Let’s Party Like It’s 1812! Commodore Perry’s Birthday Celebration and 5 Things You May Not Have Known About Him
On August 23, 2016, it will have been 231 years since the legendary Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry was brought into this world and to commemorate this American hero, there’s going to be a huge birthday celebration for the entire weekend! Join Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial on August 20 – 23, both Saturday and Sunday for musket and carronade demonstrations starting at 11:00 am.
But before this historic Put-in-Bay celebration comes to fruition, let’s pay a pre-tribute to the Commodore by looking at some of his lesser-known facts.
Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry is a direct descendant of William Wallace — “They make take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!” Braveheart anyone? That’s right, through his mother, Perry is a direct descendant of the Scottish noblemen William Wallace, of which the popular Mel Gibson movie Braveheart was based off. Looks like our favorite island hero had courage and bravery running through is veins all along. We have met the enemy, and they are ours!
In 1799 at the ripe age of 12, Oliver Hazard Perry became a midshipman on his father’s U.S. Frigate General Greene — And this makes perfect sense doesn’t it? Someone who was considered a tactical genius on the liquid battlefield had to start somewhere, so why not with his father at age 12. What were you doing at that age? Well come to think of it, we were mostly working on boats too. Albeit not fighting against Barbary pirates in the Mediterranean Sea. You win this battle Commodore.
Commodore Perry’s first command ended in a shipwreck — The Revenge, a fourteen-gun schooner, was the ship Perry was assigned to carry out his first seagoing command. Unfortunately for Oliver and his crew, the pilot wasn’t working with a full rudder so-to-speak, and wrecked the ship on a reef amidst a patch of dense fog. He ended up resigning until a military hearing could clear his name.
Before taking up anchorage at Put-in-Bay, Perry visited Sandusky — While Put-in-Bay is ultimately where Commodore Perry and his vessels ended up, he first proceeded through Sandusky Bay to meet up with Major General William Henry Harrison and his Army of the Northwest. Here he picked up an additional 1500 men, some which were Kentucky sharpshooters.
Perry had a pistol duel on the same field in New Jersey where Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton — An old-timey pistol duel to satisfy a Marine’s honor? Yes sir. Captain John Heath, the commander of warship Java during the Second Barbary War, provoked a nice little controversial slap in the face from Commodore Perry. Heath ultimately challenged Perry to a pistol duel, only to have a his first shot miss. Perry then refused to fire, which resulted in an noble end to the challenge. Such an honorable fellow that Oliver Hazard Perry.
For more information on Commodore Perry’s Birthday Celebration please visit our Events page.