The Arbigland Estate (approx 1400 acres) occupies some of the most beautiful countryside of southwestern Scotland overlooking the Irish Sea (Solway Firth) near the border with England. Since 1690 it had been in the family of William Craik who was the owner of the estate during the life of John Paul Jones. Not only was Craik an acquaintance of Benjamin Franklin, but one of Craik’s sons went on to become the personal doctor of George Washington and served as the head of the US Continental Army Medical Corps during the Revolutionary War. A neighbor of Craik was appointed by King George III to broker the treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom ending the Revolutionary War.
John Paul Jones’ father, John Paul, Sr., was the groundskeeper of Arbigland Estate and his mother, Jean McDuff, was a maid in the Mansion. They married 29 November 1733. William Craik provided the couple a three-room stone house for their home. John Paul was born 6 July 1747 (he added Jones after settling in America in late 1774) and was the fifth of seven children (the last two died soon after birth).
It should be noted that on 16 April 1746 the English had dealt the Scots a bitter defeat at the Battle of Culloden. The English, under the “Disarming Acts”, prohibited tartans, bagpipes and Scottish Judicial Courts. Obviously, the Scots were bitter toward the English.
As a child, John Paul Jones was drawn to the sea. At the nearby port of Carsethorn, he explored the ships, listened to the sailors’ stories and pretended to be in command of imaginary ships in battle. He was an excellent student and excelled in math, reading and writing.
In 1760, with the approval of his parents, he signed on as a cabin boy with the ship owner John Younger, in nearby Whitehaven, England. Jones served under Captain Robert Benson on the merchant ship Friendship (crew 28, two masts, 179 tons, 18 cannons). It sailed from Whitehaven to Barbados to Virginia and back to Whitehaven to start the cycle again. In three years Friendship made eight crossings. During the stops in Virginia, Jones was able to spend time with his brother William who had immigrated to Fredericksburg, and had established a successful tailoring business. In 1764, John Younger was forced to sell his business, including the Friendship. Jones was given his release with an excellent recommendation.
Jones became a third mate on the slave ship King George out of Whitehaven, and then became a first mate on the slave ship Two Friends out of Kingston, Jamaica. Although the money was good, Jones became
On 13 October 1775 the US Navy was created. Primarily due to the influence of Joseph Hewes, Jones was named the senior First Lt. of the Continental Navy on the USS Alfred (Captain Saltonstall, 30 cannons). Born in Scotland, Jones was considered a foreigner by the colonists. Only because he was a Mason and known as an expert mariner, was he permitted to join the Condisgusted with the slave trade and quit. For a time, he travelled Jamaica as a touring actor
In 1768, a friend, Captain Samuel MacAdams of the merchant ship John (homeported in Kirkcudbright, Scotland) offered Jones passage back to Scotland from Jamaica. On the voyage back, Captain MacAdams and the first mate died. Jones was the only person onboard who knew how to navigate, so he assumed command, and brought the John safely to Kirkcudbright. The owners of John made Jones the ship captain. In May 1770, on the way to Tobago, Jones had to flog the ship carpenter, Mungo Maxwell, for disobedience. Maxwell complained to the authorities in Tobago, they investigated but found Jones innocent. Maxwell decided to return to Scotland on another ship. During the voyage back, Maxwell died of fever. Maxwell’s family had some influence in Kirkcudbright and held Jones responsible. When Jones return a little later, the sheriff arrested him and held him in the jail (The Tolbooth) for a couple of days before releasing him on his own account. Jones spent almost two years procuring the documentation to clear his name. During this period, he became a mason at the St. Bernard’s Lodge in Kirkcudbright on the backing of James Smith. Smith was a partner of Joseph Hewes of North Carolina who would become an important member of the committee creating the US Navy in the Revolutionary War.
In October 1772, Jones became the Captain and part owner of the ship Betsy (three masts, 300 tons, 22 cannons) based in London. It sailed from London to Ireland to Madeira to Tobago then back to London. In October 1773, while in Tobago, a disgruntled crewmember tried to attack Jones. In self defense he had to kill the crew member. Since the crew member was part of an important Tobago family, and with the advice of many, Jones fled Tobago. Between October 1773 – Oct 1774, no one is really sure of where Jones went. It was during this time that he adopted the name, John Paul Jones. He did flee to America and made himself know to such important American patriots as Dr. John Read of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia and Joseph Hewes of North Carolina.
On 13 October 1775 the US Navy was created. Primarily due to the influence of Joseph Hewes, Jones was named the senior First Lt. of the Continental Navy on the USS Alfred (Captain Saltonstall, 30 cannons). Born in Scotland, Jones was considered a foreigner by the colonists. Only because he was a Mason and known as an expert mariner, was he permitted to join the Con