Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry

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Oliver Hazard Perry

Birthdate:
Birthplace: South Kingston, Washington County, Rhode Island, United States
Death: Died in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Cause of death: yellow fever contracted from mosquitos while aboard the USS Nonsuch
Place of Burial: Island Cemetery, Newport, Newport County, Rhode Island, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Capt. Christopher R. Perry, USN and Sarah Wallace Perry
Husband of Sarah Bewley and Elizabeth C. Perry (Mason)
Father of Eliza Perry; Charles Bewley; Oliver Hazard Perry Bewley; Christopher G. Perry; Lieut. Oliver H. Perry, II and 2 others
Brother of Capt. Raymond H. Perry; Sarah Wallace Perry; Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry; Anna Maria Perry; Jane Tweedy Butler and 4 others

Occupation: Commodore, Naval Commodore, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Hazard_Perry, Commodore in US Navy during First Barbary War and War of 1812 (Battle of Lake Erie); Died on expedition to Orinoco River, Venezuela, Commodore in the US Navy
Managed by: Kira Mae Standfest
Last Updated:

About Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry

Click here to view the Wikipedia page for Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry.


Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry (August 23, 1785 – August 23, 1819) was born in South Kingstown, Rhode Island, the son of Captain Christopher Raymond Perry and Sarah Wallace Alexander. He was an older brother to Matthew Calbraith Perry. As a boy, he lived in South Carolina, sailing ships practicing for his future career as an officer in the US Navy. He served in the War of 1812 against Britain, and earned the title "Hero of Lake Erie" for leading American forces in a decisive naval victory at the Battle of Lake Erie.

Perry is descended from Scotland's national hero, William Wallace.

Oliver Hazard Perry, Issue of 1894Educated in Newport, Rhode Island, Perry was appointed a midshipman in the United States Navy on April 7, 1799. During the Quasi-War with France, he was assigned to his father's frigate, the USS General Greene. He first experienced combat on February 9, 1800, off the coast of the French colony of Haiti, which was in a state of rebellion.


During the First Barbary War, he initially served on the USS Adams and later commanded USS Nautilus during the capture of Derna. At Perry's request during the War of 1812, he was given command of United States naval forces on Lake Erie. He supervised the building of a small fleet at Dobbin's Landing in Presque Isle Bay in Erie, Pennsylvania. On September 10, 1813, Perry's fleet defended against an attacking British fleet at the Battle of Lake Erie. Perry's flagship, the USS Lawrence, was destroyed in the encounter and Perry was rowed a half-mile through heavy gunfire to transfer command to the USS Niagara, carrying his battle flag (reading "DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP", the final words of Captain James Lawrence). Perry's battle report to General William Henry Harrison was famously brief: "We have met the enemy and they are ours; two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop." At one point in time Perry's ship was so battle-scarred that it was barely afloat and almost on its side, a British frigate sailed to meet Perry's ship. The British Admiral offered to let Perry surrender. Perry replied to the British Admiral's offer with a barrage of cannon balls. In the end, the British Admiral surrendered his ship.


His victory opened Canada up to possible invasion, while simultaneously protecting the entire Ohio Valley. It was one of only two significant fleet victories of the war, along with the Battle of Plattsburgh.


In 1819, during an expedition to Venezuela's Orinoco River Oliver Hazard Perry died of yellow fever contracted from mosquitos while aboard the armed schooner USS Nonsuch. He was 34 years old. Perry's remains were buried in Port of Spain, Trinidad, but were later taken back to the United States and interred in Newport, Rhode Island. After resting briefly in the Old Common Burial Ground, his body was moved a final time to Newport's Island Cemetery, where his brother Matthew C. Perry is also interred.


On May 5, 1811 he married twenty year old Elizabeth Champlin Mason at Newport, Rhode Island. The dashing young naval officer first encountered his future bride at a dance four years earlier. The newlyweds enjoyed an extended honeymoon, leisurely touring the New England states. Eventually the union, always described as a happy one, would produce five children, one of whom died in infancy.

Two of his descendents were Commander John Rodgers, the second naval officer to become an aviator and well known civilian aviator Calbraith Perry Rodgers first person to fly an airplane across the United States.

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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.

