Lester Beardslee

Lester Anthony Beardslee (1836 - 1903)

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Rear Admir Lester Anthony Beardslee
Born in Little Falls, New York, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married [location unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Augusta, Georgia, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 27 Dec 2013
This page has been accessed 1,170 times.

Categories: American Notables | Beardsley-Beardslee Name Study | Beardsley-Beardslee Veterans | United States Naval Academy | United States Navy Admirals | Beardsleys of Distinction Interest Group.

Lester Beardslee is Notable.
Beardsley Crest
Lester Beardslee is a descendant of the immigrants William Beardsley and Mary Harvie.


Rear Admir Lester Beardslee served in the United States Civil War.
Enlisted: Mar 1850
Mustered out: Feb 1898
Side: USA
Regiment(s): Union Navy

Lester Beardslee is a Military Veteran.
Served in the United States Navy 1850-1898
US Navy : attained rank of Rear Admiral in 1894

Lester Anthony Beardslee, Rear Admiral, United States Navy [1](from a series of contemporary reports):
Born at Little Falls, New York, 1 February 1836, the son of John and Mary (Anthony) Beardslee. Likely related to Grove Spooner Beardslee, {Surgeon and Medical Director} United States Navy. [2]

Entered the United States Naval Academy March 1, 1850 and graduated June 1856. Acting Midshipman, 5 March 1850. Captain, 26 November 1880, Commodore, 23 January 1894, Rear Admiral, 21 May 1895, placed on the retired list, 1 February 1898.

While on USS Plymouth, was member of Commodore Matthew C. Perry's party at the memorable landing at Kurihama, Japan, July 1853, and in an interview with two princes representing the Emperor, to whom Perry presented President Fillmore's letter. As one of the survivors of that event, visited Japan, 1900-01, to advocate erection of monument by Japanese on site of historic interview. The monument was unveiled in impressive ceremonies, July 14, 1901.

During the Civil War, was on the monitor Nantucket during the ironclad attack on Charleston Harbor in April 1863. Served on board the Wachusett off Brazil, participating in the capture of the Confederate cruiser Florida, commanding the latter as prize to Hampton Roads, Virginia. While commanding the tug Palos to meet the Pacific Squadron in 1870, took the first US flag through recently completed Suez Canal.

Commander-in-Chief of US Navy forces on Pacific Station, 1894-97. Appointed US Navy member, US Board for Testing and Reporting on American Metals. Participated as Executive Officer, monitor Nantucket, in attack on Charleston, April 1863. Participated in capture of Confederate steam sloop Florida in Bahia, Brazil, October 1864, and as prize master brought her to US.

While commanding USS Jamestown, 1879-80, in Alaskan waters, covered, surveyed and named Glacier Bay. (See Alaska Place Names, below). Commanded US Frigate Powhatan.

United States frigate Powhatan
Retired from active service on reaching 62 years of age, February 1, 1898. Married: Evelyn, daughter of Isaac Small, Little Falls, NY, January 1863.

Admiral Lester A. Beardslee was an admirer of Henrietta Aiken Kelly, founder and head of the Charleston Female Seminary and an expert on silk worms. Ms. Kelly unsuccessfully attempted to establish a silk farming industry in the South in the post-Civil War period, and Adm. Beardslee started a trail farm before he died, as documented by the following excerpt:

