March 10: Mordecai Thomas Endicott (1926)

Shortly before the Spanish-American War, President McKinley broke precedent and appointed Mordecai Endicott as Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, a post which had previously been held by an officer of the Line. Known as the “Father of the Civil Engineering Corps,” Rear Admiral Endicott presided over the transformation of the U.S. Navy’s shore establishment from one designed to support a small wooden-hulled navy into that capable of supporting the modern steel navy of the 20th century. In 1895, President Cleveland named Endicott to the Nicaragua Canal Commission, whose report led Congress to abandon the Nicaragua Canal project in favor of the Panama Canal. Endicott retired in 1909, but then returned to work at age 71 to serve during World War I as president of the Naval Examining Boards and Special Boards of Investigation.

Endicott’s naval service brought him to Washington in 1890. Shortly thereafter, he became associated with the Church of the Epiphany. He was elected to the vestry in 1910, and later served as junior warden from 1921 to 1924, relinquishing the position to Marine Commandant John Lejeune. Endicott served on the building committee of Epiphany’s parish house. His name appears on the plaque at the rear of the church commemorating those who served in the Great War. Admiral Endicott’s funeral took place from Epiphany, after which he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

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