Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oliver Hazard Perry’s Victory at the Battle of Lake Erie

Oliver Hazard Perry became a national hero after his victory at the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813. Perry’s words to William Henry Harrison, “We have met the enemy and they are ours,” have become immortalized. The New York Times covered the celebration of the 45th anniversary of Perry’s Victory in 1858. In 1911 A.G. Field’s minstrels featured a reproduction of Commodore Perry’s victory in “The Naval Review,” which played in Sandusky on May 12. In September 1913 citizens of Sandusky hosted a two-day celebration commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of Oliver Hazard Perry’s victory at the Battle of Lake Erie. The September 8, 1913 headline from the Sandusky Register stated that the Perry Parade was “to be the grandest street spectacle ever witnessed here.” Every downtown street was decorated with flags, bunting and electric lights. 5,000 people marched in the parade, in which there were twelve bands and one hundred floats.
The U.S. Brig Niagara was reconstructed and sailed into Sandusky Bay from Erie, Pennsylvania. Participants in the grand celebration included former President William Howard Taft, Lieutenant-General Nelson A. Miles, and the governors of eight states:Governor James M. Cox of Ohio, Governor Samuel Ralston of Indiana, Governor James McCreary of Kentucky, Governor Woodbridge Ferris of Michigan, Governor John Kinley Tener of Pennsylvania, Governor Aram J. Pothier of Rhode Island, Governor Edward Dunne of Illinois, and Governor Francis McGovern of Wisconsin. Rev. A. J. Carey of Chicago honored the over one hundred African American seamen who served under Commodore Perry. The festivities concluded with a banquet for eight hundred guests at the Hotel Breakers at Cedar Point.

Perry’s Victory inspired books, songs, and paintings, and the city of Perrysburg was named after Oliver Hazard Perry in 1816. You can visit the Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial at Put in Bay. From atop the Doric column, one can see for miles across Lake Erie. On June 2, 1936 President Franklin Roosevelt established the Perry Victory and International Peace Memorial as part of the National Park Service.

1 comment:

Orange and Blue said...

We always assumed my ancestor Lola Blakesley Morgan (1872-1954) was an only child. But, when we got her father's Civil War pension file from the National Archives, we discovered she had a brother named Oliver Perry Blakesley (who evidently died young). Thanks for the post about his namesake!

Incidentally, Lola and Oliver's father Edson McClure Blakesley (1845-1931) grew up in Sandusky, and lived there until he enlisted in Company F of the 145th Ohio Volunteers. His parents were John and Isabel (McClure) Blakesley. I'd love to compare notes with anyone with more info on the Blakesley or McClure families of Sandusky.