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William Sheffield Cowles (abt. 1846 - abt. 1923)

Admiral William Sheffield "Rear Admiral" Cowles
Born about in Farmington, Hartford, Connecticut, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 18 Feb 1873 in District of Columbia, United States of Americamap
Husband of — married Nov 1895 in London, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died about at about age 76 in Farmington, Hartford, Connecticut, United Statesmap
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Profile last modified | Created 31 Dec 2008
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United States Admiral, Commander-in-Chief, Asiatic Fleet.

William was born August 1, 1846 in Farmington, Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Thomas Cowles and Elizabeth Sheffield He passed away about 1923. and is buried in Riverside Cemetery, Farmington, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA.[1]

Bamie Roosevelt fell in love with U.S. naval attaché, Lt. Cmdr. William Sheffield Cowles. They wed in London in November 1895. Two years later, they returned to the United States to live. In October 1898, Bye gave birth to the Cowles’ only child, named for his father but known as Sheffield.[2] Sheffield was previously married to Mary Pleasant Thurman Holliday.

Cowles commanded the gunboat, Topeka during the Spanish–American War, and served as naval aide to President McKinley. He was in command of the battleship Missouri when it collided with the Illinois, and when thirty-three men were killed in an explosion (he was cleared of responsibility in both cases).[1] He served as the Commander-in-Chief, Asiatic Fleet, and retired from the Navy in August 1908 after 45 years in service.[3]

When Theodore Roosevelt left the presidency and Will Cowles retired from the Navy, the Cowles family moved to Oldgate, their home in Connecticut. Sheffield graduated from Yale University and married Margaret A. Krech in 1921.

Bye was beset by an increasing deafness, devastating arthritis, the failure of her eyesight, and continued backaches. Will’s health declined as well, and he died in 1923. After her husband's death, Bye remained at the center of a large circle of family and friends. She died at Oldgate, on August 25, 1931.

Naval Career

  • 1863: Appointed to Naval Academy 7 Jul 21, 1863
  • 1867 Graduated
  • 1869 Promoted to ensign
  • 1870 Promoted to master
  • 1871 Commissioned Lieutenant
  • 1892 Lieutenant commander 1892
  • 1899 Commander June 5, 1899
  • 1902 Capt Nov 2, 1902
  • 1867-68 Served on Minnesota in Mediterranean squadron
  • 1867-68 Pensacola and Saginaw in N. Pacific Squadron
  • 1870 Naval Observatory, Washington D. D.
  • 1871 Torpedo Station, Newport, RI
  • 1872 Practice gunnery ship Constellation, 1872
  • 1873 Alaska, Mediterranean, West Indies 1873
  • 1874-1905-06 Alaska, coast of Africa
  • 1877-78-89, 80 Tennessee and Monacacy, China station
  • 1881-82 Navy Yard, NY
  • 1882-1903-04 Flag Lieut, N. Atlantic Squadron
  • Sec bd Inspection Merchant Ships NYC
  • 1891-92 Naval aide to sec of Navy and in charge Naval Militia
  • 1893-97 Naval attache U.S. Embassy, London,
  • 1897-98 Commanding Fer, North Atlantic squadron
  • 1898-99 Commanding Topeka
  • 1899-1903 Assistant to Bureau of navigation
  • 1903-04 Commanding battleship Missouri
  • 1899-1903 Assistant,
  • 1905 Chief of Bureau of Equipment, Washing D.D. since Jan 23, 1905 with rank of rear-admiral[4]


  1. FIndAGrave: William Sheffield Cowles: Memorial ID: 51956472 Maintained by: Find A Grave. Originally Created by: Garver Graver. Record added: May 03, 2010. Last accessed Aug 4, 2017.
  2. Theodore Roosevelt Center: Anna Roosevelt Cowles
  3. Wikipedia: William S. Cowles
  4. Who’s who in New York City and State, Issue 3, edited by John William Leonard, William Frederick Mohr, Frank R. Holmes, Herman Warren Knox, Dinfield Scott Downs

London and Surrey, England, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1597-1921 Author Publisher Operations, Inc. Publisher Date 2011 Publisher Location Provo, UT, USA

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Cowles-950 and Cowles-1 appear to represent the same person because: same/similar dates, same lineage and wife
posted by Robin Lee

C  >  Cowles  >  William Sheffield Cowles

Categories: Riverside Cemetery, Farmington, Connecticut