I love history. When I was in elementary, middle school, and high school when I would be home sick I would watch the history channel when Tom & Jerry was over with. Now, this is when the History Channel would still have shows like Modern Marvels, Engineering an Empire, Ancient Mysteries and Wild West Tech still played regularly.

Being from Northwest Ohio and Put-In-Bay being a big tourist attraction there is a TON of history in this area from the Maumee River, to the islands of Lake Erie, to all the different forts that were constructed throughout this region. If you’ve ever been to Catawba island, Put-In-Bay, Kelley’s Island, Sandusky bar area, or Port Clinton area. You may notice a flag that many fly on their boats or showcase in their stores, garages, or front porches. It reads: DONT GIVE UP THE SHIP.


What does it mean? Quite literally what it says,…don’t give up the ship!

This flag originated from a dying command of a Captain in charge of the Frigate, Chesapeake. James Lawrence took command of Chesapeake two months after being promoted to Captain. The ship was being prepared for sea in Boston at the time. James Lawrence had left port on June 1st, 1813 and was later engaged with a Royal Navy Frigate Shannon. Chesapeake was overwhelmed quickly with cannon and small arms fire; Captain Lawerence was severely wounded and was being taken below deck while ordering his officers, Don’t give up the ship.” The ship was later captured by the British and he later died on June 4th, 1813 from his wounds.

James Lawrence’s death was reported to fellow officer and friend Oliver Hazard Perry. Upon learning this Perry ordered that the phrase, DONT GIVE UP THE SHIP, be stitched onto a large blue battle ensign in large white letters. The flag was hoisted on his flagship the, USS Lawrence marking the start of the engagement on Lake Erie. The ship was severely disabled and upon firing the last salvo and taking the flags he and the crew rowed nearly a half mile to transfer command to the USS Niagara. From there the ship broke British lines and eventually received a British surrender aboard the now recaptured USS Lawrence. The battle took place on September 10th, 1813.


This is a small section of history that took place in the Ohio area and is something I think is very interesting to learn about. The flag, DONT GIVE UP THE SHIP, is very well known in this area in relation to Oliver Hazard Perry. You might be seeing that phrase on some merch in the near future; be on the look out!

Why am I putting that phrase on a piece of merch? Well, I’m from the northwest Ohio region and is apart of the history in this area. I also like the story behind the saying and the actions taken by Perry to live up to the phrase. Even if you fail at first, keep trying and pushing, improvise, adapt, and overcome! The other reason isn’t anything too specific other than the Vikings were known for their ship building; that’s it.

evan armstrongComment