General > Community Events

Maisie and Fred's Excellent Adventure

<< < (10/10)

That's wonderful Gus'  :love:

Karim :)

Thanks ... I actually still didn't manage to get a good camera :-[ and they forgot theirs ... Again 8}

(Please, lets keep the commentaries in the comments thread ...
not all knew there was one, I believe .. lol! ;) )



Maisie and Fred learn about John Paul Jones

Spending a few days in South West Scotland Maisie and Fred decided to visit John Paul Jones' Birthplace Museum in Kirkbean near Dumfries.

Arriving early, they were able to help with raising the two flags -

Fred helped to raise the Scottish flag

then Fred took a photo of Maisie raising the US flag

They then went into the Museum and settled down to watch a dvd to learn something about John Paul Jones

John Paul was born in Kirkbean in 1747, he was the son of the head gardener (also called John Paul) at a large house called Arbigland owned by a man called William Craik.  At the age of 13 John Paul left school and went to sea.  After a series of voyages he decided that he did not like working on slave ships and was travelling back to Scotland as a passenger when the captain and mate of the ship both died.  John Paul was the only man who could navigate and he brought the ship safely back to Kirkcudbright in Scotland.  There the owners of the ship gave him the captaincy of the ship - he was then aged 21.
After several years travelling between Britain and the West Indies and American Colonies he accidentally killed a member of his crew in Tobago.  To avoid being charged with murder he 'disappeared' for 20 months.  He reappeared again having taken the name Jones to protect his identity when he was taken on as the sixth captain in what was then called the American Continental Navy. 
Following the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War (War of American Independence) he was eventually based in France, attacked Whitehaven in England, tried to kidnap the earl of Selkirk from Kirkcudbright in Scotland, captured HMS Drake in Belfast Lough, Ireland and was prevented from taking Leith near Edinburgh by an adverse wind.
He then captured HMS Serapis in the Battle of Flamborough Head, where he spoke the famous words
"...I have not yet begun to fight"
He returned to the Americas supervising the building of a new warship, the war drew to a successful close for the Americans and John Paul Jones took a semi-official post in Paris and spent most of the rest of his life living there.  Towards the end of his life he became a rear admiral in Catherine the Great's NAvy fighting the Turks in the Black Sea.  Returning to Paris he took ill and died in 1793 aged 43 years.
John Paul Jones was buried in a cemetery for foreign protestants in Paris and it was not until the early years of the 20th century that the American Ambassador in Paris started the search for his body.  With great ceremony he was eventually returned to the USA and his body now lies in a grand mausoleum in the grounds of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
Quite a journey for a gardener's son (John Paul his father lies under a simple gravestone in the Kirkyard at Kirkbean church - paid for by John Paul Junior)

After watching the dvd Maisie and Fred took a tour around the Museum where information boards give further details of his life.

Maisie didn't like the board which showed John Paul Jones body when it was discovered about 110 years after his death - it was well preserved because his coffin had been filled with alcohol - Fred thought that was a great way to end up!

In the museum there is a magnificent model of Jones' ship The Bonhomme Richard and Maisie and Fred were thrilled to be allowed to go aboard -
Maisie got a bit upset when Fred tried to climb the rigging and told him to act his age...

There is a copy of a bronze bust of John paul Jones in the museum which John Paul liked so much that he had 20 copies made to send to his friends.  It is positioned to be at his actual height of 5 feet 7 inches.

Maisie and Fred then went over to the actual cottage where John Paul Jones was born.
Today there is an extra room at the back which was added in 1831 and is now used as a copy of the cabin of the Bonhomme Richard.

The simple original cottage consists of two rooms - originally the entrance door would have been at the other side (where the door to the cabin is now) facing the sea.

Inside the cottage they stood on an old griddle pan (or girdle) by the fire, to have their photo taken

They then looked at the bedroom - there are no original pieces of furniture but it is set out to give an idea of what it could have been like -

By this time they felt in need of a rest so decided to test the bed and have forty winks...
Maisie preferred the orthopaedic bed they have at home!

After a short rest they felt refreshed again and went into the cabin to watch a slide show about John Paul Jones

When the slideshow ended the cabin was quite dark - being lit only by lanterns

The man from the museum came and told them a story about the people who used to live at the big hoose!  Helen Craik, the daughter of the owner of Arbigland fell in love with one of the grooms, a man called Dunn, The family did not approve of their relationship and her brother Adam shot Dunn from the dining room window of the house.  The family gave out the story that Dunn had committed suicide so he was not allowed to be buried in the Kirkyard but instead buried on a nearby headland.  Helen refused to have anything more with the family and went to live on one of their distant estates across the water in England.
The story is that Dunn's ghost still roams the grounds and has been seen on a number of occasions.

Maisie thought this was really spooky and was sure that she too had seen the ghost but Fred told her not to be so silly - it was all in her imagination - there was no such thing as ghosts!

After this they needed a little fresh air so had a walk around the cottage, reading the various plaques...

They saw that the back of the museum building had once been the kennels for the hounds

They looked at an old water pump but didn't get too close because there was a nest of blue tits inside it.

They decided to look at the view over the water to the Hills of the english Lake District, the tops of which were just showing above the mist

standing on the wall of the picnic area they could see across to the old lighthouse at Southerness which they hope to visit soon.

Having had a tour of the grounds they went back into the museum - Fred had fancied trying on a uniform hung on the door but it was really much too big for him

They had forgotten earlier to find out about the flags hung on the wall

The one with the 13 eight pointed stars was the one carried by Jones' ship at the Battle of Flamborough Head and the one with the union flag in the top corner was the first flag of the rebellion colonies.

The flag with the snake and the words "Don't tread on me" is one of the first flags of the US Marine Corps,  the flag with 13 stars in a circle was the first official US flag after gaining independence and the other flag is the current US flag.

Having a last look around the museum Maisie and Fred were thrilled to meet some friends of theirs who were on loan to the museum for the summer - Captain Jones waved to them from his ship!

They decided to buy a souvenir to take home

Then finally before leaving the museum they signed the visitors book.

As Maisie and Fred sat outside in the sunshine before leaving for home Fred showed Maisie the guide book of the story of John Paul Jones that he had bought to show the folks back home! 

They enjoyed their visit - hope you did too!


(Please keep any comments in Maisie and Freds' comments thread ... )



[0] Message Index

[*] Previous page

Go to full version