Stockton, Robert Field
Robert Field Stockton, 1795–1866, American naval officer, b. Princeton, N.J. He left the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) to enter the U.S. Navy at 16 and served in the War of 1812 and in the subsequent campaigns against the Barbary pirates. He negotiated (1821) a territorial concession on the west coast of Africa for the American Colonization Society; the region later became Liberia. In the Mexican War he commanded the Pacific squadron, took Los Angeles and San Diego, and proclaimed (1846) himself governor of the newly organized civil government of California. He later (1847) installed John C. Frémont as civil governor. He left the navy in 1850. As U.S. Senator from New Jersey (1851–53), he introduced a bill to stop flogging in the navy.