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William Faxon

William Faxon (1822-1883) was a journalist who served as chief clerk of the United States Navy from 1861 to 1866 and as United States Assistant Secretary of the Navy from 1866 until 1869.


In 1857, Faxon formed a partnership with Joseph Roswell Hawley, Faxon & Hawley, which purchased the Hartford Evening Press, a Republican newspaper founded by Gideon Welles in 1856.[1] They soon invited Charles Dudley Warner and Stephen A. Hubbard to join their newspaper.[1]

In 1861, President of the United States Abraham Lincoln appointed Gideon Welles as United States Secretary of the Navy. Welles wanted to appoint Faxon as chief clerk of the Navy at this time, but the politically influential Francis Preston Blair and his son Montgomery Blair pressured Lincoln to appoint Gustavus Fox instead.[2] As a compromise, the post of Assistant Secretary of the Navy was created for Fox,[2] and Faxon joined the United States Department of the Navy as a clerk in March 1861, and then succeeded Fox as chief clerk on July 31, 1861.[3] As chief clerk of the Navy during the American Civil War, Faxon was in charge of the records, correspondence, and personnel of the Office of the Secretary of the Navy and oversaw the finances of the Department of the Navy.[3] On June 1, 1866, Faxon succeeded Fox as Assistant Secretary of the Navy,[3] holding this office until 1869.[4]

Faxon died in 1883.


  1. 1.0 1.1 H. Clay Williams, Biographical Encyclopaedia of Connecticut and Rhode Island of the Nineteenth Century, p. 93.
  2. 2.0 2.1 John Y. Simon and Harold Holzer, The Lincoln Forum: Rediscovering Abraham Lincoln, pp. 53-54.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Charles O. Paullin, "New England Secretaries of the Navy," New England Magazine, Vol. 37, p. 664.
  4. Howard K. Beale, The Diary of Edward Bates 1859-1866, p. 259.
Government offices
Preceded by
Gustavus Fox
Assistant Secretary of the Navy
June 1, 1866 – March 3, 1889
Succeeded by
James R. Soley

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