Wai Momi is the ancient name Hawaiians called Pearl Harbor, but former U.S. Secretary of State Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen was less impressed by its bounties than its strategic value as a Pacific base for the U.S. Navy. After President Chester Arthur called him to service in 1881, Frelinghuysen negotiated a treaty that granted the United States exclusive use of Pearl Harbor as a coaling and repair station, laying the groundwork for what was to become the headquarters for the U.S. Pacific Fleet. A member of the Dutch family associated with Rutgers since the 1600s, Frelinghuysen’s uncle Theodore, a U.S. senator, adopted him as a toddler and introduced him to politics and law at an early age. Admitted to the bar in 1839, he took over his uncle’s practice and became counsel for the New Jersey Central Railroad and the Morris Canal and Banking Company. He helped found the Republican Party in New Jersey and was a delegate to the ill-fated Peace Congress in 1861. He became attorney general of the state and then filled a Republican vacancy in the U.S. Senate, where he sat from 1866–69 and again from 1871–77. He served President Arthur until 1885 and died in Newark later that year.
Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen
U.S. Senator, Secretary of State
Rutgers College 1836
Hall of Distinguished Alumni Class of