Farragut Folklife Museum
The Farragut Folklife Museum provides exhibits about the life and career of Admiral David Farragut, the naval leader who led the famous flotilla of warships through the torpedo-filled harbor of Mobile in the Civil War. The museum galleries also contain numerous exhibits related to the history of the city of Farragut and surrounding communities. Outside the museum, visitors can see a life-size bronze statue of Admiral David Farragut which was dedicated in 2010.
Backstory and Context
Descended from a family that had long served the kings of Spain, His grandfather's family had been captured at Ciudadella by Ottoman Turks in 1558, and taken to Constantinople for ransom. After being ransomed, Antonio Farragut located in Minorca, where the family prospered. David's father, George (Jorge) Farragut immigrated to Britain's North American Colonies in March 1776 and promptly joined the colonial struggle for independence.1
After the Revolution George Farragut moved his family to the frontier of East Tennessee. Born on July 5, 1801 in Campbell’s Station, TN, Farragut experienced the fullness of frontier life. One early memory was of him being sent to hide in a loft while his mother barricaded the door and held guard against hostile natives with an axe.2 While David was still young the family relocated to Louisiana. Later, George was apparently involved with the occupation of the self-proclaimed Republic of West Florida by the United States.3 George also served in the War of 1812. George died on June 4, 1817 at the age of sixty-three.
Farragut went to live with the family of Captain David Porter who provided Farragut an opportunity to practice his seamanship. Porter eventually adopted young Farragut. While here, Farragut changed his given first name, James, to David in honor of his adoptive father. American Admiral David Dixon Porter then became Farragut’s foster brother.4
Once he joined the U.S. Navy in 1810, Farragut rose through the ranks. Farragut’s first command came at the age of twelve when he was placed in command of ship that had been captured during the War of 1812.5 At the outbreak of the Civil War, Farragut, though a southerner, sided with the Union. With his capture of New Orleans in April of 1862, Farragut of granted the newly created rank of Rear Admiral, the first commissioned Admiral in the United Sates Navy. At the Battle of Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864, Farragut uttered his now famous quote, ““Damn the torpedoes! Four Bells! Captain Drayton, go ahead! Jouett, full speed!”6 Farragut served in the U.S. Navy until his death in 1870. He eventually reached the ranks of Vice Admiral (1864) and Admiral (1866).Exhibits at The Farragut Folklife Museum include many personal items once belonging to the Admiral. Artifacts connected to Farragut include photographs, china, manuscripts, uniform ornamentation. Also featured are exhibits relating to the history of the community. Artifacts connected to the area’s Civil War history, religious, and civic history are on display.