The Life and Letters of John Paul Jones - Vol. 2

By Anna De Koven | Go to book overview

APPENDIX L
THE FINDING OF JONES'S BODY

An attempt was made by John Henry Sherburne to discover the place of interment of the body of Paul Jones in the year 1847, and orders were issued by Congress to transport it back to America. Sherburne's researches unfortunately led him to believe that Jones had been buried in the Protestant cemetery in the rear of the Hôtel Dieu. This cemetery had been sold, and according to the statements contained in the files of the Moniteur all the bones had been removed to the catacombs. Mr. Sherburne therefore abandoned his search for the body and no further effort was made until General Horace Porter, while ambassador to France, determined to institute another investigation as to the place of interment. A long and careful search among the official records of Paris revealed the fact that Jones was buried in an abandoned cemetery of the Protestants called Saint Louis, situated on what was once called the street L'Hô- pital Saint Louis and now called Grange aux Belles. Houses had long stood over the site of the cemetery, but after protracted negotiations the Prefect of the Seine gave orders that excavations might be made, and on February 5, 1905, the work was begun. During the course of this excavation the fact was disclosed that all the wooden coffins had disintegrated, five leaden coffins alone remaining practically intact. It being known from Colonel Blackden's letter that Paul Jones was interred in a leaden coffin, it became a comparatively simple matter to identify that of Jones. Three of the leaden coffins bore name-plates with plain inscriptions giving the names of Georges Maidison, M. E. Anglois, and Richard Hay. The fourth had no name-plate, but contained a body greatly exceeding the known stature of Jones. The fifth coffin also lacked a plate, but upon being opened re

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