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Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry

Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry

Male 1785 - 1819  (34 years)

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  • Name Oliver Hazard Perry 
    Prefix Commodore 
    Born 23 Aug 1785  Rocky Brook, Washington Co., RI Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Christened 18 Jan 1795  Trinity Church - Newport, Newport Co., RI Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 23 Aug 1819  on board ship Iris, Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Aft 23 Aug 1819  ____, Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Alt. Burial 24 Dec 1826  Island Cemetery - Newport, Newport Co., RI Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • His remains were interred at Port Spain, but were later removed to Newport, in a ship of war, by order of Congress, and buried there, December 4, 1826. An imposing granite obelisk was erected to his memory by the state of Rhode Island.
    Grave of Oliver Hazard Perry
    Grave of Oliver Hazard Perry
    Island Cemetery, Newport, Rhode Island
    Notes 
    • PERRY, Oliver Hazard, naval officer, was born in Newport, R.I., Aug. 21, 1785; eldest son of Christopher Raymond and Sarah (Alexander) Perry; grandson of Freeman Perry, and a descendant in the sixth generation of Edward Perry, who emigrated from Devonshire, England, and settled in Sandwith, Mass., in 1653. His father was an officer in the patriot army and navy during the Revolutionary war; was made post captain in the U.S. navy Jan. 9, 1798; built and commanded the General Greene and cruised in the West Indies; participated in the civil war in Santo Domingo and was appointed collator of Newport, R.I., in 1801.

      Apparently a very precocious child, well liked by his peers and adults; and the idol of his younger brothers and sisters. He so impressed Bishop Seabury of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut that he was confirmed at an earlier age than was usual.

      Oliver attended private schools, and was a pupil of Count Rochambeau. He joined the United States Navy as a midshipman, April 7, 1797, and cruised with his father, a naval officer, in the West Indies, 1799-1800. He was ordered to the Adams in 1802 and served in the Tripolitan war under Preble: served on board the Constellation in the Mediterranean, 1804-05; was given command of the Nautilus in 1805 and was promoted January 15, 1807 to Lieutenant. He was promoted master of the schooner Revenge in 1809, and served on that vessel until she was stranded on the rocks off Watch Hill, R.I., Jan. 9, 1810. During the embargo that led to the war of 1812 commanded a fleet of seventeen gun boats off Newport Harbor.

      He was married May 5, 1811, to Elizabeth Champlain, daughter of Dr. Benjamin Mason, Newport.

      He was a famous Naval officer of the Second War with Great Britian. He was a Commodore in the U.S. Navy, and the Commander in victory upon Lake Erie over the British naval forces during the war of 1812-14.

      Upon the outbreak of the war of 1812, be was promoted captain and resumed command of the gunboat fleet off Newport. On February 17, 1813, he was transferred at his own request to Sackett's Harbor, N.Y to serve under Commodore Isaac Chauncey on Lake Ontario in the building of a fleet to operate on the lakes.

      In March, 1813, he was promoted master-commandant of a proposed Squadron to be built at Presque Isle (now Eire), Pennsylvania. He joined Captain Jesse D. Elliott in the completion of a fleet for the defence of the northwest. The fleet of nine vessels, comprising the tugs Lawrence and Niagara and the schooners Caledonia, Scorpion, Porcupine, Tigress, Ariel, Somers and Trippe of 500 tons burden, of lighter build but armed with heavy long guns, was completed in less than six months, and Perry set sail from Put-in-Bay, Ohio on the morning of Sept. 15, 1813, to meet the British fleet under Commodore Barclay.

      This action known as the "Battle of Lake Erie," or more commonly as "Perry's Victory," obtained him an immense popularity, partly attributable to the manner in which it was announced by the famous dispatch, "We have met the enemy and they are ours." Congress rewarded him with a vote of thanks, a medal, and the rank of Captain.

      This fleet comprised the Chippewa, Detroit, Hunter, Queen Charlotte, Lady Prevost and Little Belt. The opening shot of the engagement was fired from the British flag-ship Detroit, to which Captain Perry replied from the Lawrence. This was immediately followed by a storm of iron hail from the entire British fleet that soon played havoc with the rigging, masts and bulwarks of the Americans. The battle now took the form of a duel, the heaviest vessels in each fleet confronting each other. The Lawrence was reduced to a bulk by the steady fire of the Detroit, and in two hours only one gun was left mounted and the deck was crowded with dead and wounded. The Niagara floated out of range, owing to the lightness of the wind, and was unable to give assistance to the Lawrence, and the rest of the American fleet were of little use on account of their light armament. Perry, assisted by Chaplain Breeze, Hambleton, the purser, and two unwounded sailors, continued to work the one remaining gun of the Lawrence until a shot killed Hambleton and dismantled the gun. A British victory seemed imminent when the undaunted Perry determined on a bold move. Ordering a boat lowered, with four sailors, and his brother Alexander, and with the flag of the Lawrence on his arm, he left the ship, and sheltered by the smoke and escaping a volley fired by the enemy, was rowed to the Niagara, where he hoisted his commodore's flag and assumed command.

