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Full length photo of a man in a white riding suit wearing leather boots and carrying a riding crop.

Captain Richard P. Leary (1842–1901)

For almost eight months after the United States captured and took control of Guam from the Spanish, its governance alternated between those who were loyal to Spain and those who worked with a rotating roster of U.S. naval captains. When Captain Richard Leary of the USS Yosemite arrived on August 7, 1899, he became the first official naval governor of Guam. 

Leary graduated in 1864 from the United States Naval Academy. As governor of Guam, Leary issued twenty-one military orders. These edicts resulted in an investigation by his superior officers, one of whom reported “the orders with regard to religion are evidently considered as a hardship and are distasteful to the majority of the people.” Leary’s appointment ended in July 1900.

Unidentified photographer
14.3 x 10.3 cm (5 2/3 x 4 in.)
Special Collections and Archives Department, Nimitz Library, U.S. Naval Academy