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John’s Birthday Celebrations-Where was he?

By July 4, 2020 No Comments


John Paul Jones was an extraordinary man who travelled the world in search of adventure, wealth, employment and freedom. I hope you will see from this article that he was well travelled in his short life but saw more of the world than most of us today have done despite the limited mode of transport at his disposal.

6th July 1747- 1760 Celebrated birthdays at Gardeners Cottage, Kirkbean, Scotland.

Born John Paul at Gardeners Cottage, Arbigland Estate, Kirkbean, Dumfries & Galloway DG2 he was the fourth child of Jean Duff and John Paul. He went to school in Kirkbean until age 12.He left home and sailed to Whitehaven from Carsethorn to enrol as a seaman’s apprentice for 7 years. Went to sea on the Friendship.

1761 Virginia, America.He sailed to Barbados, then to Hampton, Virginia, America on the Friendship of Whitehaven, England. The cargo they picked up in Barbados was 270 Hogsheads of rum and 189 barrels of sugar. Later they sailed up Chesapeake Bay and the Rappahannock River to Fredericksburg where John was able to meet his brother William who had become a gentleman’s tailor. His older brother William had a shop in Fredericksburg.. The ship did one round trip per year.

1762 6th July. Off The American east coast in The Friendship which arrived on the 8th in Rappahannock with 163 hogsheads of rum and 138 barrels of muscovado sugar from Barbados. He stayed for several months while the ship was in port. He spent time learning navigation. The Friendship did not clear for Whitehaven until 5th October 1762.

6th July 1763 At sea en-route to Virginia, America. The Friendship arrived on  6th August in Virginia with a cargo of 100 tons of salt probably from the Turks Islands. This time she needed repairs and did not return home until 30th November.

6th July 1764 West Africa to America He had Joined the Slave trade ship King George of Whitehaven as third mate.

6th July 1765-1766 He transferred to the brigantine Two Friends of  Kingston, Jamaica as first mate and made journeys to the west coast of Africa with tools and arms, then on to either the Caribbean or America with slaves from Africa and back to Britain with goods such as cotton, rum and tobacco.

6th July 1767 At sea en-route to Africa. On the 13th June 1767   he left for the windward coast of Africa with a cargo of rum and naval stores. On her return to Jamaica, Jones had had enough of the slave trade and he was disgusted with the way in which people were treated, so he  obtained his discharge. By the 30th July 1768 The John of Liverpool entered Kingston, Jamaica from Cork, bringing pickled beef and Irish butter. Samuel McAdam a well-known native of Kirkcudbright offered John Paul a  free passage home on the John of Kirkcudbright, Scotland. On the passage home the captain Samuel McAdam and the first mate died. John Paul was the only qualified sailor and at the age of only 21 managed to  get the ship home to Kirkcudbright. He became Master and supercargo (in charge of buying and selling the cargo) of the John of Liverpool. He set sail for America. In command of her he made at least two round trips to the West Indies.

1769 Crossing the Atlantic to Kirkcudbright. On 23rdJune 1769 The John cleared Kingston, Jamaica for Kirkcudbright with a cargo of 49 hogsheads and 6 casks of sugar, 156 puncheons of rum, 44 bags pimento, 6bags cotton, 75 mahogany planks and 2 and half tons of “Logwood & Fustik”- the dyewood that the Jamaicans cut at Campeche. John sailed around the western cape of Cuba to catch the Gulfstream, through the Strait of Florida and as far north as Bermuda before catching the westerlies across the Atlantic. He probably arrived in Kirkcudbright at the end of August. It was too late to make another voyage to the West Indies so he spent the winter ashore.

1770 trading from the Caribbean to the east coast of America.  His  next voyage to the Windward Islands took longer and it was at the end of the year that he enters Kirkcudbright from Grenada with a cargo of rum, sugar, cotton wool and ginger. It was on this voyage when they arrived on May 1770 in Tobago he flogged Mungo Maxwell, the ships carpenter and the son of a Kirkcudbright worthy for incompetence and disobedience. Maxwell lodged a formal complaint against Jones showing them his scars from the flogging in the vice-admiralty court. The complaint was dismissed as “neither mortal nor dangerous”. Maxwell later died onboard another ship the Barcelona Packet .

1771 Irish Sea between Isle of man and Galloway. The owners of the John, Currie, Beck & Co. sold her and gave Captain Paul an honourable discharge dated 1st April 1771, when the firm was dissolved. He was believed to have sailed a local packet that traded between the Isle of Man and Galloway.

Early Spring 1772 . He made his way to Tobago in the spring of 1772, where he obtained affidavits to clear his name in the Mungo Maxwell affair.

1772 Crossing the Atlantic from Tobago heading for London On the 30th June 1772 he arrived in Tobago and received an affidavit from the Judge of the vice admiralty court, exonerating him from the charges brought by Robert Maxwell. He headed back to Britain and by 24th September 1772 he was back in London. On 24th September he forwarded the documents to his mother at Kirkbean. The authorities were satisfied and cleared his name.

