Foxhall A. Parker Sr.

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Foxhall A. Parker Sr.
Foxhall A. Parker Sr.jpg
Westmoreland County, Virginia
DiedNovember 23, 1857 (aged 68–69)
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Navy
Years of service1808 - 1857
Commands held
  • USS Constitution
  • Home Squadron
  • East India Squadron
Battles/warsWar of 1812
  • Foxhall A. Parker Jr. (son)
  • William Harwar Parker (son)

Foxhall Alexander Parker Sr. (1788 – 23 November 1857) was an officer in the United States Navy.[2] He was Commander-in-Chief of the East India Squadron (ie. U.S. Navy forces in the Far East),[3] commanded the Home Squadron, and was commander of the USS Constitution.


Parker was born in Rock Spring, Westmoreland County, Virginia.[4]

In 1814, he married Sarah Jay Bogardus (born 1794), daughter of Robert Bogardus (1771–1841).[4] They had eight children,[4] including Foxhall A. Parker Jr. (1821–1879)[1] and William Harwar Parker (1826–1896), who were also prominent naval officers.


Parker joined the Navy as a midshipman on January 1, 1808.[2] During the War of 1812 he was captured at sea.[2] He was commissioned lieutenant on March 9, 1813,[2] commander on March 3, 1825, and captain on March 3, 1835.[2]

In 1821, he served in USS Constitution as first lieutenant, and he assumed command of her in 1842.[2]

Parker was appointed commander of the East Indian Squadron in 1843. While in this position he was involved with Caleb Cushing's mission to Macao where Parker and Cushing were the two of the three signatories of the historic first Sino-American pact, known as the Treaty of Wanghia.[5]

Following his assignment with Cushing, while commanding the Boston naval yard (an assignment he held for three and a half years), he was sent to Europe in 1848[6] to advise the German government. They had requested an American officer to assist with the organization of their navy.[7] He was sent on the recommendation of the Secretary of the Navy, John T. Mason. While there he was entertained by the King of Germany and other dignitaries, and then offered Supreme Command of the German Navy (Reichsflotte), established in 1848, it was the first navy for all of Germany. He declined, his son later presumed, because he didn't want to leave the US Navy and was concerned about the unsettled state of Europe at the time.[6]

In 1851, Parker was appointed "special Commissioner" to Havana, Cuba, to meet with Spanish General Captain Concha, who held 156 American prisoners destined for prison mines over a failed insurrection. Parker's negotiations with Concha were made in parallel with other American diplomats, but Parker's contributions 'did no harm' in Concha's later decision to release the prisoners.[8]

Also in 1851, Parker was involved in an incident in Nicaragua involving a British ship firing on an American ship, which could have escalated into an Anglo-American war.[9] The wealthy business magnet Cornelius Vanderbilt arrived by ship in the Nicaraguan port of Greytown (a British port), refused to pay port fees and steamed away. The British fired upon Vanderbilt and escorted his ship back to harbor where the angered Vanderbilt paid the fee. Parker with two warships was dispatched to Greytown where he informed the British the United States would not tolerate the collection of port duties by the British Navy.[10] The British officer commanding the Royal Navy in the Caribbean (Vice-Admiral George F. Seymour) took immediate steps to defuse the crisis by admonishing the captain who had fired the shots, and sent one of his captains to meet with Parker and assure him "the interception of Vanderbilt's ship was completely unauthorized", and a larger incident was averted.[11]

In 1851, as a commodore, he commanded the Home Squadron.[12] He was relieved from this assignment in 1853.[7]

See also[edit]

Others articles of the Topic Biography : Mukul Kumar, Carl W. Weiss, Everett F. Larson, Gabriel Colombo, Stephon Hood, Lil Peep, Buckner Fanning


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Parker I (Destroyer No. 48) 1913–1935". Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "Foxhall Alexander Parker Sr". USS Constitution Museum. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  3. Kemp Tolley (2000). Yangtze Patrol: The U.S. Navy in China. Naval Institute Press. p. 317. Search this book on Logo.png
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 D. P (January 1899). "The Parker Family. Of Essex, the Northern Neck, &c". The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. Virginia Historical Society. 6 (3): 303. JSTOR 4242168. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  5. David Foster Long (1988). Gold Braid and Foreign Relations. Naval Institute Press. p. 214. Search this book on Logo.png
  6. 6.0 6.1 Daingerfield Parker (June 3, 1899). "Commodore Parker's Service with the Germans". Army and Navy Journal: 959.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Nathan Crosby, ed. (1858). "Parker, Comm. Foxhall A.". Annual Obituary Notices of Eminent Persons Who Have Died in the United States. For 1857. Phillips, Sampson and Company. p. 263. Search this book on Logo.png
  8. David Foster Long (1988). Gold Braid and Foreign Relations. Naval Institute Press. p. 120. Search this book on Logo.png
  9. Stephen Dando-Collins (2008). Tycoon's War: How Cornelius Vanderbilt Invaded a Country to Overthrow America's Most Famous Military Adventurer. Da Capo Press. p. 22-28. Search this book on Logo.png
  10. Stephen Dando-Collins (2008). Tycoon's War: How Cornelius Vanderbilt Invaded a Country to Overthrow America's Most Famous Military Adventurer. Da Capo Press. p. 26. Search this book on Logo.png
  11. David Foster Long (1988). Gold Braid and Foreign Relations. Naval Institute Press. p. 122-123. Search this book on Logo.png
  12. Lyon Gardiner Tyler, ed. (1915). "Parker, Foxhall Alexander". Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography. 2. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company. pp. 205–206. Search this book on Logo.png
Military offices
Preceded by
Lawrence Kearny
Commander, East India Squadron
27 February 1843–21 April 1845
Succeeded by
James Biddle

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