Templin Morris Potts (November 1, 1855 – March 22, 1927) was a United States Navy Captain and the 11th Naval Governor of Guam. He held many important posts during his time in the Navy, including Director of the Office of Naval Intelligence, Naval attaché to Kaiser Wilhelm II, and aid for naval personnel. During the Spanish–American War, he participated in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, after which he commanded a number of ships. In 1913, he was forced into retirement after not having spent a large enough portion of his service at sea. This forced retirement sparked outrage from many, and led to letters and marches of protest. A United States Senator even introduced a bill in Congress to have him re-instated. Though these efforts all ultimately failed, they led to greater scrutiny of the retirement board. As governor, he forbade the men under his command to marry native Chamorro women and increased funding to fight disease on Guam.
Templin Morris Potts
|14th Director of the Office of Naval Intelligence|
December 1909 – January 1912
|Preceded by||Charles E. Vreeland|
|Succeeded by||Thomas S. Rodgers|
|11th Naval Governor of Guam|
December 3, 1906 – October 3, 1907
|Preceded by||Luke McNamee|
|Succeeded by||Luke McNamee|
|Born||November 1, 1855|
|Died||March 22, 1927(aged 71)|
|Branch/service||United States Navy|
|Commands||USS Des Moines (CL-17); USS Georgia (BB-15); Office of Naval Intelligence; USS Louisiana (BB-19)|
|Battles/wars||Battle of Santiago de Cuba|
Potts was born on November 1, 1855 in Washington, D.C.. He received his education in the Washington area private school system. On May 10, 1902, Potts married Alden Brown in a civil ceremony in Berlin. He died on March 22, 1927 in Pasadena, California.
Potts attended the United States Naval Academy and, entering on June 6, 1872 and graduating on June 20, 1876. In 1877, he served aboard USS Plymouth as a midshipman. He also served aboard USS Swatara in 1879 and USS Palos from 1879 to 1892. During the Spanish–American War, he served aboard USS Massachusetts, where he participated in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba. From 1885 to 1887, he served on USS Pensacola.
From Oct 1, 1902 to December 30, 1904, he served as Naval attaché to Rome, Vienna, and Berlin. During this tour of duty, Potts was a lieutenant commander. He served as commanding officer of USS Des Moines and of USS Georgia in 1908. That same year, he obtained the rank of Captain.
From December 17, 1909 to January 25, 1912, Potts was Director of the Office of Naval Intelligence. In 1911, he acted as the official United States representative for the reception of Japanese Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō. Soon after, he became Navy aid for personnel. From 1912 to July 2, 1913, he commanded USS Louisiana. After this command, Potts was forced into retirement. The Captain had passed his examination for rear admiral, but had been let go nonetheless, as he had not spent at least half of his time as captain at sea. His case drew national attention after he saved Louisiana from flooding following a valve blowout in the ship's starboard engine room that left a hole in the ship's hull. He consulted his lawyers about the possibility of reinstatement, and a group of sailors protested the forced retirement through demonstrations and letter-writing, and a Senator even introduced a bill in Congress to reinstate him with the rank of Rear Admiral. Despite the criticism, the Navy did not reinstate him.
Potts served as Governor of Guam from December 3, 1906 to October 3, 1907. Potts sought to separate whites from the native Chamorro population by denouncing interracial marriage, calling it "degenerating to the whites", and threatened to forcibly discharge any military man who married a native Guamanian woman. He successfully obtained additional funding from Congress to combat outbreaks of leprosy and yaws on the island.
- Distinguished Successful Americans of Our Day: Containing Biographies of Prominent Americans Now Living. Chicago, Illinois: Successful Americans. 1912. p. 455. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
- "Lieut. Com. Potts a Bridegroom: Naval Attache in Berlin Married to Mrs. Alden Brown" (PDF). The New York Times. New York City. The New York Times Company. 11 May 1902. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "Capt. Templin M. Potts: Retired Navy Officer, Former Governor of Guam, Is Dead". The New York Times. New York City. The New York Times Company. 23 March 1927. p. 25.
- Hamersly, Lewis Randolph (1898). The Records of Living Officers of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. p. 187. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "USS Plymouth (1869-1884)". Online Library of Selected Images. Washington, D.C.: Naval History & Heritage Command. 19 March 2004. Archived from the original on 9 November 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
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- "The Naval Attache at Berlin: Report that the Kaiser Will Not Receive Lieut. Commander Potts Untrue" (PDF). The New York Times. New York City. The New York Times Company. 27 May 1902. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
- "Japan's Navy Chief Here Next Month" (PDF). The New York Times Company. New York City. The New York Times Company. 16 July 1911. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- Fiske, Bradley (1919). From Midshipman to Rear-Admiral. The Century Company. p. 531. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "Sailors Appeal to Capt. Potts" (PDF). The New York Times. New York City. The New York Times Company. 6 July 1913. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
- "Sailors Honor Capt. Potts" (PDF). The New York Times. New York City. The New York Times Company. 4 July 1913. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
- "Urge Potts Appeal To End 'Plucking'" (PDF). The New York Times. New York City. The New York Times Company. 9 July 1913. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
- "Bill to Save Capt. Potts" (PDF). The New York Times Company. New York City. The New York Times Company. 20 July 1913. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "Naval Era Governors of Guam". Guampedia. Guam: University of Guam. 10 August 2010. Archived from the original on 29 October 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
- Hattori, Anne Perez (2004). "Sanitary Confinement: Guam and the US Navy, 1898—1941". Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawaii. p. 22. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
- Cunningham, Lawrence; Janice Beaty (2001). A History of Guam. Hawaii: Bess Press. p. 197. ISBN 1-57306-047-X. Retrieved 11 November 2010.