1773 Crossing the Atlantic heading for Madeira In January 1773 Plymouth The Betsy sets sail for Madeira but is forced to stop at Cork, Ireland for repairs as she was leaking and they were “unable to keep her free with both pumps”. He had to discharge the cargo and get her surveyed. Thirty of her futtocks (the timbers that formed the ribs of her mid-section) were broken. They were detained at Cork awaiting insurers go-ahead for repairs and getting the work done until mid-June. By Late summer 1773 The Betsy made it to Madeira to drop cargo en-route to Tobago. 

1774 Incognito probably in Fredericksburg, Virginia, America.  William Paul his brother died in Fredericksburg in December 1774 leaving all his property to his sister Mary Ann and her children in Scotland, none to his widow who had long been separated from him and none to brother John. It is thought that John would have been able to live in his brother’s house during this time until it was sold.

1775 America He is thought to have lived during the period he disappeared with Dr Read who lived at the Grove in Hanover County adjoining Goochland where between 1773-1775, he courted a woman called Dorothea Dandridge, the daughter of a plantation owner.

1775 July or August, Philadelphia, America. Jones travelled to Philadelphia to look for a job, probably in July or August. He met up with a fellow Scot named David Sproat from Kirkcudbright who was well established as a merchant and Jones stayed with him. He courted a lady who was a friend of Joseph Hewes and it was Hewes who John acknowledged as obtaining him his naval career being a fellow Freemason. Hewes’s partners brother had sponsored John Paul to become a freemason in Kirkcudbright. Jones believed that he was joining up not to fight for American Independence but for Liberty and the right for free people to determine their own destiny without coercion by a misguided King and a corrupt ministry.

1776 July, America. Providence arrives in Boston to escort a convoy of colliers to Philadelphia.

1777 On board the Ranger in America. On 6th  September he was ordered by Marine Committee to proceed to France to report to the Commissioners. The Indien, at Amsterdam, promised to  him. 

1778 Brest, France. 4th  July – Proposed to plenipotentiaries that Lieutenant Simpson return to America in command of the Ranger. Celebrated anniversary of independence on the Ranger. 

1779 On board the Bonhomme Richard in Croix, France

1780 France. In May he was Informed that King Louis had awarded him the Order of Military Merit and a gold sword. On 21 July he was presented with  the gold sword. He is received by the French King at Versailles. He asked Countess de la Vendahl to be custodian of sword while he was at sea.

1781 in Philadelphia, America. On 18th December 1780 John left France heading for America onboard the Ariel and arrived in Delaware Bay in 4th February.

1782 On board the America  in America. On the 20th June he celebrated the birth of the Dauphin of France by firing salutes on the America. On the 3rd September Congress voted to present America to France but it wasn’t until 5th November that she was launched and delivered to France. 

1783 Philadelphia, America. After a journey onboard the Triomphant with the French Fleet to Porto Cabello, New Spain, followed by a visit to Cap Francois in Haiti ,he arrived in Philadelphia on 26th April. He must have been suffering ill health at this time as on July22-29th August he visited the Moravian Spa at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to regain health.

1784 France. On the 1st February he submitted his credentials to the French Minister of Maine Marechal de Castries. O 28th August he dined with John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Benjamin Franklin, David Hartley and the Abbes Arnoux, Chalert and Mobly. He was lobbying to receive the Prize money due from his to officers and men of squadron lately under his command in European waters.

1785 Lorient, France. He visited L’Orient in July in the effort to obtain orders authorising payment of Prize money.By 18th August he had received Prize money on behalfof the United States Government and American citizens.

 1786 America. On the 7th July he submitted his account to Thomas Jefferson and by 12th August he had deposited the Prize money with Jefferson minus his share.

1787 New York. He arrived in early July for members to consider the final form of the Constitution for submission to the States. He then travelled to Philadelphia.

1788 Black Sea 1 July -Ochakov was attacked by Potemkin while Prince de Nassau-Siegen unsuccessfully led the Russian flotilla against the Turkish fleet. Jones personally led an attack on the Turkish galleys and boarded the galley of Captain Pacha.

1789 St. Petersburg, Russia  27 June -He was informed that he has been granted leave for two years, with all appointments belonging to his military rank, by Her Majesty. 7 July – Took leave of Catherine II.

1790 52,Rue de Tournon, Paris. He was settling business affairs. with Edward Bancroft. 10th July he headed a delegation of Americans who appeared before the National Assembly.

1791 Paris, France. On the 20th April he attended a dinner given by William Short where he met Lord Daer, the son of the Earl of Selkirk .

1792 Paris 11 July – Jones attended the meeting of the National Assembly, Paris. Dined at the Café Timon. Toasted as the “coming admiral of France.”But his health was deteriorating and on the 18 July at only 45 years old Admiral John Paul Jones died in Paris at his residence, No. 52 Rue de Tournon. Gouverneur Morris had drawn up his will a few hours previous to his death. 19 July – M. Le Brun announced Jones’ death to the National Assembly of France. It ordered a deputation of 12 members attend his funeral. Some of the members proposed to “put him in the Pantheon.” Members of the National Assembly wore mourning in his honour. Beaupoil, French officer, notified Jones’ sisters of his death, told them of his will, and sent a schedule of his property. 

By Susan Dixon

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