Comdr. Matthew Fontaine Maury, astronomer and hydrographer, was born in Spotsylvania County, Va., 14 January 1806. Appointed midshipman 1 February 1825, he achieved the rank of commander 14 September 1855. He was appointed Superintendent of the Department of Charts and Instruments in 1842, and upon the establishment of the Naval Observatory in 1844 became its first superintendent, holding that position until his resignation in April 1861. During this period he published some of his best known scientific works, and his “Wind and Current Charts,” “Sailing Directions,” and “Physical Geography of the Sea” remain standard. He became world famous as “Pathfinder of the Seas,” the leading oceanograpber of history. Following his resignation at the outbreak of the Civil War, he joined the Confederate Navy, in which he attained the rank of commodore. At the end of the war he occupied the chair of physics at the Virginia Military Institute. He died at Lexington, Va., 1 February 1873.
(DD‑100: dp. 1,199; l. 314'5"; b. 31'; dr. 9'2"; s. 33.5 k.; cpl. 133; a. 4 4", 1 3", 12 21" tt.; cl. Wickes)
The first Maury (DD‑100) was laid down 4 May 1918 by Fore River Shipbuilding Co., Quincy, Mass.; launched 4 July 1918; sponsored by Miss Anna Hamlin; and commissioned 23 September 1918, Lt. Comdr. J. H. Newton in command.
Maury, having completed an east coast shakedown, departed New York City 12 November 1918 to escort a convoy bound for France. Detached off the Azores, she proceeded to Gibraltar, arriving on the 26th. She cruised in the western Mediterranean until reporting for duty with the Adriatic Detachment at Venice 18 February 1919. With that squadron for the next 5 months, she participated in their “umpiring” duties as first Rear Admiral Niblack and then Rear Admiral Andrews sought to employ their good offices in the political rivalry for the natural harbors of the Adriatic. Primary contenders for this area, particularly Trieste, were Italy and the newly created state of Yugoslavia, itself fraught with internal nationalistic dissension. Secondary postwar problems connected with this duty involved clearing the Adriatic of the multitude of mines which broke away with winds and presented a menace to shipping; distribution of food to the hunger-stricken Balkans; and providing for the ever‑growing numbers of refugees.
Maury returned to New York 25 July and 3 months later steamed to Philadelphia where she remained, undergoing overhaul, until 24 April 1920. On 17 July she was redesignated DM‑5, light minelayer, and after another lengthy stay at Philadelphia reported to Mine Squadron I at Gloucester, Mass., 23 July 1921. For the next 7 years she cruised the waters off the east coast, deploying each winter to join in fleet problems which, with one exception, 1925, took her to the Caribbean. In 1925 she sailed to the Pacific for a problem involving protective screening, seizing, and occupying of an unfortified anchorage in the vicinity of enemy territory and fueling at sea.
After a winter deployment in waters off Cuba in 1929, Maury spent the summer in the Gulf of Mexico and in September returned to the east coast. On 30 September she moored at Philadelphia where she decommissioned 19 March 1930. Struck from the Naval Register 22 October, she was sold 17 January 1931 to Boston Iron & Metal Co., Baltimore, Md., and scrapped 1 May 1934.