Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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JONES, Jacob, naval officer, born near Smyrna, Delaware, in March, 1768; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 3 August, 1850. He studied medicine and began to practise, but became clerk of the Delaware supreme court, and on 10 April, 1799, entered the United States navy as a midshipman. He was promoted to lieutenant, 22 February, 1801, and was an officer on the frigate "Philadelphia" when she was captured in 1803 in the harbor of Tripoli, remaining a prisoner eighteen months. He was made commander, 20 April, 1810, assigned to the "Wasp," 18 guns, in 1811, and in 1812 was despatched with letters to the United States ministers to France and England. Before he returned, war had been declared with England, and, after refitting his vessel, he left the Delaware on a cruise on 13 October, 1812. On 18 October he fell in with the British brig "Frolic," a vessel of slightly superior force to his own. and captured her after a sharp engagement of forty-three minutes, during the latter part of which the ships were so near that in loading some of the "Wasp's" guns the rammers hit against the bows of her antagonist. The contest had no sooner ended than the English ship "Poictiers," 74 guns, hove in sight, and captured both the "Wasp" and her prize, carrying them to Bermuda. The fight between the "Wasp" and the "Frolic" was the first of the war, in which the vessels were nearly equal, and it did much to destroy the idea of British invincibility on the ocean. Jones was given a vote of thanks and a gold medal by congress (see illustration), which also appropriated $25,000 as a compensation to the commander and crew of the " Wasp" for the recapture of their prize. Several of the states also presented Jones with swords, and the Delaware legislature gave him a piece of plate, suitably engraved. He was made post-captain, 3 March, 1813, and commanded the "Macedonian," of Decatur's squadron. Afterward he commanded squadrons in the Mediterranean and Pacific, and served as a commissary of the navy board, and governor of the Philadelphia naval asylum. Jones was described in a sketch that was written during his life as of "about the middle size, of an active mind and vigorous make, and an excellent constitution."
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