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Biography

Oliver Hazard Perry, Issue of 1894

Educated in Newport, Rhode Island, Perry was appointed a midshipman in the United States Navy on April 7, 1799. During the Quasi-War with France, he was assigned to his father's frigate, the USS General Greene. He first experienced combat on February 9, 1800, off the coast of the French colony of Haiti, which was in a state of rebellion.

During the First Barbary War, he initially served on the USS Adams and later commanded USS Nautilus during the capture of Derna. At Perry's request during the War of 1812, he was given command of United States naval forces on Lake Erie. He supervised the building of a small fleet at Dobbin's Landing in Presque Isle Bay in Erie, Pennsylvania. On September 10, 1813, Perry's fleet defended against an attacking British fleet at the Battle of Lake Erie. Perry's flagship, the USS Lawrence, was destroyed in the encounter and Perry was rowed a half-mile through heavy gunfire to transfer command to the USS Niagara, carrying his battle flag (reading "DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP", the final words of Captain James Lawrence). Perry's battle report to General William Henry Harrison was famously brief: "We have met the enemy and they are ours; two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop." At one point in time Perry's ship was so battle-scarred that it was barely afloat and almost on its side, a British frigate sailed to meet Perry's ship. The British Admiral offered to let Perry surrender. Perry replied to the British Admiral's offer with a barrage of cannon balls. In the end, the British Admiral surrendered his ship.

Perry's battle flag

Oliver Perry Monument in Newport, RI

His victory opened Canada up to possible invasion, while simultaneously protecting the entire Ohio Valley. It was one of only two significant fleet victories of the war, along with the Battle of Plattsburgh.

In 1819, during an expedition to Venezuela's Orinoco River Oliver Hazard Perry died of yellow fever contracted from mosquitos while aboard the Nonsuch. He was 34 years old. Perry's remains were buried in Port of Spain, Trinidad, but were later taken back to the United States and interred in Newport, Rhode Island. After resting briefly in the Old Common Burial Ground, his body was moved a final time to Newport's Island Cemetery, where his brother Matthew C. Perry is also interred.

On May 5, 1811 he married twenty year old Elizabeth Champlin Mason at Newport, Rhode Island. The dashing young naval officer first encountered his future bride at a dance four years earlier. The newlyweds enjoyed an extended honeymoon, leisurely touring the New England states. Eventually the union, always described as a happy one, would produce five children, one of whom died in infancy.

Two of his descendents were Commander John Rodgers, the second naval officer to become an aviator and well known civilian aviator Calbraith Perry Rodgers first person to fly an airplane across the United States.

Geographical namesakes

Many locations within dozens of miles of Lake Erie are named in his honor, including:

  • The City of Perryville, Arkansas
  • The City of Perrysburg, Ohio
  • Perry, Ohio
  • Perry County, Kentucky and its county seat Hazard, Kentucky
  • The borough of Perryopolis, Pennsylvania
  • Oliver Township, within Perry County, Pennsylvania
  • The Village of Perrysburg, New York and the surrounding township
  • The Village of Perry, New York and the surrounding township
  • Most of Perry Counties in the U.S.
  • Perry Hall at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College
  • Camp Perry at Port Clinton, Ohio

Monuments to Perry are located in many locations, including:

  • Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial at Put-In-Bay, Ohio
  • Front Park, in Buffalo, New York
  • Wade Park in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Perry Square in Erie, Pennsylvania
  • Island Cemetery in Newport, RI
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http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Trinidad_cemetery_pays__tribute_to_US_naval_hero-132900923.html

Trinidad cemetery pays tribute to US naval hero By Louis B Homer South Bureau Story Created: Oct 31, 2011 at 12:52 AM ECT

