John Paul Jones
(July 6, 1747 – July 18, 1792) was America's first well-known naval hero in the American Revolutionary War
. He was born John Paul
in 1747, on the estate of Arbigland
in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright
on the southern coast of Scotland
. John Paul's father was a gardener at Arbigland, and his mother was a member of Clan MacDuff
. John Paul adopted the alias John Jones
when he fled to his brother's home in Fredericksburg, Virginia
, in 1773 to avoid the hangman's noose in Tobago
after an incident when he was accused of murdering a sailor under his command, whom he claimed had been involved in a mutiny. He began using the name John Paul Jones
at the suggestion of his brother.
Although he never rose above the rank of captain in the Continental Navy after his victory over the Serapis with the frigate Bonhomme Richard, he is the first genuine American Naval hero, and he has been highly regarded as a battle commander. His later service in the Russian Navy as an admiral showed the mark of genius that enabled him to defeat the Serapis. Although he was originally buried in Paris, after spending his last years abroad, he was ultimately reinterred at the United States Naval Academy, a fitting homecoming for the "Father of the American Navy".
During his engagement with Serapis, Jones uttered, according to the later recollection of his First Lieutenant, the legendary reply to a quip about surrender from the British captain: "I have not yet begun to fight!"