Report of State Officers, Board and Committees to the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina South Carolina General Assembly 1906
In the last annual report attention was called to the efforts to bring about a development of the silk growing industry by inducing silk manufacturers to bring the mills to where the crude material could be grown to great advantage, doing away with heavy import duties, it having been demonstrated that South Carolina soil and climate are peculiarly adapted to silk culture. A representative of silk manufacturers has looked over the field and its possibilities, and it is noted that, while no factory has yet come to the State, a silk factory is shortly to be put in operation in Augusta, Ga., within easy reach of the South Carolina culturists.
Considerable headway has been made with silk growing. The largest undertaking has been that directed by the Italian Consul at Charleston, Mr. Sottile, who has established an attractive silk farm four miles South of Summerville, where some twenty Italian silk growers are at work in a cooperative colony under the superintendency of Domenico Chisena, a graduate of the Agricultural Department of the University of Turin. This is the expert referred to in the last report as having been brought over by Miss Kelly, of this State, who studied silk culture in Lombardy for the Department of Agriculture of the United States.
Silk culture is being prosecuted also in Beaufort County, and the following report of the work there is of interest:
"The silk farm at Beaufort, S. C, was started as an experiment by Admiral Beardslee and he had 4,000 white mulberry trees imported from Italy through Miss Kelly. Admiral Beardslee died before he had accomplished very much in the way of silk farming, but the work was carried on by his wife under the management of Tosaku Mizutani, a Japanese, who is educated in the art and knows all about silk growing. The work on this farm has, up to the present, been done by Japanese labor. The cocoons raised are pronounced first class by the Department at Washington, and bring $1.00 a pound without any trouble. The amount of time put on the growing of the silk is about eight weeks out of the year, six weeks of which is filled up with the feeding of the silk worm. This part of the work has to be done most carefully and requires the closest attention the entire time. The work is pleasant, however, and is easily done by girls, the hardest part of the work being the gathering of the leaves for the silk worm."
At several other points in the State the growing of mulberry trees has been undertaken with success.
I received copies of two letters Adm. Beardslee wrote to Ms. Kelly from Debbi Bloom, a blogger and librarian/researcher in South Carolina. see photo section)

Admiral and the typewriter

One afternoon down in Honolulu harbor Admiral Beardslee, in command of the Pacific Squadron from the flagship Philadelphia, was in a quandary because of the unexpected arrival of the Australian steamer a day ahead of time, that was to carry the fleet's mail to San Francisco. The admiral had a voluminous report to make on the situation in Honolulu—this was during the last Hawaiian revolution—and he had only three hours in which to draw up the report, for the Australian steamer could not, of course, wait.
An Expert on the Typewriter.
The admiral came out of his cabin and told the officer of the deck at the gangway to send ashore with all haste for somebody who could take rapid dictation on a typewriting machine. A young landsman, who had been a good deal of a muff at "sailoring," overheard the admiral giving this order, and he walked up to Beardslee, knuckled his forehead in the usual manner, and volunteered to do the work. The admiral looked at the landsman without much confidence in his gaze.
"What kind of a typewriter do you handle?" he asked the recruit.
"Any kind," was the reply.
The admiral took the landsman recruit aft and began to dictate trial stuff to the bluejacket. The bluejacket rattled the copy off in a style that opened the admiral's eyes. Beardslee dictated his report to the lightning-swift bluejacket typewriter, the words hardly falling from his lips before the landsman had them pat. The admiral took the pages one by one. There wasn't a mistake in spelling, punctuating or paragraphing. The copy was absolutely clean, although the admiral had dictated at the rate of 90 words a minute. The Australian steamer carried Beardslee's report, and the landsman was immediately rated admiral's yeoman, or private secretary. The bluejacket had been a court stenographer in New York City.
from a book: "The Life and Heroic Deeds of Admiral Dewey"

I’ve got two Admiral nuggets for you. One is a bit of color, which is attached. (see the typewrite story above)
The other is that the Admiral used to write quite a bit using the nom-de-plume—"Pisces".
Perhaps he used that name because of his love of fishing ? ‘cause he was born under the sign Aquarius. . . . . William Simpson, North Carolina

