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Charles Francis Adams III
Adams (left) with Speaker of the House Nicholas Longworth on the White House lawn, June 27, 1929.
44th United States Secretary of the Navy

In office
March 5, 1929 – March 4, 1933
Preceded by Curtis D. Wilbur
Succeeded by Claude A. Swanson
Personal details
Born August 2, 1866
Quincy, Massachusetts
Died June 10, 1954(1954-06-10) (aged 87)
Boston, Massachusetts
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Frances Lovering Adams
Alma mater Harvard University
Profession Politician, Lawyer, Yachtsman

Charles Francis Adams III (August 2, 1866 – June 10, 1954) was the United States Secretary of the Navy under President Herbert Hoover and a well-known yachtsman.


A scion of the Adams family that gave the country two presidents, Charles Francis III was born in Quincy, Massachusetts to John Quincy Adams II (1833–1894);[1][2] the oldest son of the Secretary's grandfather Charles Francis Adams, Sr.; his great-grandfather was sixth U. S. President John Quincy Adams; and his great-great-grandfather was second U. S. President John Adams. He was also the great-grandson of U. S. Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Williams Crowninshield; Fanny Cadwalader Crowninshield's grandfather.[3]

Charles Francis Adams, Jr. (1835–1915) was the uncle, not the father of Charles Francis Adams III, an assumption regularly made by virtue of sequential name succession. Charles F. Adams, Jr. had five children, the first three being daughters, which may explain why his brother John Q. Adams II took the prerogative to name his son after their uncle. Charles, Jr.'s only sons (twins) were born in 1875.

Adams graduated cum laude from Harvard College (1888) and from Harvard Law School (1892). He was first a lawyer, then went into business. He married Frances Lovering, the daughter of U.S. Representative William C. Lovering, in 1899. They had one son, Charles, and one daughter, Catherine (both noted below).

Adams served as Mayor of Quincy, Massachusetts from 1896 to 1897. Chas. F. Adams, III is the third cousin twice removed of Otis Norcross, 19th Mayor of Boston. Both descending from their fourth great grandfather, Joseph Adams; Otis from his first wife Mary [Chapin], and Charles from his second wife Hannah [Bass].[4]

In 1920, he skippered the America's Cup defender Resolute and soon became known as the "Dean of American Helmsmen". He was inducted into the America's Cup Hall of Fame (1993).

The Charles Francis Adams Memorial Trophy for yacht racing was established in his memory, and the Navy destroyer USS Charles F. Adams was dedicated in his honor.

As Secretary of the Navy, (1929–1933), he vigorously promoted public understanding of the Navy's indispensable role in international affairs, and worked strenuously to maintain naval strength and efficiency during a period of severe economic depression. He served at the London Naval Conference in 1930 where he successfully maintained the principle of United States naval parity with Britain. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1932.[5] He died in 1954 and is interred in Mount Wollaston Cemetery in Quincy, Norfolk County, Massachusetts next to his father, John Quincy Adams II, and his grandfather, Charles Francis Adams, Sr.


Charles Francis Adams III and Frances [nee Lovering] had two children:

  • His daughter, Catherine Adams, (b. January 13, 1902, d. September 28, 1988) married (June 26, 1923)[6] Henry Sturgis Morgan, son of J. P. Morgan, Jr. and one of the founders of Morgan Stanley (1935), along with Harold Stanley. They had five sons.
  • His son, Charles Francis Adams IV, (b. May 2, 1910, d. January 5, 1999) was a prominent businessman and first president of Raytheon Company, who married firstly Margaret [Stockton], and had issue: Abigail Adams, Allison Adams, Charles Francis Adams V, and Timothy Adams. He married secondly, widow Mrs. Beatrice D. Penati.

Charles Francis Adams III was a brother of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Alpha chapter).

Family tree

The following is a selective family tree of notable members of the Adams family relative to Charles Francis Adams III:

President John Quincy Adams
Louisa Catherine Johnson
Peter Chardon Brooks
Abigail [Brown]
Charles Francis Adams, Sr.
Abigail Brown [Brooks]
George Caspar Crowninshield
Harriet [Sears]
Charles Francis Adams, Jr.
John Quincy Adams, Jr
Frances Cadwalader [Crowninshield]
John Quincy Adams, III
George Caspar Adams
Charles Frances Adams, III
Frances [Lovering]
Frances C. Adams
Arthur Adams
Margery Lee [Sargeant]
Abigail ("Hitty") Adams
Robert Homans
Catherine Lovering Adams
Henry Sturgis Morgan
Charles Francis Adams, IV
Margaret [Stockton]
Children 3 Sons; 1 Daughter
Five Sons
Abigail Adams
James C.Manny
Allison Adams
Paul G. Hagan
Charles Francis Adams V
Timothy Adams


  1. Lint, Gregg L., Taylor, C. James, et al. The Adams Papers: Papers of John Adams, October 1782 - May 1783. Harvard: The Belknap Press, Vol. 14, p. xlii, Boston: Harvard University Press, 2008.
  2. Adams, Henry, Levenson, J. C., Massachusetts Historical Society, et al. The Letters of Henry Adams, Volumes 4 – 6, 1892–1918. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989, pp. xxxvi – xxxvii.
  3. Browning, Charles Henry. Americans of Royal Descent: A Collection of Genealogies of American Families Whose Lineage is traced to the Legitimate Issue of Kings. Philadelphia: Porter & Costes, 1891, ed. 2, pp. 68 – 69.
  4. Cutter, William Richard and Adams, William Frederick. Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing. Co, Vol. 1, 1910, p. 541 – 545.
  5. "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  6. New York Times. “J. Pierpont’s Second Son Engaged: Henry Sturgis, Harvard Junior, to Wed Miss Catherine Adams of Boston, After Graduation.” June 24, 1922, p. 26.

External links

Government offices
Preceded by
Curtis D. Wilbur
United States Secretary of the Navy
March 5, 1929 – March 4, 1933
Succeeded by
Claude A. Swanson

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