Perry in New York

Commodore Matthew Perry was born in Newport, Rhode Island in 1794 and joined the then young U.S. Navy at the age of 14. He achieved an impressive naval career. He fought in the War of 1812 and served on cruises to West Africa, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and Mexico. In 1814 he was married to Jane Slidell, the daughter of a wealthy New York merchant and banker and their wedding ceremony took place at Grace Church on Broadway and 10th Street. When he was not at the sea, he spent most of his time at his home in Manhattan.

From 1833-43, Perry was stationed at the New York Naval Yard (now known as the Brooklyn Navy Yard) where he oversaw recruiting activities and established programs for the education of Naval officers. During this period, Perry and his family lived at 95 Spring Street.
After returning from his famous expedition to Japan (that lasted from 1853-54), Perry served on a naval advisory board, but he never sailed again. He lived at 38 West 38th Street and spent most of his time writing the three-volume Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan. However, his health soon declined, perhaps hastened by his many years of hard service at sea, and he died on March 4, 1858.
In his will Perry asked that his remains be buried at Newport, but due to bad weather, his body could not be transported. He was buried in the family vault of his wife's family, the Slidells, at St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery in the East Village in Manhattan. Finally, in 1864, 8 years after his death, his remains were transferred to Newport.

St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery was completed in 1799 on the site of a chapel originally built by Peter Stuyvesant, Governor of New Amsterdam, New York City's Dutch predecessor. In the burial yards near the east and west sides of the chapel are stone vaults, in which the coffins of wealthy New York families from the first half of the 19th century were placed. The vault of the Slidell family, where Perry's remains were first buried, is located along a path on the west side. Although his body is no longer there, a stone engraved "Commodore Matthew Galbraith Perry 1794-1855" remains.