The Anchorage

On March 30, 1891 the home was purchased by a Naval officer, Rear Admiral Lester Beardslee for $4,000. From 1891 to 1894 the Admiral was in command of the Port Royal Naval Station. The Admiral’s stated intention for the house was a residence upon his retirement from the Navy In 1901.
Born at Little Falls, New York, Beardslee had a very distinguished Naval career. While on USS Plymouth, he was a member of Commodore Perry's party at the memorable landing at Kurihama, Japan in July of 1853.
In January of 1863 he married Evelyn Small and during the Civil War, was on the monitor Nantucket during the ironclad attack on Charleston Harbor in April 1863. He served on board the Wachusett off Bahia Brazil, participating in the capture of the Confederate cruiser Florida in October of 1864, commanding the latter as prize to Hampton Roads, Virginia. While commanding the tug Palos to meet the Pacific Squadron in 1870, he took the first US flag through recently completed Suez Canal ending the voyage in China.
While on the USS Jamestown, he served as the Commander of the Department of Alaska from 1879-80, in these waters he, covered, surveyed and named Glacier Bay. The popular Beardslee Islands in Glacier Bay are named for the esteemed Admiral. On July 14, 1901, returning to Japan, he participated on the unveiling of a monument commemorating the 40th anniversary of Admiral Perry’s historic voyage. On May 21, 1895 he was promoted to Rear Admiral and on February 1, 1898 he retired from the Navy at 62 years of age.
The April 3, 1902 issue of the Beaufort Gazette reported, “The renovation of the old tabby Clubhouse on the opposite corner from the Sea Island Hotel by Admiral Beardslee for a handsome mansion is progressing, and soon it will be made an imposing residence. Only a shell of the old building is being preserved, and entire new house walls are being built inside. The mansion will be the finest and most elegant in town. The main features of the old Clubhouse will be preserved.”
No expense was spared. The circular staircase was removed and replaced by a broad oaken one. On the main floor, the Adams Mantles were removed and brick ones installed. The interior wood trim was shipped from Denton and Waterbury in New York, one of the finest mills in the United States. To help save the tabby, the exterior was covered with stucco and the porch was rebuilt with an added 3rd level and massive columns. A rear wing on the home was added to provide room for a passenger elevator, the only one in all of Beaufort. During the renovation the Admiral sent his wife on a shopping trip to England. It was at this time that he had several secret compartments built to hide his liquor from her.
Having traveled extensively in “the orient,” the Admiral had collected many ornate pieces of furniture. The crown jewel of the furnishings was an elaborate sideboard for the dinning room. A Japanese father and son had worked for 2 years creating the piece which had a symbol of a pearl guarded by a female dragon between two male dragons. Money was no object as the house was filled with vases, china, jade and paintings. Upon completion of the $80,000 renovation, the Admiral christened the home “The Anchorage.”
Unfortunately, shortly after completion, the Retired-Rear Admiral died suddenly on November 10, 1903 , which is said to have occurred from drinking too much Irish Whiskey and his favorite drink, the Cherry Bounce. He is buried in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery. Find A Grave: Memorial #35366594
His wife Evelyn lived on at the home for 20 more years. She was assisted by the property care taker Tosaku Mizutani and his family. Following the trip to Japan in 1901, the Admiral and his wife returned with Mr. Mizutani. Mizutani was skilled in the art of silk farming. Thus, before he died, the Admiral purchased Lonesome Hill Plantation on St Helena with the intent of producing silk. Beardslee imported 4,000 white mulberry trees from Italy and planted them on the farm. The US Department of Agriculture declared the cocoons produced on the farm a success and note the wild was “first class” and would “bring $1.00 a pound without any trouble.”
Based on the success, Mrs. Beardslee increased her landholdings in 1905 with the purchase of the adjacent 528-acre Isaac Fripp Plantation. Mr. Miztani and his family continued to live at the Anchorage with Mrs. Beardslee silk farming and taking care of all the properties.
Interestingly enough, in 1913, the story of the stately mansion came full circle when on a Monday afternoon in January a quite wedding took place on the property. The contracting parties were Marguerite Elliott, youngest daughter of Captain William Elliott of Yemassee, SC, and Louis S. Givens of Augusta, GA. According to the Captain, the home was built 130 years prior in 1783 by Colonel William Elliott, who was an uncle of the brides grandfather, to whom it was left by will. The Colonel used it as a summer home for many years and his son, the Captain was born there.
On Friday morning December 14, 1923 Mrs. Beardslee passed away at the age of 84 in her room at the Anchorage. Upon her death Mrs. Beardslee left the house to her niece, Ann Usher. Ann’s husband was also a Navy man. Early in his career, Rear Admiral Nathaniel Usher served on the Jamestown under Admiral Beardslee. Through this relationship, he must have met and married Beardslee’s niece.
In another unfortunate occurrence, Ann Usher died only a few months after Mrs. Beardslee on May 29, 1924. After her death, her husband continued to live in the mansion. Admiral Usher had his own distinguished career seeing action in the Spanish-American War and eventually becoming commandant of the Brooklyn navy yard. He retired on April 7, 1919.
After Usher’s death on January 8, 1931, the Anchorage was inherited by their daughter Susan S. Usher. On April 2, 1931 all of the antiques and personal property of the late Admiral Usher were sold by auction in Charleston by Mr. Geo. C. Brilliant at his warehouse on 167 Easy Bay Street. According to Ms. Graydon in “Tales of Beaufort,” the auction was halted after it became evident that “… priceless objects d’art and exclusive pieces of furniture were being sold at ridiculously low prices…” A vase valued at $5,000 was sold for $150. . . . . . Anchorage History

