John Paul was born near Kirkcudbright, Scotland, on July 6, 1747, the son of John Paul and Jean MacDuff. At the age of 13, he became an apprentice to a shipping merchant in Whitehaven, England, and traveled to the Caribbean and North America on trading voyages. In 1768, he was awarded command of the John after assuming command following the death of its captain and first mate. Legal troubles led him to move to Virginia in 1773, where he took the surname "Jones." In 1775, he received a commission as first lieutenant in the United States Navy, and he rose to the rank of captain in 1776. As commander of the Providence , Jones sailed to Bermuda and Nova Scotia, where he took several prizes, and in 1777 he assumed command of the Ranger . The Ranger sailed to France and successfully raided towns along the British coast. In 1778, Jones and his men sailed to St. Mary's Isle, Scotland, where they captured the Earl of Selkirk's tableware. Jones later apologized for the actions of his crew, who had originally intended to kidnap the absent earl, and attempted to recover the material. He later commanded the Bonhomme Richard off the northern British coast. He returned to Europe after the war and later served in the Russian Navy. John Paul Jones died in Paris, France, on July 18, 1792.