Filey Archive - Exploring Filey's Past
Exploring Filey's Past
The Social History of Filey
From Stage Coach to Scarborough and District
John Paul Jones
The Fashion of Filey
Crimlisk Fisher Archive
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North Yorkshire
YO14 9HE

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John Paul Jones (1747 – 1792)

This is the story of a boy who grew up on the South Coast of Scotland. At the age of thirteen he became an apprentice on the ships sailing out of Whitehaven. By the age of twenty-one, Captain John Paul was making a good living with the Betsy a West Indian ship, and sailing out of London. This account gives brief details of the life and loves of a man charged with two murders and who jumped ship in Scarborough, Tobago, to make a new life for himself in America. At the age of twenty-eight he was sailing off the coast of America, capturing British ships for the newly formed Continental Navy. In charge of the lower gun deck on the Alfred he was involved in battle with H. M. S. Glasgow. A year later as Captain of Sloop Providence he was taking prizes and out-sailing British ships off Philadelphia.

There is reference to the early warning given by Scarborough bailiffs to Captain Pearson of H. M. S. Serapis and Captain Piercy of H. M. S. Countess of Scarborough. They were protecting the Baltic Fleet off Scarborough and were soon aware of Commodore Paul Jones and his squadron of seven ships sailing South. There is a taste of the battle of Flamborough Head and the ensuing flight of the prisoners who escaped in a boat to Butchers Haven to follow a footpath to Hunmanby.

More recent developments regarding John Adam’s discovery of the apparent wreck of the Bonhomme Richard in Filey Bay, his diving exploits and the American interest, are also mentioned.