John Paul (Paul) Jones

John (Paul) Jones (1747 - 1792)

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Captain John (John Paul) Jones formerly Paul
Born in Abigland, Kirkcudbrightskire, Scotlandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Died in Paris, Francemap
Profile last modified | Created 16 Feb 2015 | Last significant change: 6 Jul 2019
13:39: Abby (Brown) Glann edited the Biography for John (Paul) Jones (1747-1792). [Thank Abby for this]
This page has been accessed 7,073 times.
John Paul (Paul) Jones is notable.
Join: Notables Project
Discuss: notables



John Paul Jones was a Scottish sailor and the United States' first well-known naval fighter in the American Revolution. Although he made enemies among America's political elites, his actions in British waters during the Revolution earned him an international reputation which persists to this day. As such he is sometimes referred to as the "Father of the United States Navy".[1] He later served in the Imperial Russian Navy at the invitation of Catherine The Great [2] .


John Paul was born in a cottage on the estate of Arbigland near Kirkbean, in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright on the southwest coast of Scotland on July 6th, 1747 to John Paul, Sr. a gardener on William Craik's estate and Jean McDuff, his wife, who had been Mr. Craik's housekeeper.[3][1][4] The cottage is now known as The Commodore John Paul Jones Cottage. John loved the sea from an early age.[4] John began his education at the parish school near his home, but his formal education ended when he was apprenticed to his first ship.[4]

Military Service

John Paul was only 13 when he began his maritime career, as an apprentice aboard the Friendship under Captain Benson. [5][1] He was a merchant shipmaster by the age of twenty-one. At one point he was involved in killing a mutinous sailor in self-defense, at which point he fled and added "Jones" to his name in order to conceal his identity.[1] Jones was the name of the bondsman who supported him while he was managing his late brother, William's estate in Virginia.[4]
Captain John Paul (Paul) Jones served Continental Navy during the American Revolution
Service started:
Service ended:

John Paul served in the military during the years of 1775–88. As an officer of the Continental Navy of the American Revolution, John Paul helped establish the traditions of courage and professionalism that the sailors of the United States Navy today proudly maintain. Having taken up residence in Virginia, he volunteered early in the War of Independence to serve in his adopted country's infant navy and raised with his own hands the Continental ensign on board the flagship of the Navy's first fleet. He took the war to the enemy's homeland with daring raids along the British coast and the famous victory of the Bonhomme Richard over HMS Serapis. After the Bonhomme Richard began taking on water and fires broke out on board, the British commander asked Jones if he had struck his flag. Jones replied, "I have not yet begun to fight!" In the end, it was the British commander who surrendered. [1]

John Paul's final rank in the US Navy was Captain, and in the Imperial Russian Navy was Rear Admiral. He participated in the American Revolutionary War, the Battle of Nassau, the Battle of Block Island, the USS Providence vs HMS Mellish, the Irish/North Sea Campaign, in the Action of 24 April 1778, and the Battle of Flamborough Head. His merits included the Institution du Mérite Militaire, the Congressional Gold Medal, and the Order of St. Anne.

Jones is remembered for his indomitable will, his unwillingness to consider surrender when the slightest hope of victory still burned. Throughout his naval career Jones promoted professional standards and training. Sailors of the United States Navy can do no better than to emulate the spirit behind John Paul Jones's stirring declaration: "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast for I intend to go in harm's way." [1]


John Paul Jones died July 18, 1792 of interstitial nephritis and was found lying face-down on his bed in his third-floor Paris apartment, No. 19 Rue de Tournon. A small procession of servants, friends and loyal family walked his body the four miles (6.4 km) for burial. Having no wife or children, he left his entire estate to his sisters and their children.[4] He was buried in Paris at the Saint Louis Cemetery, which belonged to the French royal family. [6]

Burial and Exhumation

There is quite an extensive story on his burial and reinternment on Wikipedia.[5] His body was located in 1905, mummified and placed in a lead coffin. On approaching the American coastline, seven U.S. Navy battleships joined the procession escorting Jones's body back to America. On April 24, 1906, Jones's coffin was installed in Bancroft Hall at the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, following a ceremony in Dahlgren Hall, presided over by President Theodore Roosevelt who gave a speech paying tribute to John Paul Jones and holding him up as an example to the officers of the Navy. On January 26, 1913, the Captain's remains were finally re-interred in a magnificent bronze and marble sarcophagus at the United States Naval Academy Chapel, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Maryland. FindAGrave features a photo of his memorial with what appears to be a casket, in a roped off section of the Chapel.