The Beardslee Avocado[3]

In 1895 Rear Admiral L. A. Beardslee, commander of the Pacific naval forces of the United States, with headquarters at San Francisco, came to Honolulu on the flagship Philadelphia. It was on this visit that he introduced several Guatemalan avocado seedlings, the fruit having been brought to him in San Francisco just previous to his sailing for the Hawaiian Islands. On his arrival in Honolulu, January 30, 1895, he gave three of the germinating seeds, wrapped in moist cotton, to his friends Mrs. E. K. Wilder, Judge H. A. Wiedemann, and Judge J. W. Kalua.
The seed given to Mrs. Wilder was planted at her Eshank home in Nuuanu Valley, where the tree fruited and after a few years died. It is thought that none of the seed of this tree was planted.
The seed given to Judge Wiedemann was grown on his premises in the Punahou district of Honolulu" 1402 Punahou Street, now occupied by the Macdonald Hotel. When the tree began to attract attention as a prolific bearer, it became known as the "Macdonald avocado," instead of the Wiedemann, as probably it should have been called. The tree produces very rough, spherical, hard¬ shelled fruit in winter, and the flesh is rich and of excellent flavor. Many trees have been propagated from buds taken from the Macdonald, and it is now recognized as a distinct variety of Guatemalan¬-Hawaiian origin. The most interesting and valuable feature asso¬ciated with its development is the superiority of a number of the progeny to the parent in nature of growth and quality of fruit.
The seed received by Judge Kalua, was taken to Wailuku, Maui, where the tree is still growing. It also is a vigorous, prolific speci¬men which matures its fruit during the winter months. Several seedlings grown from the tree, have excellent qualities and are described elsewhere in this bulletin. The station has propagated trees from buds taken from the Kalua Guatemalan avocado.
From the Mcdonald variety came a variety known as the Beardslee, AKA Ables. It was planted December 18, 1911, by L. C. Ables in his home gardens at 1627 Kewalo Street, Honolulu. It is known to have produced a crop of fruit within four years after planting. The season of maturing the fruit varies from late fall to early winter. The 'tree is of upright and rather dense habit, a reg'ular and prolific bearer. Many trees of this variety have been propagated by budding. The Beardslee is the largest and most perfect of all the Guatemalan varieties that have come under observation at the station. It has been referred to by good authority as the best of its race in Hawaii. The variety was named Beardslee in 1919 in honor of the man who introduced the seed of the parent tree into Hawaii, but it seems to be generally known locally as the Ables.

