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Allow time for animated GIF to load the mummified corpse of the Father of the American Navy and the Houdon bust (may not work with older AOL browsers). A 825K QuickTime movie is available for download.

JPJ animation

John Paul Jones
1747-1792

In 1906 a body presumed to be American Revolutionary naval war hero John Paul Jones was exhumed in Paris, France and reburied at a tomb in Annapolis, Maryland. Encased in metal and embalmed in alcohol, the body was remarkably intact. The features match almost exactly the measurements taken from the Jean-Antoine Houdon bust of Jones, sculpted from life in Paris in 1780. Houdon also sculpted such Revolutionary Era dignitaries as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Voltaire. The pictures and data were published by the US Government in 1907.

Characeteristics (cm)
Bust
Body
Length of face from root of hair to chin
Length from root of hair to subnasal point
Length from subnasal point to chin
Length of upper lip
Length of lower lip and chin
Min. width of forehead
19.5
12.7
7.5
2.4
4.6
10.4
19.5
12.9
7.4
2.5
4.6
10.2

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Proof That This Body is JPJ

  • Body measurements match Houdon sculpture almost exactly (see above) which was sculpted from life.
  • Correct sex, age, body size and type, race, skin and coloring and general appearance of features
  • Buried in Protestant cemetery in Paris as described by death certificate and witnesses
  • Buried in "leaden coffin" to preserve the body in case it might eventually be retrieved by America, as described in a letter from witness in 1792
  • Especially well preserved befitting person of stature
  • Autopsy in 1907 shows Jones died of ailments similar to those described by his doctor and acquaintances
  • Uniform and possessions not in coffin is consistent with reports that they were not included and were later sold at auction.
  • Letters "JP" appear to be monogrammed on burial shirt
  • Body found in vicinity indicated by church records
  • No wounds. JPJ was never wounded in battle.

JDR
Text © 1997 SeacoastNH.com

Photo reprinted and copy condensed from: John Paul Jones, US Official Commemorative Book , US Government Printing Office 1907 (11,000 copy limited edition)

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Jones Links on SeacoastNH.com


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