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David Henshaw

In office
July 24, 1843 – February 18, 1844
Preceded by Abel P. Upshur
Succeeded by Thomas W. Gilmer

Born April 2, 1791(1791-04-02)
Leicester, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died November 11, 1852 (aged 61)
Political party Democratic
Profession Politician, Banker

David Henshaw (April 2, 1791 – November 11, 1852) was the 14th United States Secretary of the Navy.

Henshaw was born in Leicester, Massachusetts in 1791 and educated at Leicester Academy. Trained as a druggist, he achieved notable success in that field, then expanded his energies into banking, transportation and politics. He was elected to the Massachusetts Senate in 1826 and served as Collector of the Port of Boston from the late 1820s until 1838. Though he suffered business reverses during the later 1830s, Henshaw regained his political position as a leader of the Massachusetts Democratic Party within a few years.

In July 1843, President John Tyler selected Henshaw as Secretary of the Navy. During his brief term in office, he addressed shipbuilding problems, selected senior officers for important seagoing commands, revised supply arrangements in the Navy Yards and attempted to establish a school for Midshipmen. His recess appointment as Secretary failed to receive Congressional confirmation, requiring that he leave office when his successor was confirmed. Henshaw then returned to Massachusetts politics. He died in 1852.

USS Henshaw (DD-278) was named in his honor.


Military offices
Preceded by
Abel P. Upshur
United States Secretary of the Navy
1843 – 1844
Succeeded by
Thomas W. Gilmer


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