About John Paul Jones


Today, the most recognizable name of a naval officer of the American Revolutionary War is that of John Paul Jones. Jones was born John Paul on July 6, 1747, in Kirkcudbright, Scotland. At 12 he entered the British merchant marine and went to sea for the first time as a cabin boy.

Jones became first mate on a slaver brigantine in 1766 but soon left that trade in disgust. He was appointed master in 1769. As master of a merchant vessel, he killed the leader of his mutinous crew in self-defense at Tobago in the West Indies in 1773.To avoid trial, Jones fled to Virginia and was considered a fugitive by the British. He concealed his identity by adding the surname Jones.

At the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775, Jones went to Philadelphia and entered the Continental Navy. In December he was commissioned a lieutenant on the first American flagship, Alfred. Jones was quickly promoted to captain in 1776 and given command of the sloop Providence. While on his first cruise aboard the Providence, he destroyed British fisheries in Nova Scotia and captured sixteen prize British ships.
See below for more information on John Paul Jones.

Additional Resources on John Paul Jones

Books at the OWHL

John Paul Jones: Sailor, Hero, Father of the American Navy
John Paul Jones, a sailor's biography
John Paul Jones: man of action
Knight of the seas; the adventurous life of John Paul Jones
Paul Jones, his exploits in English seas during 1778-1780, contemporary accounts collected from English newspapers, with a complete bibliography
Paul Jones, founder of the American Navy

Selected Websites

Biographical Sketch from the Dictionary of American Biography (You must be on campus to access this resource.)
The Story of John Paul Jones