Thomas Tingey was born in London on 11 September 1750. As a youth, he served in the British Navy commanding a blockhouse at Chateaux Bay on the Labrador coast. He later commanded merchant vessels in the West Indies before coming to the colonies and investing in the East India trade. According to unverified tradition, Tingey served in the Continental Navy during the War for Independence.
In September 1798, Tingey was commissioned a captain in the United States Navy and distinguished himself in the undeclared war with France as commander of the man-of-war Ganges. During that time, Tingey commanded a squadron which cruised the waters of the Windward Passage between Hispaniola and Cuba to protect American shipping from French privateers. Tingey commanded Ganges as she took four prizes and is known for his bloodless encounter with the British frigate Surprise.
In January 1800, Tingey was appointed to supervise construction of the new navy yard at Washington, D.C., and became its first commandant on 23 November 1804. In the summer of 1814, as the British advanced on Washington, the Secretary of the Navy ordered Tingey to set fire to the yard. Tingey returned after the withdrawal of the British forces and commanded the yard until his death on 23 February 1829. Commodore Tingey was buried with military honors in what is now known as Congressional Cemetery, Washington, D.C.
(Destroyer No. 272: dp. 1,215 (n.); 1. 314'4½"; b. 30'11½"; dr. 9'9¾" (aft); s. 34.53 k. (tl.); cpl. 122; a. 4 4", 1 3", 12 21" tt., 2 dct; cl. Clemson)
The second Tingey (Destroyer No. 272) was laid down on 8 August 1918 at Quincy, Mass., by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp.; launched on 24 April 1919; sponsored by Miss Mary Velora Arringdale; and commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard on 25 July 1919, Comdr. Alfred W. Brown in command.
After fitting out, the destroyer proceeded to the west coast and joined Division 31, Squadron 2, Flotilla 10, at San Diego late in December. For the next two and one-half years, the destroyer operated out of San Diego with the Pacific Fleet. During most of that period, however, she had only 50 percent of her normal complement. Consequently, though she did conduct operations and patrols along the western coast of Mexico, she remained in a quasi-reserve status throughout her brief period of commissioned service. She made but one organizational change during her active career and that came in the latter part of 1921 when she was reassigned to Division 29, Squadron 10.
In 1922, the antimilitarist feeling prevalent following World War I combined with the government's policy of financial retrenchment to cause the deactivation of a substantial portion of the Navy's recently expanded destroyer fleet. Tingey, therefore, was placed out of commission on 24 May 1922, berthed at San Diego, and remained there for the remainder of her career. After 14 years of inactivity, Tingey's name was struck from the Navy list on 19 May 1936. She was sold to the Schiavone-Bonomo Corp., of New York City, on 29 September 1936 and was scrapped in December.