Port Angeles, Washington

On October 2, 1895, the United States Navy Pacific Fleet, commanded by Rear Admiral Lester A. Beardslee (1836-1903), drops anchor in the deep, protected harbor at Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula. The Fleet's arrival caps a major countywide celebration that is the forerunner of the Clallam County Fair. City leaders entertain Admiral Beardslee and his officers with fishing trips to nearby Lake Crescent, and the Admiral, a noted angler, goes on to popularize the lake's unique variety of rainbow trout now known as Beardslee Trout. Beardslee also approves Port Angeles harbor as an ideal location for naval practice, and until the 1930s, the Pacific Fleet returns annually for summer exercises in the harbor. [Excerpt from HistoryLink.org Essay 8211][4]

Beardslee Trout

Named for Lester A. Beardslee, Rear-Admiral, United States Navy, Beardslee trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus f. beardsleei, formerly Salmo gairdneri beardsleei) are a local form of Rainbow trout endemic to Lake Crescent in Washington and spawn in the Lyre River, near the outlet of the lake. By some sources, they are treated as a subspecies. Beardslee are somewhat difficult to distinguish from the Lake Crescent cutthroat trout, which is also endemic to Lake Crescent, as they only take on the Rainbow colors during spawning. The spawning grounds of the Beardslee (considered the rarest salmonid in the Olympic National Park) are severely threatened by siltation, and the degradation of logjams in the river used as spawning grounds.
Beardslee rainbow trout were originally called, and are still known to locals, as Bluebacks, because of the deep indigo blue color of the backs of the fish.
Beardslee trout have been known to grow to 15 to 20 pounds in weight, with a few even reaching 22 pounds in weight. The largest Beardslee trout ever caught reportedly weighed 23 pounds and was caught by Theodore F. Rixon, an early local engineer and surveyor, who lived for a while at Fairholm.
Rear-Admiral Lester A. Beardslee fished for Bluebacks at Lake Crescent during visits of the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet to Port Angeles, in 1895 and 1896. Rear-Admiral Beardslee wrote to Dr. David Starr Jordan about the fish and enclosed photographs with the mail. At the time, Dr. Jordan was the leading American ichthyologist and the first President of Stanford University. After further investigation, Dr. Jordan named the trout after Rear-Admiral Beardslee.

Alaska Place Names

Beardslee Entrance - water passage in Glacier Bay National Monument 1.5 mi across near S entrance to Glacier Bay between Young and Strawberry Is., 58 mi NW of Juneau St Elias Mts 58° 30’ N 136° 00’ W; BGN 1942 (map 11). Var. Strawberry Passage. Name proposed by USC&GS in 1938 Rear Adm Lester Anthony Beardslee, 1836-1903, USN, who explored and named Glacier Bay in 1880. The name Strawberry Passage was used by USC&GS prior to BGN approval of the name Beardslee Entrance.
Beardslee Island - see Kayak Island - Kayak Island 20 mi long in Gulf of Alaska 62 mi SE of Cordova Malaspina Coastal Plain 59° 56’ N 144° 23’ W BGN Sixth Report (map 48). Var Carmen Island, Kaiak Island, Kaye's Island, Kay's Island, Kyak Island, Nuestra Senora del Carmen, Saint Elias Island, Beardslee Island
Beardslee Islands - 0.2 mi across 1 mi S of Sitka in Galankin Is Sitka Sound Alex Arch 57° 02’ 05” N 135° 20’ 30” W 9 Var Sand Islands Named in 1880 by the US Navy for Capt., later Rear Adm., Lester Anthony Beardslee, 1836-1903, USN. Beardslee commanded the USS Jamestown, 1879-90, in Alaska waters; he discovered surveyed and named Glacier Bay
Beardslee Islands - group 9.5 mi long in Glacier Bay National Monument off E shore of Glacier Bay, 5 mi N of Point Gustavus, and 55 mi NW of Juneau, St Elias Mts; 58° 32’ N 135° 55’ W (map 11). Var. Beardsley Islands, Sand Islands. Named by officers of the US Navy in 1880 for Capt. Lester Anthony Beardslee, 1836-1903, USN.
Beardslee River or Beardslee River - stream on the mainland tributary to William Henry bay Lynn canal Alexander archipelago So named by United States naval officers 1880 after Rear Admiral Beardslee (Baker 1906, p 123)
Lester Island - Named in 1942 by U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (USC&GS) for Rear Admiral Lester Anthony Beardslee, 1836-1903, who as commander of the U. S. S. Jamestown, surveyed various Alaskan coves and harbors in 1879-1880, and who is supposed to have been the first to apply the name "Glacier Bay." southern most of the Beardslee Is., in Glacier Bay, in Glacier Bay National Monument, St. Elias Mts.
Anthony Island - Named in 1939 by U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (USC&GS) for Captain Lester Anthony Beardslee, U.S. Navy (USN), who is supposed to have been the first to apply the name Glacier Bay. Near the head of Bartlett Cove, east side of entrance to Glacier Bay, St. Elias Mountains.
Beardsley Islands- islands see Beardslee Islands

