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American Provides Scotland based John Paul Jones Museum Lifeline
US Navy veteran Jim Poole is helping to keep the small Scottish museum open commemorating the father of the American Navy
A retired US Navy commander has come to the rescue of a Scottish museum which is the birthplace of John Paul Jones, a man many consider to be the Father of the American Navy. The museum was threatened with closure after the local council axed its funding, but 64 year old Jim Poole, from San Diego, California, is pledging $15,000 a year during his lifetime to help the museum stay open.
For Mr Poole, John Paul Jones is a childhood hero. He explained "I just became fascinated in his life story and what he achieved." John Paul Jones was born in 1747 in the cottage that is now the museum, on the shore of the Solway Firth at Arbigland near Dumfries. He sailed to America in his early teens, becoming the first well known American naval commander during the American Revolutionary War. Among the many notable stories about Paul's naval career is his participation in a battle in the North Sea, near Flamborough Head, which led to his famous words "Surrender? ... I have not yet begun to fight."
Mr Poole has two particularly special connections to the museum - two years ago he proposed at the museum, before marrying his bride, Monique, at the cottage last year. Mr Poole even recently spent the night alone at the museum, saying "I just wanted to experience what growing up might have been like then ... it was like going back in time ... you could just feel the history of the place and realise what this man accomplished from such humble beginnings in going on to become one of the greatest heroes in the history of the United States ... and this is where it all started ... I just can’t wait to get back to the States and tell everyone how vitally important it is to keep this museum going ... it is sacred land of American and Scottish history and to let it disappear would be a crime – it has to be kept for future generations."
The museum trustees praised the action of the former commander and admitted that, otherwise, the future had not been looking too bright. We at The American magazine would like to express our thanks to Mr Poole for supporting an important museum dedicated to Scottish-American history.
You can also help the museum by visiting its website, at http://www.jpj.demon.co.uk, to find out more about John Paul Jones, visiting the museum, and supporting with further fundraising.