Matthew Fontaine Maury was an American astrophysicist, oceanographer and a meteorologist. A man of many skills, he is also well known as an astronomer, geologist, educator, cartographer, historian and author. He is known as the Father of modern Oceanography and Naval Meteorology and the Pathfinder of the Seas.
Matthew Fontaine Maury was born in Spotsylvania Country in 1806. Following the footsteps of his elder brother, he joined the Navy at the age of 19 as a midshipman. However, his seafaring days came to an end when he met with an accident at the age of 33. During this time, he studied navigation and naval meteorology. He dedicated most of his time to find the paths of the seas and chart the movement of winds and currents during this period. Matthew Fontaine Maury became the superintendent of the Naval Observatory of United States in 1842. He is also accredited to chart the migration of whales. 'Wind and Current Chart of the North Atlantic', a book published by him, helped the sailors to use the winds and ocean currents to their advantage. Furthermore, Matthew Fontaine Maury also advocated naval reform and an international weather service. He is known to have worked for many social causes. He wrote The Physical Geography of Virginia, in order to rebuild the state. Matthew is also known to help the launch of 'American Association for the Advancement of Science'.
Matthew Fontaine Maury died in 1873 and was buried in Lexington's cemetery in his family vault. Later, he was reburied in Hollywood Cemetery between John Tyler and James Monroe.