Dexter, 1830

Dec. 22, 2020

Dexter, 1830

Samuel Dexter: Educated at Harvard and trained as a lawyer, Samuel Dexter (1761-1816) resigned his seat as Massachusetts Senator in June 1800 to accept the position of Secretary of War in the cabinet of President John Adams.  Upon Secretary of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott's resignation in December 1800, Adams appointed Dexter ad interim Secretary to serve until the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson as President. Dexter served less than a year in Adams's cabinet and has no great acts associated with his name. It has been said that "his temperament and intellectual endowment ill suited him for that minute diligence and attention to intricate details which the departments of War and Finance imposed on the incumbents of office.''

Shortly before the termination of Adams's administration, the President offered Dexter a foreign embassy, but Dexter declined, remaining at the Treasury Department until Jefferson became President.

Builder: New York

Launched: NA

Commissioned: 1830

Decommissioned: sold 25 February 1841

Length: 73' 4"

Navigation Draft: 9' 7" (maximum)

Beam: 20' 6"

Displacement: 112 tons

Propulsion: topsail schooner

Maximum Speed: NA

Complement: 20-24

Armament: Much variation, typical was four 6-9 pdrs.

Cutter History:

She was one of the 13 cutters of the Morris-Taney Class.  These cutters were the backbone of the Service for more than a decade Samuel Humphreys designed these cutters for roles as diverse as fighting pirates, privateers, combating smugglers and operating with naval forces.  He designed the vessels on a naval schooner concept.  They had Baltimore Clipper lines.  The vessels built by Webb and Allen, designed by Isaac Webb, resembled Humphreys' but had one less port.

The Dexter began her career working for the Collector of Customs in Norfolk, Virginia.  She later worked in Charleston, South Carolina and sailed for Mobile, Alabama in April 1833.  The following year she operated with the navy, cruising on the west coast of Florida during the Seminole War.  She operated up the rivers and transported troops to trouble spots.  In September 1837 she returned to Mobile and later in 1838 again worked out of Charleston.  In December she was reported unseaworthy and the Government sold the cutter on 25 February 1841.


Donald Canney.  U.S. Coast Guard and Revenue Cutters, 1790-1935.  Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1995.

U.S. Coast Guard.  Record of Movements: Vessels of the United States Coast Guard: 1790 - December 31, 1933.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1934; 1989 (reprint).