February 11, 2010 by Amy Elliott Bragg
Oliver Hazard Perry/Oliver Perry Hazard
A few months ago I was intrigued to find a headstone in Farmington’s Quaker Cemetery for Oliver Perry Hazard, March 17, 1836 — September 16, 1923. It gave me a brain glitch. For a few moments I could not remember why I knew that name nor why it seemed somehow wrong.
Luckily, I have an iPhone these days, so I just looked it up when I got back to my car.
Of course, I was thinking about Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the hero of the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. Not the same guy buried in the Quaker Cemetery in Farmington, Michigan, but how did a guy with the name “Oliver Perry Hazard” end up buried in the Quaker Cemetry in Farmington, Michigan? That couldn’t just be a coincidence.
Here’s his obituary:
Oliver Perry Hazard passed away at his home, 3439 Cass Avenue, Detroit, Sunday, September 16, 1923. Mr. Hazard was a direct descendent of the renowned Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, passing the name on to his grandson, Oliver P.H. Crane of Los Angeles. He was born near Penn Yan, New York … and when very young, came west ith his parents, who settled in Novi, Michigan.
… At one time during his last years he gave to the late Fred M. Warner and Nathan H. power many interesting incidents of the early history of Farmington. This historical data was taken down in shorthand, by a stenographer.
… Mr. Hazard was a man of strong convictions, ever ready to champion what he believed to be right regardless of the attitude that others might take. He had hosts of friends and was a man among men. A devoted husband and a kind father, his domestic life was ideal.
So, that settles that. The obit also does not mention that Oliver Perry Hazard’s wife was Lucy Botsford, and at one point in his diverse business career, he took over the General store at the Botsford Inn (a place that well deserves a post all its own).
I read the historical notes compiled by Nathan H. Power and Governor Warner (it’s pretty great that the Governor was really excited about history, by the way), but it’s not sourced very well, so there’s no indication of what Oliver Hazard remembered in particular about Farmington. The record (written in 1921) did note that Mr. Hazard, the very first secretary of the Farmington Masonic Lodge, “at 86 retains his health and mental vigor to a remarkable degree.”
Today I also learned about Oliver Hazard Perry (the war hero)’s life-long feud with Jesse Duncan Elliott, and idly mused about whether we might be related.
I’d like to post more obituaries more often. Old ones like this always seems so sincere, like even if you didn’t know him, you could appreciate what he was like and why he was important.