Joshua Frederick Cockey Talbott was born near Lutherville, Md., 29 July 1843. He began to study law in 1862 but joined the Confederate Army in 1864 to serve in the 2d Maryland Cavalry. Following the war, Talbott was admitted to the bar and began to practice law in Towson, Md. In 1878, after several years of activity in Democratic politics and local civic affairs, he was elected to Congress. Except for the periods 1885 to 1893, during which he served for a time as Insurance Commissioner for Maryland, and 1894 to 1902, he served in Congress until his death. Talbott was a member of the Naval Affairs Committee for 25 years and worked unceasingly for a strong and modern Navy. He died in Lutherville 5 October 1918 after a long life of distinguished public service.
(DD-156: dp. 1,090; l. 314'5"; b. 30'6"; dr. 8'8"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 101; a. 4 4", 2 3"; 2.30 cal., 12 21" tt.; cl. Wickes)
J. Fred Talbott (DD-156) was launched 14 December 1918 by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia; sponsored by Mrs. Robert L. Bates, niece of Representative Talbott; and commissioned 30 June 1919, Comdr. T. G. Ellyson in command.
The new destroyer departed Newport 10 July for the Mediterranean, where she acted as a station ship at various ports providing an element of stability in Europe during the first troubled months of postwar adjustment and reconstruction. Upon her return to the United States 21 June 1920, the ship took part in patrol duty on the East Coast and engaged in fleet exercises before decommissioning at Philadelphia 18 January 1923.
J. Fred Talbott recommissioned 1 May 1930, Lt C. H. Cobb in command, and immediately began shakedown training in Delaware Bay. For the 10 years that followed, the ship operated along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean engaging in antisubmarine training; fleet operations; and carrying out the many far-ranging duties of the United States fleet in preservation of peace, missions of mercy, maintaining freedom of the seas, and otherwise protecting the United States' interests. She also helped to train reserves and midshipmen, thus developing not only the equipment and tactics, but the men of the Navy as well.
With the outbreak of the war in Europe and America's initial effort to protect its shipping while remaining neutral, J. Fred Talbott was assigned patrol duties in the waters off the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal. Following America's entry into the war with the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the ship took up convoy escort duties between New Orleans, Cuba, and the Canal, helping to protect the sea lanes and to move the vast amounts of men and materiel needed for victory.
Following an overhaul in Boston in January 1944, J. Fred Talbott sailed 13 February with her first transatlantic convoy, and, after her safe return from Casablanca, took up escort duties with convoys from Iceland southward into the Caribbean. Later in the year, after arrival 15 September, she was converted at New York and reclassified AG-81 25 September 1944. The ship arrived Port Everglades, Fla., 1 November to act as a target ship for torpedo bombers, continuing this important training service until the war's end.
J. Fred Talbott arrived Boston 22 April 1946, and decommissioned 21 May 1946. She was sold to Boston Metals Corp., Baltimore, Md., in November 1946 and was subsequently scrapped.