William Balch - Chaplain After the Revolution

William Balch (January 17, 1775-August 31, 1842) was born in Dedham, Massachusetts to the Reverand Benjamin and Joanna (O'Brien) Balch. William was born into a family of twelve children. William was the son of Continental Navy Chaplain Benjamin Balch and he was the grandson of another Chaplain who had served in the navy of King George. William would go on to serve in the American navy, himself.

William studied at Harvard before serving in the navy. William Balch was the first commissioned naval chaplain of the American navy. Starting on October 30, 1799 he would serve briefly in the American navy. During his time in the navy he spent most of his time on board the USS Chesapeake. The Chesapeake served in a conflict with the French that became referred to as the "Quasi War". After this conflict was settled, and relations were formalized with the French, the American navy was greatly reduced and William's service ended on May 10, 1801.

In the years after his time in the Navy William would serve in the ministry at several churches. From 1802 until 1816 William preached in Salisbury, Massachusetts. During this time, on October 31, 1805, he married his first wife Mary Wadsworth and together they would have two children. Mary died, of consumption, on June 27, 1816.

From 1819 until 1835 William ministered in Salem, New Hampshire. During this time he would meet and marry his second wife, Sarah Eaton, on July 10, 1822. This second marriage would produce one son.

Little information seems to be available about William's final years. His ministry, in Salem, ended in 1835 and he died on August 31, 1842. During his final seven years he apparently moved to Dedham, Massachusetts where he died in 1842.

Genealogy of William:

Father: Benjamin Balch
Mother: Joanna O'Brien

Wife1: Mary Wadsworth
Married: October 31, 1805


1. Mary Wadsworth
2. Elizabeth

Wife2: Sarah Eaton
Married: July 10, 1822


1. Benjamin Wadsworth

Primary Sources/Links:

Answering the Call - By: By William E. Dickens, Jr., William Earl Dickens[1]

Genealogy of the Balch Families in America - By: Galusha B. Balch[2]

Wikipedia: USS Chesapeake (1799)[3]

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