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Decatur, Stephen (1752–14 November 1808), merchant ship captain, privateersman, and naval officer, was born in Newport, Rhode Island, the son of Etienne Decatur, a French seafarer of Dutch descent, and Priscilla Hill, of Newport, where Etienne had settled about 1750. Stephen was baptized on 7 June 1752, and the family moved shortly thereafter to Philadelphia. Etienne died when Stephen was a youth, leaving the family with little money. Stephen also went to sea and was master of a sloop by 1774. On 20 December of that year he married Ann Pine, a Philadelphian of Irish and Scottish descent. Four of their five children lived to adulthood; one daughter married an officer of the Marine Corps, and three sons, the most famous of whom was ...

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McNeill, Daniel (05 April 1748–1833), privateer and naval officer, was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, the son of William McNeill and Catherine Morrison. Little is known about his early life. He married Mary Cuthbertson in February 1770. She apparently died sometime before 1773. He married a second time, to Abigail Harvey of Nottingham, England. He had at least ten children with her, the first being born in July 1773....

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Truxtun, Thomas (17 February 1755–05 May 1822), naval officer and author, was born near Hempstead, Long Island, the son of Thomas Truxtun, a barrister, and Sarah Axtell. His father, an Englishman who had come to Long Island from Jamaica, practiced law in New York City. Truxtun’s mother died when he was six years old. His father wrote a will, left his son to the care of John Troup, and departed from Long Island; he died when Truxtun was ten years old. In the meantime, Truxtun attended school for two years before he went to sea at the age of twelve aboard the merchant ship ...