John Paul Jones

Varenya Shrikant - Period 6

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Early Life


John Paul Jones was born in Scotland to a pair of servants. They worked for masters and so they were poor. Jones, unlike other children of his generation, did not have the opportunity to obtain a proper education. Nevertheless, he had a passion for sailing.


Jones applied for sailing apprenticeships and, with his talent, landed many jobs that way. He traveled the seas as an assistant to the capatin. On one particular job, the boat was traveling and the captain and first mate both fell sick and died. Everyone got stranded in Jamaica? Eventually, Jones, taking action, led the boat back to Scotland himself. Impressed with his work, some sailors gave him a boat of his own. Unfortunately, Jones ship was wrought with trouble. Many of his crew mates always liked to rebel against him. One day, one of his crew men started a skirmish. He confronted Jones and tried to stab him. Jones, acting in self-defense, killed the man. Soon he was charged (falsely) with murder. Though there were witnesses on the boat who saw that Jones clearly had acted in self-defense, they chose not to speak up for Jones for fear of creating more trouble for themselves. Jones fled to America for refuge and to avoid punishment for a crime he did not commit.

In America

U.S. Naval Army

Upon arriving in America, Jones heard about the American Revolution (his time period was the American Revolution). Feeling empowered and inspired by the American's fight for independence, he joined the Navy. Jones trained the soldiers with such skill that he moulded them into well-seasoned, strong fighters. This is why Jones is commonly known today as the Father of the U.S. Navy.

Naval Battles

Jones fought for America on countless occassions. He often raided the British, for they kept American hostages with them several times. He burned their fleets and fought to rescue his trapped men. But perhaps his most memorable naval battle, and the most spectacular one, was the Battle of Serapis. You see, America didn't exactly have that much funding at that time. So when Jones asked for a good, strong ship he could fight with, he received a rather small, delapidated, and dingy boat. The boat, named the Bonhomme Richard, would stand no chance against a British ship... or would it?

Battle of Serapis

While sailing one day, Jones encountered a British boat that was much bigger than his own, equipped with over 50 guns and cannons. This boat, the Serapis, started firing at his own ship. Somehow, Jones and his men struggled to attach their boat to the Serapis, all while the British were firing cannonballs at their boat. Jones' boat sank due to extensive damage, but he managed to set the British ship on fire. Fearlessly fighing, he uttered his famous words "I have not yet begun to fight!" This battle was a significant win for America and a spectacular naval combat.
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Jones was known widely for raising American spirit and fighting fearlessly for America. Thanks to his leadership skills, America won many naval battles.


Do you really know your stuff?

Do you think you know a pretty good amount of information about John Paul Jones? Let's take a quiz!


What time period was John Paul Jones from?


How was his early life? In other words- was he rich or poor, where was he born, and what did he have a strong passion for?


Name one of his most memorable naval battles.


What was the name of the ship given to him (the one that sank during the Battle of Serapis)?


What is his nickname?


#1- The American Revolution

#2- He was born into a poor servant family in Scotland with a passion for sailing.

#3- The Battle of Serapis

#4- The Bonhomme Richard

#5- Father of the U.S. Navy