Inside Paul Jones Cottage Birthplace
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Written by Emily and John Lusher

Window of JPJ Cottage / John Lusher

Through this window the young John Paul Jones first saw the world. Even though he returned in a Portsmouth-built ship to raid his own home territory, John Paul Jones is remembered kindly in his hometown on Solway Bay in Scotland. JPJ’s father was a gardener and the preserved 1747 cottage remains on the estate grounds.



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Many Americans, and even many Europeans, still believe that John Paul Jones was an American citizen. He was, instead, a Scottish citizen who fought much as a soldier of fortune for the fledgling Continental Navy in a series of ships including the Providence out of Rhode Island and the Ranger built at Portsmouth, NH in 1777.

John Paul (his real name) was the fourth of seven children born on July 5, 1747 on an Arbingland estate in south western Scotland. His father was the estate gardener and the two-room Paul family cottage has been preserved where it stood. At 13 John Paul left by ship from nearby Carsethorn to go to the port of Whitehaven across the Solway Bay where he signed on for a seven-year apprenticeship at sea. He traveled as ships boy to Barbados and to even visited his brother William Paul in Fredericksburg in Virginia. As John Paul Jones in the American Revolution he later raided Whitehaven aboard the frigate Ranger and was known as a pirate and traitor by the British. He died in Paris, then his body was exhumed in 1905 and taken with great pomp to America where he was crowned "Father of the American Navy" by President Teddy Roosevelt.

The first American tourist to search out the Scottish birthplace of John Paul Jones found the old cottage in ruins. That was 1832, just 30 years after Jones’ death in France. Lieutenant Pinckham of the US Navy was reportedly moved to tears and paid for a new roof and the restoration of the house. In 1953 Admiral Jerauld Wright, also of the US Navy, teamed up with retired British Admiral Sir Nigel Henderson to restore the cottage to its 1747 appearance. It opened in the 1990s. The only other John Paul Jones museum is in Portsmouth, New Hampshire where Jones stayed a total of 18 months on two visits while awaiting his warships.

Visitors can tour the exhibits in the house and listen to the Paul Jones story on audio headsets. The museum also has a gift shop on the estate now owned by the National Trust. The museum is open from April to September for six days a week and for seven days a week in July and August. There is a nominal admission. The museum is near the famous English lakes District. -- JDR

Official cottage web site
Photos courtesy John and Emily Lusher

John Paul Jones birthplace cottae in Scotland/ photo by John Lusher

Ship display at Arbingland Scotland / John Lusher at

Fireplace and restored ceiling beam of Paul Jones birthplace/ John Lusher photo