Commodore John Barry (1745-1803) was born in County Wexford, Ireland, but by age 15 called Philadelphia, Pennsylvania home. He commanded several Continental Navy ships during the Revolutionary War and won decisive victories over the British. In 1794, Barry received appointment as senior captain of the new United States Navy and President George Washington signed his commission.
Barry oversaw construction of and later commanded the frigate United States. During the Quasi-War with France, the Commodore commanded a naval squadron fighting the French in the West Indies from 1798-1800. Celebrated as a founder of the United States Navy, he was a gallant warrior, a guiding force in shipbuilding and supply, and mentor to the next generation of naval leaders.
On May 15, 1914, Admiral George Dewey, President Woodrow Wilson, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels and Barry descendent Elise H. Hepburn unveiled the Barry Memorial. Numerous Irish-American and United States Navy groups joined the celebration honoring this great naval figure.
Sculptor John J. Boyle's Barry statue fittingly stands in Franklin Park, named in honor of Barry's fellow Philadelphian and American Revolution hero Benjamin Franklin.
(Across the bottom):
Grand Union Flag
Adopted in 1775 as the First National Flag of the United States
First Navy Jack
Symbolized the American spirit of liberty and resistance to tyranny.
Flown by Captain Barry from his Continental Navy brig in 1776.
Hoisted by Captain John Paul Jones from his sloop-of-war in 1778.
Flown from Continental Navy frigate Alliance 1779.