Genealogy Trails (National)


Pennsylvania Trails

The USS Lawrence

The first USS Lawrence was one of two 493-ton Niagara-class brigs (more correctly: snows) built at Erie, Pennsylvania, by Adam and Noah Brown under the supervision of Sailing Master Daniel Dobbins and Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry, for United States Navy service on the Great Lakes during the War of 1812.

She was commissioned in early August 1813 and quickly began operations with a voyage to Detroit, Michigan in search of the opposing British squadron. During the 10 September 1813 Battle of Lake Erie, Lawrence served as flagship for Perry until she was disabled by enemy fire. Perry then transferred to her sister-ship, the Niagara, from which he fought the battle to a successful conclusion.

In mid-1815, following the end of hostilities, Lawrence was sunk in Misery Bay on Presque Isle, PA in order to preserve her hull. Her submerged hulk was sold in 1825 and, except for a brief examination in 1836, remained underwater for five more decades.

In September 1875, her remains were raised, cut into sections and transported by rail to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she was exhibited during The U.S. Centennial International Exhibition of 1876. Her remains were destroyed by a fire during that exhibition.


Raised hulk of the USS Lawrence, Misery Bay, Erie PA 1875


 Namesake: James Lawrence

Awarded: 18 February 1813

Builder: Adam and Noah Brown

Launched: 24 May 1813

Commissioned: August 1813

Out of service: 1815

Fate: Sunk for preservation 1815, raised 1875, lost in 1876 fire

General characteristics

Displacement: 493 tons

Length: 109 ft 9 in (33.5 m)

Beam: 16 ft 3 in (5.0 m)

Draft: 4 ft 8 in (1.4 m)

Propulsion: Sail

Complement: 134

Armament: 2 x long 12-pounders, 18 x short 32-pounder cannonades

Four other United States Navy ships have borne the name USS Lawrence in honor of James Lawrence.

USS Lawrence (1843), was also a brig decommissioned in 1846

USS Lawrence (DD-8), was a 400-ton Bainbridge-class destroyer, commissioned in 1903 and serving until 1920

USS Lawrence (DD-250), was a Clemson-class destroyer, serving from 1921 to 1945

USS Lawrence (DDG-4), was a Charles F. Adams-class destroyer commissioned in 1962, and serving until 1994



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