Matthew Fontaine Maury


Matthew Fontaine Maury was born in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, United States on January 14th, 1806 and is the Oceanographer. At the age of 67, Matthew Fontaine Maury biography, profession, age, height, weight, eye color, hair color, build, measurements, education, career, dating/affair, family, news updates, and networth are available.

Date of Birth
January 14, 1806
United States
Place of Birth
Spotsylvania County, Virginia, United States
Death Date
Feb 1, 1873 (age 67)
Zodiac Sign
Astronomer, Cartographer, Educator, Geographer, Historian, Meteorologist, Naval Officer, Oceanographer
Matthew Fontaine Maury Height, Weight, Eye Color and Hair Color

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Matthew Fontaine Maury Life

Matthew Fontaine Maury (January 14, 1806 – February 1, 1873) was an American astronomer, United States Navy officer, oceanographer, meteorographer, cartographer, geologist, and educator. For his numerous books, including "Mather of Modern Oceanography and Naval Meteorology," and later, "Scientist of the Seas," he was referred to as "Pathfinder of the Seas" and "Father of Modern Oceanography and Naval Meteorology" and "Projector of the Seas."

Maury made many important new contributions to the ocean currents and winds, including ocean lanes for passing ships at sea. A midshipman's warrant in the United States Navy was obtained by Maury in 1825, aged 19 years old, through US Representative Sam Houston.

He began to investigate the seas and find navigation methods on board the frigate USS Brandywine right away.

Maury, who sustained a leg injury, was unfit for sea service, dedicated his time to the study of navigation, meteorology, winds, and currents.

He was both Superintendent of the United States Naval Observatory and Director of the Base of Charts and Instruments.

Maury collected thousands of ships' logs and charts from around the world.

He authored the Wind and Current Chart of the North Atlantic Ocean, which showed sailors how to exploit the ocean's currents and winds to their advantage, drastically reducing the length of ocean voyages.

Navies and merchant marines around the world used Maury's standard method of collecting oceanographic data, and it was used to create charts for all of the major trade routes. Maury, a Virginian, resigned his post as a US Navy commander and joined the Confederacy as the American Civil War began.

He served in the South as well as abroad, in Great Britain, Ireland, and France.

While he facilitated the acquisition of a ship, CSS Georgia for the Confederacy, he also advocated against the war in America among other European countries.

Following the war, Maury accepted a teaching position at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia.

He died at the institute in 1873 after completing an exhausting state-to-state lecture tour on national and international weather forecasting on land.

He had also written Geological Survey of Virginia and a new series of young people's geography.

Later life

Maury was in the West Indies on his way back to the Confederacy when he learned of its demise. Many in Fredericksburg, where Maury's immediate family lived, were devastated by the war. On Robert E. Lee's recommendation, he did not return to Virginia, but sent a letter advising his surrender to Union naval forces in the Gulf of Mexico and headed for Mexico. There Maximilian, whom he had met in Europe, appointed him "Imperial Commissioner of Colonization" to replace him. Maury and Maximilian's initiative was to entice former Confederates to immigrate to Mexico by constructing Carlotta and New Virginia Colony for refugees and refugees from other countries. "The thought of abandoning the country and all that must be left in it is abhorrent to my thoughts, and I rather fight for its restoration and reveal its destiny than to lose all." The scheme, in the end, did not attract the intended immigrants and Maximilian, who were facing increasing resistance in Mexico. Maury returned to England in 1866 and found jobs there.

He was pardoned by the federal government and returned to school, taking the position of physics at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, where he held the chair of physics. He did a physical investigation of Virginia while in Lexington, which he wrote in the book The Physical Geography of Virginia. He had worked as a gold mining superintendent in Fredericksburg once but had researched geology a great deal at that time and was well versed to write such a book. He wanted to help war-ravaged Virginia resurrect by finding and extracting minerals, improving farming, etc. He lectured extensively in the United States and abroad. As an adjunct to the Virginia Military Institute, he called for the establishment of a state agricultural college. The Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College was established in Blacksburg, Virginia, which was later renamed Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1872. Maury was considered the country's first president but decided against it due to his age.

In his book The Southern Literary Messenger, Benjamin Blake Minor had previously suggested him as president of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1848. He considered serving as president of St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, the University of Alabama, and the University of Tennessee. From remarks that he made in letters, it appears that he preferred being close to General Robert E. Lee in Lexington, where Lee was president of Washington College. Maury served as a pall bearer for Lee. He also spoke to European officials about joint work on a weather bureau for land, just as he had mapped the winds and forecast hurricanes at sea many years ago. He continued his speeches until he died giving a speech at the end of his days. He returned home after recovering and told Ann Hull Herndon-Maury, "I have come home to die."


Matthew Fontaine Maury Career

Early life and career

Maury was a descendant of the Maury family, a prominent Virginia family whose Huguenot ancestry can be traced back to 15th-century France. Thomas Jefferson's grandfather (the Reverend James Maury) was an enthralling mentor to a potential US president. Maury also had Dutch-American roots from the "Minor" family of early Virginia.

