Captain John Paul Jones’ Birthday

Captain John Paul Jones’ Birthday

Happy Independence Day and Happy Birthday to Captain John Paul Jones. Jones was an influential force in the Continental Navy. Before that, he spent most of his life at sea working his way up in rank and building up a considerable reputation for himself. In this #TallShipTuesday we learned all about Providence’s Captain and his early life before his time on Providence.

His First Voyage

While we know him as John Paul Jones, he was actually born John Paul. Jones was born on July 6th, 1749 in Kirkcudbright, Scotland. He spent much of his early life in Scotland. By age 12, he was apprenticed to a merchant shipper named John Younger on Friendship. While sailing with Younger, John Paul made his first trips to the Americas. Unfortunately, Younger’s business failed in 1766 when John Paul was 19 years old. It was then he spent some time in Virginia with his brother in Fredericksburg before looking for more work at sea.

Learning to Lead

After finding a new ship, he quickly rose through the ranks. On one particular voyage, two years into his service on the vessel, John Paul was thrust into a difficult situation. On the way back to Scotland both the captain and the chief mate died suddenly. without command and no way home, John Paul took command and guided the way safely back to port. For his heroics, he was promoted to Ship’s Master.

In 1772, at age 23, John Paul took command of Betsy. She sailed in the Royal Merchant Service, and began trading between England and the West Indies. Jones started to see some true success and made a small fortune. It was there that he also saw great hardship.

There was a mutiny aboard his ship, and John killed the ringleader. To escape arrest, he fled to the colony of Virginia where he stayed with his brother. It was in hiding when John Paul took on the new title of John Paul Jones.

Joining the War Effort

While in Virginia, Jones became a sympathizer to the rebel cause and as soon as the continental congress announced the creation of the continental navy on October 13th, 1775, Jones rushed to Philadelphia where he became a first lieutenant on Alfred. Officially Jones joined the crew of Providence as his first American Naval Command as captain in early 1776 when he was just 29 years old. The rest is history. Happy Birthday, Captain John Paul Jones!

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