North Carolina. Property Tax System Study Committe.

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sired the appointment.

John R. Monaghan then entered the Naval Academy, from where
he was creditably graduated in 1895, being the first representative of
the many from the state of Washington to graduate from that school.
His experiences as a member of the navy were interesting and varied
and were notable by reason of his unfaltering loyalty to duty on every
occasion and in every situation. He first went upon a two years'
cruise in the Pacific on the flagship Olympia, during which time he
visited the Hawaiian Islands, Japan, China and other ports in Asia.

38 3fotm Ifrotiert Jtlonagftan

Later he received his commission as ensign and was assigned to the
Monadnock and afterward to the Alert, both also of the Pacific
squadron. On the latter vessel in the fall of 1897 and the early part
of 1898 he made two successful voyages to Central American ports,
engaged in survey work in connection with the proposed Nicaragua
canal. After being transferred to the Philadelphia he participated
in the ceremonies at Honolulu, attending the annexation of the
Hawaiian Islands, in August, 1898. He next made a brief cruise in
Central American waters but returned in January, 1899, and an-
chored in the harbor of San Diego, California.

While there Mr. Monaghan was visited by the members of his
family. Some time before his father had urged him to leave the navy
and engage in business, but the Spanish war was then in progress and
he felt it his duty to continue in the service. Again reaching San
Diego the father urged him to resign, but at this junction came the
news of serious troubles in Samoa, affecting American interests, and
the Philadelphia was ordered to proceed thither with all dispatch.
Reaching Apia early in March, it was found that the situation was
an acute one, the two rival chieftains, Malietoa and Mataafa, con-
tending for supremacy. The three signatories to the Berlin agree-
ment, respecting Samoa, the United States, England and Germany,
were all represented by warships in the harbor. The decision of the
American and English commanders made Malietoa king, and Ma-
taafa was ordered to disperse his forces but defied the injunction and
continued hostilities. Troops were accordingly landed from Amer-
ican and English ships, and on the 15th of March a bombardment was
begun which lasted intermittently for two weeks, but had only slight
effect, the enemy retiring into the bush. On the 1st of April a con-
certed movement was made by the allied land forces, Lieutenant
Lansdale of the Philadelphia commanding the American party with
which Ensign Monaghan had been serving since it had been put
ashore. The march was through a densely wooded country, where
Mataafa's men were in ambush in large numbers. The following ac-
count of this encounter has been given: "Under a deadly fire which
could not be replied to with advantage, especially as the only piece
of artillery (a Colt automatic gun) brought by the marines had be-
come disabled, a retreat was sounded. While this was in progress
Lansdale received a wound in the leg, shattering the bone. In the
confusion of the retreat he had been left in the rear, with only Mon-
aghan and three or four privates. He was carried some distance,
when one of the privates was shot to death, and soon afterward the

3fofjn Robert Jfflonaghan 39

others fled, leaving Monaghan alone with him. Although urged
repeatedly by Lansdale to save himself (as testified by the last of
the men to leave), he steadily refused and stood his ground, await-
ing assistance. Presently others who had been in the rear came up
and in their turn departed. The next day the bodies of Lansdale
and Monaghan were found lying together in the jungle. Captain
White of the Philadelphia in his official report wrote: 'It is in evi-
dence most clear that when Ensign Monaghan discovered that Lieu-
tenant Lansdale was wounded he used his best endeavors to convey
him to the rear and seizing a rifle from a disabled man made a brave
defence; but undoubtedly he fell very shortly after joining Lansdale,
and the hostiles, flushed with success, bore down on our men in this
vicinity. The men were not in sufficient numbers to hold out any
longer and they were forced along by a fire which it was impossible
to withstand. But Ensign Monaghan did stand. He stood stead-
fast by his wounded superior and friend, one rifle against many, brave
man against a score of savages. He knew he was doomed. He could
not yield. He died in the heroic performance of duty.' "

The remains of Ensign Monaghan were brought back to the
United States on the Philadelphia and interred in Spokane, where
every honor was paid his memory. On the 25th of October, 1906,
a bronze statue was unveiled in Spokane, by his sister, Agnes, which
was given by the citizens of the state of Washington. The torpedo
boat destroyer which was launched February 18, 1911, was named in
honor of Ensign Monaghan and his sister, Xellie, christened the boat.
A life of great promise was terminated when in that tropical coun-
try he closed his eyes forever in death, after displaying a heroic
devotion to his commander and to the cause which he served that is
unsurpassed in the history of military action among American troops.
It has been said that "Memory is the only friend that grief can call
its own." It is indeed a precious memory that remains to the par-
ents, for there was never a blot on his scutcheon, and the story of
his heroism may well serve as an inspiration to the American youth.

Rev. PL L. McCulloch, S. J., has recorded the life history in a
book, which he wrote and published and following we quote some of
the excerpts:

Father Forestier says : "During this war many events have caused
us pain and grief and many a wound has been left on our hearts, but
perhaps the one we have felt most acutely and which is the most in-
delible is the death of Ensign Monaghan."

Cadet Sweet says: "Monaghan's death is especially a personal

40 3foftn &obett Jflonagfjan

loss to me, as we had been close companions in these trying events.
I have lost a brother, tried and true."

Mr. Justice Gordon, speaking at Olympia, in Robert's native
state, on the Fourth of July, exclaimed: "You will search history in
vain for the record of any act of bravery to excel that of Spokane's
Ensign Monaghan at Samoa, presenting as it does to the world an
object lesson in heroism and friendship. Such an act perfumes the
pages of history and renders it enchanting, and wherever language
is spoken or history is written, his name shall shine on, like the stars
of God, forever and ever."

Admiral B. H. McCalla, then captain, in the XI. S. Navy, renders
a splendid tribute to our hero. At that time having been asked to
tell of the most inspiring deed of ship or man that ever came to his no-
tice, to stimulate interest in naval affairs, he said: "In reply I beg
to state that I know of nothing finer, or more courageous, or more
heroic, than the act of Ensign J. R. Monaghan, who on April 1st,
last, while attached to the Philadelphia, and forming one of a land-
ing force in Samoa, alone remained with his wounded commanding
officer, and gave up his life in an attempt to rescue him from the

Ex-Senator Wilson says: "The nobility of this young hero shone
forth. In front of him was certain death. Behind him a sure avenue
of escape. But at his side, begging him to save himself, while there
was yet time, lay his superior officer and friend. He never wavered.
His high sense of duty and that great moral courage with which he
was endowed, would not permit him to desert his post in the hour
of danger. Lieutenant Lansdale begged him to retreat and save
himself. This he would not do, and bravely and manfully he stood,
defending at the peril of his own young life, the fast ebbing life of
his commander and friend. Calmly and deliberately he waited the
onset of his savage foes, and with empty revolver and cutlass in hand,
he died, as was his wish to die, with his face to the foe in defense of
his friend, his flag, and his country."

Father Paul Dethoor, S. J., says: "Ensign Monaghan shall live
in the memory of America and England, in the memory of Gonzaga
and Annapolis, and in the hearts of his countrymen. But our great-
est consolation is, thanks to the Christian education given him by
his parents and teachers, that his death crowned a life of unswerving
fidelity to the principles and duties of his religion. We know that
human glory can not reach beyond the grave, but that only a life of
faith is available before God. Such was the life of voung Monaghan."

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Online LibraryNorth Carolina. Property Tax System Study CommitteSpokane and the Spokane country : pictorial and biographical : deluxe supplement (Volume 1) → online text (page 3 of 16)