This profile is a collaborative work-in-progress. Can you contribute information or sources?


  1. Arlington National Cemetery Website
  2. Admiral Lester Beardslee's Wikipedia page
  3. See: The Guatemalen Avocado in Hawaii.
  4. HistoryLink.org: Port Angeles
  • Beardsley Genealogy: The Family of William Beardsley, One of the First Settlers of Connecticut. Compiled and edited by Nellie Beardsley Holt and Charles Eleazer Holt. Published at West Hartford, Connecticut, 1951. Lester Beardslee is Holt Record #1200, Pg. 443.[5]
  • The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Volume XIII, James T. White & Company, New York, 1906: Lester Anthony Beardslee, pg. 474[6]
  • 1850 US Census: Little Falls, Herkimer County, NY, 29 Jul 1850 [7]
  • New York, State Census, 1855: Little Falls, Herkimer, NY, E.D. 1, 12 Jun 1855[8]
  • 1870 US Census: Little Falls, Herkimer County, NY, 17 Jun 1870, Pg. 26[9]
  • 1900 US Census: Fairholme, Clallam County, WA, 7 Jun 1900, Enumeration District 15, Sheet 6A[10]
  • District of Columbia, Select Deaths and Burials, 1840-1964: Lester A. Beardslee, died 10 Nov 1903[11]
  • 1875 New York, State Census: Little Falls, Herkimer County, NY, E.D. 1, 25 Jun 1975, Pg. 56 [12]
  • Ohio, Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center Obituary Index, 1810s-2013 - Original data: Hayes Presidential Center Obituary Indexers and Volunteers. “Ohio Obituary Index.” Database. Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center.
  • U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 - General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. T288, 546 rolls.
  • The Anchorage 1770 House: owned and renovated by Admiral Beardslee. 1103 Bay Street Beaufort, South Carolina
  • History of The Anchorage 1770 home
  • Arlington National Cemetery, Lester A. Beardslee[13]
  • Find A Grave: Memorial #35366594 Lester Anthony Beardslee, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington VA, Plot: Section 1 Site 425
  • U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962 - Interment Control Forms, 1928–1962. Interment Control Forms, A1 2110-B. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92. The National Archives at College Park, College Park, Maryland.
  • U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006 - National Cemetery Administration. Nationwide Gravesite Locator

See also:

Research Notes

There is an age gap between Lester and his sister Anna to their other siblings of about 10 years. The Holt genealogy lists a number of children who died young but provides no dates, and the two census records do not list the other children. The Holt genealogy also does not include Anna in the family of John B. Beardslee.
'The census records show John B Beardslee's wife as "Eliza W" (1850 Federal) and "Celanthy" (1855 NY State). The 1855 census listing is very difficult to read, and the translation is undoubtedly in error. The Holt genealogy lists only a Mary M Anthony as John's wife.
The possibility of John having two wives may be worth investigating, and may explain the age gap of the siblings and the discrepancy of names on the censuses.
  • However, Lester's middle name suggests that his mother was probably Mary Anthony.

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DNA Connections
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Lester is 18 degrees from Caryl Ruckert, 14 degrees from Harriet Stowe and 17 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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