Annual JPJ Birthday Party
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JPJ
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John Pail Jones House


They still celebrate his birthday at the Paul Jones House in Portsmouth. Many years ago we attended the celebration on the lawn and grabbed these photos. The simple ceremony often ends with red, white and blue cake. Our photo tour follows.

 

 

For decades the Purcell Boarding House where John Paul Jones reportedly stayed in Portsmouth, NH has honored his birthday. The year 1998 – also the 375th anniversary of the founding of Portsmouth -- was no exception. Members of the Gen. William Whipple Military Lodge clustered in the shade of an old birch tree at the JPJ House Museum gardens to prepare their ceremony. Later, museum interpreters gathered to prepare the giant cake for Jones' 251st party. Portsmouth Historical Society Secretary Ralph Morang captured the official ceremony pictures for the Museum archives.

Portsmouth’s first poet laureate Esther Buffler read her poem about the ghost of JPJ from her published works. Buffler lived in the nearby Rockingham Hotel next door for years and was fascinated by the live of Paul Jones and his lovers. Here the poet met Maryellen Burke for the first time. Maryellen eventually became president of the John Paul Jones House.

Mixing history with political correctness, male and female members of the Whipple Lodge carried the colors and raised the flag before three volleys of musket-fire rattled the windows of downtown Portsmouth. Re-enactors provide their own authentic outfits and are in great demand for historic events in the Seacoast. The 375th ceremony also included ballads by the Portsmouth Trio and music by a bagpiper in honor of JPJ's Scottish heritage.

To check on dates of this annual event, click on PortsmouthHistory.org

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JPJ BD

JPJBD

JPJBD

Esther and Maryellen

JPJ BD

JPJ BD

JPJ BD

Photos by J. Dennis Robinson. Originally published 1998.