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Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's Birthplace in South Kingstown, RI

On Sept. 8, 2010 my wife and I were spending a few days in the Stonington, CT area visiting family, and decided once again to try to find the Perry homestead, the house where Oliver Hazard Perry was born on August 23, 1785. The first time we tried a few years ago we didn't find it, but didn't have much time for the search. South Kingstown Township, in Rhode Island, has over 50 places on the Register of Historic Buildings. So many residents don't know much about them if they are not directly on a major road. Well, this time, we had more time, and the first 8-10 people we asked either had no idea, or sent us to the wrong place. The address we found on the web was clearly wrong.The library had no idea where the house was. The head of the water company didn't know. The fire department didn't know.

Well, the house still exists. It is in the middle of a 60 acre farm a few hundred yards from the main house there. It's about 30 minutes from my sister's home in Stonington. Both homes on the farm are a half mile from the road at the end of a long private driveway. The owner of the farm let me take pictures and also directed me to the family burial plot another half mile across the fields, where Perry's parents and grandparents are buried. Pictures of the family cemetery are also below. The last two pictures are from postcards of the Perry home from about 100 years ago. The photo of the garden is the view from the front door of the house.

Perry's grandfather, Judge Freeman Perry, was born on 23 Jan. 1733 in Kingston, Washington, RI. He died on 15 Oct. 1813, barely a month after the Battle of Lake Erie. His grandmother, Mercy Hazard, was born on 21 Jan. 1740. She died on June 9, 1802, according to the tombstone. Some references say she died in 1810, but are likely wrong. They were married on 25 Jan. 1756. (Text corrected on Sept. 21, 2010)

 

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