Jones County, Mississippi was named in honor of John Paul Jones. Commissioned in 1991, the USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53) is the latest ship named in honor of Jones, with three previous ships also carrying his name.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 History Editors, "John Paul Jones.", 29 Jun 2019. Web.
  2. Wikipedia contributors. "Catherine the Great." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 24 Jun. 2019. Web. 29 Jun. 2019. Wikipedia:Catherine the Great
  3. Revolutionary War Archives: Jones Cottage
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Paull, Elisabeth Maxwell, Paull-Irwin: A family sketch. Privately published, 1915. Pg 16.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Wikipedia contributors. "John Paul Jones." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 29 Jun. 2019. Web. 29 Jun. 2019. Wikipedia:John Paul Jones
  6. Parouse

See Also:

  1. Find A Grave: Memorial # 554

More Genealogy Tools

Sponsored Search

Sponsored Search by

DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with John Paul by comparing test results with other carriers of his ancestors' Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with John Paul:

Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

Images: 7
John Paul Jones
John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones
John Paul Jones

Paull/Irwin family history
Paull/Irwin family history

John Paul Jones Memorial and Grave
John Paul Jones Memorial and Grave

Uss Bonhomme Richard
Uss Bonhomme Richard

view all


On 3 Jul 2019 at 18:54 GMT Abby (Brown) Glann wrote:

Jones was involved in the slave trade as an apprentice, but had such a distaste for it, he left the to pursue other work.

On 3 Jul 2019 at 14:37 GMT Dave Waters wrote:

The USS John Paul Jones(1991) is a destroyer as was the 1954 USS John Paul Jones. Both are warships though not battleships.

In the 18th and 19th century 13 was a reasonable age for a child to be apprenticed/start work - becoming a ships master so young was an achievement. In answer to Norma's question Jones was a British subject when he began to fight for the revolutionaries, (A renegade Scot, as my father called him) America only became a country on 4th July 1776.

On 3 Jul 2019 at 11:43 GMT Norma (Martin) Farnhell wrote:

Was the Captain Benson that he was apprentice to the one that was part of the slave trade? The other question is - was he still British when he started to attack and kill his countrymen or had he become an American citizen by then?

On 2 Jul 2019 at 23:33 GMT Paula Hawkins wrote:

Nice profile.

On 4 Jun 2019 at 00:24 GMT Abby (Brown) Glann wrote:

Hi there, profile managers!

We'll be featuring John Paul Jones in July as our example profile of the week. Feel free to make some updates between now and then. Otherwise, I'll be doing some tinkering closer to the feature date (Jul3).

Thanks! Abby

On 23 Jan 2019 at 02:43 GMT Don Giddens wrote: Grave of the older brother of John Paul (Jones).

On 5 Jan 2019 at 19:37 GMT Vicki Norman wrote:

Added info on birth place, burial and exhumation

On 21 Aug 2016 at 03:41 GMT Gordon Simpkinson wrote:

Jones-45707 and Paul-2245 appear to represent the same person because: These are the same very famous Revolutionary war hero. Correct last name at birth is Paul from several very well documented sources. He adopted the name Jones after emigrating to America.

On 10 Dec 2014 at 02:46 GMT Michael Stills wrote:

Hi Gene, Thanks for your great work on John Paul Jones. I removed the American Revoluntion Category as this is an organizing Category and not one we put individuals in. But then I did add the 1776 Veteran's Template and the American Founding Fathers Category so this puts him back in the subcategories of the American Revolution.

On 13 Nov 2014 at 22:51 GMT Gene Adkins Jr. wrote:

Paul-2079 and Jones-526 appear to represent the same person because: I don't know about the wife, with Wheeler as a bond it could be, same name, time frame, same child. Jones-526 is project protected, be very careful, I would prefer to merge, would like your ok. Gene Adkins

more comments

John Paul is 19 degrees from Jim Angelo, 19 degrees from Willis Carrier and 13 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.