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Frank Walley Perkins who had been connected with the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1863 until 1915, died at his residence in Morristown, New Jersey, at 11 p.m. on the night of February 1, 1922.

He was born June 24, 1844, on Staten Island, New York; was educated at Canaan Academy, New Hampshire, 1855 to 1858; Middleburg Academy, Massachusetts; Pujol Military Academy, New York; and Eagleswood Institute, New Jersey, from 1858 to 1862.

He was appointed an aid in the Survey, June 10, 1863, subassistant, October 19, 1900, he was designated as executive officer to the superintendent, and on February 1, 1901, as assistant superintendent, which position he continued to hold until his retirement from the service. He resigned from the Survey March 23, 1915, and had since resided at Morristown, New Jersey.

During the Civil War he acted as relief officer to the U.S. Sanitary Commission, sanitary storekeeper, Army of the Potomac, and as 2nd officer of the Sanitary Hospital, Washington, D.C., from October 1862 to June 1863.

He was on duty in the Navy under Admiral S. P. Lee on the Mississippi Tennessee, and Ohio Rivers in 1864 and 1865. In 1874 he made experimental observations to determine coefficient of refraction. In 1884 he was engaged in devising and improving night signals to be used in triangulation. He attended the Geographic Conference in 1894 and submitted plans and estimates for improved tripod scaffolds for use in triangulation.

He was the first commanding officer of the Coast and Geodetic Survey Steamer PATHFINDER, and in 1899 took that vessel from Washington to Honolulu by way of the Straits of Magellan and San Francisco and was engaged in surveys in the Hawaiian Islands, including triangulation, topography, and hydrography. He was afterwards detailed from the command of the PATHFINDER and sent to Manila to investigate and report conditions relating to surveys in the Philippine Islands and prepared a plan and estimates for that work.

During the many years of service he was employed in various classes of surveying operations on the coast in command of sailing vessels or steamers and in the interior States on geodetic work. He was one of the officers engaged in the triangulation and the great transcontinental arc extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

Mr. Perkins was a man of much energy and resourcefulness, a good administrator, well acquainted with the details of the work, and devoted to his profession. The archives of the survey bear witness to his skill and energy.

Mr. Perkins was never married. He was one of a large family, of whom a brother, Henry C. Perkins, of Washington, D.C., and four sisters at Morristown, New Jersey survive him. The funeral ceremonies took place at his former residence at Morristown, New Jersey, at 11 o'clock on Saturday, February 4, 1922.

During the many years of service he was thrown into close relations with many of the older officers of the survey and their families and the strong friendships then formed endured through life.


Publication of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA Central Library.
Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:27 AM

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