Commodore Stephen Decatur (Continental Navy)

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Stephen Decatur

Birthdate: (56)
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
Death: November 11, 1808 (56)
at his country home "Millsdale", Frankford, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
Place of Burial: Society Hill, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Stephen Decatur, Lt. and Priscilla Decatur
Husband of Ann Pine
Father of Anne Pine Hurst; Commodore Stephen Decatur, Jr.; John Pine Decatur and Lieutenant James Decatur

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About Commodore Stephen Decatur (Continental Navy),_Sr.

Stephen Decatur, Sr. (June 1751 – November 11, 1808) was an American naval captain in the Revolutionary War and later in the Quasi-War. He was the father of Commodore Stephen Decatur, Jr.

Born in Newport, Rhode Island, Decatur was a merchant captain before the Revolution. He married Ann Pine; in addition to their famous son, they had two other children, Lieutenant James Decatur, who was killed in action in 1804 during the Barbary Wars, and Ann Decatur McKnight.

During the American Revolution he commanded the Royal Louis, the Comet, the Retaliation, the Rising Sun, and the Fair American.

With the outbreak of the Quasi War with France*, Decatur was commissioned as a captian in the United States Navy on May 11, 1798.

He commanded the ship USS Delaware and sailed in the first American Navy fleet to cross the Atlantic along with his son Stephen Decatur Jr.

In 1800, Decatur commissioned Philadelphia, the very vessel that his son later burned several months after it ran aground and was captured near Tripoli harbor in 1803.

In accordance with the Peace Establishment Act of 1801, which greatly reduced the United States Army and Navy, Decatur was discharged from the Navy on October 22, 1801.

He died in 1808, at his country home "Millsdale" in Frankford, Pennsylvania. He was interred next to his famous son at St. Peter's Church in Philadelphia.


United States Naval Officer. The father of famed 1812 Commodore Stephen Decatur Jr., he served in the Continental Navy during the Revolutionary War, and in the post-War United States Naval forces, himself reaching the rank of Commodore. He was responsible for the 1800 commissioning of the 28-gun sailing frigate "USS Philadelphia", which a few years later his son gained international fame for his part in daring night time raid to burn the vessel to keep it out of the hands of Tripolitan pirates during the Barbary Wars. The elder Decatur commanded the vessel during the "Quasi-War" with France, capturing five French ships with it before he was relieved of it's command by his own request. (bio by: Russ Dodge)

  • The Quasi-War with France (French: Quasi-guerre) was an undeclared war fought mostly at sea between the United States and the French Republic from 1798 to 1800. In the United States, the conflict was sometimes also referred to as the Undeclared War With France, the Pirate Wars or the Half-War.
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Commodore Stephen Decatur (Continental Navy)'s Timeline

June 1752
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
January 2, 1776
Age 23
January 5, 1779
Age 26
Sinnepuxent, Worcester County, Maryland, United States
September 14, 1786
Age 34
November 11, 1808
Age 56
Frankford, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
Society Hill, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States