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Is This John Paul Jones Corpse?

Mourners at JPJ's 2nd Funeral

JOHN PAUL JONES RARE PHOTO

Back for a short Halloween visit, this archived page is sure to shock. Few Americans realize that John Paul Jones (1747-1792) was buried twice. 114 years after his first burial, in 1905, his mummified corpse was discovered under the streets of Paris. Or was it his corpse? US Government tests determined at it was. Jones. What do you think?

 

SEE ALL OUR ARTICLES on death and burial of John Paul Jones

Photograph of the Body of John Paul Jones

In 1905 a body presumed to be American Revolutionary naval war hero John Paul Jones was exhumed in Paris, France and reburied at a tomb in Annapolis, Maryland. Encased in metal and embalmed in alcohol, the body was remarkably intact. The features match almost exactly the measurements taken from the Jean-Antoine Houdon bust of Jones, sculpted from life in Paris in 1780. Houdon also sculpted such Revolutionary Era dignitaries as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Voltaire. The pictures and data were published by the US Government in 1907. Following is an animated comparison of the body with the Houdon bust. YoU be the judge. -- JDR

 

JPJ animation

Evidence That This Body is JPJ
From the 1907 US Government Report

  • Body measurements match Houdon sculpture almost exactly (see above) which was sculpted from life.
  • Correct sex, age, body size and type, race, skin and coloring and general appearance of features
  • Buried in Protestant cemetery in Paris as described by death certificate and witnesses
  • Buried in "leaden coffin" to preserve the body in case it might eventually be retrieved by America, as described in a letter from witness in 1792
  • Especially well preserved befitting person of stature
  • Autopsy in 1907 shows Jones died of ailments similar to those described by his doctor and acquaintances
  • Uniform and possessions not in coffin is consistent with reports that they were not included and were later sold at auction.
  • Letters "JP" appear to be monogrammed on burial shirt
  • Body found in vicinity indicated by church records
  • No wounds. JPJ was never wounded in battle.
Characeteristics (cm)
Bust
Body
Length of face from root of hair to chin
Length from root of hair to subnasal point
Length from subnasal point to chin
Length of upper lip
Length of lower lip and chin
Min. width of forehead
19.5
12.7
7.5
2.4
4.6
10.4
19.5
12.9
7.4
2.5
4.6
10.2


Photo reprinted and copy condensed from: John Paul Jones, US Official Commemorative Book , US Government Printing Office 1907 (11,000 copy limited edition) and data were published by the US Government in 1907.

JPJ

Text © 1997 SeacoastNH.com. Edited 2004. Opening photo of funeral is a detail from 1906 ceremony in Paris from colletion in Masonic Library in Boston, used with permission.

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