

[1] Case Files of Approved Pension Applications of Widows and Other Dependents of Civil War and Later Navy Veterans ("Navy Widows' Certificates"), 1861-1910  

[2] Tenney, William Jewett "The Military and Naval History of the Rebellion: With Biographical Sketches of Deceased Officers" (Appleton, 1866)

[3] "Obituary: Chief Engineer John Faron, U.S.N." Army and Navy Journal, September 3, 1864

[4] Register of the Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the Navy of the United States for the Year 1860.
[5] Hospital Tickets and Case Papers, compiled 1825-1889. ARC ID: 2694723. Department of the Navy, Records of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Record Group 52. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.