Stephen Decatur
(1779-1820)

Died aged c. 41

Stephen Decatur, Jr. (January 5, 1779 – March 22, 1820) was a United States naval officer and commodore notable for his naval victories in the early 19th century. He was born on the eastern shore of Maryland, in Worcester County, the son of a U.S. naval officer who served during the American Revolution. Decatur's father, Stephen Decatur, Sr., was a commodore in the U.S. Navy, and brought the younger Stephen into the world of ships and sailing early on. Shortly after attending college, Decatur followed in his father's footsteps and joined the U.S. Navy at the age of nineteen as a midshipman. Decatur supervised the construction of several U.S. naval vessels, one of which he would later command. He is the youngest man to reach the rank of captain in the history of the United States Navy. He served under three presidents, and played a major role in the early development of the American navy. In almost every theater of operation, Decatur's service was characterized with acts of heroism and exceptional performance. His service in the Navy took him through both Barbary Wars in North Africa, the Quasi-War with France, and the War of 1812 with Britain. He was renowned for his natural ability to lead and for his genuine concern for the seamen under his command. His numerous naval victories against Britain, France and the Barbary states established the United States as a rising power. During this period he served aboard and commanded many naval vessels and ultimately became a member of the Board of Navy Commissioners. He built a large home in Washington, known as Decatur House, on Lafayette Square, and was the center of Washington society in the early 19th century. He became an affluent member of Washington society and counted James Monroe and other Washington dignitaries among his personal friends. Decatur's distinguished career came to an early end when he lost his life in a duel with a rival officer. Decatur emerged as a national hero in his own lifetime, becoming the first post-Revolutionary War hero. His name and legacy, like that of John Paul Jones, became identified with the United States Navy.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

Stephen Decatur. Famed U.S. Navy officer. Born 1779 in Maryland, he grew up in a house on this site. Celebrated for his role in the Tripolitan War, 1804; capture of H.M.S. Macedonian, 1812; and the subduing of the Barbary powers, 1815. Killed in a duel in 1820. Buried, St. Peter's Church.

600 block of S Front St., Philadelphia, PA, United States where they grew up