John Paul Jones Cottage Museum

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John Paul Jones Cottage Museum is situated 14 miles south of Dumfries, in Arbigland country estate, off the A710 road to Southerness , by the small village of Kirkbean.

The museum is open from 1 Apr - 30 Sep. Small entry fee.

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John Paul Jones is known in the United States as the Father of the American Navy, although accused of being a pirate in Britain after leading attacks on British ports and ships during the American Revolution.

Jones is so highly admired in America, he is buried in a marble sarcophagus in the chapel crypt of Annapolis Naval Academy, by Washington DC.

His birthplace cottage here was opened as a museum in 1993.

His fathers grave can be seen in the Kirkbean Church cemetery.

The 1,867ft Criffel Hill is situated 3 miles north of Kirkbean, 2 miles south of New Abbey, a good hill with a path for views all around.

History

Jones father was originally from Fife north of Edinburgh. He moved to this estate of Arbigland to work as a gardener.

John Paul snr and his wife Jean Duff had seven children, with John Paul jnr being their fourth, born 6th July 1747.

John spent much of his early life at the small port of Carsethorn on the Solway Firth, talking to sailors and exploring their ships.

Aged 13, he signed up as a seaman's apprentice. His first voyage was to Barbados, then Fredericksburg in Virginia.

Aged 17, he began working as a third mate on the King George of Whitehaven, a slave ship.

He only completed a couple of slave voyages before transferring to cargo ships, as he disliked the slave ships.

1768 - aged 21, he became captain of his own cargo ship. He was said to be a fine dressed gentleman that liked the ladies, with a violent temper, accused of having a sailor flogged so severe, he died soon after.

On the ships return to Kirkcudbright in southwest Scotland, John was charged with murder. That charge was later dropped.

He then worked on ships in the West Indies, building up a considerable wealth, until he killed a sailor with his sword over a wages dispute.

1773 - He fled to Virginia in America.

He arrived in America at a time the American Revolution was escalating with the famous Boston Tea Party taking place in 1773. This was a tax on tea, with taxes being one of the main reasons Americans fought to break away from British rule.

1775 - Jones was appointed as first lieutenant of the ship named the Alfred, one of only 5 ships in the American Navy at the time, with 13 frigates added soon after.

1777 - he sailed to France at a time the Americans were trying to have France join their fight for independence. The following year, France recognized the United States of America as a sovereign nation, entering the war alongside the Americans against Britain.

1778 - Jones sailed from France to raid Whitehaven in Cumbria, England. He then sailed to Kirkcudbright Bay in southwest Scotland, close to his birthplace.

Jones planned to capture the Earl of Selkirk who lived in a mansion on St Mary's Isle. He had hoped to exchange the Earl for American prisoners.

As the Earl was not there at the time, his crew took all the silver from the mansion instead. Jones returned the silver to the Selkirk's after the war.

Jones then left Kirkcudbright and attacked and captured the 20 gun HMS Drake, off the coast at Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland.

These attacks made him famous in America, but hated in Britain.

1779 - he set sail for more attacks on Britain with seven ships, at Leith by Edinburgh, and Flamborough Head in northeast England.

Jones was wounded in battle at Flamborough Head, but managed to sail to Holland with many prisoners from British ships.

1781 - Jones returned to America where he was greeted as a hero.

1787 - He was awarded a gold medal and spent the remainder of the war giving advice on building up the US navy, and training naval officers.

John Paul Jones Cottage Museum Images
 

1788 - Jones moved to Russia to serve as a Rear Admiral in the Russian Navy.

He was involved in the Black Sea campaign against the Turks, credited with destroying 15 vessels, killing about 3000, and taking over 1600 prisoners.

1789 - Jones left Russia after being accused of molesting a girl. He landed at Harwich in England, where he narrowly avoided being murdered.

1790 - He traveled to Paris at a time his health was failing.

1792 18th July - Jones died of nephritis, jaundice and pneumonia, aged 45.

His body was buried in an alcohol filled, lead coffin, in an unmarked grave, for over a century.

1905 - Jones body was found after President Teddy Roosevelt ordered a search. His body was located in the old abandoned Saint Louis Cemetery in Paris. It was then taken back to America where a huge naval ceremony took place, including battleships firing 15 gun salutes.

1913 - Jones body was placed in a marble sarcophagus in the chapel crypt of Annapolis Naval Academy, by Washington DC.

1946 - retired US Navy Admiral Jerauld Wright set in motion the restoration of the cottage to serve as a museum.

1953 - a bronze plaque was placed on the cottage marking Jones birthplace. The plaque was unveiled by US Ambassador to Great Britain, Winthrop Aldrich.

1993 - the John Paul Jones Museum was opened by Vice Admiral Edward Clexton of the United States Navy.