Christopher Raymond Perry
He was born in Newport, Rhode Island, the son of The Hon. Freeman Perry and his wife Mercy Hazard. Christopher's father, Freeman, was a physician and surgeon. In 1780, he was appointed Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas for Washington County, Rhode Island, which position he held until 1791.
On his mother's side he was a seventh-generation descendant of Captain Richard Raymond (1602–1692) and his wife, Julia (or Judith). He was born probably in Essex County, England in 1602 and arrived in Salem, Massachusetts about 1629, possibly with a contingent led by the Rev. Francis Higginson. The first actual date given for Richard is on August 6, 1629 when he is on the list of the 30 founding members of the First Church (Congregational) of Salem. He was about 27 years old. He was later a founder of Norwich, Connecticut, and an "honored fore-father of Saybrook".
His mother was also a descendant of Gov. Thomas Prence (1599 - March 29, 1673), a co-founder of Eastham, Massachusetts, a political leader in both the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies, and governor of Plymouth; and a descendant of Mayflower passengers, both of whom were signers of the Mayflower Compact, Elder William Brewster, (c. 1567 - April 10, 1644), the Pilgrim colonist leader and spiritual elder of the Plymouth Colony, and George Soule (1593–1679), through his grandmother Susannah Barber Perry (1697–1755).
Marriage and family
Perry married Sarah Wallace Alexander on August 2, 1784 in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. She was born about 1768 in County Down, Ireland and died December 4, 1830 in New London, Connecticut. She was a descendant of William Wallace,:54 the Scottish knight and landowner who is known for leading a resistance during the Wars of Scottish Independence and is today remembered as a patriot and national hero. Their five sons were all naval officers. Of their three daughters, Jane Tweedy Perry married surgeon, later United States Congressman, William Butler, Jr. and Anna Marie Perry married George Washington Rodgers.:66 Sarah Wallace Perry never married.:66
Christopher Perry enlisted in the militia during the American Revolution, then served on a privateer. He was captured twice, and met his wife when he was a prisoner in Ireland. In 1799, he was appointed a captain in the U.S. Navy. Perry built and commanded the frigate General Greene, on which his son Oliver Perry served as a midshipman. He saw considerable action during the Quasi War with France and was retired from the Navy by the Peace Establishment Act of April 3, 1801.
He was buried in the Belmont-Perry plot in the Island Cemetery in Newport, Rhode Island.
Captain Christopher Raymond Perry's descendants number in the thousands today. Some of his notable descendants include:
- Oliver Hazard Perry, hero of the Battle of Lake Erie.
- Matthew Calbraith Perry, commander of the Black Ships expedition to open Japan.
- Matthew Calbraith Butler, (March 8, 1836 – April 14, 1909). He was an American military commander and politician from South Carolina. He served as a major general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War, postbellum three-term United States Senator, and a major general in the United States Army during the Spanish–American War.
- Christopher Raymond Perry Rodgers (November 4, 1819 – January 8, 1892) was an officer in the United States Navy. He served in the Mexican–American War, the American Civil War, as Superintendent of the Naval Academy, and Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Squadron.
- Rear Admiral Thomas S. Rodgers (August 18, 1858 – February 28, 1931) was an officer in the United States Navy who served during the Spanish–American War and World War I.
- Rear Admiral Raymond Perry Rodgers (December 20, 1849 - December 28, 1925) was an officer in the United States Navy and the second head of the Office of Naval Intelligence.
- Calbraith Perry Rodgers (January 12, 1879 – April 3, 1912) was a pioneer American aviator who was the first civilian to purchase a Wright Flyer and the first to make a transcontinental flight.
- John Rodgers (January 15, 1881 – August 27, 1926) was an officer in the United States Navy and an early aviator.
- Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont (November 12, 1858 – June 10, 1908) was a wealthy American socialite and United States Representative from New York.
- Perry Belmont (December 28, 1851 – May 25, 1947), United States statesman, was born in New York City.
- August Belmont, Jr., (February 18, 1853 - December 10, 1924), was an American financier, the builder of New York's Belmont Park racetrack, and a major owner/breeder of Thoroughbred racehorses.
- Copes, Jan M. (Fall 1994). "The Perry Family: A Newport Naval Dynasty of the Early Republic". Newport History: Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society (Newport, RI: Newport Historical Society). 66, Part 2 (227): 49–77.
- Skaggs, David Curtis. "Oliver Hazard Perry: Honor, Courage, and Patriotism in the Early U.S. Navy". US Naval Institute Press, 2006. P. 4
- Boyd, p. 67.
- Martin, Samuel J., Southern Hero, Matthew Calbraith Butler, Stackpole Books, 2001. ISBN 0-8117-0899-3.