John Paul Jones
John Paul Jones- A Famous Scottish American Hero
"father of the US Navy"
John Paul Jones (1747 - 1792) Born Jean Paul , in Kirkbean, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland, took to the sea, sailing to America, at the age of 12. His early voyages as commander of the "John" were eventful, after punishing a carpenter with the cat-o'-nine-tails, the poor soul later died of malaria. Jones, being accused of murder, was forced to clear himself of wrongdoing in the affair. He was again accused of murder, a couple of years later, during a visit to Tobago, West Indies when he killed a mutineer in self-defence. As the Admiralty Court was not in session he fled to America, where he took the name 'Jones'.
For the following 20 months "John Paul Jones" lived in anonymity. During this time he met one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Joseph Hewes. Hewes was a shipowner and (as a friend of Hewes) John Paul Jones was commissioned as the first lieutenant on the frigate Alfred. A short time later he was commissioned as captain of the sloop of war, Providence and in 1778, as captain of the Ranger, Jones received the first salute given to the new American flag by a foreign warship.
In that year Jones began a campaign along coastal Scotland and England, capturing the Drake (the first victory of a Continental vessel over a British warship) and earning him a notorious reputation in England. His greatest exploit was undoubtedly the capture of the British warship Serapis:
Jones was commanding the Bonhomme Richard, when he encountered two British ships of war, the Serapis and the Countess of Scarborough. Jones was clearly out-gunned and outmanned, by the two ships:
"An initial attempt to board the British frigate and win by sheer desperate fighting failed. In a second effort, he managed to lock the two ships togther. The Serapis was beaing in one of the Richard's sides and blowing out the other. Most of the guns of the American ship were broken and silenced. The Richard with its dry old timbers was afire again and again, and the water in the hold rose ominously. A gunner, crediting a report that Jones had been killed, called to offer surrender of the Richard, and Pearson [captain of the Serapis] loudly responded, "Do you ask for quarter?" Jones then made his memorable reply, emphasizing it by hurling his two pistols at the head of the gunner: "I have not yet begun to fight!"
After a desperate battle against heavy odds, (which continued for more than three hours), he emerged victor, when the Serapis surrendered. When he returned to America Congress honored Jones and awarded him a rear admiralty.
Jones went to Europe after the American Revolution. In 1787 he was appointed rear-admiral in the Russian Navy, and fought against the Turks. Retiring to France, Jones did not achieve the acclaim his skill and courage merited and he was buried in an unmarked grave in Paris. However, having remained an American citizen, in 1905, his body was taken back to the United States and buried with full honours at the chapel of the U.S. Naval Academy.