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John Paul Jones

(b. July 6, 1747, Arbigland, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland – d. July 18, 1792, Paris, Île-de-France, France )

Gender: M

John Paul (1747-1792), who added Jones to his name later in life, was a naval commander in the American Revolutionary War. He was born in Scotland, where his father was a gardener on the estate of Lord Galloway. He joined the British navy at the age of thirteen and travelled on a number of British merchant and slave ships, but in 1770 he fled to Virginia after killing a man, and transferred his allegiance to the American cause. On 23rd September 1779, in command of the Bonhomme Richard, he led a squadron of American ships that engaged the Royal Naval vessels Serapis and Alliance. This became known as the Battle of Flamborough Head, and resulted in the surrender of the badly-damaged Serapis, which Jones sailed to safety in neutral Holland. Jones was regarded as a hero in America, but in Britain was considered a traitor and a pirate, since he had never renounced his British citizenship. In 1783, Jones entered the service of Catherine the Great in the Russian Imperial Navy, and fought against the Turks. He spent the last two years of his life in Paris, where he was buried. His remains were exhumed in 1906 and re-interred in a magnificent sarcophagus at the Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis.

Also known as:

  • John Paul Jones

Please note that all dates and location information are provisional, initially taken from the library and archive catalogues. As our section editors continue to work through the material we will update our database and the changes will be reflected across the edition.