John Edmund Colthurst was born in Chicago November 29, 1871 in the South Loop, just a few blocks away from where the Great Fire had passed a month prior. He joined the Navy at Mare Island in California in 1893 and served as a yeoman on various ships in Admiral George Dewey’s Asiatic Squadron. He was in Vladivostok, Russia for the coronation celebration of Tsar Nicholas II. He eventually became Yeoman Second Class on Admiral Dewey’s flagship, USS Olympia, serving directly under Captain Charles Gridley. He was with Gridley when the order to open fire on Manila Bay, Philippines was given. He earned the Battle of Manila Bay Medal, also known as the Dewey Medal, for his service in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. After the war ended, he wrote a book, The Dewey Souvenir, about his experiences in the Asiatic Squadron and service under Admiral Dewey, with whom he kept correspondence. He served again in World War I as Paymaster for the Atlantic Fleet out of the Naval Academy at Annapolis.
He was also a newspaperman and lawyer in peacetime and came to be elected Superior Court Justice of Solano County, California, accumulating some renown in the California Bay Area as a jurist. He was also active in Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion chapters his entire life. He died in 1933, having established a naval tradition in the Colthurst and Beall families of California. His daughter was the wife of Lt. Commander Thomas Oberrender, and his grandson was Commander Wallace Richardson Colthurst.
We honor you, John Colthurst.
(#Repost @ Pritzker Military Museum & Library)