Say happy 271st birthday to John Paul Jones

July 03. 2018 2:32PM
The John Paul Jones House, a Georgian style mansion, was built in 1758 for Gregory Purcell, a sea captain and merchant. It is believed that Jones rented a room in the building in 1777 when Purcell’s widow operated a boarding house there. 

PORTSMOUTH — Visit the John Paul Jones House and Garden Sunday afternoon to pay tribute to the father of the U.S. Navy who spoke the immortal words, “I have not yet begun to fight.”

The Portsmouth Historical Society, which runs Discover Portsmouth and saved the John Paul Jones House in 1917, is hosting its free annual birthday party in honor of Jones, who was born 271 years ago, on July 6, 1747.

A birthday party, at 43 Middle St., will begin at 1 p.m. There will be patriotic festivities, music by Great Bay Sailor, cake and family fun. Michael and Michelle Mitchell will be on hand to sign copies of their new comic book about Jones.

Admission and house tours will be offered free to the public.

Jones, born in Scotland, is considered young America’s first naval hero. He visited New Hampshire twice. In 1777 he took the Portsmouth-built Ranger with a Piscataqua crew to France. There he engaged the British in a series of guerilla raids before his famous battle on the Bon Homme Richard.

In 1781, a hero decorated by the king of France, he returned to Portsmouth to fit out the warship America. While he was here, Jones stayed at the Purcell House, today known as the John Paul Jones House.


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