He was born in 1806 in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, near Fredericksburg; his parents were Richard Maury and Diane Minor Maury. When he was five years old, the family moved to Franklin, Tennessee. Flag Lieutenant John Minor Maury's younger brother, Flag Lieutenant John Minor Maury, was keen to imitate pirates' naval career, but he caught yellow fever after fighting pirates as an officer in the US Navy. Matthew's father, Richard, had declined to join the Navy due to John's tragic death. Maury strongly considered attending West Point to get a better education than the Navy could provide at the time, but instead, he obtained a naval appointment through the influence of Tennessee Senator Sam Houston, a family friend of 1825, who died at the age of 19.

Following La Fayette's historic 1824 visit to France, Maury joined the Navy as a midshipman on board the frigate Brandywine carrying the elderly Marquis de La Fayette home to France. Maury began to investigate the seas and to record navigation methods almost immediately. A circumnavigation of the globe on the USS Vincennes, his assigned ship and the first US warship to travel around the world, was one of the experiences that piqued this curiosity.

Scientific career

After a stagecoach accident broke his right leg, Maury's seagoing days came to an end at the age of 33. "The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatever passeth through the seas" following Psalms 8:8 as "the fowl of the air, and the seals of the sea." Psalms of David had been known since childhood by Maury. Matthew Fontaine Maury's Life (compiled by his son, Diana Fontaine Maury Corbin, 1888), she writes: "She writes: "In A Life of Matthew Fontaine Maury" (written by his daughter, 1888).

The young lieutenant became a librarian of the numerous unorganized log books and records as officer-in-charge of the United States Navy office in Washington, DC. He wanted to improve seamanship by organizing the data in his office and setting up a reporting system among the country's shipmasters in order to obtain further details about sea conditions and observations. The result of his research's international success and the publication of Wind and Current Chart of the North Atlantic in 1847. In 1854, his international recognition assisted with the change of focus and name of the depot to the United States Naval Observatory and Hydrographical Office. He was in charge of this position until his resignation in April 1861. Maury was one of the leading advocates for the establishment of a national observatory, and he lobbied to science enthusiast and former US President John Quincy Adams for the establishment of what would eventually become the Naval Observatory. Adams, who loved astronomy as an occupation, was occasionally hosted at the Naval Observatory by Maury. Adams, who was concerned that Maury had a long walk to and from his home on upper Pennsylvania Avenue, introduced an appropriations bill that paid for a Superintendent's House on the Observatory grounds. Adams, as a result of regularly stopping by for a look through the facility's telescope, had no regrets.

Maury, a sailor, said that numerous lessons had been learned by ship masters about the effects of dangerous winds and drift currents on a ship's course. The captains logged the lessons faithfully in their logbooks, but they were later forgotten. Thousands of old ships' logs and charts were discovered in trunks dating back to the US Navy's inception. In both seasons, he pored over the papers to gather data on winds, calms, and currents for all seas. His aim was to have all captains have access to this information.

The migration of whales was also tracked by Maury using the old ships' logs. Whales went to sea for years, but not for years, and it was unknown that whales migrate and that their paths can be traced.

Maury's study into ocean currents led him to promote his theory of the Northwest Passage, as well as the fact that an area in the ocean near the North Pole is occasionally free of ice. The reasoning behind it was correct. The markings and design of old whaler ships were used to determine the configurations and markings of harpoons. Harpoons were found in captured whales in the Atlantic and vice versa at a rate that may not have been possible if the whales had passed around Cape Horn.

Maury, who knew the whale was a mammal, alerted that a northern passage without ice would exist to allow whales to breathe. That was a common thought that prompted many explorers to look for a fast navigable sea route. Many of them died on their quest for it.

Lieutenant Maury's Wind and Current Chart of the North Atlantic demonstrated how to harness the ocean's currents and winds to their advantage and drastically reduced the length of voyages. His Sailing Directions and Physical Geography of the Seas and Its Meteorology remain unchanged. Navies and merchant marines around the world have adopted Maury's common method of collecting synoptic oceanographic data, which has been used to produce charts for all major trade routes.

The Naval Observatory team in Maury included midshipmen, Lieutenants John Mercer Brooke, William Lewis Herndon, Lardner Gibbon, Isaac Strain, John "Jack" Minor Maury II of the United States Darien Exploration Expedition, and others. The Observatory's service was always temporary, and new men had to be trained over and over again. Hence, Lt. Maury was employed with both scientific and nautical duties at the same time, and was constantly training new temporary workers to assist with these duties. As his fame grew, the competition among young midshipmen to work with him soared. He's always had able, though constantly changing assistants.

Maury pushed for a new navy education, including a West Point naval academy. That reform was largely pushed by Maury's numerous "Scraps from the Lucky Bag" and other newspaper columns, bringing about several changes in the Navy, including the realization of the United States Naval Academy.

He was instrumental in the creation of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which was held at its first meeting in 1848.

Maury, a native of 1849, was the first to announce the need for a transcontinental railroad to link the Eastern United States and California. He suggested a southerly route with Memphis, Tennessee, as the eastern terminus, because it is equidistant from Lake Michigan and the Gulf of Mexico. He claimed that a southerly route through Texas would prevent winter snow and could help with trade with Mexico's northern states. Maury has also advocated for the building of a railroad across Panama's Isthmus.

Maury was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1852 for his scientific contributions.