NEWSLETTER / "No More Plebes" May 12, 2022

LINK to purchase access to 2021-2022 Academic Year photos, including Herndon and Sea Trials.


Here is the "multiple guess" (as the midshipmen call these things) question.

The Herndon Monument Climb is named after William Louis Herndon. Which of the following is not true of William Louis Herndon:

1) There is a city named after his family, YES

2) He was a midshipman at the Academy, YES and NO

3) He married the sister of the man considered the "Father of Oceanography", YES

4) His daughter married a president of the United States,

5) He wrote a book still being published printed today.

6) He inspired Mark Twain to write a novel about the Mississippi,

7) He was ordered to save the United States from a financial crisis

8) A very distant relative worked on the movie, "Breakfast at Tiffany's"


By the time we get through all the answers to this "multiple guess," you will understand how William Louis Herndon's life touched so many aspects of American life.

Even more impressive is Matthew Fontaine Maury. One of the buildings is named after him, Maury Hall. As you look at Mahan Hall, Maury Hall is on the left at the end of Stribling Walk.

Mauray HallMauray Hall

Maury was an astronomer, historian, Meteorologist, cartographer, author (The Physical Geography of the Sea), geologist and educator.


Maury hired Herndon to work with him at the Naval Observatory, Department of Charts from 1842 to 1846. Herndon had married Maury's sister.  Maury worked Herndon to the bone, so much Herndon decided to go back to the sea to find peace and quiet.

Later Maury would go back to the sea too. He finally decided to take a vacation and took a trip out west. While traveling on he fell off a cart and broke his leg. He definitely could never return to the sea. So he decided to examine all the ship's logs he could get his hands on and studied them night and day. He had this crazy would it take less time to go one direction on the seas than the opposite.


Ocean CurrentsOcean Currents A

After working for years, he proposed the theory. Everyone laughed at him. History would later prove him right.

Several years later he would hypothesized that if there were ocean currents, there were also air currents. Keep in mind that the Wright brothers has not even been born--and therefore the airplane had not been invented.

Air CurrentsAir Currents

Scientists thought he was even crazier with this idea. He again was right.

If you "google" Matthew LaFontaine Maury, you will see he is considered the father of oceanography.

Larry Thornton