Story Updated: Oct 31, 2011 at 12:52 AM ECT 

When American Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry died near Trinidad on August 23, 1819, he was buried at Lapeyrouse Cemetery, Port of Spain. The then British rulers failed to recognise him as a hero. Seven years later, the US Navy sent its officers to remove Perry's body from Lapeyrouse and they took it to his homeland — Rhode Island, USA. There it was placed under a towering concrete monument built in his honour at Newport, Rhode Island. His first burial at Lapeyrouse was of historical significance. It was the first such burial in Trinidad, but due to a strained wartime relationship between the United States and Britain (over the War of 1812) it prevented him from receiving a military burial in Trinidad. Perry, at 27, was responsible for leading a decisive naval battle at Lake Erie, which defeated a British squadron. It was a battle that ensured control by the Americans of Lake Erie for the remainder of the war. For this feat, Perry earned the title "Hero of Lake Erie". Perry, a heroic officer of the US Navy, died aboard the US schooner Nonsuch, after a successful mission to the Orinoco River, Venezuela, where he held discussions with Venezuela's President, Simon Bolivar, over piracy in the Caribbean, according to the historians. On his way home, he contracted yellow fever while on board the schooner. Crewmembers sailed for Port of Spain so that Perry could get medical treatment, but he died as the schooner approached the Port of Spain harbour. His body was taken to Lapeyrouse cemetery, then called "The Old Cemetery", and buried in a grave on the northern side, in close proximity to Tragarete Road. It remained there for seven years until it was exhumed in 1826 and taken to Newport aboard the Memphis, under the direction of Captain Henry E Lakey. The body was kept for a while at the old Common Burial Ground at Newport until its removal to Newport's Island Cemetery. Historians record that Perry was a victim of wartime politics, which prevented him from receiving the official treatment usually given to senior military officers. Trinidad at the time was a colonial territory controlled by a British governor. He was still presiding over the placement of black US marines who had fought at Chesapeake, USA, on the side of Britain. After Britain lost the war, that country had the responsibility to find homes for the marines. They were sent to Trinidad in batches and settled in Moruga, where they became known as the Merikins. Many years had to pass before any recognition was given to Perry in Trinidad. Meanwhile, several monuments were erected in his honour in various parts of the United States, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois and others. The monuments were in the form of arched gates decorated with brass images of Perry. By 1866, the relationship between Britain and the US had improved and when Arthur Hamilton Gordon was appointed governor, he collaborated with members of the Cabildo to erect a monument at Lapeyrouse in honour of Perry. The monument consisted of two concrete columns, 15 feet apart, and adorned with historical details concerning the incident. The metal gate leading into the cemetery was decorated with silver-coated coats of arms of Britain and the United States. The site was named Perry Memorial Gateway. The monument was completed and opened on April 11, 1870, in the presence of the governor and Mayor John Bell-Smythe. The gateway represented the entrance through which Perry's body entered the cemetery for burial. From 1870 until 2000, a contingent of US naval officers came to Trinidad annually on August 23 to clean the columns and shine the brass epitaph which was securely placed on the columns. Vandalism stepped in and the brass emblems were swiped, leaving behind the columns, metal gate, and the two silver-plaited coats of arms. Former Port of Spain mayor Murchison Brown said he was unaware of the removal of the fittings. He said, "We are saddened to hear this because it is the policy of the corporation to preserve all historic monuments and sites in the city. I am sure some discussions could take place to reinstate the original façade of the monument and rededicate it to this outstanding naval officer." Perry Gate Memorial Gateway, a section in Woodbrook Cemetery allocated for burial of US Marines, as well as a burial ground at Macqueripe are the only known heritage sites with American history. Historians believe the action by the colonial government in not recognising Perry at the time of his death was a selfish one, because he had lost his life fighting piracy in the Caribbean. The Perry event is one of several in which Lapeyrouse cemetery featured prominently since it was used in the early 19th century, perhaps 1813, when the burial of John Creteau was made. It was originally part of Ariapita estate owned by Madam Francesca Guillerma Lambert de St Laurent, wife of Philippe Rose de St Laurent, the man responsible for introducing the Cedula of Population, an initiative that allowed people from other islands of the Caribbean to come to Trinidad to develop the agricultural potential of the island. Later on, it became part of the estate of F de la Peyrouse. He had allocated 20 acres for a cemetery. In 1823, a function was held for the dedication of the cemetery. It was attended by Rev John H Clapham together with the governor and members of the Cabildo.

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Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's Timeline

1785
August 23, 1785
South Kingston, Washington County, Rhode Island, United States
1786
1786
1805
1805
Age 19
1809
May 22, 1809
Age 23
Bucks, PA, USA
1811
March 5, 1811
Age 25
Newport, Newport, Ri
1812
April 2, 1812
Age 26
Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, United States
1813
September 10, 1813
Age 28
Put-in-Bay, Michigan, United States

Battle of Lake Erie

1815
February 23, 1815
Age 29
Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, United States
1816
June 29, 1816
Age 30
Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, United States
1819
August 23, 1819
Age 34
Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago