Decatur, Illinois is named for War of 1812 naval hero Stephen Decatur (1779-1820) who captured the British Macedonian in a desperate fight near Madeira Island. Outside of John Paul Jones and David Farragut, Decatur was best known for saying: "Our country...may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong!" He is also credited for quelling attacks made by pirates in the Mediterranean Sea, who had discouraged commerce by many nations to the region and took sailors as slaves to countries such as Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, and Tripoli, also known as the Barbery States.
Decatur was also credited with one of the most daring acts in naval history on February 16th, 1804, after the US frigate Philadelphia was captured by the Barbery States, then-Lieutenant Decatur with a small ship and crew came into the harbor unnoticed where the Philadelphia was anchored, and set the frigate on fire while not losing a life. For his actions, Decatur was promoted to Captain, and eventually to Commodore before losing his life in a duel in 1820 to a fellow Commodore he had court-martialed and Decatur refused to reinstate him to his.