U.S. Naval Academy Class Rings

Graduates Remembered

Assistant Engineer Darwin Robert Merritt

Midshipman Darwin R. Merritt

Assistant Engineer Darwin Robert Merritt’s class ring was donated to the Museum by his family in 1919. His ring spent 12 years underwater before being recovered from the wreckage of the raised USS Maine in Havana Harbor, completed in December 1912.[1] The ring was crafted by Black, Starr & Frost-Groham and features a water damaged stone and class of 1895 crest.[2]

Merritt was born on April 12, 1872 in Red Oak, Iowa. During his time at the Naval Academy, he was right tackle on the 1894 Navy football team and center on the 1895 team.[3] Naval Cadet Engineering Merritt graduated 39th of 47 Naval Cadets on June 8, 1894.[4]

A Red Oak boy's success

On February 15, 1898, he was killed in action when the USS Maine blew up in Havana Harbor starting the Spanish American War. He was 25 years old. Merritt, LTJG Friendly William Jenkins (USNA 1886) and 251 other sailors and Marines perished. The American press believed that Spanish saboteurs blew up the Maine with a mine. During the raising 60 bodies were recovered and buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Only Merritt was identified and returned to the family for burial at the Evergreen Cemetery in Red Oak, Iowa. Merritt’s name is listed among his lost shipmates on the Maine Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery.


[1] United States Naval Academy Alumni Association Shipmate, June-July, 9.

[2] United States Naval Academy Class Ring Collection Master List, retrieved on January 7, 2014.

[3] First Class, 1895 United States Naval Academy Lucky Bag, (Annapolis, MD: US Naval Academy, 1895), 128.

[4] United States Naval Academy Alumni Association, Inc., 2013 Register of Alumni, (Chesapeake, VA: Harris Connect, 2012), A7.