Thursday, April 28, 2016

Lieutenant Presley O’ Bannon

Born in Marshall, Virginia , the mighty metropolis of 500 souls where I was raised from five on.  I was bashful when my Mother (Aunt) adopted me after my Mother Emily died when I was thirteen months old and once she stopped in front of O'Bannon's Hardware and told me to go inside to pick up something, I was scared, but with prompting I went in and my bashfulness was gone after that. How well I remember. :)

 Image courtesy of LVA and Virginia Cavalcade.

After marching 500 miles from Egypt, U.S. agent William Eaton leads a small force of U.S. Marines and Berber mercenaries against the Tripolitan port city of Derna. The Marines and Berbers were on a mission to depose Yusuf Karamanli, the ruling pasha of Tripoli, who had seized power from his brother, Hamet Karamanli, a pasha who was sympathetic to the United States.

The First Barbary War had begun four years earlier, when U.S. President Thomas Jefferson ordered U.S. Navy vessels to the Mediterranean Sea in protest of continuing raids against U.S. ships by pirates from the Barbary states–Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, and Tripolitania. American sailors were often abducted along with the captured booty and ransomed back to the United States at an exorbitant price. After two years of minor confrontations, sustained action began in June 1803, when a small U.S. expeditionary force attacked Tripoli harbor in present-day Libya.

In April 1805, a major American victory came during the Derna campaign, which was undertaken by U.S. land forces in North Africa. Supported by the heavy guns of the USS Argus and the USS Hornet, Marines and Arab mercenaries under William Eaton captured Derna and deposed Yusuf Karamanli. Lieutenant Presley O’ Bannon, commanding the Marines, performed so heroically in the battle that Hamet Karamanli presented him with an elaborately designed sword that now serves as the pattern for the swords carried by Marine officers. The phrase “to the shores of Tripoli,” from the official song of the U.S. Marine Corps, also has its origins in the Derna campaign.


  1. Now, let us hear the rest of the story about the hardware store.

    1. I mainly remember sitting in the car before I went in:) Hey, just thought of another:

  2. Via Sister Anne

    Very interesting. I suppose Johnny knows all of this

    Is he still around? The last time I went into the hardware, it was a second hand, though nice store. Seems like the lady said that the O'Bannon's were selling their house next door.....?


    I have been in the new store also. Johnny was still in town then . I don’t know now. I have not been up there to stay since Sally died.