John Paul Jones: A Naval Hero


John Paul Jones is one of the most famous naval leaders in American history. He was a commander of the United States Navy in the Revolutionary War. He was known for his fierce fighting and leadership throughout the world. He served in the American Navy, as well as in the Russian and French Navies.

Biographical Information

John Paul Jones is considered the father of the navy for the United States of America. He was born in 1747 in Scotland. He was born as John Paul and added the last name Jones after he moved to the United States. John Paul Jones spent much of his life on the sea. He was apprenticed to his first boat at the age of thirteen. He grew up hearing stories about sailing and took to the life. He is credited with the saying “I have not yet begun to fight.”

Early Adventures

John Paul Jones served onboard several different ships both trade and slaver ships. He was advanced quickly through the ranks and became first mate on a slaver ship. He became upset with the conditions on these boats and gave up his position walking off the boat in Jamaica. It took him quite some time to rebuild his reputation after he quit his job as a slaver. 

Trips to Scotland

When John Paul Hones first began sailing many of his trips went back and forth between Scotland and Fredericksburg, Virginia when his brother lived. As he traveled the world he would return at home to visit his sisters and family. His last trip to Scotland was in 1771. He had moved up to the rank of captain and killed a solider in self-defense when the crew threatened mutiny. This ended his trips to Scotland, because he wanted to avoid the trial that would come as a result of his actions.

Great Accomplishments

Shortly after that incident John Paul Jones brother passed away. After taking care of his affairs in America, John Paul Jones spent a few years there. It is during this time that he added the last name Jones to his identity. He also identified with the American Revolutionists and volunteered for the navy. He became the first lieutenant in the army. He led several ships and was known as a fierce fighter in the navy. He became good friends with Benjamin Franklin and helped to organize the naval attack of the revolutionary forces, while fighting on both sides of the Atlantic.

Service in France

After the Revolutionary War ended John Paul Jones traveled to Russia to serve as a leader in their navy during the difficult political times. Although he did have command of a boat for a short time, he spent much of his time in Russia in St. Petersburg. Frustrated with being unable to sail due to political concerns, he traveled to France to join their navy. He died in France of kidney failure and was buried there. In 1906 the United States extracted his remains and moved them to the United States.

After they extracted John Paul Jones remains the United States government built a monument to honor him. They also performed an autopsy to determine that they had found the right person. He was originally buried in a place in France reserved for foreigners who could not afford a burial.