David Henshaw (American politician)

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

David Henshaw
David Henshaw SecNavy.jpg
14th United States Secretary of the Navy
In office
July 24, 1843 – February 18, 1844
PresidentJohn Tyler
Preceded byAbel Upshur
Succeeded byThomas Gilmer
4th Collector of the Port of Boston
In office
Preceded byHenry Alexander Scammell Dearborn
Succeeded byGeorge Bancroft
Member of the Massachusetts Senate from Suffolk County
In office
May 31, 1826 – May 30, 1827
Personal details
Born(1791-04-02)April 2, 1791
Leicester, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedNovember 11, 1852(1852-11-11) (aged 61)
Leicester, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic

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 to follow Abel P. Upshur. 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.

See alsoEdit


Political offices
Preceded by United States Secretary of the Navy
Succeeded by