John Barry (1745 – 13 September, 1803) was an officer in the Continental Navy during the American Revolutionary War and later in the United States Navy. He is often credited as "The Father of the American Navy". Barry was born in Tacumshane, County Wexford, Ireland and appointed a Captain in the Continental Navy 7 December 1775.
He commanded Lexington
, and Alliance
. He and his crew of the Alliance
fought and won the final naval battle of the American Revolution
off the coast of Cape Canaveral
on March 10, 1783. He was seriously wounded 29 May 1781
while in command of Alliance
during her capture of HMS Atalanta
. Barry was successful in suppressing three mutinies
during his career as an officer in the Continental Navy.
He was still in command of the Alliance when it participated in the last battle of the Revolutionary War.
Appointed senior captain upon the establishment of the U.S. Navy, he commanded the frigate United States in the Quasi-War with France. Barry authored a Signal Book published in 1780 to improve communications at sea among vessels traveling in formation.
On February 22, 1797, he was issued Commission Number 1 by President George Washington, backdated to June 4, 1794. His title was thereafter "Commodore." He is recognized not only as the first American commissioned naval officer but also its first flag officer.
Commodore Barry died at Strawberry Hill, in present-day Philadelphia on 13 September, 1803, and was buried there in St. Mary's Cemetery.
Things named in his honor
- The Commodore Barry Bridge over the Delaware River
- Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn, NY
- Four US Naval ships
- John Barry Hall at Villanova University
- Commodore Barry Club (Philadelphia Irish Center) Emlen St & Carpenter Lane, Mt Airy, Phila PA
- Barry Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania
- Commodore John Barry Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Commodore John Barry Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois
- Commodore John Barry Division of Ancient Order of Hibernians, Annapolis, MD
- September 13, Commodore John Barry Day in New Jersey Public Schools
- A statue dedicated to Barry stands in Franklin Square (Washington, D.C.).
- A large statue of Barry stands directly in front of the formal entrance to Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
- A statue of the Barry stands overlooking the Crescent Quay in Wexford town in Ireland. It was a gift to the town from the United States and was delivered by a United States Navy frigate. The statue was unveiled in 1956, and each year a parade and wreath-laying ceremony takes place at the statue to celebrate "Barry Day".
- A plaque commemorating Barry and his crew of the Alliance for the final naval battle of the American Revolution is located at Jetty Park in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
- A new plaque with a canon will be dedicated on March 10, 2007 in Port Canaveral.
- A plaque stands in the city of Boston at Boston Commons
- A plaque commemorating his grave site.