LIEUTENANT JOHN WILSON DANENHOWER
ARCTIC EXPLORER U. S. NAVY
WILMINGTON MORNING NEWS, THURSDAY, APRIL 21, 1887
Annapolis, Maryland April 20, 1887: Lieutenant John W. Danenhower, of Artic fame,
was discovered at 10 o'clock this morning, dead, in hid quarters at the Naval Academy, with a bullet hole in the right temple, lying on a rug in front of his fireplace, with a tag tied tied to his buttonhole, saying “Send to my brother in Washington”. Although he has had mental trouble since his return from the Arctic regions it is thought what immediately led to the suicide is the recent grounding of the “U.S.S. Constellation” in the Chesapeake Bay on its way to Norfolk in April of 1877, when he was assigned to the U. S. Naval Academy to train cadets.
John Wilson Denehower was born in Chicago, Illinois, September 30, 1849. After graduating in 1870, a Midshipman, he was assigned to the U.S.S. Plymouth, then the U.S.S. Juniata, in the European Squadron for two years. Advance to Ensign , he served on the U.S.S. Portsmouth , during survey and exploring cruises 1871 to 1874. He was then order to examination for Master and received his commission. In 1875 he was assigned to the Naval Observatory in Washington, D. C. and put over signal duty under Commodore Parker. 1876 and 1877 he was attached to the U.S.S. Vandalia on her cruise of the Mediterranean with General Grant and his family and visited the Holy Land.
It was just before this cruise that the lieutenant began to show signs of an unbalanced mind and his malady soon assumed a form so violent that in the year 1875 , after he had been found wandering in a North Carolina wilderness , that authorities deemed it necessary to secure proper treatment at the St. Elizabeth Insane Asylum in Washington, D.C. Where he was confined and treated for two months.
In July 1878 he left the Vandalia and sailed to Havre France and joined the U.S.S. Jeannetta which had been fitted out by James Gordon Bennett, head of the New York Herald , for an exploring expedition to the Arctic sea in 1879. The ship was caught in a freeze, crushed by the ice. The crew survived by walking across the ice to open water to seek rescue.
Danenhower returned to New York May 28. 1882, placed on waiting orders during the official inquiry into the loss of the Jeannette and was granted a years leave of absence, during which he delivered a number of lecturers and was married while in New York to Helen Lafin Slone (1857-1915),
daughter of George B. Slone, speaker of the house of New York They met 18 months ago whilehe was guest at her home during a leacture. Married in Christ Church with 600 guest. They had two children, Slone, born 1885, and Ruth, born 1887.
September 1884 when his health and eyesight were somewhat restored, he was assigned to the Naval Academy for duty as an instructor of chemistry and physics . Subsequently he became an assistant commandant of cadets which he held until his death.
ANCESTRY FAMILY TREE
JOHN WILSON DANENHOWER
Parents were William 1 Weaver, Danenhower, (1820 – 1894), and Elizabeth Sue Uber,
(1823 – 1920). In 1860 they were resident at Ward 5, Chicago, He had siblings; Charles Danenhower,
born 1841, died 1908; Rachel Elizabeth Danenhower, born 1846, died 1936; William Weaver 2
Danenhower, born 1852, in Illinois , died 1923; Washington Danenhower, born 1854, in Illinois, died
1942; Belle Danenhower, born 1861, in Washington D.C. died 1952. Rachel married Mr. Schenck.
Belle married Mr. Williams. 1870 the family lived in Bladensburg, Maryland and in 1880 their
residence was Georgetown,, D.C. Mr. Danenhower was a lawyer in the 1870 -1880 period in
Washington, D. C.
John Wilson Danenhower is buried in Riverside Cemetery, Oswego , New York. His funeral was
held in Marion, Ohio. April 1887.
November 11, 2011 a descendant, Rusty Danenhower Lang made note “I am proud to be your
Ancestry Tree: author wordwytch of Tulsa Oklahoma.