Decatur, Texas (33°14′N 97°35′W) is the county seat of Wise County in North Texas. Its namesake is Stephen Decatur, Jr., a famous naval officer. Decatur was the son of naval officer Stephen Decatur, Sr. who served in the navy during the American Revolution. Stephen Decatur, Jr. was reared in Philadelphia and upon graduation from Episcopal Academy there, at 17 years old, he worked in the maritime industry before securing a midshipman’s warrant in 1798 and began serving on the USS United States. This was in the interim period between the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, but there was still quite a lot of naval activity that occurred. Decatur was then assigned to a frigate USS Essex as a first lieutenant protecting maritime shipping. In succession, he was transferred to the USS New York and USS Argus. This was followed by a transfer to the USS Enterprise, a schooner. He served in action against French ships and others. In one event, he was commanding a captured enemy ship in the harbor at Tripoli on a mission to destroy the captured USS Philadelphia. Decatur was able to board the ship with 60 men, set it afire, escape to his vessel and reach open sea. For this, he was commended by Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson.
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