William Paul


[The stone is enclosed in a granite stone on the back of which is inscribed:] Restored 23 September 1930 by Admirers of John Paul Jones Commodore U. S. N. By whom This stone was first set in place in memory of William his older Brother.

Section - Section 1
ID -13

Birth -1735

Death - 1774

Age - Age 21-40

Gender - Male

Profession - Tailor

Veteran- N/A

Data -

[1] William Paul was a son of a Scotch gardener on the estate of Lord Selkirk at Kircudlright, Scotland, and brother of John Paul Jones.  William Paul conducted a tailor shop in Fredericksburg.

Filed with the Executive Archives of the State of Virginia is an interesting letter from Judge Francis T. Brooke to General Lambert in which he mentions that William Paul was a Scotch tailor, and that he made clothes for him.  He also states that when William Paul died he saw John Paul Jones in the tailor shop when he went to get his clothes.  At the time he did not know that he was Paul Jones, but later on knew that it was him from his pictures.

William Paul made his will in 1772, leaving all of his property to his sister, Mary Young, and her two oldest children in Abigland, in the Parish of Kirkbeen, in Stewarty of Galloway, North Briton, and their heirs forever.  He died in 1773, and his executors, (as appointed by him) William Templeman and Isaac Heslop declined to serve, and it was not until November, 1774, that anything was done about the estate.  It is assumed that John Paul Jones arrived here then.

Records indicate that William Paul only owned property within the town of Fredericksburg.

[3] DURING THE DECADE in which John Paul Jones was making a career for himself at sea, his brother William prospered sufficiently to purchase from Thomas Blanton, a carpenter, a house and lot in Fredericksburg in June 1770. It stood on a substantial parcel at the corner of Caroline Street and Lafayette Boulevard (then called Prussia Street), with a lot frontage of approximately 90 feet. There, William lived and worked until his death.

The last four years of his life were trouble-ridden. He was in court more than once, presumably suing clients. About the time he acquired the house, he also acquired a wife, Fanny, and a stormy marriage it was.

In September, she departed from their new home, and he took an ad in the Virginia Gazette–published in Williamsburg and distributed throughout the colony–“forewarning all persons from trusting her and from harbouring or concealing her if they would avoid being prosecuted.”

Fanny, however, responded in October in the Gazette with a declaration, co-signed by 10 leading merchants in the town, that she had run up no debts. “Neither am I concealed,” she wrote, “but appear as usual, and I am resolved to recover what is legally due from William Paul.”

Then in November, William Paul filed a complaint against Edward Davis, his indentured servant, who had run away and been captured. (The court added another five years to his servitude.)

In the spring of 1772, William Paul evidently fell gravely ill. He executed a will assigning his estate to his sister in Scotland. He named two men associated with the Whitehaven community as his executors and had proper witnesses. He recovered, however, and the will was not filed.

The precise date and circumstances of William Paul’s death at the end of 1774 are not known, for there was some disarray in the official recording of his will.

Both executors now refused to serve. One of them was ordered to make an inventory, but this was never done, and neither would put up the required bond to be responsible for the modest estate.

Finally, after John Waller, the clerk of the court, committed to putting up the bond himself, Charles Yates stepped forward to accept the responsibility, perhaps as a compassionate gesture.

[2] There also lie interred in the burial ground of St. George’s church, with an unpretentious stone marking the place, the remains of William Paul, a merchant of the town and a native of Scotland, who died here in 1773. In 1770 he purchased from Thomas and Jane Blanton, “for one hundred and twenty pounds, an acre or one- half of the lot or land lying and, being in the town of Fredericksburg, and designated in the plot of said town by the number or figures 258, the same being one-half, or south end of said lot, and purchased by the said Thomas Blanton of Roger Dixon, Gent, and bound on the main street, called Caroline street, and the cross street, called Prussia, together with all houses, buildings, gardens, ways, profits, hereditraments and appurtenances whatever.” This lot is designated on the map of the town to-day as 258, and the house in which Wm. Paul conducted his mercantile business is the one occupied and owned at present by Matthew J. Gately.

Notwithstanding his biographers to the contrary, Wm. Paul made a will in 1772, in which he appointed his friends, Wm. Templeman and Isaac Heslop, his executors, which was witnessed by John Atkinson, Thomas Holmes and B. Johnston. The executors declined to serve and the estate remained until late in the next year without any one being legally authorized to take charge of it. In November, 1774, John Atkinson qualified, it is supposed at the instance of John Paul, who had arrived here to wind up the estate, with John Waller, Jr., as surety, who was afterwards released and Charles Yates became his surety.

