Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry (August 2, 1785 – August 23, 1819) was born in South Kingstown, Rhode Island, the son of Captain Christopher Raymond Perry and Sarah Wallace Alexander. He was an older brother to Matthew Calbraith Perry. As a boy, he lived in South Carolina, sailing ships practicing for his future career as an officer in the US Navy. He served in the War of 1812 against Britain, and earned the title "Hero of Lake Erie" for leading American forces in a decisive naval victory at the Battle of Lake Erie. The city of Perrysburg, Ohio the borough of Perryopolis, Pennsylvania, as well as the village of Perrysburg, New York and its the surrounding township are all named after him.
Through his mother, Perry is descended from Scotland's national hero, William Wallace.
Educated in Newport, Rhode Island, Perry was appointed a midshipman in the United States Navy on April 7, 1799. During the Quasi-War with France, he was assigned to his father's frigate, the USS General Greene. He first experienced combat on February 9, 1800, off of the French colony of Haiti, which was in a state of rebellion.