Stephen Decatur - Marriage

Marriage

On March 8, 1806, Decatur married Susan Wheeler, the daughter of Luke Wheeler, the mayor of Norfolk, Virginia. She was well known for her beauty and intelligence among Norfolk and Washington society. They had met at a dinner and ball held by the mayor for a Tunisian ambassador who was in the United States negotiating peace terms for his country's recent defeat at Tunis under the silent guns of John Rodgers and Decatur. Before marrying Susan, Decatur had already vowed to serve in the U.S. Navy and maintained that to abandon his service to his country for personal reasons would make him unworthy of her hand. Susan was once pursued by Vice President Aaron Burr and Jérôme Bonaparte, brother to Napoleon, both of whom she turned down. For several months after their marriage the couple resided with Susan's parents in Norfolk, after which Stephen received orders sending him to Newport to supervise the building of gunboats. For reasons not clear to historians the couple never had children during their fourteen years of marriage.

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