      Captain Elliott volunteered to bring up the laggard schooners to his support, and a new line of battle was formed at close quarters. The wind freshened and the American fleet under full sail bore down upon the enemy. In endeavoring to wear ship, the British ships, Detroit and Queen Charlotte, fell foul, and taking advantage of the situation, the Niagara dashed through the enemy's line, discharging both broadsides as she passed the gap. The Caledonia, Scorpion and Trippe broke the line at other points, and the batteries of the Niagara, assisted by the riflemen in the tops, so disabled the enemy that after seven minutes of fighting the flag of the Detroit was lowered and four of the six British vessels surrendered.

      The two smaller boats that attempted to escape were pursued and captured by the Scorpion and Trippe, and after securing his prisoners and manning the prizes, Perry dispatched a letter to General Harrison in these words: "We have met the enemy and they are ours: Two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop."  Later a second letter to Secretary of the Navy Jones informed the country of the victory.  The British loss was over one hundred and sixty men killed and wounded, while Perry lost twenty-seven killed and ninety-six wounded.

      He was commissioned post captain in the navy; presented with the thanks of congress, a sword and a gold medal, with a set of silver by the city of Boston, and was voted thanks by other cities.

      Perry co-operated with the army of General Harrison in his operations at Detroit  in the invasion of Canada. Perry took an important part as commander of the fleet and of the naval battalion on land at the Battle of the Thames, October 5, 1813  where the British troops were almost entirely annihilated and the great Indian chief, Tecumseh, was killed.

      In the following year was employed upon the Potomac and in the defense of Baltimore.

      He commanded the frigate Java in the Mediterranean squadron under Stephen Decatur during the operations against Algiers in 1815-18.

      He was promoted commodore and was sent to the Spanish Main in command of placed in command of the naval station in the West Indies and a squadron, June, 1819; he ascended the Orinoco to Angostura in July; was seized with yellow fever, and he died at Port of Spain, on the island of Trinidad, the day of his arrival there, August 23, 1819, on board the ship, "John Adams," (or Iris) U.S.N., August 23, or 25, 1819.

      Commodore Perry's career has been described with details in many publications; he died at a comparatively early age. At 27 years of age he led an American fleet in a fierce conflict on Lake Erie and conquered an entire British fleet. With Lawrence's motto, "Don't give up the ship," as his fleet war-cry on that memorable tenth of September 1813, he was able to coin the memorable phrase, "We have met the enemy and they are ours."

      His remains were interred at Port Spain, but were later removed to Newport, in a ship of war, by order of Congress, and buried there, December 4, 1826. An imposing granite obelisk was erected to his memory by the state of Rhode Island. A marble statue was unveiled in Cleveland, Ohio, in September, 1860, and a bronze statue by William G. Turner, erected by the citizens of Newport, R.I., was unveiled opposite his old home, Sept. 10, 1885. The state of Ohio presented to the capitol at Washington pictures of the "Battle of Lake Erie" and of "Perry leaving the Lawrence for the Niagara." His name received twenty-six votes for a place in the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, New York University, October, 1900.
    Person ID I5696  Stedman/Steadman/Steedman Families of the New World
    Last Modified 14 Jan 2006 

    Father Christophers Raymond Perry,   b. 4 Dec 1761, South Kingstown, Washington Co., RI Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 Jun 1818, Newport, Newport Co., RI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 56 years) 
    Mother Sarah Wallace Alexander,   b. 1768, ____, County Down, Ireland, UK Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 Dec 1830, New London, New London Co., CT Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 62 years) 
    Married Aft 2 Aug 1784  Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co., PA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • She had booked passage on the "Favorite" for Philadelphia with her guardians, Mr. & Mrs. Calbraith and their son Matthew.

      The "Favorite" landed at Philadelphia 2 August 1784 where Sarah and Christopher were married.

      The Marriage ceremony was held at the home in Philadelphia of Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
    Family ID F2500  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Elizabeth Champlin Mason,   b. 12 Feb 1791, Newport, Newport Co., RI Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Feb 1858, Newport, Newport Co., RI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 66 years) 
    Married 5 May 1811  Newport, Newport Co., RI Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Dr. Christopher Grant Champlain Perry, M. D.,   b. 2 Apr 1812, Newport, Newport Co., RI Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Apr 1854, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co., PA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 42 years)
     2. Oliver Hazard Perry,   b. 23 Feb 1813,   d. 4 Mar 1814  (Age 1 years)
     3. Oliver Hazard Perry,   b. 23 Feb 1815,   d. 30 Aug 1878  (Age 63 years)
     4. Christophers Raymond Perry,   b. 29 Jun 1816,   d. 8 Oct 1848  (Age 32 years)
     5. Elizabeth Mason Perry,   b. 15 Sep 1819,   d. Unknown
    Last Modified 7 Jan 2006 
    Family ID F2508  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 23 Aug 1785 - Rocky Brook, Washington Co., RI Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsChristened - 18 Jan 1795 - Trinity Church - Newport, Newport Co., RI Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 5 May 1811 - Newport, Newport Co., RI Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsAlt. Burial - 24 Dec 1826 - Island Cemetery - Newport, Newport Co., RI Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    Oliver Hazard Perry
    Oliver Hazard Perry
    Oliver Hazard Perry at Sea
    Oliver Hazard Perry at Sea
    Oliver Hazard Perry
    Oliver Hazard Perry
    Image of the Perry stamp from the 1870 series.