This Wm. Paul was the brother of John Paul, who afterwards became the famous John Paul Jones. It has been asserted that Wm. Paul changed his name to Jones to inherit a plantation from Wm. Jones, either in Virginia or North Carolina. But this is shown to be a mistake from the fact that Wm. Paul, in 1770, bought property here as Wm. Paul, made his will in 1772 and signed it Wm. Paul, and died in 1773 and his tomb stone now bears on it the name of Wm. Paul. It was further asserted that in the agreement by which the plantation was to become the property of Wm. Paul, if Wm. Paul died without issue, the property was to go to John Paul on the condition that he would add Jones to his name, and that William did die without issue and the estate of William went to John. This is also a mistake. William did not die intestate, but made a will and gave his entire estate to his sister, Mary Young, and her two oldest children.

One clause of the will reads as follows : “It is my will and desire that my lots and houses in this town shall be sold and converted into money for as much as they will bring, that with all my other estate being sold, and what of my outstanding debts that can be collected, I give and bequeath to my beloved sister, Mary Young, and her two oldest children in Abigland, in the parish of Kirkbean, in Stewarty of Galloway, North Briton, and their heirs forever.” It is not believed that Wm. Paul owned any property out of town from the fact that the bond of his administrator was only five hundred pounds, which was generally double the amount of the estate. His estate in town consisted of his houses and lots, his merchandise and accounts due him, which must have been worth twelve or fifteen hundred dollars. Therefore the bond of $2,500 was sufficient only for his possessions in town, and no other is alluded to or mentioned in his will. It has been held that he owned property in the county of Spotsylvania, but that arises from the fact there were others by the name of Paul in the county who had property. But this William Paul is traced by the reference in his will to the parish of Kirkbean, Galloway, where his sister, Mary Young, and brother John lived.

“Why John Paul changed his name to Jones was probably known only to himself. Many writers have undertaken to explain it, but without success, and the mystery is yet unsolved. In 1775 John Paul Jones’s name heads a list of naval lieutenants, and, because of his meritorious services, he was soon appointed a captain, and finally rose to the rank of commodore. His daring exploits and unequal, but successful, contests soon won for him the thanks of the American Congress, as well as the gratitude of the American people, while it carried terror and dismay to the enemies of his country. He greatly humiliated England by landing his fleet on her shores during the Revolutionary war, a thing that had not been done before for centuries, if ever, since it was a nation.

At the close of the war, in which he had covered himself with glory, he was offered an important command by the Empress of Russia against the Turks in the Black sea, which he accepted with the stipulation “that he was never to renounce the title of an American citizen.” He died in Paris in 1792, and was buried in that city, aged forty-five years. General Washington, then President of the United States, had just commissioned him for an important duty, but he died before the commission reached him. As the many years rolled on, rounding up a century, his body laid in an unknown grave, notwithstanding many efforts were made to locate it. In 1900 a body was found believed to be his, and there was great rejoicing in this country over the announcement, but, when carefully examined, it was found to be the remains of another and not those of the great American commodore. But this did not discourage those who had the matter in hand, and the search continued under the direction of Gen. Horace Porter, the American Ambassador to the Court of France, under great difficulties. On the 7th of April, 1905, the body was found in a cemetery known as Saint Louis, which was laid out in 1720 for a burial place for Protestants, but which had been closed more than half a century, and buildings were constructed upon it at the time of the discovery of the body. The remains were declared to be those of John Paul Jones, after every test had been applied that could be, and they were accepted by our government as those of the great naval hero. Some time was spent in preparing to remove the remains to this country, but early in 1906 they were placed upon a United States man of war, escorted by vessels from England and France, and were landed at Annapolis, where they were reinterred in the presence of thousands of people from all parts of the country, with booming of cannon and every honor a grateful people could bestow upon him.

Sources -

[1[] http://archive.org/stream/intidewatervirgi00jett/intidewatervirgi00jett_djvu.txt
“In Tidewater Virginia”. Also http://files.usgwarchives.net/va/fredericksburg/cemeteries/stgeorgesch.txt
[2] Quinn’s history Fredericksburg
[3] Paula Felder  http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2005/062005/06252005/109430

Notes -

1735 is an estimated birth date


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